Tuesday, 18 October 2011

MPs to debate the referendum question?

The announcement that MPs are to debate whether those they serve should be allowed a referendum on membership of the European Union just illustrates the deficit in our present system of democracy, one whereby the servants decide what their masters can or cannot have. The motion, according to Douglas Carswell, reads:
"This house calls upon the government to introduce a bill in the next session of parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the united kingdom:
A) should remain a member of the European Union on the current terms;
B) leave the european union; or
C) re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation
"
Helen, Your Freedom and Ours, posted this before the announcement and followed up with this, as an update, afterwards - the thrust of which I totally agree.

This motion is, in my opinion, designed to cause division in any referendum put to the public vote as option (c) is 'open-ended' in that it can be taken to mean almost anything. In any event were a referendum held with these questions and option (b) gained the majority of votes then surely option (c) would have to follow if we wished to continue trading with the EU - which begs the question why it appears in the first place.

Were that motion to be passed in the HoC, Cameron would have to hold a referendum and abide by its result, as to defy the will of Parliament would place him on extremely dangerous ground. For that reason it can be fairly certain that he will impose a three-line whip on the vote to ensure that the motion is rejected - a decision that will cause those 'careerists' amongst the 120 'Useless Eustice' group of supposed Tory eurosceptics a little problem. Presumably MilibandE will follow suit as he too is adamant that this country should remain a member of the EU - likewise the Liberal Democrats.

I know not what arm-twisting has been done to members of the Backbench Business Committee but the government sure as hell have managed with this motion to ensure they can't lose!

This debate can best be summed up in the words of PC Plod - move along please, nothing to see here.......

12 comments:

tux1952 said...

No chance of a free vote then…what's the point?

Anonymous said...

If the Traiterous parties whip their members on this then surely there should be a few significant defections to UKIP as a result?

OK so we all know nothing is going to change but if nothing else this charade will expose the shallow nature of the Europlastics!!

TomTom said...

It is perturbing that Scotland has not yet had a Referendum on leaving the UK (nor has England) but they propose a vote on the UK leaving the EU when the Scots might skew the vote in favour of staying in.

It is a real dog's breakfast of a constitutional situation - akin to the situation before a civil war breaks out

Anonymous said...

What about Cornwall?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

t1952: Exactly the point I was making.......

Anon1: That there may be in the electorate, but come a general election tribalism will surface once again........

TT: As the UK joined the EU then it must surely be the UK that leaves? OK, accept we have a chicken and egg situation here, but should Scotland then leave the UK they can always apply for membership for themselves.

That it is a constitutional dogs breakfast is agreed, but I stick to my point above.

Anon2: So what about Cornwall? Last time I looked it was still part of the UK and my remarks to TT above stand.

PeterCharles said...

I don't see a three line whip, more a question of behind the scenes pressure.

The question is of course loaded, there is little doubt that given the views of the Establishment, the majority of politicians, the BBC, the MSM, big business and the majority of academia there will be a concerted effort to push option C, a smaller effort to push option A and a huge effort to paint option B as a complete disaster that will destroy the country, kill off any remaining manufacturing, cause prices to explode along with unemployment, reduce us to international onlookers unable to punch our weight, turn us into political pariahs on the same level as Iran and Zimbabwe and completely destroy the City as a financial sector. Not only that the costs of withdrawal would bankrupt us, no one in the world would ever trade with us again, not even to buy our North Sea oil which would probably have to be given to Denmark, Scotland, Wales, The Isle of Man and the channel islands would immediately beg to be admitted to the EU leaving a defeated England to rot on its own, America would no longer be our friend because its only our influence in Europe that's important, Europe would impose huge trade tariffs against us in retaliation, we would be stripped of our UN security council seat, Toyota and Honda would close their car factories, Tata would close our steel works and we would starve because we depend on Europe for half our food.

I can see it now. A panicked and terrified electorate would have no option but to vote for option C, the politicos would breath a sigh of relief and it would business as usual. They wouldn't even have to pretend to renegotiate anything because there would be at least 20 years grace before anyone dared raise the subject again.

All we can do is pray that the question is changed to a simple in or out, dodgy at best given the forces against withdrawal although our best hope is that the EU will collapse under coming crash before a referendum is held, which is currently a strong possibility. Unfortunately another referendum based on staying in a newly restructured EU after the crash is most likely in that event.

DP111 said...

The only referendum I would like to see, is one that makes a decision on referendums a constitutional right.

TomTom said...

Anon2: So what about Cornwall? Last time I looked it was still part of the UK and my remarks to TT above stand.

Fine. Scotland votes for the UK to stay in the EU and England does. Cornwall - population < Bradford - MEPs = 0 Scotland MEPs = 6

So WfW Scotland can keep England in the EU with its 5.2 million and probably will.

TomTom said...

but should Scotland then leave the UK they can always apply for membership for themselves.

Why ? They can keep the UK in the EU, leave the UK retaining EU membership themselves and get regional aid. Scotland has the stronger hand

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: If newspaper reports are correct No10 has confirmed a three-line whip will be enforced as Cameron wants the motion defeated.....

DP111: Ddream on.............

TT: From what I hear Scotland is not 100% for EU membership.......

DP111 said...

WfW: Ddream on

Its what we are after aint it?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

DP111: Sorry you lost me there. Yes I want a referendum but on the people's terms, not those set by MPs. This debate thingy is a farce and one being staged for public show!