Perspective: Maybe the Euro-Phobe Army Wasn't So Barmy

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker

They were right - those red-faced Tories with harsh voices and bulging eyes.

In their heyday they were known as the Euro-sceptics, the Euro-phobes or simply the 'barmy army'.

They plagued John Major during the 1990s, and helped the Conservatives lose two general elections.

They claimed the European Union was becoming a large country in its own right - the so-called 'super state'.

This is happening. And it's a big thing. General elections won't matter as much as they did.

People might still stick Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat posters in their windows, but somewhere across the Channel a European council dominated by Christian Democrats - a party whichdoesn't exist in this country - could be making the important decisions.

The draft constitution for Europe will be delivered to a European summit on June 20.

It has been drawn up by the 105-member Convention on the Future of Europe, which includes Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston).

It will include, for example, the creation of an EU foreign minister to prevent the type of splits we have seen over Iraq.

Europe will speak with one voice. And if Britain and France disagree? Well, that's a bit like Texas and New York disagreeing.

It's the guys at the centre who matter, not some senator from one of the states. We don't know exactly what the European constitution will say, but it will be based on an earlier draft published last October.

This creates a new body named either European Community, European Union, United States of Europe or United Europe.

The eight objectives of the union include 'development of a common foreign and security policy and a common defence policy'.

They also include promoting a 'high degree of social protection' for workers - ie control of employment law - and promotion of 'social cohesion', which means control of the tax and benefits system. …