The real problem is that what the Conservatives want is not on offer It is not

The real problem is that what the conservatives want

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tomorrow, so can Poland, so can Sweden, by a vote of their sovereign Parliaments. The real problem is that what the Conservatives want is not on offer. It is not on offer from the World Trade Organisation treaty, from our Spanish friends in the treaty of Utrecht, or from my left-wing friends in the North Atlantic treaty—the treaty that set up NATO. Treaties are about sharing some sovereignty for a greater good. Mr. Stewart Jackson rose— Mr. MacNeil rose— Mr. MacShane: I had better give way first to a Conservative colleague, and then I will revert to the Scottish version of the English nationalists. Mr. Jackson: I thank the right hon. Gentleman and pay tribute to the sincerity with which he holds his views, although I believe that he is more or less totally wrong in most of them. He makes a point about treaties. Will he explain how, for instance, the strategic arms limitation treaty between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s led to a transfer of power from each to the other? They engaged in that treaty for their mutual benefit, which is what sovereign countries do and what treaties are about— they are not necessarily about the transfer of sovereign power. Mr. MacShane: That treaty said to the Pentagon and to the bosses of the red army, “You can’t do that which you’ve been doing up to now”—that is, continue building up their armed strength. It was a massive interference in the sovereign right of both nations to continue in that area. All treaties are like that. Mr. MacNeil: Are not treaties something that we join and agree to be in together as opposed to something that we are forced to fit in with by compromising and doing what we do not want to do? Mr. MacShane: The hon. Gentleman, like all Scottish nationalist Members during these debates since I have been in the House, has focused on the problem of fisheries. They have a point, but that was a concession made in 1972 that cannot be brought back without 26 other member states agreeing to it. However, we cannot unilaterally say that, for example, we do not want Ryanjet to land here because it is in competition with our national airline. Mr. MacNeil rose— 11 Mar 2008 : Column 206 Mr. MacShane: Let me finish my speech, and then there will be time for everybody else. The hon. Member for Stone, who you rightly did not call to order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, said—I hope that I am not doing any injustice to his argument—that it was somehow treasonable to vote for the ratification of the treaty of Lisbon. Well, I hope that I am not a traitor to myself, my country, my party, my constituency or any of the other areas that
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he listed. Much of this rather lurid language does not help; it neither heats up nor illuminates. We have had in our past distinguished Members of this House making this point. Here is the former Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, in 1960: “I’m not very keen on the Common Market. After all, we beat Germany, and we beat Italy and we saved France, Belgium and Holland. I never see why we should go crawling to them.” That from a man who is a hero for many of us on my side of the House, but it is, frankly, a ghastly point of view. Alternatively, going to the heart of the point made by
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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