Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lisbon Treaty Referendum - No Alternatives

I was listening to the debate on whether we should have a referendum on the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty on Radio 5 this morning and it set me thinking about whether there we any alternatives that might be acceptable.

As you will see from the sidebar, I support calls for a referendum, but only because New Labour made this a manifesto commitment and we should hold our politicians to account on manifesto commitments. I know their argument is that this isn't a constitution but there is enough of a body of opinion, some of it from the pro EU lobby, that it is as close as makes no difference. And now, according to this report in the Telegraph our own foreign affairs select committee say the same:

As the Government prepares to debate the treaty in the House of Commons, a report by the foreign affairs select committee concludes that it cedes vital powers to Brussels and that ministers are misleading the public by saying that it does not.

During the debate this morning many arguments were made against holding the referendum:

That we have a representative parliamentary democracy and that referendums aren't part of our heritage - This may be true, and one that I generally support, but this case is different as I outline above. Furthermore, heritage has to start at some point so I don't have a problem with setting new precedents. I also have a problem with the size of the government payroll vote which is leading more and more to an elected dictatorship.

The people aren't capable of understanding the questionWhat a condescending argument. We could be trusted in 1975 so why not now? Anyone putting this argument forward should be taken outside and shot. I won't dwell on this one as it is bad for my stress levels.

That those asking for a referendum on the treaty are really pushing for a referendum on leaving the EU – (This was put forward by their pro EU speaker this morning) So what? That is for those phrasing the question and organising the referendum, not a reason against the referendum in principle.

That the rest of the EU will not accept a no vote as the other 26 countries are al for it – Well that's their problem not ours and if they don't like it then throw us out. Indeed if this is the case then it is even more important that we have a referendum to show that we will not be bullied in to signing the treaty.

Anyway, as I listened to these arguments, especially the representative democracy one, I got to thinking about alternatives and wondered if a free vote for MP's might work. Unlikely, because of the bullying nature of Brown and his acolytes and the payroll vote.

So how about really setting a precedent and have a secret free vote for MP's? This might work except it goes against the principle of knowing what our representatives get up to with their voting. Anyway I can't see this bunch of bullies allowing that.

So I conclude that their isn't an alternative to a referendum on this important subject, so I ask you to get across to I Want A Referendum and sign their petition, no matter which way you intend to vote, we have to hold our politicians to their manifesto pledges.


Mark Wadsworth said...


Anonymous said...

We are some french citizens who are fighting to obtain a new referendum on the Lisbon reform treaty.

We have institute proceedings before the European Human Rights Court.

Please, joins us at (english board).

The fight must become european, as is the stake.

Make, please, widely know all around you this initiative.