Are we out of step on Europe ?

Gordon Brown has rejected calls for a UK referendum on the replacement for the EU constitution, despite it being called for this time by labour supporting Unions.

There was one important quote in the BBC report which led me to think the party is out of step on Europe and needs to get its message across loud and clear. The line was ;

" The GMB and RMT had joined the Tories and UKIP in demanding a vote by tabling motions for the TUC annual conference. "

If this is correct, we in the Liberal Democrats are not calling for a referendum or if we are we have been so vague about it that the press (and the general public) do not know.

Back in the back in the 1990's when the single currency was always being discussed, the party could always say "but we would support a referendum when the people could decide". Indeed, on a whole range of tricky EU issues the Liberal Democrats have always supported a referendum which allowed the more sceptical Europeans like myself and the more pro Europeans to be able to share the same policy.

As it stands, if we are the only major political force not demanding the Labour calls a referendum on the EU constitution, and calling for it publicly and as often as possible, we will lose support, votes and MEP come next year.


Anonymous said...

There aren't substantial new powers being delegaed, so theres no great reason to hold a referendum- or at least I would take that to be the party view, as you probably think otherwise.
As someone who takes a more euroskeptic line you may disagree, but your reasoning here is asinine. Party policy should be directed by principle, not populist opportunism. We wouldn't support "tough" policy on asylum seekers or young people just because it might be a vote winner. There is no reason why this issue should be an exception.

Vindico said...

Everybody should support a referendum. Only those who want us to sign up, but are worried that the people don't share their view, are not in favour of a referendum. The argument that we are a parliamentary democracy is nonsense - any increase in democratic involvement is a good thing. I think the Lib-Dems pro-EU stance will start costing them votes, especially since they are not even libertarian any more.

Nice blog btw. Just found it.

Linda Jack said...

Totally agree, frankly the thought of the TU movement having to jump into bed with the Tories, and in the process give them such succour is mindblowingly awful..........so who exactly is it who should be saying this???

Norfolk Blogger said...

To quote my friend (I sound like Iain Dale now) Norman Lamb

"When it comes to Europe we (the Lib Dems) lose all critical faculties".

Europe works half the time, but th e other half doesn't, yet when it doesn't we ignore it or eulogise about the bit that works without ever talking about its failings.