Ming must support calls for an EU referendum

I am not going to repeat all the arguments for and, in my case , against the EU constitution, I've done that before. However, with general discussion today indicating that some Lib Dems favour a referendum, whilst Ming supposedly opposes referendum calls.

Ming seems to be under the misapprehension that the new EU constitution is not a constitution because it is only 96% of what was in the last aborted constitution. The Telegraph, for once in their existence, makes a good point (Hat Tip to The Daily Referendum blog for this)

"I say: If a Beefburger only contains 90% Beef, it is still a bloody Beefburger."

I say that support for a referendum is vital if the Lib Dems are to be seen as a listening party. The argument that "Well the public might reject it" is not coherent with our party's policy or ethos. We lead discussion, we do what is right for the country or our area, but we don't force of coerce people in to things. Signing the EU constitution without a referendum would be to go against all these things.


Justin Hinchcliffe said...

I don't think the public gives a toss what the Lib Dems think. Most people regard them as a minor protest party that will never be in power. The media treats it as such. Don't take my word for it, Nich...

Anonymous said...

And how would you vote in such a referendum, Nich? I ask because so often it seems to be people who want to stop it trying to find a way to do so rather than a genuine keenness for referendums. How many, for example, were calling for a referendum before the make-up of the House of Lords was changed?

Having read the treaty, which bits do you identify as being the same as the constitution?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Justin, if a lib dem's views are so un important how come I got an invite yesterday from a Tory you know to join a Facebook group to support the EU constitution ?

I won't embarrass the Tory by revealing his name.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Anonymous. There is a genuine feeling amongst the older population of this country that the UK was sold a lie in 1973 when the last EEC referendum was help. As such and ever since that date, people ahve a natural distrust of Europe.

If the constitutiongets the go ahead without a referendum and it is shown to have removed powers from the UK government, this will add to the distrust.

The pro EU groups have got to get their heads around this.

David allen said...

I'm with Norfolk Blogger on this one. Labour committed to a referendum on the constitution and should not renege on that commitment simply because of a change in nomenclature and a few minor textual amendments. No-one who claims to be a democrat or a 'listening/ inclusive politician' could credibly oppose a referendum on this. Those who do, only do so because they fear that they would lose (i.e. that the constitution would be rejected. To oppose a vote at all simply because it might not go the way you like is shitty and profoundly undemocratic. And I don't see why Justin has to be so gratuiutously rude about the Libdems in this context, fun tho it is. Try engaging with the arguments, Justin!

wit and wisdom said...

The last referendum was held in 1975, two years after Britain acceded to the European Communities, as they were then, not in 1973. This referendum was called by the new Labour government because the cowardly Tories would not call one when the original treaty was signed by Edward Heath in 1972.

The numerous treaties since 1972/3 have all to some extent 'pooled' sovereignty and we have not had a referendum on any of them. See 'Cicero' for a useful comment on how sovereignty can be shared without being given away. Fascinating that they were all signed under Tory governments, apart from the more perfunctory Treaty of Nice in 1997, yet it is the Tories who are calling the loudest for a referendum now. Two faced? Difficult to decide, isn't it?

I'm all for a referendum BTW.

wit and wisdom said...

The referendum on the EEC was in 1975. This is important because it was a Labour government which called it, not the Tory government which signed us up for the EEC in the first place.

Anonymous said...

There's just not enough debate about the EU. Even now people are going on about how there should be a referendum, and yet most voters don't have a clue what they'd be voting against, should there be one. Eurosceptics say the EU is bad, pro-Europeans say that it is good, and that's about it as far as any debate goes. There is no real participation on the part of the public with EU politics, and that's hardly surprising seeing as when we vote for an MEP, we're not actually voting for a democratic government, just somebody who will rubber stamp decisions made undemocratically by the European Commission, who have no mandate at all. This situation won't improve unless European polity becomes an integral part of British politics, so that the public are fully aware of just what is happening, how it's happening, and why.