Referendum time?

Nick Clegg this morning on the Today programme wriggled and wriggled, faced with Sandra Gidley saying Lib Dems promised a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty in 2005 and should honour their pledge. He sounded even worse when the BBC managed to ask him if he would vote for a double referendum,dealing both with the Constitutional treaty and with In-Out.

Why can’t he bring himself to vote for that? Because he is Euro Clegg, and is petrified that the British people if ever given a vote on Europe will show how much they distrust federalist MPs like him. He wants to avoid a referendum at all costs.

So we now have this pathetic leader putting his own MPs on a three line whip to ABSTAIN! Worse still for him, a number of them will understand just how angry their voters are about their conduct, and will vote with the Conservatives for the referendum we all promised at the last election.

Lord what fools these mortals be! If you kept your word and said what you mean you wouldn’t get into these difficulties, Mr Clegg. Does he really think these contortions are the way to help restore faith in politicians?

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  1. Freeborn John
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Perhaps LibDem MPs should read the case for a referendum direct from their glorious leader here:

  2. Bert Rustle
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Why are so many UK politicians happy to divest themselves of even more powers of policy construction to the EU, whilst retaining responsibility for implementation? How long before the Electorate realise that the relation of Westminster to Brussels is beginning to resemble that of the Scottish and Welsh assemblies to Westminster?

    If UK politicians are not in politics to exercise power, then why are they in it? It appears to me that Peter Oborne's analysis The Triumph of the Political Class gives a plausible explanation.

    In my opinion Nick Clegg's performance will be rather sobering for LD supporters. Nick Clegg belittled the similarity of the Treaty versus the Constitution, which is falsifiable. Indeed, since there are virtually no difference between the two, let's just call it the Constitreaty! This is what Andrew Ayres has dubbed it over at his site — a site where you can auto-compare the two documents side-by-side — word-by-word.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Clegg has shown that when it comes to a choice between the democratic rights of the British people and the endless transfer of power to the unelected EU he will choose to support his friends in Brussels every time. He thinks that by abstaining he will avoid the electoral damage which must surely follow this betrayal of the British people. This just shows his lack of judgement and deceitfulness. There is a possibility that if the Liberal Democrats (shouldn't they be made to delete the second word of their name?)
    voted with you and principled Labour MPs that the election pledge you all made could be honoured. By abstaining he actually puts himself in the spotlight. If there were a referendum then all those, like Clegg, who want this country's powers of self-determination to be further subsumed by the political class of the EU would have the opportunity to put their case to the people. He chooses not to do this for fear of losing the argument. Why should anyone trust any Party or MP who votes against the referendum, which they promised in their 2005 election manifesto, but which can now be seen as a dishonest ploy to get elected?

  4. Rose
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    And he says he wants to lead a complete revolution in which power is restored to real people!

  5. Rosemary
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    It would be a good idea if we all copied and pasted this article to our respective MPS (to avoid the Brown IT control freakery) and asked them what they intend to do on our behalf.

  6. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    According to Ken Clarke today in Parliamant, countries like Norway and Iceland are "associated" to the EU but are not members. Can you explain exactly what this means?

  7. Puncheon
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    With reference to Rosemary's message above can I say that I tried to send an e-mail to my MP urging him to honour his Party's promise to hold a referendum,but it was bounced back as undeliverable. This confirms my suspicion that Labour is a totally dictatorial party who do not wish to hear any voices of dissent. I come from three generations of Labour voters but I'll never vote for them again, they have been taken over by the media/marxist/fascists.

  8. mikestallard
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    And please can you explain what that means to Mr Cameron too?

    Did you see the wretched Mr Clegg on Newsnight last night? Hilarious. He really looked like a naughty schoolboy in the head's office for a beating. Jeremy Paxman delighted in every lovely moment.
    And so did I!

  9. niconoclast
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I am still trying to work out why a referendum on UK membership of the EU is a bad thing and why we are villifying the liberals for proposing it. One thing the last 24 hours have surely proven is that we cannot trust Parliament to get us out of this mess.

    The Conservatives are constantly fighting a rear guard action on the EU,debating the layout of the deckchairs on the EU Titanic whilst it is sinking fast.Are they merely embarrassed that the liberals have exposed their precarious and untenable position on the EU?

    I want a vote on UK membership on the EU and I can assure you that a vast majority of Conservative voters do too.

  10. Rose
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Stuart, perhaps Norway and Iceland have the status vis a vis the EU that France has within NATO – i.e. allowed to dine a la carte, at very reduced, not increased, rates, and with no obligation – as we should be doing ourselves had we any sense. We should remind ourselves, too, of the case of Greenland. Norway has prospered hugely outside the EU, despite being only 4 millions, and Iceland is doing well enough now to attract black propaganda against her on Channel 4. (Jersey would no doubt sympathise.) That is the problem with going it alone successfully – you attract envy and hostility from the wolf who has lost his tail.

  11. David Eyles
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I think what Ken Clarke means is that Norway, Iceland and Switzerland all trade with the EU, but are not part of it. Their trade with the EU is sometimes governed by EU regulations, in the same way as our trade with the US has to comply with their rules. I think this causes some irritation amonst Norwegian farmers for instance, but in general, the Norwegians stayed out because they saw what happened to our fishing industry – and very sensible they were too.

    Just for the sake of interest, the following figures for GDP per capita, in US dollars, are from the 2006 Index of Economic Freedom:

    UK: 26,391
    France: 22,723
    Germany: 23,002
    Italy: 18,932
    Ireland: 28,762
    The Netherlands: 23,319
    Denmark: 30,828

    Average per capita income: 24,851

    And the figures for the three non-EU countries mentioned above:

    Iceland: 32,758
    Norway: 39,259
    Switzerland: 34, 369

    Average: 35,462

    I realise that you can do anything with statistics, especially as I have chosen only seven of the largest players in the EU, but the differences between my selection and those European countries outside the EU seem to me to be significant.

    I think the moral is that trade is good and political control is bad.

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  • […] Lord what fools these mortals be! If you kept your word and said what you mean you wouldn’t get into these difficulties, Mr Clegg. Does he really think these contortions are the way to help restore faith in politicians? – John Redwood […]

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    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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