Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The people really are stupid

Well at least that is what our Government in Brussels thinks of us. Jens-Peter Bonde MEP, Co-President of the Ind/Dem Group in the European Parliament happened to be in the room as the Heads of Government signed the Treaty of Lisbon (that is apart from Macavity Brown of course).

Next to him was one of the functionaries who drew up the Lisbon Treaty. This fellow was unaware of the political sympathies of Mr Bonde and was disarmingly dishonest. At one point he chuckled and said,

"You know how we made the Treaty smaller than the Constitution?"....

"We changed the font size..Hah ha, so the Treaty is now truly shorter than the Constitution".

I checked this, and having gone to the Council website I can say that this is not entirely true. They did not change the font size; they changed the line spacing. So here is Exhibit one, from the Constitution of 2004, p.11

And here is the same text in the Treaty p.12

So I checked a couple of other things, like the word count of the two documents. The Constitution comes in at 67,850 words, and the Treaty 76,250, a full 8,500 words longer. And the page total?

The Constitution has 349 pages and the Treaty has 287.

So it stands to reason that, despite being 8,500 words longer the Treaty is 62 pages shorter and is therefore the much vaunted Mini-Treaty so beloved of Mr Sarkozy.


Anonymous said...

ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

I read that Jo Leinen said that Brown, along with the Dutch, opposed the publishing of the consolidated text (as opposed to satisfying themselves with publishing the amendments). Can you confirm? And if yes, why isn't this a big, big scandal yet?

Anonymous said...

Even that is not the full story, because the true comparison should be between the Constitution, and the Lisbon Treaty PLUS the present Treaties, minus whatever is squeezed out during "consolidation".

For example the "amending treaty" agreed at Nice ran to 87 pages, but when those amendments were applied to the previously existing treaties the result was the present consolidated versions of the two treaties, which together run to 331 pages.

In August Open Europe published a consolidated version of the Reform Treaty, and at that time it was almost exactly the same length as the Constitution. Now it seems that it would be longer.


"The official version of the treaty is almost unreadable as it takes the form of a series of amendments to the existing treaties, without reproducing the existing text which they will alter. In other words, the new version contains only the “active ingredients” – the changes which were proposed by the original Constitution. This is intended to make it unreadable.

Open Europe is now publishing a consolidated text which shows how it would change the treaties. We also reproduce the text of the original version of the original Constitution alongside this. As you can see, the new treaty alters the existing treaties to bring them into line with the rejected European Constitution.

Some opponents of a referendum have argued that the “new” treaty is shorter than the old Constitution and so therefore cannot be substantively the same thing. This is a dishonest argument.

Once it is turned back into a consolidated text it becomes obvious that the “new” treaty essentially edits the existing treaties in such a way as to make them almost identical to the rejected Constitution. In fact the final product is the same length as the original version of the Constitution:

* The current treaties are approximately 54,000 words long

* The original EU Constitution was 63,000 words long

* The new version is also 63,000 words long."