Friday, 23 September 2011
Mark Reckless calls for EU referendum and support the LibDem manifesto
Basically he was calling for our pledge to take the EU to a referendum for the people to democratically say yes or no. [http://fb.me/18v0ppt7x]
This would normally be something I would agree with. It is an important thing for the nation to discuss seriously and their opinion needs to be heard.
There are two good reasons why it can't happen now.
1.) With the collapse of the Eurozone it is not a good time for a sensible, level headed debate. The British penchant for xenophobia - especially for our European cousins is always present but now it will be mixed with a certain amount of gloating that the Euro seems to have failed and that we were right and they were wrong. If we were to bail out of the EU now it would look like we were jumping off a sinking ship and should at a later time we decide to rejoin the EU we may be signing up under worse terms than if we stayed with. Also we are part of Europe geographically and we are all in the same economic crisis so shouldn't all of us work to sort it out? At the moment the German and French economies are doing most of the propping up, shouldn't we continue to help?
2.) I'm not sure such a referendum would be conducive to the administration of the Coalition. I know that both of our parties don't agree on everything and some things we are fundamentally against each other. The bitterly fought Yes/No Av Campaign caused serious problems between our two parties and any EU referendum would cause splits with in the Conservatives who are pro Europe vs. the old right. All of this would provide an unnecessary diversion at a critical time in the administration. Also it is expensive.
The "No 2 AV" campaign were quick to use people's prejudices, including public hatred of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrat party, to reach their aims. I'm pretty certain the debate would be fought using stereotypes and half truths that are easily believed, such as the Daily Mail's Straight Banana story. There are enough half truths and lies floating around that could easily be brought back to the surface and passed around mis-informing people and people are happy to believe misinformation. How quickly before flyers saying "This is what Hitler wanted - One Europe under Germany" start getting passed around?
One of the best articles on the EU appears in the "Orange Book." saying that the EU and parliament does need reforming and that it isn't perfect but it is a step forward, one that when it is perfected will work to the benefit of ALL the member states. Unfortunately this article was written by a former MEP, Nick Clegg which means that no one outside of the party will give it credence. Lets face it, he could write an essay on how to bring about world peace and fix the Ozone layer but how many people would read it or agree with him?
But who am I to say what is right and wrong? I am but one voice in society, and not even a loud voice, everyone is entitled to their opinion and say. Should a referendum take place I would vote the way I thought and encourage people to vote the same way but ultimately whatever the result I would respect it and get on with life. The same as I did after AV. If anything a referendum would be a case of "Put up and shut up" and we could finally get an answer rather than have this continuing struggle between two opposed ideologies with the vast swathe of people in the middle who are apathetic - I just don't think that this parliament is a good time to have it, wait until 2015 when, more likely one party is in power.