What Nick Clegg said about Euro Referenda

It appears Nick Clegg eluded to why people avoid having a referendum on a important EU matters a few months ago. He seems to make clear that they can be avoided by altering a few words and are avoided by politicians who know they will lose. This seems uncannily like the rewording of the EU constitution in to a EU Reform Treaty and the backtracking by Labour and sadly the Lib Dems on whether to have a referendum.

Oh dear.


Stephen Tall said...

Nich, not that I agree with our leader on this, but the quote used by Tory radio is from a Guardian article he wrote in 2003 (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/columnist/story/0,,1063529,00.html), *not* a few months ago. And was about the EU constitution, not the Lisbon treaty.

Paul Walter said...

So what words, precisely, in the quote given (repeated below), demonstrate that "Nick Clegg was in favour of a referendum on a revised EU constitution a few months ago" ?

"The real reason, of course, why the government does not want to hold a referendum is the fear that it may lose... It is the same fear that led Peter Hain to camouflage the constitution with comic inaccuracy as nothing more than a ‘tidying up exercise’... Nothing will do more damage to the pro-European movement than giving room to the suspicion that we have something to hide, that we do not have the ‘cojones’ to carry out our argument to the people”. "

Gavin Whenman said...

For "a few months" try "a few years".

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

The LibDems have much to answer for putting him in.

Joe Otten said...

Come on Nich, it isn't that hard to find the original source:


What's this? October 2003? Trusting a Tory source is one thing. Embellishing with additional falsehood is quite another.

Norfolk Blogger said...

But most of you are missing the point.

Nick said that people were avoiding a referendum then beause they feared losing. What has changed ? This is till true today.

He also accussed Labour of changing a few wrods as an excuse not to have a referendum, which is what has happened again.

Some quotes don't date and can be applied again and again.

Joe Otten said...

By all means argue that there should be a referendum, but the fact that the government is afraid of it doesn't make it necessarily correct.

And I don't see what is so wrong with proposing a referendum on one treaty that one is expected to support one for every subsequent treaty.

Frankly I would have more time for all of this if the pro-referendum people were willing to discuss the actual content of the treaty, or show any other sign of actually having read it.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I agree Joe 100%. It is the time for Pro treaty/constitution brigade to come out and sell the concept to us. I am yet to be convinced and as a result want a referendum.

I don't have the technical nous to do it, but I'd love a "Lib Dems 4 a Referendum" website to be set up. Perhaps a blog might do ?

Paul Walter said...

"It appears Nick Clegg was in favour of a referendum on a revised EU constitution a few months ago."

- That is an incorrect statement Nich because t is not supported by a quote saying "The real reason, of course, why the government does not want to hold a referendum is the fear that it may lose" which does not indicate being "in favour" of a referendum and which in any case was referring to the original constitutional treaty from Lisbon.

And you are a school teacher? Can't you tell the difference?

Paul Walter said...

Nich - Sorry - I am getting confused - so I can talk! - "from Lisbon" in previous comment should be deleted.

All the best

Newmania said...

Well done Nick ,I know a few Liberals and they are not all that bad , I was starting to think you had traded you brains in.
This is a mistake by your Party , I know how I am going to use it here. How can you now complain about Labour when you are saving them here and dealing over PR quietly ( not that quietly )

You are Labour`s mini -me
...well we might as well talk to the engineer and ignore the oily rag. Your independent line is one many Liberals in Lewes would heartliy support and I know some are disgusted by the way the Party has behaved.

It was always Cleggs weakness. Start you site

Anonymous said...

Referenda isn't a word...

Norfolk Blogger said...

Anonymous. No wonder you are anonymous or you would have made yourself look really silly.

Here is the dictionary explanation of the word


Main Entry: ref·er·en·dum
Pronunciation: \ˌre-fə-ˈren-dəm\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ref·er·en·da \-də\ or ref·er·en·dums
Etymology: New Latin, from Latin, neuter of referendus, gerundive of referre to refer
Date: 1847
1 a: the principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or by popular initiative b: a vote on a measure so submitted
2: a diplomatic agent's note asking for government instructions