Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Day supporting In/Out vote since 1975

Issue of the day has to be Prime Minister's Europe speech. Seems he was right about 'tantric' approach. the consummation has been thunderous. He entered the chamber like a Roman gladiator to a rousing approval. Best welcome of this Parliament. Stirring stuff. No sign of any plotters tonight. While I support the decision David Cameron has taken today, I'm not joining in all this exuberance. The joyfulness is too good to last and I'm a touch nervous. Perhaps I'm just one of nature's cautious creatures. Let me use this blogpost explore the basis of my uncertainty.

Until today I've never supported an In/Out referendum - not since 1975 anyway. Have never been willing to back one while I felt the Prime Minister of the day was not willing to actually withdraw from the EU if the voters said No. Well, David Cameron satisfied me today that if its a popular No vote in 2017, its the divorce court for the EU and UK. So I've been willing to publicly support the referendum today. And while I'm not prepared to say which way I'll vote myself (its a few years too soon) I believe there will be a sufficiently successful renegotiation to persuade UK voters to decide to remain married. Worry I have is that the 'integrationists' will take it as a green light - as they did in 1975.

Perhaps I'm too influenced by 1975 - the first political event I took any interest in. I was a committed campaigner for an 'Out' vote. We had a 2-1 lead in the polls at start of the campaign - and went down to comprehensive defeat. I've consistently warned my Ukip friends and the like-minded to be careful what they wish for. Well they have their wish. It looks as if the 'Europe' issue is going to dominate the next general election. And if the Conservatives win, the negotiations will dominate the early years of the next parliament. Now that we've decided what's going to happen on the European front, perhaps we can focus 100% on repairing the public finances. That will matter a lot more to the voters in 2015. I sense there's a lot of turbulence ahead.

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