People are writing to this site complaining that I have reported the true figures for the European election results. You cannot get away from the fact that the main party established to propose immediate withdrawal from the EU only polled 17% of the votes. We know it has never won a seat and is unlikely to ever win a seat in a first past the post election to Westminster, so we know it can never deliver its promise of withdrawal. That requires the votes of at least 323 MPs. Now, two elections on, we know it cannot command anything like half of those voting in a PR election where people are meant to vote as they think and feel. Without overwhelming numbers it is not going to get its way.
Some write in to complain about my viewpoint. Often they are people who voted Yes in 1975, the last time the British people were offered a referendum on Europe. I voted “No” on that occasion. I voted “No” because I did not believe all those politicians and business leaders who told us we were voting for trade and friendship – things I do want. I read the Treaty. It seemed to me we were voting for a journey towards political union, inviting too much legislation, bossiness and expenditure along the way. I have not been surprised by what has happened next.
As a democract, I have felt obliged to accept the verdict of the British people in that referendum. I have also demanded referenda on Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, all Treaties which the Conservatives have opposed. I have interpreted the vote in 1975 as a vote for a “common market”, and have always since spoken in favour of remaining part of some such arrangement, whilst condemning the many moves to federal government and centralised power in other fields.
The Eurosceptic movement needs to unite to fight the European leviathan. Treating each European election as another opportunity to send a mesage to other Eurosceptics gives great comfort to the federalists. They are in a minority in the country, but they have enjoyed solid majorities in Westminster for the last twelve years. Are Eurosceptics ready to do anything about this yet? Or do they wish to remain fragmented and without the numbers to start to change things for the better?