Thursday, March 06, 2003
"(2003-03-04) -- U.S. President George Bush responded today to former entertainer Harry Belafonte's accusation that the Bush administration is "possessed of evil."
"I was upset with Harry when he compared the Secretary of State to a house slave on a plantation," said Mr. Bush. "But this time he's absolutely correct."
When asked in a TV interview about the Bush administration, Mr. Belafonte said, "I think they know exactly what they are doing and I think that they are men who are possessed of evil."
Mr. Bush conceded, "Before this weekend, I would have agreed with half of that--we know what we're doing. But since we captured that al Qaeda fella up in Pakistan, we are 'possessed of evil', if you know what I mean. They don't come any more evil than that rascal. And we got him. He is in our possession.""
"As the EU expands, we must repatriate some of the power from Brussels"
Though the Chancellor's argument is only that regional policy works best at a local level, and so should be devolved from the centre, this is could be a key philosophic shift by the Labour party on Europe.
Certainly, Brown wants to retain power for himself. But if a serious case is made for policies being enacted at the appropriate level, the one where they are most efficiently or democratically directed, then this would, arguably, be a gutting of EU responsibilities.
Which is why the French probably won't buy it.
But if unanimity is required on ratification of the finalised new constitution, the strongest bargaining tactic the British Government could use, particularly if they are starting to object to aspects of the "European dream", would be to make a pledge that it will be subject to a referendum, with a pre-declared question.
After all, if you can't even convince the British Government to go along with something, then you won't have a great time winning a popular vote on a European issue...