Blair's Rhetoric Does Not Match European Reality

23 June 2005
Commenting upon UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech to the European Parliament today (Thursday) SNP MEP Alyn Smith has expressed his disappointment that the UK leader failed to mention a single concrete reform and gave an account of the UK's recent conduct that just does not match reality.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Smith said:

"This was vintage Blair spin, high on rhetoric, but short on content. With the French and Dutch no votes, the ball would be at the feet of a genuine reformer, with an open goal in front of him. Mr Blair proved today he isn't that reformer.

"The actions of the UK government in last week's negotiations were outrageous. For months sycophantic Labour MEPs have been under heavy orders to save the UK rebate, yet suddenly on Monday Mr Blair describes it as an anomaly. Barely two days before the summit the UK started claiming to want to reform the Common Agricultural Policy. The budget needs to be thoroughly reviewed, but to suggest this two days before the meeting is not serious politics.

"Amongst the rhetoric and grandstanding Mr Blair told a couple of well needed home truths but without any actual plans for reform, without any actual vision all his fine talk is just puff. The UK has not put any thought into reform, it has been barely mentioned in a single Presidency document. This is a crying shame and a massive missed opportunity.

"If the UK wants to make a serious impact on the future of Europe then there are plenty of opportunities for reform, and I will applaud the UK if they are serious. After today's speech I think we'll see little better than a wee bit window dressing."