Obviously Peter Hain is a disgraced minister that managed to embroil himself in some seemingly dodgy dealing, but I just thought I would draw people's attention to this little interview that he gave back in 2003, when he was the Government's representative on the convention on the future of Europe that drew up the ill-fated EU Constitutional Treaty.
Notice the language being used? The treaty was, apparently, just a "tidying up" exercise of previous treaties and not anything like the Constitutional "baloney" that the evil euro-sceptic press said it was. In fact, according to the perma-tanned one at the time,
"we already have a Constitutional Treaty for Europe, it's, it's in hundreds of pages of impenetrable text, that virtually nobody who's not a Euro anorak can understand, and what we're tending to do here is bringing it all together in a single constitutional text, so people can easily see what's going on."Got that? The Government's position in 2003 - a Government might I add that Brown was Number Two in and who said nothing contrary at the time to suggest his view was different - was that we "already have a Constitutional Treaty for Europe" even without the original rejected document being ratified. Now look at what Brown said to Parliament today. Apparently, "the constitutional concept in Europe [and the Lisbon Treaty] has now been abandoned".
In responding to Cameron's questions on a referendum, Brown said that "in Brussels last summer the decision was made that the constitutional concept be abandoned". So apparently Brown used to believe that there was already a constitutional concept before the original Constitutional Treaty was rejected in France and Ireland (hence the original was not a Constitution).
However, Brown now believes that the "constitutional concept" has been abandoned in the Lisbon Treaty, which is about the organisation of a body politic that they said is already constitutional anyway? Now please.... tell me.... how does that work exactly?
It's a bit like saying that you believe the statement that the "moon is made of cheese" is a bleeding obvious one; and then later saying that the moon is not made of cheese, and pretending you never said it was in the first place.
The Government's line has been so utterly inconsistent that it is removed from reality that you'd have to consume 100 liberty cap mushrooms , snort a line of coke, and then drop a tab of acid to believe it! One moment, the pre-Lisbon ratification status quo is a Constitution; and the next Brown is saying that there is no constitutional significance and in fact all aspects of constitutionality have been "abandoned"? What a load of balls.
The bottom line seems to be that the Government now led by Gordon Brown believed that the status quo in the EU was constitutional anyway. Ergo, the original document was only ever a "tidying up" exercise but they agreed to have a referendum. Now they are claiming that the Lisbon Treaty is all about 'amending' (read "tidying up") and is in no way constitutional because that concept has been 'removed' from the thing into which - according to Brown and the Government - it already existed in the first place.
It's easy to say that current scandals about expenses erode trust in politicians - I have done it myself - but the real problem comes when men in power play games with the history to which they are intrinsically linked as Brown appears to now be doing.