Wednesday, June 06, 2012

An In/Out EU Referendum.

Doesn't happen often, but this morning a constituent engaged me in political discussion. He accusing me of being dominated by the 'whips' and not representing my constituents. Its true that I believe I have a responsibility to support my party in the lobbies. But I do not think this is contrary to the interests of  my constituents. I pointed out that its not possible to represent all of my constituents on all issues all of the time because they hold divided opinions. In any case, its not possible to know what is majority opinion. I then asked for an example of where I had voted contrary to what he (or I)  thought to be the right course as a result of pressure from the whips. It was then that we cut to the chase. It was all about an In/Out EU referendum.  I had not joined the 81 rebels who voted against the Government over such a referendum earlier this year. It rather surprised my constituent when I said I did not support an In/Out referendum because I think, at present, its a thoroughly bad idea. And that I thought the 81 rebels were wrong.

Actually I am thoroughly Eurosceptic. I would be content to support an In/Out referendum if the Government holding it committed to opening negotiations to withdraw if the 'Out' vote won. But I cannot support an In/Out vote if one of the two possible outcomes is likely to be ignored. Such a situation would lead to a massive loss of confidence in our system of democracy. In my discussions with Ukip friends over many years, I have explained that this is one of the two main reasons why I disagree with them.

The second reason I oppose an In/Out referendum has its roots in the 1975 vote on whether to stay in (the EEC in those days). I campaigned for an 'Out' vote then and we were routed.  It was the biggest 'green light' to European integration imaginable. I fear the same would happen again. Despite what many campaigners for a referendum claim, I believe the 'In' side would win - and if it did the inevitable result would be another 'green light' to integration. Another case of the result being the opposite of what's wished for. Anyway, I spent 30 minutes chatting to my constituent. I don't think we managed to persuade each other of much. But I thought it was a better debate than the one in the House of Commons.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you say it would be lost. For the UK as a whole, it's fairly clear that people want to be 'out'.

One thing I would be interested in is do you think there would be major differences between the countries of the UK? If so, do you think this could cause a problem for example if England said "no" but Wales said "yes".

taskermx said...

The Problem IS and always will be One of Information. The Govt of the Day and the EU have run a very good Propaganda War against Eurosceptics. Helped in no short measure by the BBC. When the Public get the REAL picture of what's going on they,In my experience want OUT!

mairede thomas said...

Too much is in flux in Europe just now to hold a sensible debate about whether we should opt out of the EU. The eurozone fiscal and monetary union issues need to be resolved and a workable plan for financial stability and prosperity for all EU countries needs to emerge. Only then can other legal issues of sovereignty be meaningfully addressed. I think the current Euro area is doomed. How Europe will cope with that is what we must focus on just now.

John Jones said...

To exit at this point like you say Glyn would create only more instability.

It cannot be right that we the UK have laws imposed on us from the EU when we have our own elected government, with all the failings that that involves. Then to have a further level of bureaucracy on top of that.
We have Welsh devolution as well the nation which voted by a ratio of 4:1 against devolution in 1979
Sorry to get this in, BUT the majority of the UK want wind power and its the minority that don't.
There does not seem to be such a thing called democracy, except for removing bad governments, and that can only be done after much damage has been done when it is to LATE !!!