Whilst warming up to an attack on the price of train sandwiches in his Times column this morning, Michael Gove lamented how Euro-integrationists close down debate with travel metaphors which focus on the speed of travel rather than the direction:

"Perhaps the single lamest canard to be dragged into the euro-debate was
the single, transferable, travel metaphor. The integrationist ultras would
use a succession of figures of speech in which travel towards a particular
political destination (in their case the surrender of yet further powers
without any quid pro quo), was seen as an inevitable journey from which
there could be no rational deviation. So Europe was described, variously, as
a bicycle (you had to carry on moving forward or you’d fall off), a motorway
(did we want to be motoring ahead with the really impressive big countries
in the fast lane or left behind in the slow lane?), and a train (if you
didn’t get on now you’d be left behind, perpetually incapable of catching

At a press conference with Bertie Ahern yesterday (who unlike Gordon Brown freely admits that the EU Reform Treaty is mostly the same as the rejected constitution and, unlike Brown, is putting it to a vote anyway) Brown said that they had discussed:

"the European
Constitution and how that can move forward over the next few months".

The CCHQ press office saw this as significant enough to press release a screenshot of the online transcript. By "moving forward" Brown means what he said when with Angela Merkel yesterday:

"We will not require a referendum on this. It is something that can be
worked on closely by Parliament. I think we can make progress quickly
on this."

Shame on those democrats and Eurosceptics for wanting to regress quickly.

Deputy Editor

23 comments for: Progress in the wrong direction

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