Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

David Davis Referendum Proposals

With the Eurosceptic Tory MPs flexing their muscles, David Davis, a former Europe minister, has set out proposals for a two-step referendum on the UK's membership of the EU by 2014. The first question would ask whether the public wanted to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and the second would ask whether any resulting new deal was good enough or whether Britain should quit Europe.

Whilst this seems a good idea on the surface it has too many snags as far as I am concerned.
Firstly, why does the Government need a referendum to renegotiate our relationship with the EU? Even a big majority in favour wouldn't strengthen their hand any more than a straightforward statement that they would hold an In/Out referendum following any negotiations. To me, the proposal would do little to advance the Eurosceptic cause and will simply waste time and money. Following this through, who would conduct the negotiations? Our representative in Brussels is very pro-EU, and Cameron only recently has reaffirmed his belief that he sees Britain's place as being within the EU. I don't think that I would trust any negotiatiors to get us the best deal unless they were led by such well known Eurosceptics such as Daniel Hannan or preferably Nigel Farrage!
My main objection to renegotiation is, however, that the General Public would not be able to understand the detailed implications of the new arrangements, just as they never understood how a European Trade Agreement somehow became the EU. Presumably, having negotiated the new arrangements, the Prime Minister of the day would support them as I simply can't see him returning from Brussels and saying "These were the best terms that I could get. I don't think they are good enough". No Prime Minister would admit defeat, we would have another "Chamberlain moment".

So it follows logically, that the government of the day, whether Labour or Tory, would support the new arrangements and urge that electors vote for the new agreement. I suspect that in this situation, with a large number of electors not fully understanding the detailed implications, the vote would be to stay in under the new terms on the basis that "we are assured they are better, let's give them a try" which is the usual generous British approach to such a situation.

No, as far as I am concerned we need an IN/OUT referendum now, not a postponing move.

In that David Davis would have been by choice as Tory leader, I am disappointed that he should put forward such a proposal which, far from simplifying the issues, merely postpones any real action and is likely to result us staying in the EU.

No comments:

Post a Comment