Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Charlie Whelan Says ... Don't Believe It: "Europe Referendum in March 2006"

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Charlie Whelan Says ... Don't Believe It: "Europe Referendum in March 2006"

Article excerpt

It was kind of the Sunday Telegraph to tell us that the referendum on the EU constitution will be held in March 2006-but, as is the norm for Sunday papers, the story was wrong. When, in a few years' time, it proves to be false, my old mate Paddy Hennessy, who wrote the story, will say: "It was right when I wrote it. The government changed its mind."

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Perhaps the date will turn out to be right, but if it does I'll buy Paddy a magnum of champagne for making such a lucky guess. My hunch is that the story was inspired by Peter Mandelson, because the only interesting part of the article was a proposal from the twice-disgraced ex-minister. Apparently, the fighter who isn't a quitter but then quit for Brussels thinks he has a wheeze to scupper Gordon Brown's hostility to Britain joining the euro. For the referendum on the constitution, Mandy proposes another question, along the lines of: "If at some time, in the future, our Great Leader decides it's in Britain's interest to join the euro, then is that OK with you? …

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