The 1866 Venice referendum – a rigged referendum the EU should worry about?

 

In 1866 the annexation of Venice by Italy was endorsed by a referendum of the Venetian people. A remarkable result was achieved, with just 0.01% voting against. Subsequent historians have suggested the referendum was conducted under the watchful presence of the Italian military. They argue it was just a formal endorsement of an occupation that had already taken place and was arranged by the annexing power. The annexation was possible following  the victory of Prussia over Austria, as Prussia was the newly united  Italy’s powerful ally. Others say that swapping Austrian rule for Italian rule may have been the lesser of the evils  at the time, but Italian rule turned out to be no more enjoyable for Venetian nationalists than Austrian control.

So why isn’t the EU welcoming the decision by many in  Venice to hold its own recent  referendum  to see if people would like an independent Venice instead of staying with Italy? Why are they ignoring the substantial majority that has voted for an independent Venice in the unofficial referendum that has just been conducted, owing to the refusal of the Italian state to allow a legal referendum under Italian law? What will they and the Italian state do if Venice now follows the results of this v0te up by not forwarding tax revenues in future to the Italian state or takes other action to flex its muscles?

It appears once again that the EU picks and chooses which referenda to allow, and as we know is also often quite choosy about the results of any popular vote. Clearly independence for the Veneto is no more permitted than for the Crimea, though it is apparently allowed for Scotland where the existing mother country is more democratic and broad minded about these matters and has agreed to a vote. Even here the EU has intervened in the referendum campaign to make it clear it wants a No vote to independence.  Many countries in the EU have been allowed referenda on EU matters, though they are usually asked to vote again if the EU does not agree with the result.

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95 Comments

  1. Arschloch
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Yes and the Westminster parliament is any worse at suppressing the peoples will? Everyone knows here that if referenda were held on the subjects immigration, the death penalty, gay rights, repeal of the Human Rights Act etc the results would be a direct contradiction of what the domestic political elite want.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      ……………….where the existing mother country is more democratic and broad minded about these matters and has agreed to a vote……….

      But not for the English or the UK to exit the the EU dictatorship. That will ONLY happen when we remove the legacy parties from office and replace them with patriots.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Indeed you only get a vote if they think you will vote the right way. The English will thus not get a vote on anything substantive.

  2. Mark B
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;

    “So why isn’t the EU welcoming the decision by many in Venice . . .”

    Because it is, ‘Populist’ ie Democratic

    And.

    “It appears once again that the EU picks and chooses which referenda to allow . . . ”

    Ho, ho, ho ! Does anyone else see what I see in that sentence ? Here’s a clue. Just swap, EU with a certain ‘senior’ politician, well almost any politician really – and no, not our kind host.

    The Scottish referendum on ‘Independence’, is nothing but a sham. The EU have been told by the SNP, that they would still wish to be part of the ‘club’, or gang of 28, as I think I shall now call them. The EU was just making its position known, so as to dissuade others from having the same silly idea – that of leaving the EU. Obviously that message hasn’t reached the good people of Venice.

    I wounder if the City of London could do the same thing ??? Hmmm !

    Italy is a bit of a Jig-Saw of a country. At least with the UK, we shared the same Head of State before we united politically, so we had some common ground to share. Italy, like Germany and Spain, is a construct brought and held together with varying combinations of fear, mistrust, threat and bribery. Hardly a good model for peace and sustainability. A bit like the EU, you might think ?

    And that is why I believe the EU will one day fail. It has no Demos. And it never will, since it is constructed by elites, for elites with no regard for the people and their wishes. We see this perfectly amplified by the events both close to home (eg HS2) and further away (eg Ukraine). They do what ‘they’ want, not what we need !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed to create a Demos they would perhaps need a common language and some common interests and understanding. Language is one of the few things they have not tried to ram down peoples throats as yet. This has the advantage (for them) that they can say different things to different populations about the EUSSR project.

      • Mark W
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        They’ll never suggest a common language as there’s only one winner in that competition.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Italy is a bit of a Jig-Saw of a country. At least with the UK, we shared the same Head of State before we united politically, so we had some common ground to share. Italy, like Germany and Spain, is a construct brought and held together with varying combinations of fear, mistrust, threat and bribery.

      Let’s try looking at history, rather than ignorance.

      Germany was originally part of the Frankish Empire, which was later divided into France, the Holy Roman Empire, and Burgundy. The Holy Roman Empire lasted for centuries (though central control was limited) until it was conquered by Napoleon. It then became a series of small German states which were reunited by Bismark. Germany was reduced in size after WW1, split in two after WW2, and reunited after the fall of Communism. So it’s clearly held together by something other than “fear, mistrust, threat and bribery”.

      Spain was originally part oft he Roman Empire until it rebelled and became Iberia. It was then mostly conquered by the Moors. Various Spanish states then united against the Moors and merged into one country. Portugal also emerged, united with Spain, then became independent. Again another state created over a long period of time, rather than by “fear, mistrust, threat and bribery”.

      Italy was for a long time a collection of city states which were often part of or allied with France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, or Austria. This changed in the mid 19th century when the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia united with the United Provinces of Central Italy, then conquered the two Sicilies and the Papal States. Though Italy doesn’t have as long as history of being united as Germany and Spain it is not held together by “fear, mistrust, threat and bribery”.

      In conclusion your claims about these European countries are based on your own prejudices, rather than evidence.

      • Hope
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        Pot kettle Uni. The whole Eau construct is held together by fear, mistrust, threat and bribery. You ought or have listened to Clegg tonight. He was appalling, but his aims of scaring people were clear, and not on a factual basis.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 27, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        I think your partial potted history of Europe Uni, only goes to prove the points originally made rather than rebutt them.

      • Diana1
        Posted August 20, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Hm, the Venetian Republic lasted for more than 1000 years until the 18th century. The referendum of 1866 was a fake and therefore a new referendum should be allowed.

  3. Richard1
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    On this subject why are the people of the Orkney and Shetland islands not being given a choice as to whether they wish to remain in the UK or join an independent Scotland if one comes into existence? The Orkney and Shetland islands were simply transferred to Scotland by Denmark about 600 years ago with no vote, and public opinion there is opposed to leaving the UK. Salmond is a hypocrite to deny such a vote.

    Whilst it is true Crimea got transferred to Ukraine by diktat, like the Orkney and Shetland islands, and it seems to be the case the majority there would rather be in Russia, the fact is Crimea is Ukrainian under Intl law as recognized in treaties. Legitimate transfer must therefore happen by a referendum agreed between people in Crimea and the legitimate govt of Ukraine. The best way to solve this is to have a new fair referendum after there has been time for proper debate, and with Russia having pulled out troops.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Rest assured dear ‘Dickie 1′ – the peoples of these wind-swept islands are indeed discussing this matter – they too be ‘Lion-hearted’ !

      • Richard1
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Excellent to hear. I think the Orkney & Shetlands have c. 25% of the oil don’t they? That would wipe the smile off Salmond’s smug face.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      “Legitimate transfer must therefore happen by a referendum agreed between people in Crimea and the legitimate govt of Ukraine.”

      Well, the present government in Kiev is a revolutionary government, the product of the second revolution in Ukraine in the past decade.

      In pursuit of its geopolitical objectives the EU/NATO/US troika has engineered regime change and accordingly it has rushed to recognise the new government as being the legitimate government of Ukraine, using adjectives such as “interim” and “acting” to describe it rather than the older term “provisional” which would have been applied to a government formed after an internal revolution or coup or perhaps after the hasty evacuation of an occupying army.

      But recognition by “Europe and America”, as Obama put it yesterday*, does not make the present crew in Kiev the legitimate government in Ukraine under the present constitution of Ukraine.

      * With the typical view of US politicians that the EU is already de facto a single country called “Europe”, and while “Europe and America” will no longer sit down with their common enemy Russia in G8 meetings two Presidents of Europe will of course continue to take part until it is decided to merge their offices and have just one President of Europe, which raises the question of whether the G8 should have been renamed the G9 or possibly the G10 and whether the G7 will in fact now be the G8 or possibly the G9; but then “Where does Canada fit into this scheme for turning continents into countries?” is another question that the Canadians might be asking themselves:

      http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/text-of-russian-declaration-from-g7-leaders-meeting-in-the-hague–252023481.html

      “THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The complete text of “The Hague Declaration” released Monday by G7 leaders gathered in the Netherlands to discuss Russia’s incursion into Ukraine:

      1. We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission met in The Hague to reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.”

      • Hope
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Well said spot on analysis. This is EU expansionism supported by the US. Russia is absolutely right to defend its interests, what was the fuss the US made about Cuba all those years ago? A revolutionary government without a legitimate mandate , a bit like the reps from the EU- no citizen from the 27 nations voted for them! It is incredulous the remarks being made and especially sad from the likes of William Hague. He should hang his head in shame.

    • Mark
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Would the result be any different? I suspect not.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      The Orkney and Shetland islands were simply transferred to Scotland by Denmark about 600 years ago with no vote, and public opinion there is opposed to leaving the UK. Salmond is a hypocrite to deny such a vote.

      So you’re saying there should be a vote whether the Orkney and Shetland islands should remain part of Scotland or become part of Denmark. After all England doesn’t have much claim to them.

      • Silver Fox
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Doesn’t public opinion count then?

        • Hope
          Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          And the a Channel Islands are a bit of an ignitable in constitutional terms. Uni you talk so much nonsense I wonder if you live in a third dimensional world.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 27, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          No, SF, you are right, he left don’t trust the people, for them its all about control not freedom.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        Let the people of the Orkney and Shetlands decide whether they wish to be part of the new peoples republic of scotland, if that comes into existence, or remain in the UK where they are now. I don’t see what your point is.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed the EU is hugely selective in general where democracy is concerned. One of the main aims seems to be to break England up and to restrict it form having any real democratic power.

    It certainly does not want and real democracy to rear its head as it would probably be the end of the over centralised and totally incompetent EU if it ever did.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Cameron pledges to slash inheritance tax if they stay in power – I read. IHT clearly should be abolished anyway it only raises about 1% of taxes. Cancel HS2 and all the silly green energy subsidies and you have saved more at a stroke.

      Did they not promise something in the last Manifesto with £1M threshold but then true to form rat on it?

      So why one earth should we believe him this time and what exactly is he pledging to do this time, can he not even now say?

      As it will be well after Miliband takes power he could pledge to make pigs fly & knowing he will not even have to rat on it this time.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    A very astute article.

    Of course the EU is not going to recognise the 2017 referendum here if it goes against them. Nobody seems to realise that. Similarly the Catalans, the Asturians, the Basques, the Galicians and the Andalusians are not going to be able to break away from Spain and MM. Verhofstadt and Rompuy are not going to allow the break up of their very own low countries. And that leaves Scotland…
    Mr Hague, I notice, is very very cross about the referendum in the Crimea.
    Referenda, in other words, are in no way decisive: politicians pick and choose which they fancy.

    Why should we obey a government? Is it because it rests on the will of the people or is it just a fluke of history? The will of the people changes and our boundaries are not changing fast enough in one way (Africa for instance) and far too fast in another way (EU for instance). So really the boundaries which we depend on are just a fluke of history. And that makes them increasingly weak in an age when one idiot with a machine gun or some fertiliser can bring a large city to its knees.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Mike,

      I think Hague has now shown his true colours, and the flag he bows to is blue with stars in a circle. I believe his position is now untenable, because any such adherence is clearly not impartial, and goes against the spirit of any free and fair UK referendum should one be held.

      Tad

      • Aunty Estab
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        William Hague is the man who thought it was a good use of £10,000 of TAXPAYERS money to spend it stuffing an old snake in the foreign office, how is it someone like this becomes a cabinet minister?

        • Hope
          Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          Different man since the story broke about a sharing a room with an advisor.

  6. Andyvan
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    For all the waffle about democracy and how it empowers the people powerful elites do not like actual democracy. What they like is the veneer of legitimacy it gives them whilst allowing the theft to continue. If their positions and wealth are threatened we see the result. Tax cattle can only roam so far before their owners herd them back. If they look like escaping or going into a neighbour’s field a false flag op or a couple of snipers in the right place will induce enough panic to regain control.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Absolutely! And the more people recognise that fact, the greater the chance we might change it. No matter where we look in this God forsaken world of ours, we see the dirty hands of those with vested interests, exercising control over the many in order to preserve an elite.

      Change can’t come quick enough for me, and the hapless people of the USA believed Obama when he said ‘Change is coming to America’. That was six years ago, and they’re still waiting!

      Tad

      • Hope
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        The US is swinging left and the people do not realise it. They need to wake up ASAP.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The EU quakes in fear that some country somewhere might not want to stick with thier colonial governence.
    That’s why the puppet government in Westminster refuses us in England a referendum on membership. Let alone a referendum on English independence.

  8. Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Simply put, it’s known as a dictatorship. Every minute of every day we are dictated to by the EU or via our own puppet Parliament.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      …..true, but it was our own puppet parliament who let them give away our right to self-determination in the first place.

      We are right to question their motives, especially when the one and only vote we ever had, was so skewed. The people were never made fully aware of the facts and the possible implications of EU membership. Instead, they were given categorical assurances that we would belong to an area of free-trade, and no more.

      What should have happened, was for the people of the UK to have the right to scrap the deal altogether, were any subsequent government to go beyond their mandate. And it would be interesting to re-visit the old party manifestos to see precisely which elected government said that they wanted the UK to arrive at the present situation where we have such little control over our own destiny. From my recollection, not many!

      Tad

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    What on earth is poor little Nick Clegg going to say in his LBC debate with Nigel Farage tomorrow?

    Just his idiotic claim that three million UK jobs depend directly on participation in the EU and being in and having a say. Even if that say is nearly always outvoted or ignored. What else can he say?

    There are countless sound arguments Farage can put. The over regulation, centralisation, the absurd expensive energy/climate laws, daft employment regulations, the huge costs, the unselective and uncontrolled immigration, the taxes, CAP, fishing, gender neutral insurance and pensions, benefits for children who are not even in the UK, the destruction of democracy, the legal system, the ECHR that we have to be in to be a member of the EU, the current problems with Russia ………

    Poor little Clegg simply no rational arguments to put. But if it were Cameron what would he say. I assume he would say he agreed fully with Farage for electoral purposes but then just rat on it all post election as he did last time.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      You can submit questions via the LBC website. I managed to submit 3 or 4 though it is not made easy. Funnily enough one was asking Mr Clegg to explain where his “3 million jobs” claim comes from given the fact that leaving the EU is not the same as leaving the EEA.

    • arschloch
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      LL Nick is talking a lot of sense here although the number is probably not as high as stated. Just think about it if the UK left the EU. Who would employ all those UK citizens at the Brussels HQ and its other organs around the world? Also what about all those UK based civil servants who are unnecessarily engaged in enforcing its directives, such as checking the curvature of bananas?

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Who would give a s..t if swathes of useless bureaucrats lost their jobs. The savings would be huge.
        I doubt if a single productive job would be lost quite the opposite jobs would probably be created as the yolk was lifted.

      • Silver Fox
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes, quite right, and then who will employ all the ‘bean counters’ when someone finally sets about the NHS. Massive unemployment; and what a saving!

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    An unfortunate trait of the political class is its tendancy to ignore its demos and believe its inexorable procession to its own aims justifies most means and consequences.

    This trait is especially prevalent in unaccountable politcal appointees such as the EU and civil service. The simple solution to this is to allow them less power.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      unaccountable political appointees such as the EU and civil service – and the BBC and the Lords, the legal professions, quangos and some “charities” and propaganda units.

      Government by the state sector, for the benefit of the state sector and with a fake superficial veneer of democracy.

  11. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Presumably independence for the Veneto doesn’t fit in with one of the bureaucratic agenda of the EU; but that’s a puzzle because one might have thought that breakup would support Brussels’ love of the Europe of the Regions (the Veneto is of course what they call a “Region” of Italy and by no means just the City of Venice alone). As usual, though, you don’t often go wrong doing the opposite of what Brussels wants: their motives are invariably suspect.

    • John E
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      By making the national parliaments irrelevant the EU encourages the regions to break away.
      In general it will be the more prosperous regions looking to break away, e.g. Catalonia. That way they expect to avoid subsidising the less prosperous regions of their own countries.
      We English can afford to be relatively relaxed about Scotland as we expect that we will be no worse off without them. In fact the sum of the parts could be more than the whole if they have to stand on their own economic feet.

      Of course all of this ignores one of the main purposes of the nation state – defence.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        “We English can afford to be relatively relaxed about Scotland as we expect that we will be no worse off without them.”

        That’s apart from possibly being finished as a global military power and no longer capable even of defending England against its enemies:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10701689/Scotland-will-be-powerless-to-defend-itself.html

        “It is not only Scotland, however, that would suffer. Indeed, the damage that a divorce would inflict is perhaps the biggest strategic threat faced by our Armed Forces.”

        Not to worry, though, this is just scaremongering and in any case there are plenty of other options available; such as agreeing that all the armed forces of EU member states should be combined into a single EU army under EU command to be deployed as and when the EU may desire, or alternatively applying to become legally subordinate in another federation, seeking protection as the 51st state of the USA, or maybe even following Crimea and asking to be made a subject of the Russian federation.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    More and more people seem to be getting fed up with the order of things present.

    Have politicians ever thought to ask themselves why ?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Alan Jutson. I think they feel excluded from the world around them. They don’t have the money or the education to improve their lot. They feel stuffed by the system and incredulous at the money that some of us are making whilst the rest struggle on towards oblivion.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Or that nobody seems to be listening.

  13. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Many of the alleged drawbacks of the use of the referendum are merely problems in search of fairly achievable solutions. The nature of those problems – invariably clutched hold of by those against their use – are frequently illustrated as so difficult as to be essentially insurmountable. Which is nonsense.

    The referendum raises questions with regard to the nature of the nation using them, and its democratic legitimacy under some circumstances, but Switzerland demonstrates that a peaceful and prosperous democracy can co-exist with direct democracy.

    However, one of the problems is that the referendum has a potential to invalidate the representation of Parliament. Imagine – under the ‘unofficial’ form of referendum – an opportunistic group holds such an unofficial poll in ‘A Constituency’ which is sneered at by the Political establishment. It goes unrecognised by the local political parties – but on the polling day is seen to gain a significantly greater share of the local electorates involvement and endorsement than the Constituency MP themselves were awarded in the General Election. Even ‘unofficially’ would then the result returned on the specific matter at hand hold greater moral validity than that MP’s own opposition? Would it not follow that the MP under those circumstances has a clear obligation to vote with that Constituency, or fight that seat for re-election? No matter the winner of any subsequent by-election would any candidate returned with a smaller endorsement than the unofficial referendum turnout still be morally dispossessed of a mandate to veto the will of that local electorate?

    In spite of recent claims (becoming more of a simplistic mantra) by the Westminster Tribe that ‘we don’t do referendums’, it’s clear that claim is now obsolete. ‘We’ do referendums now – even the limp promise of one under arcane terms of reference and always-but-always beyond the threshold of the next Election – but it’s still endorsement of the practice.

    It’s likely in the medium-term future, each and every election will be fought with at least once Party offering a referendum on one matter or another. The terms of reference of their use, their validity and how they wield authority against Parliament needs to be clearly established now.

    Having said all that, since the electorate voted very clearly against voting reform in 2011 – decisively, would be a good way of putting it – I look forward to seeing the complete absence of the policy in the LibDem Manifesto for 2015?

  14. Iain Gill
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Its ok the political class always pick and choose what to get on their hobby horse about.
    It’s the same with the supposed equality agenda, legal force behind equality for women, ethnic minorities, gays and yet widespread open discrimination against working class accents, state school pupils and so on. Indeed state sponsored positive discrimination in favour of their chosen sections of the population. Not at all a genuine meritocracy and equality for all based on skills, experience, ability, and hard work.
    Then we have our version of democracy, where all of the main parties have very biased candidate selection procedures and in many cases its more like jobs for the children of politicians or for friends from the same school. This is not the morally superior form of governance that we typically claim in the world.
    Wasn’t there a referendum in Wokingham about spending on schools? And didn’t the local politicians end up ignoring the democratic will of the people expressed in the results? Or is my memory failing?

    Reply I think your memory is adrift

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Sometime between say 2000 and 2004, there was a referendum by Wokingham council to all voters. Choice was basically 3 levels of spending on schools low, medium or high. I understood the voters choice was low by a large margin, but the council went ahead and implemented high anyways.

      But happy to stand corrected if its my memory.

      Reply School spending was ring fenced and financed by the central government under Labour.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Funny I voted in that poll. Cannot find any reference to it on the web though. Surprised you don’t remember.

        Ah well.

  15. JoolsB
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    John,

    With respect I do wish this Tory led Government would stop lecturing the rest of the world on their right to have referendums on their independence whilst at the same time deliberately continuing to ignore the rights of the people of England to have a referendum on their future.

    Scotland, Wales & NI have already had three or four referendums on their future, England has not had one, it has NEVER been asked if it too would like the same level of self determination that Scotland, Wales,NI and most other countries in the western world already enjoy. Despite poll after poll saying otherwise, England is TOLD there is no demand for an English Parliament. If our politicians really believe that, why don’t they ask us? What are they afraid of? Could it be they know that if England had it’s own parliament too, there would be no need for 650 self serving UK MPs just as 117 Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs would be virtually redundant if they couldn’t spend their days meddling in English only matters. Is this why MPs with English seats turn a blind eye to this gross affront to democracy where unelected and unaccountable politicians elected outside of England are still making decisions for it which do not affect them or their constituents ? Another Conservative manifesto pledge which Cameron has reneged on. If this were happening anywhere else in the world our politicians would be the first in the queue to denounce it as undemocratic but democracy for England obviously comes a very poor second to the Westminster gravy train.

    Our hypocrite politicians should stop lecturing the rest of the world about their rights to self determination until they have addressed the English Question and the rotten deal their English constituents are getting both constitutionally and financially from a ‘union’ which blatantly discriminates against them on a daily basis.

    The Tories would not exist without England and are idiots to carry on ignoring the greatest democratic deficit of all – one they can actually do something about if they really care anything about democracy instead of just talking about it!

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      And for those who don’t know, the only party genuinely campaigning on these issues now and actively is the English Democrats.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Could be a vote-winner though for UKIP were they to make it their policy. The English Democrats are still relatively unknown and have yet to become established.

        On past results, were England to have its own parliament, it would effectively see-off Labour, but for me, the Tories need to put some clear blue water between themselves and the other two main Westminster parties, but that doesn’t include hurting some of our most vulnerable people. Many disabled folk are scared stiff of the prospect of another Tory government.

        For me to come back to the fold, the Tories need to stop the demonization of the genuinely ill, and draw a distinction between them and the work-shy. And of course, they need to ditch the EU. As Mr Cameron and Mr Hague are so totally subservient to the cursed place, I can’t see that happening.

        Tad

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      “117 Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs would be virtually redundant if they couldn’t spend their days meddling in English only matters.”

      You greatly exaggerate; as I’ve mentioned before, out of the 23 Acts passed by the UK Parliament in 2012 only 5 did not extend to Scotland wholly or in part.

      The only 5 Acts which did not apply to Scotland in any way at all were:

      Sunday Trading for the Olympics and Paralympics
      Water Industry Financial Assistance
      Domestic Violence Crime and Victims
      Public Services (Social Value)
      Live Music (licensing thereof)

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        And as I’ve said before:-

        Health
        Education and Training
        Higher Education
        Loval Government
        Housing
        Planning
        Social Work
        Tourism
        Police Services
        Fire Services
        Prosecution System and the Courts
        Prisons
        Agriculture
        Forestry
        Fishing
        Sport and the Arts
        Environment
        Most Transport

        are all matters devolved to the Scots Parliament. Matters which Scottish MPs sitting in the UK Government at Westminster CANNOT vote on but bizarrely they can vote on ALL of these matters for England and they do so on a regular basis. Meanwhile our supine MPs with English seats allow it without murmuring one word of protest, not even a whimper.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Your list of matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament is indeed long, but there is another long list of matters that are reserved to the UK Parliament which you choose not to display, and the fact remains that in 2012 there were only 5 Bills out of 23 which would have been of no interest to MPs elected in Scotland.

          • The PrangWizard
            Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

            I presume you mean that the 5 Bills applied only to England. The question of course is, why should they be any?

            And, how many Scottish MPs took part and voted?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            All 5 Bills applied only to England and Wales, as stated in their final Sections on “Short title, commencement and extent”. I don’t know how many MPs elected in Scotland took part and voted during the passage of those 5 Bills, but that is a different question. The fact is that out of 23 Bills there were 18 where MPs elected in Scotland clearly had a legitimate interest because some or all of the provisions applied to Scotland while there only 5 Bills with no provisions that applied to Scotland, so that is not consistent with the idea that MPs elected in Scotland would be “virtually redundant if they couldn’t spend their days meddling in English only matters”.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Ed Davey, just now on BBC news:- we are massively expanding offshore wind power and are the World leaders.

    World leaders in pushing tax payers money down the drain on intermittent, expensive (and up to 10 times the true value of the energy), pointless, uneconomic, nonsense. I assume that is what he means.

    Why is this man in government with his absurd religion. Can no one in power even do the simple sums? Does Davey himself (if and when he thinks about it) really believe this absurd religion? Can he be that daft?

    Offshore intermittent wind energy is very clearly even more of an uneconomic, absurdity than is onshore.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” –Mark Twain

      Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” –Mark Twain

      “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

    • John E
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      The situation is so absurd that I have realised I am happy to hold shares in an AIM listed company that operates power stations in Chennai and Gujurat but will not go anywhere near investing in companies in the UK power sector and I think this is a rational decision because the political risk in the UK has become so extreme.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      I saw that interview too, full of tendencious inaccuracies. It was preceded by a scurrilous piece of BBC propaganda about the evils of fracking, quoting an unattributed source that it was dangerous and accompanied by pictures of the archaic “nodding donkey” pumps used to pump oil.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Indeed 1000 jobs claimed too I think! Less of course the hundreds of thousands destroyed by the absurdly expensive energy and the extra taxes needed to subsidise this lunacy.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      LL, not withstanding the position of the more rational members of parliament, and I include JR in that, I am told there are many in the Tory party who are quite comfortable with having the Lib Dems on board, particularly where the EU is concerned!

      What the hell happened to the selection process, when it allows such people to stand for parliament under the banner of the Conservative Party?

      Maybe that’s the crux of the problem, and explains why we have three pro-EU federalist parties holding the reins of office. It was engineered that way. Little wonder there was no place for someone like me who is fervently anti-EU and pro-UK. People like Mr Major surely didn’t want another ‘bastard’ on board!

      Tad

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        No only stand for the Tory party, but to elect as leader of the party – a fake green, dishonest, pro EU, tax borrow and waste, say one thing do the opposite, socialist ratter.

  17. stred
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Seimens and other firms may be happy to open manufacturing of wind generation here, not only because of the huge ‘grandfathered’ subsidies for building them, but because the maintenance will be large scale. By the time the offshore arrays are up, the sea and gales will start to wear them out. They will have to be repaired by expensive boats and cost much more than those boring economical land windmills. Put it on the bill, as people with large credit card debts say when celebrating.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Stred

      Agree, in the short lifespan theses offshore wind farms will have, the increasing maintenance costs in later years may even outweigh the value of the electricity they produce.

      Has anyone done any calculations with regards to possible ongoing costs and/or underwritten them.?

    • Jagman 84
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Grandfather subsidies? I always thought they were called “Father-in-Law” subsidies!

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    The EU “worries” only about a referendum that doesn’t produce the result the EU desires (demands). In such cases it either ignores them, classifies them as ” illegal” or demands they are taken again until the ‘correct’ result is obtained.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I read your blog every day and make responses whenever I feel I have something related to say . Today – like so many days , some of your responses are completely unrelated to the topic ; I don’t understand why you allow this . Some time ago you sensibly suggested that responders make only one reply ; I think you should insist on this discipline .

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Bert Young. I agree wholly. Some of these responses are just rants. I think this blog is becoming a form of therapy for some contributors. One reply per day would be fine.

    • Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Bert, I couldn’t agree with you more.

      I visit maybe 4 or 5 times a week and it’s always the same people banging on with their pet theories on how the country should be run.

      I have wondered whether it’s people using fake names and acting as ‘agent provocateurs’ because some of their posts are laughable.

      • stred
        Posted March 27, 2014 at 12:41 am | Permalink

        Well, Mr. Hanbags some of us have families who would be very cross if they discovered we disagreed with them. Some of them have large handbags filled with stones.

  20. Robert Taggart
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    One would expect the EU to welcome all such independence referendums…
    Most of these putative nation states wish to be part of the ‘greater nation state’ – the Union of Europe / ‘USE’.
    Ergo, ‘Brussels’ will divide up the existing nations – and rule over the resulting nations.
    For independence read ‘independence’.
    For nation read ‘nation’.
    Next stop Wales ? Ulster ?? England ??? or Yorkshire ????!

    • Richard
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Mr. Taggart,

      You are correct in believing that the EU should be in favour of independence referendums as this helps their policy to destroy the existing nation states.

      However, the problem for the EU with the Scotland/UK independence referendum is that a resulting rUK/England would be far more likely to vote to leave the EU, which clearly would be seen as a disaster for them.

      Whatever the current LibLabCon politicians may tell us I do not believe any of them are willing to give us a fair EU referendum, if indeed one at all, unless there is absolutely no alternative.

  21. Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    This country claims to be the birth place of modern democracy, but if this is so, it is clearly no longer the leader. I would suggest that, by and large, the United States is now way ahead. In most American states, if you can collect enough support you have the absolute right to have “a question” put on the ballot paper at the next state election. In other words if there is enough support there MUST be a referendum, and the state government must obey the results of that referendum. None of the “ifs” and “buts” of this country, if demanded a referendum must be held and action taken.
    Oh for something like that in this country. Would we still be in the EU, would we have so many immigrants, would we have gay marriage, would we bring back the death penalty? There are numerous issues where it could be claimed that politicians have acted against the wishes of the majority, but they never give us a chance to prove it.

  22. Atlas
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    While the EU has been caught with its trousers down in meddling in the Ukraine – and so making a tricky situation far worse, it has the brass neck to complain about Venice – priceless !

    The EU is not a country built up out of voluntary immigrants like the USA – hence its impositions on its own peoples will fail as surely as day follows night.

  23. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I have this morning on the BBC R4 News heard a most daft and strange comment from someone described as (something like) one of their Business Experts. This gem was on inflation’s having dropped to 1.7% and was to the effect that, What people should take from this is that despite this reduction it needs to be appreciated that prices are still rising. How daft does this man think his audience is? Typical BBC Left Wing bias in every syllable of what he said.

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Would be ok if the figures were believable. They exclude housing costs and our Council Tax has gone up 2%. When interest rates rise and inflation is said to be x%, tell that to the man who’s mortgage has doubled.

  24. Neil Craig
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    A better comparison than with Crimea is Slovenia. Slovenia borders that region of Italy (assuming all of the historic Venetian Republic shares this view the 2 countries will share a substantial border. The argument for Slovenian separation was that they were more advanced and wealthier than the rest of the country – which is precisely the Venetian case. Of the 2 Venice obviously has the better historic antecedents – one of the best in the world – and has considerably more sensible borders (Slovenia being essentially left over bits).

    The only difference is that the powers that be decided to support, indeed fund and arm Slovenian (often ex-Nazi) separatists and Venetia is doing it on its own (unless Putin sets up an “N”GO to help them).

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Interesting historical information about the referendum in 1866, but apart from the question of who was allowed to vote I also wonder whether the Italians had got ahead of us by making sure that the ballot was secret and that all those who voted had complete confidence that their vote would be kept secret?

    Because when only 0.01% vote against something that suggests that many of those who are opposed fear the consequences of openly expressing their opposition.

    I know it’s only wikipedia but here’s an interesting perspective on the introduction of the secret ballot in the UK some six years later:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballot_Act_1872

    “Employers and land owners had been able to use their sway over employees and tenants to influence the vote, either by being present themselves or by sending representatives to check on the votes as they were being cast.”

    “Many within the establishment had opposed the introduction of a secret ballot. They felt that pressure from patrons on tenants was legitimate and that a secret ballot was simply unmanly and cowardly. Lord Russell voiced his opposition to the creation of a culture of secrecy in elections which he believed should be public affairs. He saw it as ‘an obvious prelude from household to universal suffrage’.”

    I don’t think something that was “simply unmanly and cowardly” and moreover allowed people to secretly defy their “patrons” would have appealed to the Italians.

  26. forthurst
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    “It appears once again that the EU picks and chooses which referenda to allow, and as we know is also often quite choosy about the results of any popular vote.”

    Is that really true? Would it not be true to say that the EU detests democracy, per se, of which referenda are its purest expression, unedited by Europhile politicians who have to resort to promoting scare stores through the controlled MSM to get the result they want? When the result is wrong either the result is ignored or the Europhile politicians hold a corrective referendum, having had the opportunity to improve their anti-independence propaganda. When the politicians refuse to cooperate with the Brussels junta, as with Italy and Greece, then as with Ukraine, which jilted the EU at the altar, the aberrant leaders are replaced with Brussels approved Europhiles.

    The EU is a project that few in England would ever vote for if they knew in which direction it had always been heading; the only people who would still like the EU are those who are not English, heavily overrepresented in our Parliament both in numbers and in their treachery, troughers and unrooted idealists.

    Venice will not be allowed to go because both Italy and the Brussels junta need their money; furthermore, there is a danger that breakaway regions, having had a sip of freedom will become intoxicated and turn into little Switzerlands.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      The EU is a project that few in England would ever vote for if they knew in which direction it had always been heading; the only people who would still like the EU are those who are not English, heavily overrepresented in our Parliament both in numbers and in their treachery, troughers and unrooted idealists.

      In other words if people don’t agree with you it’s not because your side lacks the policies to appeal to people but because of some huge conspiracy. Guess what some people like the EU because it provides them with superior employee rights than the UK’s parliament.

      Venice will not be allowed to go because both Italy and the Brussels junta need their money

      Got some figures to back this up. I’m fairly certain Venice only provides a small percentage of the tax revenues for the EU.

      furthermore, there is a danger that breakaway regions, having had a sip of freedom will become intoxicated and turn into little Switzerlands.

      In this same referendum the majority voted to join the EU, so no chance of Venice becoming a little Switzerland.

      • forthurst
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        uanime5 Of course it was “some huge conspiracy”, Edward Heath admitted as much.

        Perhaps you have an alternative explanation why the EU does not like breakaway regions. You could also explain why that is any of their business.

        I myself guess that a lot of English people dislike the EU because they do not have “superior employment rights”, having either no job at all or a zero hours minimum wage contracs in competition with millions of East Europeans. What drivel you write.

  27. Antisthenes
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Democracy is being subsumed because it is a barrier to achieving the goals of many vested interests. The biggest one being the general public but it is not the most powerful that is reserved for the political class then we have others that have more influence than they have a right to such as the greens, big business, lifestyle approvers and many more. No doubt most of those reading this would believe me demented for suggesting that the general public are anyway involved in diluting democracy because they all say they believe in it. However in practice they defer nearly everything to the state as they believe only it can solve all of theirs and world problems and ensure prosperity, equality, security and justice for all. Because of this decision making has largely been taken out of their hands as the state has become evermore enlarged and powerful even adding more layers of government latterly the EU and devolved assemblies and parliaments and therefore becoming more opaque and unaccountable so making democracy become a shell of it’s former self. We have arrived at this sorry state which will undoubtedly become worse because the left have convinced the majority that redistribution of wealth and social engineering is the panacea for all the worlds ills. This has led to a dependency and entitlement culture, allowed the rise to dominance of minority group vested interests and handed decision making to a relatively few whose combined expertise and wisdom is and cannot be equal to that of those they are deciding for. Yet the general public although lamenting and being frustrated with the current political processes would fear to change it and in fact encourage it to grow as it is because to them the gravy train of wealth redistribution cannot be derailed under any circumstances. Of course one day that train will stop because the fuel that drives it will run out.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      We have arrived at this sorry state which will undoubtedly become worse because the left have convinced the majority that redistribution of wealth and social engineering is the panacea for all the worlds ills.

      Well societies with lower levels of income disparities do have less crime and lower levels of unemployment. Improving developing countries also reduces the number of asylum seekers from these countries.

      This has led to a dependency and entitlement culture, allowed the rise to dominance of minority group vested interests and handed decision making to a relatively few whose combined expertise and wisdom is and cannot be equal to that of those they are deciding for.

      In other words all the people who lobby for corporations and the wealthy.

      Of course one day that train will stop because the fuel that drives it will run out.

      It shows not sign of stopping all Germany, Denmark, Sweden, or any other country that’s more socialist than the UK. I guess the claims by the wealthy that sharing the wealth would be bad for society was wrong after all.

  28. Mark
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The idea of Veneto seceding has something of the air of “Passport to Pimlico ” about it. It is no longer the centre of world banking and trade as they were when they orchestrated the first global financial collapse in 1345. It is the lessons from those times that we need to remind ourselves about.

  29. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for the fourth Irish referendum on divorce. I think that I will wait a long time. The first two gave the ‘wrong’ result and the third one gave the ‘right’ result.

    The Scottish referendum becomes more and more confused as the opposing positions converge. The Scot Nats want to keep Sterling, share a monarchy and gain EU membership on the nod. I’m a bit surprised about them loving the Queen. They have two alternatives – a descendant of the Jacobite Bonnie Prince Charlie pottering around in Austria (or is it Germany or Litchenstein?) and Sean ‘cojones’ Connery, whom they would need to summon back from California.

    Meanwhile the ‘No’ campaign gets ever more confused, a process accelerated by the contribution of Gordon Broon (Hoots mon, there’s a goose loose aboot this hoose). Gordon wants Holyrood to have powers to vary income tax within a specified limit but not airport tax, and to vary benefit levels. And this fiscal mish mash is meant to go with a common currency.

    Not to be outdone, our Prime Minister says that Scotland will get further powers if there is a ‘No’ vote, without saying what they will be. (They will do such things; what they are we know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth)

    Why don’t we keep the meaning of the vote simple? ‘Yes’ will lead to full independence, with no common currency, no shared monarchy and no defensive alliance. ‘No’ will lead to the cancellation of tax raising powers, convergence of English and Scottish Law, and Holyrood being confined to spending a revenue allocation on agreed areas of expenditure.

    • stred
      Posted March 27, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      Why can’t Scots born in Scotlend vote? Most of them are abroad and they only left because the Sassenachs were being so horrible to them.

  30. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    During the writing of this comment , My computer jumped off page as I got to the end of the comment 3 times.Will refrain now from flowing prose.
    I talked about Silvio Berlusconi, Mark Twain , Venice , Crimea, Rome and above all said. Don’t look back. Just a quick juxtaposition about fracking and sinking Venice /subsidence could bring more than the’ black death’
    Berlusconi ” By definition, as a Prime Minister, I cannot be a liar,”

  31. Terry
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Re the EU. United they stand, divided they fall.

    The fuhrers of Brussels know that just one domino needs to fall to bring down the whole facade of the U S of Europe and they will not let that happen. So, it’s up to us, the True Brits, to make that first move. Again. RIP EU, long live the Single Market.

  32. uanime5
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Subsequent historians have suggested the referendum was conducted under the watchful presence of the Italian military.

    The annexation was possible following the victory of Prussia over Austria, as Prussia was the newly united Italy’s powerful ally. Others say that swapping Austrian rule for Italian rule may have been the lesser of the evils at the time

    So basically we don’t know if this referendum was fair or why Venice wanted to be part of Italy rather than Austria. We also don’t know if there was universal suffrage or only wealthy men were allowed to vote.

    So why isn’t the EU welcoming the decision by many in Venice to hold its own recent referendum to see if people would like an independent Venice instead of staying with Italy

    Because this poll wasn’t approved of by the Italian government, just like Russia annexing Crimea isn’t approved of by the Ukrainian government.

    Why are they ignoring the substantial majority that has voted for an independent Venice in the unofficial referendum that has just been conducted, owing to the refusal of the Italian state to allow a legal referendum under Italian law?

    The same reason that unofficial polls are ignored by MPs in the UK. For example after IDS’ claim that he could live on £71 per week (the same amount jobs seekers are given) and a large number of people voted that he should have to live this way for a year he ignored this poll.

    John you shouldn’t company about other countries not being bound by unofficial referendums when Westminster also doesn’t consider itself bound by unofficial referendums.

    What will they and the Italian state do if Venice now follows the results of this v0te up by not forwarding tax revenues in future to the Italian state or takes other action to flex its muscles?

    Well since this referendum doesn’t give Venice the power to leave Italy any such action will be illegal under Italian law. This action is effectively the same as declaring your house an independent principality in order to avoid paying UK taxes, and just as unlikely to work.

    It appears once again that the EU picks and chooses which referenda to allow, and as we know is also often quite choosy about the results of any popular vote.

    It’s disapproving of the Venetian and Crimean referendums for the same reasons; because they’re not supported by the central government. By contrast the referendum in Scotland is supported by the central government.

    The EU can’t do much about the 1866 referendum because it happened several decades before the EU existed.

    • stred
      Posted March 27, 2014 at 12:57 am | Permalink

      Are you a computer?

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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