Thursday, 16 May 2013

EU vote - my two cents

Last night MPs voted on trying to bring forward an in/out referendum for the UK's EU membership however
they lost 270-130 as Labour and the LibDems voted against.

Already the tribal party politics has begun.

Even during yesterday's (D)PMQs, Conservative backbenchers tried to label Mr Clegg a hypocrite for pledging for a referendum in 2008 and 2010. On every turn he repeated the party line - which is clear in the 2010 manifesto - Like Nick I've read it, though not wrote any;

The Liberal Democrats will push for a referendum if there is any significant treaty changes that will effect the UK (Not a direct quote)

This seems fairly inevitable as the crisis in the Eurozone continues and even Germany feels the pinch.

Indeed the 2008 leaflet calling for a referendum was when Gordon Brown threw powers away in the Lisbon treaty. Since then we've stuck to the position of referendum when next there is a treaty change.

Europe has always been rightly or wrongly an obsession for elements of the Conservative party and I remember it being a severe problem for John Major's administration and helping to bring it down.

Now it looks like the party is rupturing again. The small number of hardcore MPs is growing but why?

It could be put down to a couple of reasons.

1. The rise of UKIP, especially after the last round of local elections, Conservatives are worrying about their supporters. Further to that the best way to take the wind out of their sails is to hold a referendum.

2. Sort of linked to the last point is the right wing worried that the Conservative party have drifted too centrist and given too many concessions to the Liberal Democrats. Where as support is leeching to UKIP there are those members who are loyal to the Conservative party and want to bring their party back.

David Cameron denies it being a serious problem from the other side of the Atlantic.

Labour are already attacking the Tories for having their priorities straight. Tackling issues that effect everyone like taxation, living standards, fuel prices to name but a few. I tend to agree - as do the Liberal Democrats which is why we are waiting for the "Inevitable" treaty change.

This Conservative obsession could, as it has in the past, cause a detrimental distraction at a vital moment.

I should just say that I am pro referendum on Europe but Pro Europe - much to the horror of some of my family!

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