The Corner

Ruled Britannia

The removal of the final obstacles to the Czech signature of the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty means that the die is cast, or more accurately, flung in the face of national tradition, open government, and democracy. Mission accomplished! And very, very bad news for the United States.


Faced by this, Britain’s Conservative leader, David Cameron, has decided not to press for a “retrospective” referendum on the treaty should he win the British election next year. For all the severe political and practical problems this would entail, Cameron’s decision is a bad mistake, I reckon, and reflects both an astonishing lack of imagination and a bad failure of nerve, or maybe he’s just happy to be a provincial governor.


Over at the WSJ Europe, Iain Martin has a post that sums things up pretty well:

The Czech constitutional court has given the go ahead for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and all that remains is for Czech President Vaclav Klaus to put his signature to it.

For Presidents Sarkozy and Merkel this is a great victory. Despite much notional public opposition to Lisbon, or what began as the European constitution, they have strong-armed it into existence and their notion of a stronger EU becomes a reality.

In the lead up to this moment it looked as though the consequences in Britain might be explosive. But so far it’s not working out that way. David Cameron is under pressure, but not very much beyond various newspaper articles saying he is under pressure. . . .

There is a Tory retreat on Lisbon, and the acceptance by the party leadership of what they clearly consider to be new realities, just as an activist, more powerful EU comes to the fore.

This would appear to be the new settlement. A stronger European Union; an EU commission increasingly prepared to assert itself on matters such as banking competition and regulation; a role for national government in horse-trading, as the U.K. did on behalf of Lloyds; and the complete marginalizing of those who are concerned about the implications. 

Read the whole thing.