Following yesterday’s decision by the European Parliament to approve the constitution, things are kicking off a bit (even though the parliament’s decision actually means very little with all these referenda coming up).
Blogging Labour MEP Richard Corbett, co-rapporteur for the European Parliament’s report on the European Constitution, has done a piece for EU Observer trying to convince Eurosceptics to vote for the constitution.
He points out near the end that “If it fails to be adopted, we can look forward to several years of bitter wrangling on the future structure of the enlarged EU.” Personally I reckon that could be a very worthwhile exercise – rushing things through tends to lead to mistakes being made, but at the same time I think the point Mr Corbett is trying to make is the old one about “too many cooks”.
Eurosceptic EU Serf – I suspect like many of his ideological kin – remains unconvinced by Corbett’s arguments, and provides a handy point-by-point demolition job of the article: “So far each treaty we have signed has been a vehicle for further integration. Why should this document be any different? …The EU seems to work like a bicycle, it needs to continuously go forward. Perhaps we can all now fall off.”
North Sea Diaries notes that a quarter of MEPs voted against, while Martin at Ironies, a Eurosceptic blog I only found out about yesterday, points out that a majority of three countries’ MEPs voted against the constitution – Britain, the Czech Republic and Poland. The Financial Times article he links to notes that 40 of 70 British MEPs voted against – where were the rest of them for such an historic vote?
Not constitution-specific, per se, at Straight Banana Toby has, as promised, started a series of articles which should be worth a read: Sentimentality (1), Sentimentality (2) – European Parliament vs House of Commons, and Anti Auntie – a discussion of the perrennial Eurosceptic claim that the BBC is biased in favour of the EU.
Perhaps it is the length of these which has prompted EU Referendum’s latest attack on Toby – including outing his real-world identity (bad form – and unecessary really, as it’s fairly obvious anyway). I am assuming that this must be an example of how “the Eurosceptic sites are dominating the high ground, displaying wit, humour and depth of coverage that is not matched by the Europhiles”, as EU Referendum’s Richard North claims. Personally, I’d say it’s a rather petty jab combined with a generalisation based on, well, not a lot of anything, really.
As I have pointed out in a comment to Lose the Delusion’s post on North’s latest snipe, it rather appears from his blogroll that North rarely bothers to read pro-EU blogs other than Straight Banana (which I’d say often displays wit and humour, although what with being run by one chap with a full-time job is unsurprisingly not quite so obsessive with its coverage), so quite where he gets this idea from I have no idea… Perhaps he may wish to elaborate at some point, although frankly I’m not too bothered – although North is evidently intelligent and knows his subject well, he has a tendency not so much to argue as to lecture, not so much to refute other arguments as to simply say “that’s wrong”. It reminds me a bit of my Dad over Christmas lunch…
However, what North’s comments do (sort of) point out is that the eurobloggosphere (certainly the Anglophone part of it) does seem to be somewhat dominated by Eurosceptic voices. Of the fairly regular, non-official pro-EU lot who try and focus on the EU more than anything else, there’s really only here, Straight Banana and Lose the Delusion that I’m aware of – and until a few months ago Straight Banana was on its own. Anyone know of any more? Who has North been reading to get such a poor impression of the internet’s pro-EU voices?