The Mandate referendum


          Mr Cameron set out a good vision of the UK negotiating a new relationship with the EU. He does recognise that the Euro area is rushing on to full political, monetary, banking, and economic union. He has no more wish to belong such a union than many of you or me. He is in Coalition with a party which does welcome the current unacceptable level of European authority in the UK, and would happily accept more. There is little chance of the Lib Dems in the Coalition agreeing to early action to negotiate a new relationship or to hold an In/Out referendum.

         The policy of negotiate and decide for after the next election is fine. Those who claim the EU will not negotiate or will not offer anything we could accept will have their chance to vote for exit should that prove to be the case. The problem is many do not want to wait another two years before we start this process. Some want proof that a future government will deliver the In/Out referendum, whilst others worry that there could be another federalist Lib/Lab government elected instead.

           That is why some of us favour the Mandate referendum soon. This would ask the question Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and political co-operation? This might get through even the current House of Commons were the Conservative leadership to adopt it. It is difficult to believe Labour would join the Lib Dems in wanting to vote this down.

         If it did take place it is likely a very large majority of the British people would vote Yes. This would strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand with EU member governments, showing that he was speaking for the overwhelming majority of the British people and not just for the largest minority party in the Commons. It would also make it more difficult for other parties in the House to seek to block a renegotiation which I suspect is much sought after by the British people.



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  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Had there been one early referendum, ok.
    Now, after the Eastleigh by-election, it almost looks like a party – political tool to win the next national elections. Are referendums always a sign of democracy? Without wanting to draw comparisons, I read that Germany had referendums in 1933, 1934 and 1936. Why not fight the elections on the economic record and a Tory election manifesto?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Maybe you should be concentrating your efforts to prevent a referendum in your own country.

      “According to a new poll, 64% of Dutch voters want a referendum on any new transfers of power to the EU (not surprising). However, more surprisingly, 65% of voters actually oppose such transfers of power altogether. With this in mind, gaining 300,000 signatures in a country with almost 17 million citizens does not seem impossible.”

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: Hi Denis, I’m not about to try and prevent a referendum in the Netherlands. If anything, it will give even more debate about the EU over here, which is a good thing in principle. It may help to put the famous “democratic deficit” higher on the EU agenda. It will force Mark Rutte (Cameron’s visionless friend) to fight a real pro-EU campaign, better than his predecessor Balkenende who had as his 2005 slogan: “Europe, sort of important” (sic). It is inconceivable that the Netherlands would leave the EU so any referendum must be won and politicians like Rutte who’d normally like to snuggle up to more right-wing anti-EU fanatics, would have to show their true colours. Be aware that we have referendums in three varieties: advisory, consultative and corrective. It is the advisory type which is being scrutinised for law in our First Chamber (compare H.o.L. but elected) right now.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Indeed or better still, concentrating your efforts to obtain a referendum in your own country. Should be believe in democracy and the rights of people not to be enslaved by un-elected EU bureaucrats.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Should be believe in democracy and the rights of people not to be enslaved by un-elected EU bureaucrats.

          No matter how much you repeat this nonsense it will never become true. MEPs are democratically elected using proportional representation; European Councillors are members of national Governments; European Commissioners are appointed by Councillors and have to be approved by MEPs.

          Also it’s funny that you complain about “un-elected EU bureaucrats” but never about unelected UK Lords.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted March 16, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: my earlier reaction got lost, here a shorter version: I’m not about to try and prevent a referendum in the Netherlands – I think it will increase and hopefully raise the debate over here about the “democratic deficit” in the EU, the major stumbling block in the Netherlands. As it’s inconceivable that the Netherlands would ever leave the EU, it may add pressure at intergovernmental level to take measures to decrease the “democratic alienation” (term used by the Highest Dutch court).
        N.B democratic alienation is not just a European feature, it also plays at a national level.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Clearly it would indeed be just a political tool to try to win the next national election. I cannot see it working, without a minor miracle and a deal with UKIP.

      You ask “Why not fight the elections on the economic record and a Tory election manifesto?”

      Well their economic record after 3 year is dreadful. How can you go to the country on that. They have done mainly negative things, on expensive energy, weak pound, extra regulations, mad employment laws, the huge size of the state, disfunctional Cameron’s three letters N H S, gender neutral insurance, the EU, the gift to the PIGIS, total lack of vision and higher taxes everywhere – thus generating less tax revenue and no growth. Cameron is not a conservative, he is just a John Major without the excuse of vacuity and with the ability say black in white with fake sincerely and to speak in full sentences, but then do the complete opposite in actual actions.

      The result Labour for perhaps three + terms will be just the same.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic: I realise that the economic record to date is not terrific, but there are still 2 years to go and it is part of accountability. As a foreigner, I shouldn’t presume to know what is best for your country, but from my perspective, snuggling up to UKIP would be fear-based and moving to a middle ground a better bet. You’ll find all the extremes in blogosphere, but most voters you’ll need as Tories are less colourful, middle-ground citizens.

        • Ken Adams
          Posted March 16, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Peter they cannot do as you suggest because the Tories will not win the election on that platform, they did not even win the last one on that platform and that was before they had a record with the economy, when people were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, now we know they cannot be trusted to deliver on the EU, we know their leader has made it totally clear he wants to stay in the EU. So you were right initially to say “it almost looks like a party – political tool to win the next national election”. That is exactly what it is offer a non binding referendum with a totally meaningless question in the hope they can fool people into not voting UKIP it wont work.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          Well if Cameron moved to a middle ground he would at least be moving the right direction for a change. Moving to a smaller state, less renewable/AGW religion, less EU, lower taxes, and some real democracy. He is well to the left of the middle ground – that is why he lost the last sitting duck election.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          “As a foreigner, I shouldn’t presume to know what is best for your country”

          You shouldn’t, but how do you square that with your support for a system under which foreign politicians do presume to know is best for our country and cast their votes accordingly?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted March 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            I believe that you refer to a club of which your country voluntary and willingly became a member and accepted its rules. There is a difference with national policy here in my view. If it riks to become blurred, then a thorough discussion on subsidiarity is overdue. And if you don’t believe that would help and you feel it all as foreign interference, you can try and make your country leave this club.

  2. Mark W
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Here here

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Of course, you are quite right. Dictators (not just the maniac with a silly moustache) have always loved referenda.
      However, what you also show is the probable reaction of the Eurocrats when they see the 99.95% results.
      I imagine they will be very similar to the reaction of the Argentine Ministers when they saw the results of the Falklands referendum.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Whilst this proposal adds more expense and a little delay to what should be a simple process of renegotiation, I can see some merit in it, but only if it is held within TWELVE MONTHS from NOW, otherwise it would be a waste of time.

    I see it is reported that the Lib Dem Euro MPs voted down the new supposed reduction in the EU Budget which Mr Cameron had claimed as a victory for commonsense.
    I can only assume that Mr Clegg gave instructions for such a vote.

    The population of Europe should realise that the EU is out of control, or rather, has too much control for its own, and the populations good.

    Drunks and brewery spring to mind.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I note with interest that it is reported as to how some EURO MPs voted as the EU Parliament arranged for the vote to be in secret.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        In the end the idea of a secret vote was dropped.

    • Bob
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      I was just reading an account from Guido Fawkes of the drunken brawl at Westminster yesterday, and he concludes:

      ” Two things that are clearly reinforced by this brawl; we need to end the obscene taxpayer subsidy that means the Commons bars are the cheapest pubs in Central London, secondly we need a real power of MPs’ recall. As we were promised by the coalition parties after the expenses scandal…”

      What happened about the power of recall Mr Redwood?
      Did Mr Cameron get so absorbed with his gay marriage plans that he forgot about what he actually promised us?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Given that the MEPs were elected by the population of Europe they’re more in touch with the wishes of the average European than you are.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        unanime–Yes but what that does have to say about anything given that most of us no longer want to be in touch with their wishes having learnt the hard way what those wishes mean and given the huge idealogical divide

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        How can you possibly think something so patently daft.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    You say “He (Cameron) has no more wish to belong such a union than many of you or me.” I am not at all convinced of this -why has he appointed Lord Patten, Ken Clark, M Heseltine if this is the case? Why did he rat on his cast iron promise and the IHT issue? He can not be trusted one inch nor even one millimeter, as he would surely have it.

    “Those who claim the EU will not negotiate, or will not offer anything we could accept, will have their chance to vote for exit should that prove to be the case.”

    I doubt they will ever have their chance to vote at all, Cameron will be gone after all.

    Any vote will certainly not be on a fair basis anyway with the BBC and the forces of the state sector and EUphile political parties around. No doubt there will be much talk of “subsidiarity” and other similar complete cons, such as John Major used.

    We will see if you get your Mandate referendum soon, I doubt you ever will. Cameron has conned your side of the party, he is a dishonest, EUphile, big state, tax borrow and waste fake green. He cannot help it, it is just in his genes and ingrained by Eton and PPE. He will take you all over the cliff together in 2015 for 1-3+ terms. Exactly as John Major did hanging on to the bitter inevitable end. He will then surely appear endlessly on the BBC talking nonsense as J Major (still no ERM apology yet) does. Perhaps he will take an EU job. Perhaps his mate Lord Patten still has some connections that can help him in that or maybe his is making new ones?

    He has conned you and the party and lumbered you with the Libdems. I can see no chance of any escape.

    • Disaffected
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, totally agree.

      Do not forget the three line whip to prevent an in/out EU referendum last October when the public wanted it. Do not forget the government had an opportunity to make changes in October 2010 to the Lisbon treaty and chose not to. Do not forget he ignored 600,000 people who opposed gay marriage, after all it is an idea from the EU. Cameron chose to implement that EU arrest warrant he did not have to. ECHR still alive vibrant and having an adverse impact on the UK national security- in contrast soldiers fighting abroad to prevent this sort of thing. EU defence force in Mali- no business of the UK. Joint use of aircraft carriers with French-why? EU emission targets will devastate the UK ability to produce energy for homes and industry. EU subsidise Ford factory in Turkey and the UK closes it plant at Southampton losing jobs for UK workers. EU decides a sixth of UK overseas aid spending. Do not forget the EU budget settlement he crowed about was £20 billion more than the target the government wanted to achieve in 2011 and it is now reported that special payments will be made to all countries except Britain and Poland. Perhaps the EU budget was not accurately portrayed as it should have included all strings attached ie special payments. This appears to be a deliberate con. Former Labour politicians commissioned to write reports (Lord Hutton) for Cameron and Milburn used a social engineering guru- Prof. Ebdon social engineering for universities. EU students get free university education in the UK and British students condemned to a life of debt. Cameron chose to form a coalition with the Lib Dems, he could have gone alone and if the public liked what they saw he could have gone back to get a majority- like Steve harper in Canada. He used the opportunity of coalition to change the Tory party. Trust Cameron- is this a joke?

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        A joke indeed alas.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 16, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink


        I take it that Mr Cameron is not on your Christmas card list then !!!

        Your long list is very sad, but also unfortunately very true.

        The Lib Dems have castrated the Conservative party and its true ideals, at its own invitation, but the extended joke is, they may next be in power with Labour such is the way things may turn out.

        • Disaffected
          Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink


          If Cameron had his way I suspect he might stop Christmas as it is too Christian, family oriented and the wind farms could not cope with the demand for electric to light the Christmas tree. Furthermore, he might contest why Jesus was male, why he had male disciples. I am surprised the pope remains male in an EU country!! However, on the positive side for him, it generates a lot of tax for him to waste.

  5. John Bolton
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Just what does political co-operation mean? We are surely going to have to talk to the EU and negotiate with, distasteful as it may be. I suspect that political co-operation means different things to different groups. I wonder what it would mean for the europhiles?

  6. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Why cannot some other kind of consultation of the British people be undertaken? I seem to remember Jimmy Goldsmith’s private attempts in this direction concentrated minds wonderfully. A full and fully endorsed referendum would be best of course but we mustn’t let the best be the enemy of the good (or even the other way round). Could not enough private money be raised to finance a massive private poll of say ten times the size of the normal polls? This would be meaningful and plenty accurate enough for the purpose, especially if the result were overwhelming in favour of action this day as it would be. Whether such a vote were 80% plus or minus the margin of error or 83 or whatever would not matter much. If, perhaps with some justice, it were felt that too much reliance should not be placed on a single polling organisation, the poll could be spread over half a dozen such organisations, each to run a large poll using their own methodology. This could be done, given funding, this afternoon (never mind this 2017 stuff) and it would be hard to argue with the results of such a mega and multi poll. What Cameron thinks or doesn’t think on the subject should of course be of no account whatsoever and as for Clegg he can concentrate on trying to deny the God-given natural role of women and his other away-with-the-fairies projects. As for Milliband he is beneath contempt–it was only a few months ago that the word was that he was thinking of trying to outflank the Conservatives by getting in to the field first with a promise of a referendum.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I do not think you quite understand.
      The whole idea of the European Project is that the experts control the future of Europe because they really do know best. The Constitution, drawn up by Socialists of all stripes (including Communists and, yes, in a time of Fascism), is specially designed for a small team of technocrats to bring in the future scientifically and by their own expertise.
      The various peoples of Europe are seen as they were under Socialism, as ignorant, traditionalist and superstitious. The expert government is the midwife who will bring in the birth pangs of the new age etc. What they think is therefore irrelevant to the birth of the future scientific age.
      Populism is a very bad word for Socialists. “So how to relate to populists? Pandering never works in the long run: Sarkozy took votes from the Front National in 2007, but also legitimated the LePeniste perspective. And that perspective is ultimately always more credibly embodied by a Le Pen.” (Guardian newspaper).

  7. Steve Cox
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    “He has no more wish to belong such a union than many of you or me.”

    Are you quite sure about that John? Obviously, you know Mr Cameron much better than any of us do, so was this comment based on things he has said to you, or was it an off the cuff remark meant to make us feel comfortable? My impression is that, in spite of his recent public bout of Euroscepticism, he remains at heart a diehard Europhile, wedded to the European project and willing to follow wherever it may lead us.

    Apart from that, yes, the Mandate Referendum sounds like a good way to move forward and convince the public that there is substance to Mr Cameron’s promises.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      I’d like to be able to trust all of our mainstream political leaders, however, common sense and what they actually do shows them to be serial betrayers of the peoples trust. Repeated polls over many years show the electorate want out of the EU club. There is no benefit other than huge costs and regulation. We can trade and be friendly without the need for anything else. We cannot control our borders, therefore our benefits, housing, education, health, fishing, agriculture, banks, working directives, insurances, foods and just about everything else whilst we are part of the corrupt EU club, that only politicians want.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink


  8. zorro
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Fair enough……Have you officially presented this option to Mr Cameron? If so, what was his response? Boundless enthusiasm and endorsement of what he supposedly wants for the UK, or did his face go pale and did he say we can’t get it past the Lib Dems either….?


    • lifelogic
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      The Libdems are just a fig leave Cameron, in his actions, is clearly Libdem through and through.

  9. AJAX
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Wishy-washy Toryism for the gullible, the only way out of the EU is UKIP

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      And that path is alas blocked by political inertia, the power of the old established political party brands, the BBC bias, EU interference, the power of the state sector and the voting system.

  10. Andyvan
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it is possible to say what Mr Cameron wants as he only acts if he is virtually forced to. The referendum promise is simple electioneering or he would have acted on it much sooner and with a much shorter timetable and the only person the lengthy wait serves is him. Somehow the prospect of him standing up to the EU and getting a deal that is good for Britain just doesn’t seem a likely one. Perhaps you have a more vivid imagination than me Mr Redwood.

  11. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    In these financially difficult times the cost of a referendum would be highlighted as a reason not to proceed earlier.
    I am not sure whether a delay in renegotiation would make a great deal of difference as any new integration has to be debated and agreed to in any event.
    As an aside I am glad that more effort is being made to ensure the continuation of a stronger commonwealth.Where we see our power being frittered away , this aspect of British life ensures we don’t become a small island where all Europes’ problems are dumped.
    Another question .. why are Estonia performing well and could we take a leaf out of their book?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      The AV referendum cost £75 million, which is trivial in the context of national finances and also trivial in the context of the costs of the EU.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        While what you say is true, Dennis, give it to me and I will spend it more beneficially for the nation!

      • Bob
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        How many years worth of foreign aid could be covered by the sale of our remaining gold reserves?

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        The official deficit grows by £75 million every 3.5hrs .

        Supposedly unfunded pension liabilities grow by £75m every 54 minutes .

        It will cost more than £75m of parliaments time just to argue about it .

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        They could have done it at the same time as the absurd AV one for nothing extra.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted March 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Tell that to people who are losing their £6/hr jobs

  12. Paul H
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    No, the policy is not “fine”, as you put it. It is several years away and at the current rate of progress the Tories will not be in government. Furthermore, the EU has made quite clear that it will not permit countries to be “outer” members with special terms and Mr. Cameron has made quite clear he wants the UK to be at the heart of Europe anyway.

    In a blog the other day you expressed confidence in Mr. Cameron as the most Eurosceptic party leader in the HoC. Whilst I admire your loyalty, the meaningless of the claim in its own terms (the other leaders being Clegg and Milliband … come on!) other than to repeat the dig you like to make about UKIP’s representation there, combined with the hollowness of Cameron’s position in which any professed Euroscepticism is totally undermined by his previous actions and other statements, makes that confidence a sitting duck for scorn.

    If Mr. Cameron is genuinely Eurosceptic, the current position in the HoC is a golden opportunity to regain some political credibility and – I believe – improve his chances in 2015. He should table a bill for a full in/out referendum now. Yes, it will not make it through parliament, but that will enable the Tories to go into 2015 as the party who demonstrably want to give the people a say and force the other two parties to explain why they don’t want to – especially in the face of a previous manifesto promise.

    But we all know he won’t do this. Firstly, he is not Eurosceptic. Secondly, he is much more interested in keeping the LibDems happy than his own people, despite the fact that the former have repeatedly by word and deed (including, most likely, over Leveson) demonstrated themselves to be disgustingly disloyal creatures and political prostitutes who want to have their government cake and eat it without any sense of collective duty. It is high time to put clear blue water between the Tories and the LibDems, as the latter show no gratitude for receiving a disproportionate influence over government policy or the focus on so-called “liberal” obsessions such as gay marriage.

    As an aside, how is Mr. Cameron going to respond to the budget gauntlet thrown down by MEPs?

  13. Paul Margetts
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Unusually naive.

  14. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Clegg has sided with Labour on the question of the Leveson report and subsequent actions. In his mind collective responsibility only runs when it is something he wants, if it is not then he reneges on any agreement. For those who can remember recent history he behaves much like Joseph Stalin. Both Churchill and Roosavelt found this to their cost and the cold war ensued.
    I would act by first preparing my ground and then declare an end to the so called coalition calling an immediate general election on the basis of a true conservative manifesto. By this I mean an in out referendum on Europe and all that that would imply to the way our country is governed, an end to open door immigration, an end to spurious green policies, a plan to meet the power need of the country.
    This would be a bold step but a rallying call to all those doubting and disaffectd Tory voters. It is in my view the only way back. Clegg has gone a step too far and should be called to account.
    The big question is does Dave have the bottle for it. Failure to act is the continued demise of the UK.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Both Churchill and Roosavelt only allied with Stalin because Hitler was a larger threat to them, once Hitler was defeated they went back to hating Communism; just like they did before WW2.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      The most likely result of that would be a Labour Govt and the end of any chance of a referendum on PR. (+ all the attendant miseries of a resumption of Labour tax-borrow-spend policies).

      • Richard1
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, in my post above I meant a referendum on the EU & a liklihood of the introduction of PR to ensure a lasting left-pro EU Parliament at Westminster.

    • sjb
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      @Roger Farmer
      I think you will find Leveson/Press Reform does not form part of the Coalition Agreement and so collective reponsibility is not in play on this matter.

  15. ColinD.
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Your arguments in favour of a mandate referendum now, rather than later, are completely sensible. In the face of such overwhelming common sense, the very fact that Cameron has not agreed to it ALREADY, makes many of us suspicious of his real commitment to any referendum about Europe.
    Based on Cameron’s track record, who can blame us?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      ColinD–Absolutely spot on. Waiting four years till 2017 has Cameron written all over it and is simply ridiculous. Why not make it four decades? As I have written above, what has a referendum or any other way of being certain of what the people think got to do with the crazy goings-on in the Government these days?

  16. Old Albion
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if MP’s elected to represent us, did so. Instead of spending almost every working hour trying to ‘win points’ over the over lot……………………….

    • Peter Davies
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps the use of whipped votes should be looked at so MPs vote on their conciense more rather than what their leaders tell them.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Whipping MPs should be made a criminal offence; it could be framed in general terms as “attempting to alter the voting intentions of an elected representative through undue pressure or duress”, and juries could decide what that meant in practical terms in particular cases.

        But the whips would make sure that such a law was never passed.

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps obtaining votes by (cast iron) deception over IHT and promises of EU referendums should be a criminal offence too.

  17. Single Acts
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Another day, another MP arrested.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      They certainly seem rather worse on average that the population at large. Perhaps it is true that anyone, who seeks political power, is probably quite unsuitable to hold any.

  18. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    This is still a wet idea – better alternative for me is Cameron puts a Bill to Parliament for an immediate in/out referendum – it will probably be defeated but not certainly, but if it is defeated, collapse the Coalition e.g. fire Libdem ministers, go to the country with a referendum pledge within 6 months of office.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      A. Sedgwick–Sounds good to me

  19. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    In the latest Spectator debate –
    – the final result was ‘For the motion – 247, against the motion – 123.’
    I was just wondering how you would advise these 247 to vote in your proposed Mandate referendum? (Not to mention the many other millions across the country).

  20. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I am unpersuaded as to the merits of a Mandate Referendum. It seems counterproductive.

    Negotiation does not need a mandate. Any future government can find a way not to be bound by it.

    I fail to see what significant strength will be added to Cameron’s negotiating position when his declared policy is that the best future for the UK is as a member of the EU. If the Mandate Referendum is a government bill and the government’s position is to vote yes in the Mandate Referendum, then I expect Cameron to use a strong “yes” result as an endorsement of his position, which will likely not be at all what many of the people who vote yes had in mind.

    Rather than seeking to hold a Mandate Referendum, time and effort would be far better expended in identifying and highlighting the impact on the UK citizen of EU Membership, and in setting out an alternative vision for the UK outside the EU. This will more effectively generate pressure to hold an in or out referendum.

    The issue is in or out. An in or out referendum is not the end, and a mandate referendum even less so.

  21. Peter Colman
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I think it’s now abundantly clear that, as things stand, the Conservative party cannot win the next general election outright. As you are no doubt aware, UKIP support cost you an overall majority at the last elections and this situation will simply be worse next time around. The way I see it, there are four possible paths for the party.

    1. Carry on as you are and head for electoral oblivion. With UKIP already polling at 17% the Conservatives really have no chance.

    2. Try your mandate referendum. I would say that, had you done this 2 years ago, it would have had a good chance. The problem you have now is that Cameron is no longer trusted by ex-Tories who have already switched allegiance to UKIP. The mandate referendum will simply be seen as a ploy of some kind or another.

    3. Ditch Cameron and do a deal with UKIP, preferably around some kind of electoral arrangement. If Eastleigh is any guide, a Conservative/UKIP coalition would walk the next GE.

    4. Dissolve the coalition and force a new GE, with a very strong EU referendum pledge. To get UKIP voters back to the fold you would still need a new leader – one with proven eu-sceptic views. This option would require a healthy dose of courage so I guess not much chance of that.

    I think the major issue most Ukippers have with any offer to renegotiate our relationship is that we don’t believe there’s any point. We simply do not see any positives in being members of the EU. Nobody has been able to show any positive whhich does not have a larger negative associated with it. It seems that Clegg’s nonsense “3 miillion jobs” and “sitting at the top table” (whatever that means) are the best the europhiles can come up with.

    We’re not buying.

  22. Horatio McSherry
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and political co-operation?”

    John, that question is too difficult. As someone who has a keen interest in politics and is up-to-date with all the shenanigans across Europe I still had to read that question a number of times before I knew what it meant, and, what the aim of the question was. I’m still not sure because of the Orwellian doule-speak of the powers that be. Just what is “Free Trade?” that could be a book in itself. The vast majority of the population will see “free trade” at face value but it certainly isn’t what I’d call free trade. What is “political co-operation? And how deep is it? A trilogy could be written on that, and probably has. Surely Europhiles would argue that Britain already has political co-operation and free trade, so what else does Britain want apart from the stuff it already whines about?

    It might seem a good idea in political circles but people would vote on that question as if they were being asked if they want to be in Europe or not…but on a very, very muddy question.

  23. Nationalist
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Why do the Lib Dems get so little criticism for their fundamental lack of respect for democracy? They block a plebiscite on EU membership because they think they wouldn’t like the answer. They block boundary reform for a completely unrelated reason (House of Lords reform). It seems they have no interest in the will of the people at all – just naked self-interest. They have a holier-than-thou attitude and yet are the worst offenders.

    And the Question should not be some wishy-washy non-question which the government of the day can interpret anyway it likes. It should be: Should the UK leave the EU?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      You seem to have forgotten that locking the House of Lords reform was equally undemocratic.

  24. Graham C
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile in the real world further EU integration and support, encouraged by Cameron, continues on a daily basis.

    The cry in future years will be that we are too integrated to get out.

    Well stuffed.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I see, Cameron’s tactic of offering a referendum in 2017 to stem the loss of support to UKIP has failed (Eastleigh by-election) so in this case you do have a plan B. That won’t work either. You have lost the trust of the people. In particular Cameron has lost that trust. When you say he is Eurosceptic and “He does recognise that the Euro area is rushing on to full political, monetary, banking, and economic union. He has no more wish to belong such a union than many of you or me” it belies belief. That is the whole raison d’etre of the EU and Cameron is determined to keep us in it. The issue is one of self-governance and self-determination. No amount of renegotiation, either real or phoney (which is the more likely), can satisfactorily answer that. The EU wants to govern us and I don’t want to be governed by the EU.

  26. Ken Adams
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood you do not seem to understand there is no trust left for Mr Cameron, he is not being upfront and clear about what settlement he wants, so I am sorry but he is not going to get my vote by offering a referendum on the unspecified outcome of negotiations we all know are going to fail when he has no mechanism for even guaranteeing he can even get his wishes on the table at an IGC, so cannot guarantee a time scale.

    It is good to know that those of us who claim the EU will not negotiate or will not offer anything we could accept will have their chance to vote for exit should that prove to be the case. But that is somewhat disingenuous given that Mr Cameron is going to do a Wilson, just because he is happy does not mean the people would be. Yet he is then going to use the full power of the government machinery to back a yes vote.

    What does the term political cooperation mean, don’t we have that already, does it mean a common foreign policy and common defence policy including or excluding an integrated European army under joint command, how about the Rapid Reaction Force. what about the area of freedom, security and justice including the EU arrest warrant, judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters; police and customs cooperation if so what would be the difference to now. Just saying political cooperation can be interpreted to mean anything.

  27. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It would be opposed by Labour and Lib Dems so there is no point wasting time on this suggestion (whatever its merits).

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Utter defeatist nonesense. You could learn something from the fighting spirit of the Poles during the Battle of Britain, Monte Casino and Warsaw. Opposition by a bunch of opportunists should lead to the end of the coalition, and an election based on an absolute Tory guarantee of the in out referendum within six months of election. We do not have the time to sit on our backsides doing nothing until Lab/Lib return in 2015. There was everything to be admired by the fight the Poles put up. They were only screwed by the three principal political leaders during ww2.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Roy–Maybe, maybe not, but if they (Lab and Lib) did oppose it how would they square that with the people, including their people, who cannot see why they would do such a thing? Was not a referendum Liberal policy and were not Labour actively discussing one? They know full well that a majority now want out so a purely negative policy would not work.

  28. Martyn G
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I do not believe that there ever will be a referendum. Note today it has been announced there is a dire need for another .25 million primary school places to cater for a baby boom. And who is producing most of these babies? Primarily, I suspect, parents who arrived in the UK via uncontrolled immigration over the past 10 years or so and one wonders, if there was a referendum how would those immigrant parents (regardless of their EU nationality) vote? More likely than not, probably, to stay with the EU which enabled them to move to the UK in the first place and perhaps in numbers large enough to sway the outcome towards ‘yes, stay in’…….

  29. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I gave the idea of a Mandate Referendum considerable thought when it was trailed previously on this site, and yet more thought now it has been re-run.

    It seems to me that the “yes” vote could legitimately be argued as support for the principle of UK Membership of the EU, or at the very least not against the principle. After all, support for renegotiating terms must mean that the principle is accepted.

    So how are those of us who are opposed in principle to UK Membership supposed to vote? To vote “no” is obviously not on. To abstain or spoilt the ballot paper is to agree to being ignored.

    The Mandate Referendum proposal has all the hallmarks of a sub-plot, though that is not necessarily the intention of all its supporters. Genuine supporters who seek only the intention on the face of the proposal have not, in my opinion, properly thought through all the issues, nor the possible consequences, intended and unintended.

    The more I think about it the less I like it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s true for a mandate referendum with the woolly question endorsed in the article, which is why it would be better to have my alternative crystal clear and unambiguous question on whether we want more “ever closer union”.

      If the answer to my question was NO, then no Prime Minister could come back with a new treaty which left the UK still committed to the process of “ever closer union” while claiming that he had carried out the expressed will of the British people during the negotiations.

  30. JimF
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Unconvinced here.
    When Labour get elected they will regard that as a fresh mandate “in the light of recent developments” to completely ignore the previous mandate. They could also rightly say that the Conservatives didn’t want to negotiate when in office, even though they were elected on a mandate of “in Europe not run by Europe” so why should they be bound by an earlier mandate themselves?
    A dead end idea if there ever was one.
    If there was conviction the negotiaion would begin now.

  31. Kenneth
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I agree with this proposal.

    However, I think we should consider one of the main reasons that pressure has mounted for a referendum.

    Sadly it is not because the PM had initiated this move. Some of the reason was due to the pressure from Conservative MPs; however it is mainly down to the UKIP ‘surge’.

    I agree with most UKIP policies and strongly believe the Conservative Party must come to an arrangement with UKIP. However, this change of fortunes for UKIP has largely come about because of a change of policy at the BBC where it has decided to give UKIP more airtime and take it more seriously.

    The current willingness to air the eu-sceptic views on the BBC could be reversed just as easily as it was brought in. The BBC could mount a very influential campaign (such as its current campaign to introduce alcohol price increases) which could kill off any referendum (or referendum on a referendum).

    I think that the major problem in UK politics is with the BBC and until that is sorted out, sensible policies are an uphill struggle.

  32. Atlas
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Yes, John, Go for a mandate Referendum now.

    It is only this way that, us, the common people, might decide to trust the present leadership of the Conservative Party on this issue.

  33. Mark B
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    You may get a referendum and, you may get a ‘mandate’. But you will not get the EU to renegotiate new terms. Because as they have said themselves, once one member state starts asking for and getting powers back, they will ALL want to renegotiate new terms as well, and that is the beginning of the end for the EU. And the Commissioners will NEVER allow that!

    The only way, as has been said before, is to invoke Article 50 of the TFEU (Lisbon). Then, and ONLY then, will the EU renegotiate.

    I am sorry Mr. Redwood MP, but this is just a cheep scam concocted by some very desperate and vulnerable Backbench MP’s, who, after 2015, will be searching for other means of employment.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    “He does recognise that the Euro area is rushing on to full political, monetary, banking, and economic union. He has no more wish to belong such a union than many of you or me.”

    Nor do the Tories’ ODS allies in the Czech Republic want to belong to such a union, and they said so in October 2011:

    “The ruling euro-sceptic ODS party in the Czech Republic wants to push for a referendum on the country’s future eurozone accession, claiming that the rules have changed since 2003 when Czechs said yes to the EU and the euro.”

    But Cameron said nothing in their support, or in support of politicians in the six other countries who had similar concerns:

    “Seven EU members which joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007 are concerned about an obligation to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession and could stage referenda to change their accession treaties, AFP reported, quoting diplomatic sources.”

    This is the crucial fact which is always ignored in Tory disquisitions on the future shape of the EU: that the UK is under no legal obligation to ever join the euro, and Denmark is also under no legal obligation to ever join the euro, but every other EU member state is under a legal obligation to join the euro at the earliest opportunity.

    Moreover that legal obligation is automatically imposed on every new member state under the terms of its accession to the EU, and in the most recent case of Croatia Cameron raised no objection to yet another country being put on the conveyor belt into the euro.

    When questioned about this by the Tory MP Mark Reckless, Cameron’s reply was that it would remain a sovereign decision for Croatia whether to join the euro; that is technically true, but it disregards the pressure which can be brought to bear on a country to fulfill that treaty obligation.

    Sweden is strong enough to resist that pressure for a time, and the government has dragged its feet on the basis that the Swedes were promised that they would decide in a referendum and last time they were asked they said “no”, but that does not remove the treaty obligation and eventually Sweden will be expected to fall into line; some years ago the Polish government was told by the EU Commission not to even think about holding a referendum on whether to join the euro because Poland was already under a legal obligation to do so; even if the Croats or their politicians came to the view that they didn’t want to be part of that “full political, monetary, banking, and economic union” the reality is that Croatia is a small and weak country and could easily be bullied into doing what the Croats (probably unwittingly) agreed to do when they had their referendum on whether to join the EU, and like the Czechs and the Poles the Croats could expect no support from Cameron even if he was still around.

    And again the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has proposed that the EU treaties should be changed to allow a country to leave the euro without having to leave the EU altogether, but Cameron has said nothing in support of that suggestion.

    What are we supposed to think when Cameron, Osborne and Hague switch from “Save the Pound” to “Save the Euro”, and commit UK taxpayers’ money to that purpose, and very quietly agree to an EU treaty change to assist that purpose without getting anything substantive as a quid pro quo, while refusing to put it to a referendum because on paper it does not “apply” to the UK, and do not support the idea that a country should be allowed to leave the euro, and do not support the idea that non-euro countries should be relieved on their legal obligation to join the euro, and knowingly allow that legal obligation to be imposed on the next country to join the EU?

    What conclusion can be drawn except that they actively want the eurozone to expand from its present 17 members – set to become 18 in 2015, if Lithuania joins as now planned:

    – to encompass more and more EU member states, until the UK has become so isolated in the EU but not in the euro that eventually a future government will say that this position is no longer tenable, and takes us into the euro with or without a referendum?

    And it could be without a referendum, if necessary, because Hague refused all attempts to entrench his “referendum lock” law against normal repeal, and it would be enough to write “notwithstanding any provision of the European Union Act 2011” into the Bill to take us into the euro.

    • waramess
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      A fair bet that the UK will join the Euro in 2014 without a referendum taking place. A run on the pound and nowhere to go will ensure it. Were I a right wing politician (and I am not) I would be nagotiating a deal with UKIP right now in order to ensure I had somewhere decent to fight an exit from the EU.

  35. waramess
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Always a very silly idea to go into a coalition with the Liberals whos values are (or should be) quite different to the Conservatives.

    It was a ploy in order that Cameron could become Prime Minister; nothing more and it found favour with those who sought advancement in government.

    Just dump the Liberals one way or another and quickly. Cameron cannot possibly claim he has unfinished work as the Liberals block any move that does not appeal to them.

    Just take the chance to go to the country because the chances of winning an election diminish with every passing month.

    If the Conservatives win ,then we have our in out referendum, if they lose…well best to do it now, than when the economy is in an even worse mess and the Conservatives take the blame for the next phase of the disaster, which will make the past five years look like a picnic.

  36. MajorFrustration
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    JR I do enjoy your Blog and have considerable sympathy for your views. However, I just sense from recent posts that you are laying down a number of points to enable a ” I told you so” view when the 2015 election turns out badly for the Tory party.
    I would take more comfort from your comments if they were supported by an outline of actually action taken/to be taken to get your opinions across to the front bench. Why not also a half yearly report back on progress on all Blog issues where you and your followers feel strongly.

  37. Acorn
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    If you look on the government’s e-petitions web site, and search for referendum and click ascending on signatures; you will see that the EU are way down the list. A referendum on the BBC license fee has eighteen times more votes than the first EU petition.

    The only way you will get the UK proletariat excited by the EU is to put a party political broadcast on it, in the middle of an episode of Eastenders or Coronation Street. They don’t give a toss; they don’t understand it. That is why they have ended up with a parliamentary system that stops them voting on anything for as long as possible. The elite knows voting by the masses is fraught with risk. The wrong tabloid headline at the wrong time can screw things up.

  38. Martin Ryder
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    It is very difficult sometimes to see the policy differences between the two main parties. Perhaps Mr Cameron wants to highlight his difference with Labour at the time of the election by stressing his commitment to renegotiations with the EU followed by an early referendum. If he could also show that he is strong on immigration control he might just get the edge over Labour.

    Mr Cameron will not have resolved our economic problems by then and the opposition will have nothing to say that will convince anyone that they can do the trick; the NHS will still be causing massive problems, as will education, transport, etc; and he will need some areas of clear blue water between him and the others to try and sell his party to the voters. The EU renegotiations could provide this, which will mean that he will not wish to do anything about the EU before the election.

    Frankly I think that he will need a lot more than a promise of EU renegotiations and a referendum to persuade the weary and disillusioned electorate to give him another five years in power but then what have the others got to offer?

  39. Normandee
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    On all wooden warships there was a piece of wood which ran from stem to stern to absorb the impact of the ship when it ran alongside other warships, or came alongside in harbour, these are called “sacrificial timbers”. I am seriously beginning to believe that you are rapidly becoming a sacrificial timber for Cameron.
    Some of the things you say about what his ideas and intentions are are completely naive, and depend on a level of honesty from him that we cannot believe any more. You also display no intention of doing anything more than you are doing at the moment, which has achieved nothing so far, he is still striving with every fibre of his being, his promises to obtain renegotiation’s are being laughed at by the people he needs to agree to these renegotiation’s, and his behaviour in other policy areas are becoming troubling as well, vis his agreement with Hollande to supply arms to Syrian rebels just 6 days after Hague said we wouldn’t do it, and sacking the head of the so called independant Armed Forces Review Board. He would rather pay for Indias space programme than give a miserable percentage increase to the men fighting his stupid wars.

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m strongly in favour of a mandate referendum, which should be held before the general election, indeed as soon as possible, for example this autumn.

    However rather than the rather woolly question:

    “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and political co-operation?”

    I would prefer to get to the heart of the matter by asking the British people whether they wish to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” mandated by the present EU treaties.

    Cameron gave his current, public, personal view in his “Europe speech”:

    “The European Treaty commits the Member States to “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” … We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective. And we would be much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so … ”

    But the last time the British people were graciously allowed to have their say through a referendum, in 1975, knowingly or not they did endorse the principle of “ever closer union” expressed in the very first line of the Common Market treaty; so before there are any attempts at negotiating a new relationship with the EU should there not be a referendum to establish whether or not they now agree with Cameron on that fundamental issue?

    In view of what he said in his speech I don’t see how Cameron could possibly object to an immediate referendum with this something like this on the ballot paper:

    “”Under the present treaties of the European Union the United Kingdom is committed to a process of “ever closer union” with the other countries in the European Union.

    Do you wish the United Kingdom to continue further with this process of “ever closer union”?”

    Of course the Liberal Democrats would object, because they know perfectly well that the bulk of the population do not share their enthusiasm for our legal subjugation to a pan-European federation and therefore it’s best not to ask them – so much for their alleged commitment to democracy – and of course Labour would find specious grounds to object not least because they are the Opposition, but would either dare to fly in the face of public opinion by voting against a Bill for a mandate referendum along those lines?

    I note that Mr Baron’s Bill, which as described would only be to put in place legislation for a referendum in the next Parliament, is still down to have its Second Reading on a day when the Commons is not expected to be sitting:

    Why doesn’t Cameron take over that Bill, amend it so that it would be for a mandate referendum on “ever closer union” in this Parliament, and make sure that it is given time to progress?

    It could only strengthen his hand within the EU.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Assuming the only available response on the ballot paper to “Do you wish the United Kingdom to continue further with this process of “ever closer union”?” is “yes” or “no”, then this is a bum choice for many of us.

      Clearly those of us who want the UK to leave the EU can not vote “yes”.

      But to vote “no” could be interpreted as support for the status quo, which is almost just as unacceptable.

      See also my earlier post at 9:45.

      The only meaningful issue is IN or OUT.

      Reply If you want Out you would vote Yes, then vote No in the 2nd referendum on whether you want to stay in on the new terms agreed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Not for the first time I’m left scratching my head and wondering whether I should go on a Use of English course so that I could explain what seems to me to be obvious in such a way that others would also understand it.

        If you want to leave the EU then obviously you do not want any more of the “ever closer union” prescribed by the EU treaties and therefore just as obviously you vote NO to the question:

        “Do you wish the United Kingdom to continue further with this process of “ever closer union”?”

        If like Cameron you don’t actually want to leave the EU but you don’t want the UK to be committed to a process of “ever closer union”, and you’d “feel much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so”, then logically you would also vote NO to that question.

        How could he vote YES to more “ever closer union” when he has publicly stated that in his view it is not Britain’s objective?

        Bearing in mind that those who want to leave the EU should think hard before calling for a referendum that they are still unlikely to win, I refer to the opinion poll mentioned here:

        according to which only a small minority, 9%, said that they wanted further EU integration.

        While in total 76% said that they wanted the same degree of EU integration as now or less EU integration than now, all the way through to the 26% who wanted complete withdrawal from the EU.

        So, Alan, do you want a referendum that you would very likely win so that the cause of our national independence was advanced, or would you prefer a referendum that realistically you would still very likely lose giving the green light for the final destruction of our national independence?

        That article concludes by saying:

        “Bernard Jenkin MP’s proposed question for a referendum – “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on trade and political cooperation?” – seems about right.”

        but it isn’t.

        With that question, people who wanted to leave the EU really would have a problem deciding which way to vote, and so in fact would some others.

        Reply: Don’t be silly – if you want the current EU you vote No, and if you want anything from completely out to much slimmed down you vote Yes.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          But “the current EU” is not static; the 16% who say that they want the level of EU integration to remain more or less as it is now may not realise that by voting No to the Jenkin question they would not be voting for things to stay the same as now but instead for a continuation of the dynamic process of “ever closer union”.

  41. Peter Davies
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    The only way I can see this happening is by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty after having a referendum then starting negotiations with a list of requests.

    So putting a bill to the HOC to make way for this has got to be the way ahead – show the country what the Libs and Lab are all about if it gets defeated then put it on ice until 2015.

    Its easy enough to hold referendums on internal political structures but for the big question without resounding consequences we are completely held to ransom by the political class because they know what the answer would be.

    • Ken Adams
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Peter I initially thought the same then it dawned on me invoking article 50 is telling the EU you want to leave the the EU so the negotiations are to decide the relationship post EU Membership. .

      Mr Cameron is offering something different he intends to stay in the EU on renegotiated terms so he cannot use article 50. But if we don’t tell him …

  42. A different Simon
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I find Cameron’s posturing a little hard to take seriously especially since we are closer to the next election than the last one .

    Westminster is preparing to spend billions on the EU’s rail plans for HS2 when the could be better spent or not spent and borrowed at all .

    The Lib Dem’s vile treason is particularly disgusting but at least they are up front about it .

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed at least you know where you are with the Libdems. They are clearly neither Liberal nor Democrats and will push the UK into the EUSSR come what may, and increase the size of the state and push quack energy until the economy falls to pieces.

      Cameron thinks the same, but pretends not to for political reasons.

  43. Bob
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Reported in the Telegraph:
    ” Waiters, cooks and check-out workers serving the Upper House have been told they could lose 50% of their overtime payments in a proposed shake-up.

    Staff reportedly earn an average of around £8.55 an hour, with the Lords’ staff handbook guaranteeing them extra money for overtime.

    Members of the Lords are meanwhile being subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £83.90 a week, and House of Lords authorities say the subsidy can only be cut by lowering staff pay. “

    I have another idea – maybe their lordships could pay the going rate like everyone else!

  44. Normandee
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Why do my comments keep disappearing, is it something to do with your internet problems, or something more sinister ?

  45. Bob
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Reported on Dan Hannan’s blog:

    “With its right hand, the EU harasses and penalises smokers. Not content with draconian rules on cigarette advertising and smoking in public places, MEPs are seriously considering a proposal to ban smoking in cars, lest they be bought second-hand and so constitute a passive smoking threat.

    Meanwhile, with its left, the EU hands taxpayers’ money to tobacco growers in Greece and elsewhere, and helps them sell their product to developing countries.”

    I expect that uanime5 will be able to explain the logic behind this.

    • JimF
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes, totally logical from an economic point of view. Less so from an humanitarian one.

    • Kenneth
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Hannan goes on to write:

      Just as the tightening of regulations make more people reliant on EU rules, and oblige both tobacco companies and anti-smoking lobbyists to invest heavily in a presence in Brussels, so the grants draw another set of people into economic dependency on the EU.

      In both cases, the real aim is to empower the bureaucracy, increase the number of EU client groups and shift power from nation-states to Brussels. Which is also, of course, the purpose of the budget increases, the higher CAP payments ad everything else.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s up to these developing countries to create their own laws on smoking, not the EU.

      • JimF
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        You’re saying that developing countries can make their own laws but the UK has to sponsor Greek tobacco farmers according to EU dictat? I think I want to be in a developing country.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          Well if you don’t like the EU laws campaign to have tobacco excluded from the list of crops that can receives EU support. You might also want to campaign for the arms industry to also lose EU support, even though it will negatively effect the UK.

          • Ken Adams
            Posted March 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            “Well if you don’t like the EU laws campaign to have tobacco excluded from the list of crops that can receives EU support.”

            If our own government had the authority we could vote to change the government and thus the laws, we would then have some power to our campaign. Sort of the point of the whole EU Debate.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Isn’t it typical that in uanime5’s twisted world view developing countries should be allowed to make their own laws but a developed country like the UK should not be allowed to make its own laws?

          These people are the enemy within, assuming he/she is within.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Smokers need harassing and penalising. You think they should not be. Tax is a good way to do this. Let them buy smuggled tobacco and us loose tax. I’m all for it.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Major promised “subsidiarity” at work. Who should decide who smokes in a car clearly the owner, but no – under “subsidiarity” it is the EU high command. I assume it will be extended slowly to eating biscuits, chocolate bars, which radio station you have on – even farting with the window closed soon perhaps.

  46. JimF
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, but the logic of the Prime Minister praising David Nicholson earlier in the week and now saying he was partly responsible for 12000 deaths leads Cameron into some pretty strange territory.
    Do we have a Brown Mk 2 on our hands???

  47. uanime5
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Why would anyone vote for the Mandate referendum when Cameron has already said he will renegotiate if re-elected? If the public feel this issue is important they will elect a Conservative Government and if they don’t they will vote for other parties.

    Other problems will be defining what this new relationship will entail? If the Conservatives can’t explain what exactly changes they want to make then why would anyone support something so vague?

    Given the low turnout during general elections and in the last referendum over police commissioners unless a huge number of people in the UK vote in this referendum it will not give Cameron any negotiating power with the EU because the EU will be able to claim that it doesn’t represent the wishes of the majority of the electorate.

    Finally given that the EU has said that it won’t allow the UK to pick and choose which parts of EU law it wants to obey it’s unlikely that many people will support a referendum for something that has little to no chance of success.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      “If the public feel this issue is important they will elect a Conservative Government and if they don’t they will vote for other parties.”

      No .

      People who are unhappy with the UK’s relationship with Europe are more likely to vote for UKIP .

      Thus a general election is an inadequate mechanism for the people to express their opinion on constitutional issues .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      The purpose of a mandate referendum should not be to authorise the government to start negotiations but for the people to constrain their government during those negotiations through a clear negotiating mandate which it must observe.

      Because the government cannot be trusted, and it should not be left free to agree to whatever it fancied as has always been the case in the past.

      Unfortunately the proposed question is too woolly to do that, while my alternative question would set a fundamental parameter for the negotiations.

  48. Antisthenes
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    “based on free trade and political co-operation?”

    What does that question actually mean in practice as no doubt the EU could say quite rightly that is what the UK already has. The rules, regulations and treaties of the EU are for doing precisely that of making both those objectives work. No that question is meaningless and allows whatever interpretation that anyone wants to make of it.

  49. Rods
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and political co-operation?”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, as from what I can see this question can mean and give you a mandate to do anything?

    The new relationship could be anything from invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, to signing up to the new relationship based on free trade and co-operation agreed in the next EU treaty to create the Federated States of Europe, which Barroso and his henchmen are busy constructing at the moment. The latter would mean we become a province of Europe with all UK legislation and decisions made in Brussels.

    So, I can’t support you or your party with this question. Even if such a mandate was, sought and given, how would this anyway fit with Dave’s past cast iron guarantees?

    Much investment and the setting up of manufacturing businesses is happening at the moment in Turkey. They have similar wages to many EU former Eastern Block countries. Now this begs the question if being a member of the EU is so advantageous, why is the investment happening is an adjacent country to the EU, instead of the EU? Could it be the dead hand of EU socialism means that Turkey is a much better place to invest with short transport links to the EU? If this true, as I suspect is the case, if the UK were to leave the EU and were free to implement much needed supply side reforms, would we not then be a much more attractive place for external investment, where we are adjacent to the EU?

    We both know, if a country is an attractive place to do business, then that is where the investment will go and jobs will be created.

    Without radical changes and reform, from what I can see, this country is only going to continue to go in one direction and that is downwards. At best continued stagflation and falling real wages and when we have on current trends an inevitable major Sterling crisis, things are going to get a whole lot worse. Personally, I don’t think the country has got four years on the current deficit and debt trajectory to make major changes in policy and attractiveness for external investment.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Companies are setting up in Turkey because of the trade deal between Turkey and the EU. Also given that Turkey has tried to join the EU for over 60 years it’s a pretty poor choice if you want a country that is near the EU but won’t be in the EU.

  50. Barbara
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    We all know holding a referendum is what we want, but it’s the timeing that’s important to most. The Tories are set to lose the next election, so where will that leave this nation? If they do pull it off all well and good, but failure will leave us exposed to Miliband and his mad lot and we all know what that means ignoring us for years as they did over immigration. As for explaining within this coalition the Tories cannot hold a referendum that’s silly, Cameron could if he so wishes arrange a referendum now, this coalition is nearly over so what difference will it make. Its his own stubborness that’s stopping him and while he remains so is damaging his party by the day. Why is he allowed to do this? He should be given a reminder from within his own party where he may stand if he loses, and we are denied the referendum, which we will be via the Labour party. It will be unforgiveable. If he thinks by this vague promise he will catch enough votes to win, he may be badly shaken, its like a nation being blackmailed into surrender to vote for him. People may not vote for him because of it, not because he’s promised a referendum. I’m afraid this is sinking into the mire and it won’t go down well with the nation. He can overrun Clegg any day as his pollings are dire, and he’s using the coalition as an excuse and it shows. Please, don’t embarress us or himself by jam tomorrow, we want jam and bread today and spread it ourselves.

    • Kenneth
      Posted March 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m no Parliamentary expert (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but I don’t think the PM has the authority to order a referendum unless a majority in HoC (both houses?) votes for it….unless the Conservative Party (or Lord Ashcroft) funds it privately.

      Reply Indeed, which is why I suggest trying a Mandate referendum this Parliament, as this PArliament refuses to vote for an IN/Out one.

  51. Duncan
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Just WHY do the elites want us in the EU? Personally, I can see no benefit other than that it is a stepping stone to the formation of, firstly, a regional single currency and, finally, a single world currency – and, of course, to go along with that, a global central bank.

    I can see why the private bankers would want this situation – control of the creation of currency and interest rates on a global scale is their ultimate dream. What fun they could have with that.

  52. Duncan
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    “Do you want the UK government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and political co-operation?”

    This is a fudge question – if offered this I would spoil the paper. Most people I know want a CLEAR IN / OUT referendum – not an obfuscatory one like you suggest.

    Reply That vote comes after the renegotiation.

  53. Terry
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Great idea. Very sound reasoning. So what is he waiting for?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      No chance with Cameron.

  54. Vanessa
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Cameron must know he does not stand a chance of getting a majority in the next general election and so the promise of a referendum was just political posturing. It will make some people happy but most of us realise it is a game with him for the media to run with. His “cast iron” guarantees are not made of iron but of inflamable paper. Pull the other one Cameron !!!

  55. sm
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Lines have been drawn – the voters are done with words and cozy political cartels.
    Our goose is cooked with any of the LibLabCon so lets play chicken – vote UKIP.

  56. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    We don’t want “political co-operation”. That’s the point. “Diplomatic co-operation” yes. As for “free trade” I don’t care. As long as we are “freer” than they are that’s all that matters.

  57. Terry
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Article 50 is the only way we can rid ourselves of the enormous burden that is the EU. An In/Out referendum, there is no alternative.

    Let the people decide ASAP and take it forward from there. If our PM has the mandate from the British citizens to withdraw from the confines of the EU he can use that ‘people power’ to negotiate from a position of strength. As it appears, his dithering stance reeks of weakness and the EU bourgeoisie, no doubt, sense this and therefore do not take his announcement too seriously. Why delay the referendum? Why are we having to wait on the unlikely prospect of Cameron getting a second term as PM?
    Therefore, I see this action as a slick manoeuver to get him that second term. Nothing else.
    He has previously betrayed the country with his lack of action over the covertly signed, sinister Lisbon Treaty, by that moron Brown, when he could have come to the people for them to express their displeasure thus arming him with our mandate. I fear we can no longer trust him nor his judgement. He has shown a lack of bottle and that is not good enough for this country if we are to survive.

    Do it now, Dave and don’t dilly-dally on the way.

    • Bob
      Posted March 16, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      ” we can no longer trust him nor his judgement. “

      He’s a PR man, what do you expect? image is all he is concerned with and his main achievement in office has been to send the UK into a death spiral.

  58. Neil Craig
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    No voters there would be both those who are entirely LibDem on ever closer union and (I suspect the large majority) those like me who see no reason to stay for another 5+ years in the only part of the world economy in recession. 5 years of 6% annual growth will make the rest of the world 1/3rd better offand I see no reason to give Cameron a mandate to prevaricate.

  59. Paul
    Posted March 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The problem with this Mandate referendum, if it ever takes place, is that many people like me who simply want to leave the EU will not even bother voting. We want one straightforward in/out referendum. A ‘yes’ vote in a Mandate referendum would imply we don’t mind remaining in the EU as long as we have a different relationship rather than wanting to leave altogether.

    Reply: The Mandate referendum would need an In/Out referendum afetr negotiation. What’s not to like?

    • Ken Adams
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      What is not to like Mr Redwood is as Paul has said a no vote on the mandate referendum could be read that we are happy with the present arrangement.

  60. ADavid H
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Perhaps today’s confiscation of up to 9.9% of banked personal assets in Cyprus, will concentrate minds on our relationship with the EU. Monday may be a bank holiday in Cyprus, but I suspect that withdrawals may be brisk from some banks in Southern Europe on Monday. This is a truly momentous occasion in the brief history of the Eurozone, what was the Troika thinking of?

One Trackback

  • By More hints on March 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    More hints…

    The Mandate referendum…

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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