Thursday, September 27, 2007

Graham Watson, absentee landlord

Shambling into the stocks on the Parish Referendum issue comes Graham Watson, the expensively coiffured leader of the European Liberal Group, the ALDE - Motto "Cheap Opinions piled high" and Lib Dem MEP for the South West.

Not known for his activities in his constituency, neither his blog, (and if that is a blog then I am a Dutchman) nor his forward diary suggest any hands on local activity - just a mention that he went to Somerset for a weekend after the holidays, he has weighed into the Parish Referendum affair with a classic press release,



CARP in UKIP Clothing: MEP demands informed debate on Europe
2.09.00pm BST (GMT +0100) Wed 26th Sep 2007
Commenting on results this week from a poll in East Stoke, Dorset on whether Gordon Brown should call a referendum on the EU's Reform Treaty, local MEP Graham Watson has said:

"Let's have some debate about this", argues Graham Watson MEP
"I think it's a shame that a parish referendum in East Stoke has been hijacked by UKIP and its close affiliates, CARP (Campaign Alliance for Referendums in Parishes). I understand the strength of feeling on this issue, but what this needs is informed public debate, not populist publicity stunts such as this. I very much doubt that this referendum was based on the wording of the Reform Treaty. So let's have some debate about this. Fifteen further parishes across the South West have requested a parish referendum on the issue; I would welcome the opportunity of talking to them about this."
Where to start?
"Results this week" No Graham, if you read the papers or took and interest in your constituency you would realise that the vote took place last week.

"I think it's a shame that a parish referendum in East Stoke has been hijacked by UKIP and its close affiliates, CARP" Errr, how can the organisers of the poll be accused of hijacking it. That is akin to suggesting that a baker is hijacking the bread in his own bakery. CARP organised the poll, it did not hijack it.

"I understand the strength of feeling on this issue" But, despite being aware that the vast majority of the people of the South Western Counties are in favour of a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty, you set your face against it.

"what this needs is informed public debate", the normal weasel words that translate not as debate, but monologue, only supporters are informed.

"I very much doubt that this referendum was based on the wording of the Reform Treaty", it would be easy to pick up the phone and ask the organisers of the poll if they have read the proposed treaty. You know what, I have, and surprise sup rise, they have read the proposals. What is more the poll does not ask for the treaty to be rejected, what it asks is for the Treaty to be voted upon by the British public. During the period leading up to a referendum I would expect, just like in Holland and France before hand there would be massive public debate on the relative merits of the Treaty. So Graham, don't shoot straw dogs.

"let's have some debate about this", Eh? Debate about what Graham, about whether people should have a direct say in the governance of their country?

"Fifteen further parishes across the South West have requested a parish referendum on the issue" Suggesting does it not, that there is a groundswell of public opinion wishing to be allowed to have a say?

"I would welcome the opportunity of talking to them about this", Great stuff, why not go along to the next parish that holds a poll and on the night before hold a debate about whether people should be allowed a referendum. I understand that an invitation is on its way. I think it is going to be down in the pointy bit of Cornwall. They are hospitable people down there and I am certain they will make you welcome.

Rather wonderfully in the light of his opposition to a referendum on the Treaty his previous press release is this,
"The Case for Global Democracy: Cross Party Coalition of MEPs calls for a UN Parliamentary Assembly"

So for Graham it appears that having laws made by the likes of Mugabe is a good thing, but having laws made by his own country is a bad one. Truly, you couldn't make it up.

Aside,
The photo is from the European Research Forum at London Metropolitan University. It is titled, "Lord Graham Watson MEP, Leader of the Liberal Group Brendan Donnelly, Director of the Federal Trust Professor Stephen Haseler, Director of the ERF" Watson being on the left.
It seems that the ERF needs to get its own research in order, I am pretty sure that Mr Watson has not been raised to the ermine.

4 comments:

Mike Wood said...

Stephen Haseler has an interesting CV:

"He has a long record of political involvement, having served as Deputy Mayor on the Greater London Council in the 1970s, helped to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981, and as a leading advocate of a British republic."

So we have GLC, SDP, anti-monarchism and Euro-federalism. He really knows how to pick them doesn't he

Anonymous said...

You have mispresented Graham Watson. You say he was in Somerset for a weekend. On my reading of his 'blog' he was there for a Sunday. You should apologise to him.

Elaib said...

Anon,
To be fair to him I have now looked at his gallery, and some of the photos suggest he has visited a couple of times.

Mike
Yup I saw that, the man is a veritable bellweather

Trooper Thompson said...

"That is akin to suggesting that a baker is hijacking the bread in his own bakery."

Good line. We need to keep banging away at this referendum issue. I hope these local referenda take off.

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