Learning by experience is part of the human condition. A child who climbs a tree and goes out too far on a limb falls to the ground. It hurts and tears follow. Thus we learn how to conduct our lives to advantage. Will The Government learn from its experiences? Almost certainly not.

This morning Her Majesty’s Government, which thinks a massive extension of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) within the European Union is just the thing to advance the interests of this country and which regularly touts the notion that, more often than not, the majority follows where we lead (there will be a short pause whilst you recover your demeanour after half an hour of laughing yourself to death), is having a brutal lesson in what the loss of veto power actually means.

As The Times reports, the UK is about to lose its fight against the EU’s proposal to give new rights to temporary workers which would give Britain’s estimated 1.3 million agency workers the same pay and workplace conditions as permanent staff. The Government is entirely right to oppose this daft plan which will reduce our competitiveness and the flexibility of our workforce. Business leaders are particularly critical of the plan which will encourage firms to hire many less temporary staff and lead to longer hours for full time workers.

All but four of the Union’s twenty-seven members support the plan which is sufficient for the proposal to go through despite the damage it will to do to our economy.

Will HMG learn from this experience? No. Will it enter their tiny minds that this sort of thing will become ever more prevalent under the Treaty of Lisbon which will effectively reduce HMG to impotence over pretty well everything? No.

Apparently John Hutton, the ‘Business’ Secretary (whatever that means in NuLabourSpeak), is much exercised by the linking of this plan by the Portuguese to another problem over concessions on the Working Time Directive: some countries have been persuaded to support the changes for temporary workers in exchange for a better deal on working hours. According to a ‘source close to Hutton’ the Government was unhappy at the linking of the issues:

“The agency workers’ directive, as currently worded, could have a negative impact on employment. We are committed to the principle of agency workers’ rights, but the directive brings it in sooner than is in Britain’s interest. The two directives have been linked for the sake of expedience, rather than because they are related. We are trying to unlink them.”

‘Source close to Hutton’ means, in Lobby Terms, almost certainly that these were Hutton’s own words. As I say, he is having a brutal lesson in our impotence under QMV. Here we have a measure which we have, rightly, determined is not in our interest (though for some reason they seem to think it will be in our national interest sometime soon) being rammed through against our will.

This presumably is what Gordon Brown means when he asserts that the Treaty of Lisbon is in Britain’s interest. Will Britain’s national interest be served by extending QMV? No, and the Prime Minister ought, if he had a shred of honesty left, to admit it.

As the present imbroglio over donations demonstrates beyond a peradventure, Labour no longer does ‘honesty’ so the Whips will drive the Bovine & Ovine through the lobbies to confirm Brown’s signing away of what’s left of our sovereign power to the EuroNabobery without so much as by YOUR leave.

Do they care? They show no sign of doing so.

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