Thursday, March 06, 2008

Referendum? Kick 'em in the ballot box!

Looking back on the fuss about the non-existent referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, and the furore will kick off again in the House of Lords, I can't help wondering what the fuss was actually all about.

The most useful thing about the campaign for a referendum was that it kept the issue of the EU and the Lisbon Treaty in the public's mind. That was why many of us joined the lobby last week at the House of Commons, not because of a belief that we would actually get one. That would have been delusional.

If we had got a referendum the government would have chosen the wording, and just think of the power there to manipulate the question in order to get 'the right decision'. And remember the vast resources pumped into the yes campaign in the 1975 referendum campaign, against the meagre resources raised from the public for the no campaign.

Think about the EU's record on abiding by the votes of the populace in referenda. Apart from the UK in '75, where the voters were conned and lied to quite unashamedly, wherever the voters have said "no" there has been a re-run and the voters 'got it right' the second time, ask the Irish and the Danes. Please also remember that the French and the Dutch said "no" in referenda so their wishes have been side-stepped by renaming it the "Reform Treaty".

The biggest benefit of these last few days, weeks and months has been seeing the political class squirm, lie and cheat their way out of the referendum that they all promised us in their 2005 manifestos. And I include the two-faced Tories in that, let's face it when they actually had the power tio give us a referendum, all those years they were in power, they never did. Anybody can make grand promises before an election they know they are going to lose, so don't let the Tories take the moral high ground.

To all those people in the three old parties who work so hard in a variety of anti-EU pressure groups, please remember that your hard work is wiped out as soon as you then campaign for your pro-EU political party. Kicking them in the ballot box, right where it hurts, that's the only way.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Which is why we have to come up with proper policies on everything so that we are not seen as a single issue ex-Tory pressure group. Even if these policies amount to an unequivocal 'do nothing', i.e. turn off traffic lights.

Gregg Beaman said...

Spot on Mark. Which is why the thrust of our North West spring conference is broad issues other than the EU.It would be great if you could join us for at least a day of it, free ticket(s) of course.