The constitution rears its ugly head once more
Today the European Parliment's Constitutional Affairs Committee is expected to follow yesterday's entirely sensible point from Commission head José Manuel Barroso that debate on the future of Europe has stalled with an announcement that the old provisional constitution is dead and crap and it's about time to start again from scratch.
The committee's report, “the EU's constitutional crisis - breaking the deadlock” is to be published today, rejecting repeat referenda in the Netherlands or France and finally killing off any eurosceptic hopes of a vote in the UK at the same time.
This may well explain why UKIP have started spouting mindless nonsense about a referendum on EU membership, as they've finally accepted they'll never get to rub their hands with glee as they put a few final bullets into the constitution's now rather smelly, near-unrecognisable corpse - they never were that quick on the uptake, were they? The rest of us twigged the constitution was dead months ago... (As an aside, UKIP will no doubt be funding this latest pointless campaign with the £170,000 EU grant they've just been awarded - that's right, kids, the EU is funding anti-EU propaganda, isn't it eeeevil?)
Of course, the trouble is that while the UK holds the presidency, nothing much is going to be able to happen. Not only are we too contentious a figurehead,but also Blair and co are entirely obsessed with terrorists at the moment, and can't be arsed to do anything other than run around screaming about how we're all going to die. As such, the budget squabble has yet to be resolved, the Anglo-French spat over the CAP has got nowhere and thanks to the post-election stalemate in Germany, until the final member of the big three has managed to work out who's leading the country, the most obvious referee in the UK/France fight is utterly impotent.
So, the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee wants to know how we can kick-start debate on the future of Europe? Simple - wait until the UK presidency's ended because you're going to get fuck all done while Blair's in charge. Oh, and if you want sensible debate, probably wait until both Chirac and Blair are out of office, make sure that any new Convention on the Future of Europe ends up rather more democratic and open than the last one - and, most importantly, don't rush the buggers this time.