Friday, 23 March 2012

Labour Flogging a dead horse on Referendum

This is of course my opinion and not necessarily the view of the Medway Libdems...

Some may have seen the Twittersphere alight this morning with a somewhat heated discussion on the notion of Boris Island between Cllr Osborne and myself.

Well it dented my pool of calm and forced me to abandon my book (A clash of Kings by George R R Martin if anyone is interested.) and focus my thoughts on this.

First I should illuminate - A while ago Medway Labour put forward the notion of holding a local referendum on Popular opinion over Boris Island at a Full Council Meeting. As I understand from tweets from observers, what had been a well argued point became a bit of an Anti Tory rant by Cllr Osborne.

That aside the Council took a vote.

For the Referendum... Labour

Against the Referendum... Conservatives
                                        Independent Group
                                        Liberal Democrats.

Motion Failed.

Democracy is fickle and sometimes people vote against clearly good ideas i.e. AV...

But you have to respect the decisions however much you disagree.
I still believe the Government sale of Oregon was wrong. I believe the treaty with France rather than Germany before World War One was a mistake and I still believe AV is a better system than FPTP But I don't harp on  about it.

The fact is a referendum would have no effect what so ever.

To quote one a tweet from this morning:- Let People say No and send a mssg (sic) to Cam and Clegg. No means No.

Well let us examine this...

Firstly, Clegg has already said No. In fact the Liberal Democrat and Green Parties are the only two parties that have been consistent in their stance against the whole project in Parliament.

Secondly, should the Medway Messenger's headline from the other week about George Osborne's email inbox being filled with "No" emails, coupled with the letter to Justine Greening by the Council, Opinion in the local press, the representations from the three elected MPs to the Minister... I fail to see how a referendum would add to these.
A Government willing to ignore all these Representations would also clearly ignore a referendum. Clearly the local opinion as a whole is "No" already?

Also Local Opinion won't matter if National outweighs it. After all if You were Prime Minister and a project needed to go through would you side with the many or the few?

Let's be honest...

This is then added to the Environmental impact, the fact the Thames Estuary area is being protected by the Government. Could they quickly then ignore that?

Finally... I revert back to the Yellow Nosed bastard points mentioned here and here (which still haven't been answered by the way) and to the question left unanswered from this morning...


The Medway tax payer is already facing service cuts, including to Elderly care, sure start emergency funds cut, they cannot be asked to have their already stretched money spent answering the question we already claim to know the answer to and tell the Government yet again something we've already told them several times...
I don't think you could justify the expense. If there is another source for the money then please answer the question....

The motion failed, the Council can't justify the expense, everyone knows local opposition to it, let it go.


  1. A suggestion would be to piggy-back of an existing election. Adding the referendum vote to the Police Commissioner vote would effectively reduce any duplication of staffing during day.

    It would cost to hold staff back for counting for perhaps an additional hour. The spin on cost is exactly that; someone in the press office has taken the No-to-AV costings it would appear and is using that as a figure. A stand-alone election would cost £250k maybe. It need not be stand-alone.

    What is the problem with direct democracy on something like this; this will irrevocably alter the very nature of our towns. This is exactly the sort of thing the public should be allowed to have a direct-say over.

    No one directly voted on the airport in 2011 and the desperate and shrill arguments coming from you lot on the Council merely expose your position as being out-of-touch; not only with pro-airport people but anti-airport people who know they can and will win (on all polls undertaken) and send a message to Cameron and Clegg.

    1. Have the public not already spoken? Do they need to speak if their representitives who, presumably, have already spoken to their constiteunts during their Councillor duties are already telling Government that?

      I redirect you to paragraph beginning with "Secondly"

      Also I'm not on the Council (yet) so I don't get your point about "You lot on the Council." and as I've clearly stated... Clegg already agrees with the No campaign so why bother him on it???

  2. All very sensible and sound; but local Labour have already given away the reality that the issue itself is of little interest to them.

    Its only use for them is as a party political weapon 9as their comments, leaflets and doorstep activity have demonstrated beyond even a hint of doubt) and anything that contributes to that they will pursue regardless.

    That is the ONLY thing that matters to them, and explains (for example) why they suddenly had a load of out-of-area Labour campaigners come here recently to aid in that (entirely party political) campaign against what they have always called the "Tory airport".

    The clues were there all along...

  3. I've put this in a separate comment to allow you and your readers to digest all that first.

    Now, another big clue: local Labour did none of this, referendum or otherwise, when it was Blair and Darling's project a decade ago.


  4. A referendum is the only way to catergorically establish the "no" position of people in Medway.

    Yes there is a concern that the majority may say "yes" but that is not a legitimate reason to deny people their say.

    The Tory notion in Medway that their council-election victory served as a no-vote to the airport is comical as all parties opposed this airport, so therefore by the Tory rationale every single voter for the major parties is in the no-airport camp. Rubbish.

    Personally I believe the Conservatives have a bit of an agenda, perhaps they are paying lip-service to opposition to maintain goodwill amongst their members whilst harbouring the knowledge that their National colleagues will do exactly as they please and that inevitably they will have to fall into line with Cameron and co.

    Yes Clegg opposes, but he is irrelevant really as the way the Lib-Dems have folded and abandoned an awful lot of policy, and indeed principle, shows.