20 June 2007

EU Guide To Boiling Frogs

Frog boiling in a potWhy does the following assertion from the foreign secretary in today's EU debate remind me of the old story that a frog can be boiled alive if the water is heated slowly enough?†

"The type of amending treaty to which the UK would agree should be no different in style or importance of content to those brought to this House by previous governments, including previous Conservative governments. In the past such treaties have never been subject to a national referendum. Indeed, we have only ever had one national referendum in this country – it was held in 1975 under a Labour Government on the decision to join the EEC in 1972, made by a Conservative Government. An amending treaty of the sort I have described would not involve a decision on anything like the scale of that decision in 1972 which indeed the British people endorsed in 1975."
Presumably she will have seen the opinion poll in today's Daily Express revealing that 80% of voters believe we should have a referendum on any new constitutional amending treaty and nearly two thirds are against having a new President of Europe. Her further comment that "An amending treaty must be different from the Constitutional Treaty that preceded it in content, in form and in purpose" reminds me of another recent debate about undefined "factors of form, function or behaviour."

† The scientifically curious among you may be interested to know that the claim is apparently based on an experiment conducted in 1882 in which the temperature of the water was raised at a rate of 0.002ÂșC per second and the immersed frog was found dead after 2½ hours.

See also: Blair's European Red Herrings
Source: Foreign Policy News, British Embassy, Oslo


The Stonemason said...

I heard today that the new draft treaty has left out of it any mention of free, open and competitive markets as a principle of the EU and replaced it with a reference to ensuring full employment (presumably modelled on the Soviet union's policies). This fundamental change surely nullifies the referendum taken in 1975 about joining the Common Market and makes a referendum on any new 'Constitreaty' even more necessary.