Unlike Donal Blaney (although I feel as frustrated as he clearly does), I have some sympathy for the Czech Republic's besieged President and can appreciate why he has finally caved in to the extreme, intense and sustained pressure from their giant, frightening neighbour, Germany and from the bullies in Brussels. Vaclav Klaus has made a spirited last-man stand but it was only a matter of time before the unforgivable, scurrilous personal attacks on him and the threats of economic and political sanctions against the nation he was elected to serve took their toll - and had their desired effect.
The Spectator's take on this latest bombshell for referendum campaigners like yours truly is pretty decent:
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has developed cult status among Eurosceptics in Britain, but it would have been nothing short of miraculous if he had been able to derail the Lisbon Treaty. The Telegraph reports that Klaus can delay signing the treaty no longer. He said:On the bright side, however, betting will surely be closed on how long Brown has left as Prime Minister. In aiding and abetting the authoritarian Brussels power grab by railroading Britain into adopting what remains an EU constitution, he has now served his purpose. His days are definitely numbered. Mandelson, that viper in the British bosom, will seize control of the PLP and the government at his earliest convenience, having served up the UK to the EU centralist-federalists on a silver platter (the gold's all gone), and make a new king - or queen - that he can bend more easily to his will."The train carrying the treaty is going so fast and it's so far that it can't be stopped or returned, no matter how much some of us would want that. I cannot and will not wait for British elections, unless they hold them in the next few days or weeks."
The Czech Courts will rule on compatibility on the 27th October, after which the treaty will become law. Mr Klaus' train metaphor compounds the argument that Brussels, not Europeans, has driven this process - indeed that Brussels has simply disregarded the wishes of sovereign nations. From the British perspective, the Lisbon horse has bolted; Cameron and Hague must remind voters that Brown and Blair are culpable for that. A referendum post-ratification represents the most facile of political gestures. Rumours abound that the Conservatives will seek accomodation with European leaders over recovering sovereignty, surrendered by successive governments without the agreement of the British people.
In the meantime, the Conservative party better wake up and realise that Lisbon ratification is no longer a "hypothetical scenario". It's time for a post-Lisbon policy - and that policy must include a referendum of one kind or another. They must think of the right question and not be cowed by threats from the bullies of Brussels like the Czechs have. Otherwise, this country, quite simply, will have been sold-out by its own, democratically elected rulers (as is always the case with fascism). It's time for Cameron to get a grip on this.
As for Labour and Brown, they will never be forgiven for their broken promises and ultimate betrayal. And they will be punished for it.
They'd better believe it.