Yesterday in Parliament we voted for a referendum on the EU before 2017. No Labour of Lib Dem MPs opposed it, though their parties told them not to vote for it.
During the debate the critics of a referendum trotted out the usual lies and false threats. They implied that the rest of the EU would refuse to trade with us if we left or if we insist on a new relationship. These MPs declined to understand that we buy more from them than we sell to them, that the Germans have said they will want to carry on trading with us, and no-one serious in the UK is suggesting disrupting our trade. Our trade is anyway governed by international rules today, so the EU will need to abide by them come what may.
They also argued that a referendum would create uncertainty for business. A good answer was that on such an argument we should not hold General Elections either, as they create uncertainties for business. Democracy is vital, and every MP should be upholding it. As so many Labour and Liberal MPs voted for Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, the very least they could do is let the UK voters decide whether they wish to stay in this undemocratic arrangement or not.
What came across yesterday was the tiredness and the feebleness of the pro EU arguments. There was a stubborn unwillingness to grasp the essential truth that as the Uk does not intend to join the Euro we need a new relationship with the EU which is fast becoming a federal state designed to stand behind the Euro. It was also bizarre that they spoke against a referendum yet refused to vote against one!
It was a good first day for the Bill. The Commons expressed a strong wish to see this Bill to the Statute book. The Lords would be well advised to understand the strength of feeling in the Commons that the UK voters need a say on this vital issue. They would also be wise to grasp that Labour is not happy with its policy of indecision. If Labour is serious about wanting to win in 2015 they will need to rethink their policy and welcome the idea of renegotiation and a referendum.
To the lonely Lib Dem MP who told us the electors are more concerned about jobs and prosperity than the EU, I say he should realise that most people in the UK now understand that one of the great impediments to more jobs and prosperity is the EU itself, with all its extra costs, taxes, rules and its deeply damaging Euro. The recession in Euroland is holding back the UK. We need to fix the EU relationship I n order to generate more jobs – how else, for example, do we get the cheap energy our business and consumers need?