29 July 2007

Conservatives set to fund private EU referendum?

I think this is a great idea. The Government promised a referendum and have now backed off.

Not only is it something that might capture the imagination, it would be a step towards David Cameron reinforcing his credentials as an EU sceptic; it might also help to shore up support from some of the dissafected grass roots.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I posted this on the petition page of the Daily telegraph's website on June 26, 2007 1:02 PM :

"Yes (to a referendum), and in the best traditions of the centre-right, I am in favour of taking the initiative and privatising the entire referendum process. Let's look at the benefits of the privately-organised route:

1. We decide what the question on the ballot paper will be. There will be no game-playing with the wording. We can avoid the predictable “Do you consider that saying no to the wonderfully enlightened and progressive constitution will condemn the UK to third-world status and bring pestilence-famine-war.” etc. etc. The question will be neutral but with one important twist: we will be the ‘Yes’ side and the Europhiles will be the ‘No’ side. We all know that voters prefer psychologically to affirm the status quo because it is positive, so we can neatly sidestep the risks of being the negative ‘No’ side.

2. We decide how many choices there are on the ballot paper. There will be no deceptions here - only one anti-constitution option and two or more pro-constitution options etc.

3. We decide the timing. Let’s maximise the inconvenience to Gordon Brown and do it when it will hurt him most. I suggest striking while the issue is still hot, but some people will argue for doing this in the run-up to a general election to really damage him. One thing is certain, though: we can’t wait until post-ratification when the constitution will become part of the status quo. We fell for this ‘affirmation of the status quo’ tactic in our last referendum in 1975.

3. We take greater control of the funding for the anti-constitution side. I am sure the funds for this vote could be raised quite easily if we put our minds to it. The biggest component of a state-sponsored vote would have been the three main parties preening themselves in expensive broadcasts and adverts anyway, so that kind of expenditure can easily be cut. We can also avoid the disadvantage of being outspent by the EU-financed main parties. Even if the Tories were anti-constitution (and there is reason to doubt they will be whole-hearted in their opposition) that still leaves Labour, LibDem and the nationalist parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the pro- constitution side, all of which will get equal amounts of funding, leaving the anti-constitution side outspent!

4. We decide what constitutes a winning majority – a 65% majority, in my opinion. A simple majority is just not enough to carry a motion of this importance.

5. We decide which electoral roll to use. This is important if you bear in mind the current state of the Union, a time when England has no real say over what happens in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. I for one would find it impossible to take if England voted no by a small majority but the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish voted yes overwhelmingly. This is a realistic possibility because those countries are net recipients of EU funds and are generally more susceptible to being bribed with other people’s money. Separate referenda are now appropriate.

6. We decide how many referendums to have on this issue: one only. We will not allow the result to be ignored like the Dutch and the French, and we will not be forced to keep voting until we come up with the right answer like the Irish and Danes.

Conclusion: the absence of a state-organised referendum is a God-send. We will deal with this matter ourselves and not wait for the state to do it for us. I see no reason to entrust the management of a referendum to a government as dishonest as this one.

Let’s exclude the lazy, incompetent, corrupt, self-serving and biased government. They are just the London branch of Brussels now and any pretence of government neutrality would have evaporated as soon as they started losing anyway.

Let’s exclude opportunists like Cameron with their pathetic lukewarm ‘In Europe, but not run by Europe’ scepticism.

Above all: let’s exclude the interfering EU from OUR referendum.

Posted by John on June 26, 2007 1:02 PM"

8:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home