Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Being careful about what you wish for

Politicians love to fool us or themselves by taking a position and then assuming things will go the way they plan. Take the so called leading EUskeptic Douglas Carswell and his call for a referendum on the EU caused no doubt by Cameron's acceptance of the non treaty he did not block by his non veto back in November.
The Prime Minister is facing a revolt among Tory MPs over the “circumventing” of his veto which blocked a new EU treaty to deepen further fiscal union among eurozone countries at a summit last month.
Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, said: “It looks like the veto has fallen apart ... we are back to ministers and mandarins cutting deals in Brussels and shutting the interests of the British people out."
Some Tory MPs were due to meet in Westminster to decide how to how to make clear their unhappiness ahead Mr Cameron's statement to the Commons.
Mr Carswell said a referendum on Britain's place in the EU was necessary.
"What happened yesterday was final proof that we cannot trust politicians to make Europe policy. We now need a referendum," he said. 
The problem is of course is that the EU cannot be trusted on referenda, they'll either keep asking until they get the answer they want as they did with Ireland or they'll stack the deck against the answer they don't want as they have with Croatia where the normal requirement for a 50% turnout threshold was abolished. The government gave money for the Yes campaign but not the No campaign. Their post office gave out Yes leaflets free, but not No leaflets. There were also free or discounted TV and radio Yes advertisements due to the largely German-owned media who campaigned for a Yes vote.
Even before the campaign started their Ministry of Foreign Affairs had paid for advertisements and one of their Ministers stated that pensioners could lose their pensions in the event of a No vote.
The campaign itself was limited to four weeks in midwinter (including the Christmas holidays) and at the end of it the vote split 66% Yes, 33% No on a 43% turnout. (H/T Norman Tebbit)

Anyone think it would be different here particularly with a well funded EUphile minority in Westminster?
Unless the EU is kept out of funding a stay in campaign (almost impossible they could claim an interest) then a leave campaign will face an uphill task to make up ground though admittedly there would be a slightly more friendly dead tree press to highlight any really over the top shenanigans though you could lay money on the BBC being so pro stay that would balance out the equation. There's a strong possibility that the Trade Unions will throw their weight into a stay in campaign as well.

You could also lay money on the question asked being highly controversial somewhat along the lines of "Do you wish to remain in the EU with all the benefits to the UK that this brings" or "Do you wish for the UK to struggle alone in a hostile world" exaggerated yes, but you can bet the question will be something along those lines.
We should always bear in mind that the only way the EUphiles will allow a referendum is if they think they'll win.
Douglass Carswell and others in favour of a referendum on the EU should be very careful about what they wish for.

2 annotations:

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Been saying this for yonks QM, ie, the need for a level playing field.

There won't be one so I am against any referendum and you just watch the People's Plege referenda get 'interfered with' too!

Barman said...


We should avoid the referendum now that we are so close to the whole thing collapsing on its own...