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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?” - the Tories publish their EU Referendum Bill

The Conservative Party has just published its EU Referendum Bill which would provide for a referendum before 31 December 2017.

The Question will be:
“Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?”
Doesn't get more straightforward than that. It'll presumably be an In/Out referendum on the existing (reformed) terms when the vote takes place.

Some observations:
  • Some have suggested that the question is biased towards a "Yes", as it entails "think" rather than a simple "should the UK..."
  • For the referendum to take place, there still would need to be a further vote in both Houses of Parliament after the next election (even if hypothetically, the Bill would pass in this Parliament). So the Bill could still be subject to future Coalition politics and Lords opposition. This is the relevant section:
"An order under this section may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament"
  • It is far shorter than the only precedents, Labour's ill-fated 2004 Referendum Bill or the Conservatives' last Bill. This is because more issues are left to subordinate legislation. Either this Bill will need amending during its passage through Parliament or detailed legislation on issues such as election spending and BBC immpartiality will be required at some point.
  • To get this Bill through the Lords, either now or in the future, would require either a) majority (unlikely now as the Lords have a Lib Dem / Labour majority, but may look completely different after 2015 elections) b) a manifesto commitment to allow the Salisbury Convention to be invoked or c) time to use the Parliament Act
Curiously, we note that Gibraltarians have been excluded from voting in this referendum...


Anonymous said...

After seeing my local community smashed by 'out-of-control' immigration and the local people ethnically cleansed from the town of their birth, I just want OUT.

Ongoing UK governments are not clever enough or strong enough to look after the locals when they have to face up to the EU. In short, we in Ealing, West London do not trust you.

I cannot wait another 4 years to get what should have been coming to us (i.e. my referendum) years ago.

By the time that these 4 long years come, we shall have had the Bulgarians and Romanians enter and the political elite of Europe will have completed their coup d'etat.

I am educated and in a good job but have had enough. I am ready for violent protest and see it as the only way that the powers that be will listen.

The time for a Referendum is NOW.

Monima O'Connor said...

Out. Tomorrow.

Alan Trench said...

The bill is absurdly short, to the point where it would barely work if enacted. It's the bill version of a probing amendment, not a serious proposal for legislation.

Rik said...

Effectively a non-issue, only for the homecrowd.
Some remarks.

1. Nice and simple with a deadline in it.
The latter being a good thing. It takes effectively from the point of political uncertainty and people's patience much too long. But there is hardly another alternative, at least I donot see one.
A referendum now will never get approved and if will end in a pro reneg vote (seen the polls). Plus whatever the outcome of such referendum would be the IPs would still not shut up. Any reneg results would be disappointing for them anyway (whatever the outcome) and the whole circus starts again.
This should not end up as Quebec.
They have to be shut up in the only credible way possible that is via a In/Out referendum after the by a majority wanted reneg has had its chance. All cards on the table , now make the decision. And if it is an out (probably when the reneg results are disappointing), so be it.
But anyway the UK would have a platform for longer term policies either in a revised EU or outside of it.

2. Probably as PR event itself not that bad for Cameron. It simply makes the referendum proposal in total more credible (from the Conservatives side). If he would have suggested it himself as it is likely to fail it would have raised far more doubts.
Not great for his credibility, because of the way it was done.

3. Initiative. Cameron started way too late with this anyhow, but he doesnot make real efforts to get the initiative in this. And now others determine the agenda.
Which clearly undermines his position.
First probably within the own ranks. UKip voters effectively can first be adressed when the Conservatives are one alternative not 3 or 4 as now.
Make a plan with the backbenchers a most is simply pre-determined anyway. In/Out after reneg next term etc., look the only realisic options anyway. MPs are not complete morons. Basically a plan to speak with one voice.
After that go to the UKip voter base: 'yes we understand your ideas even have sympathy for it but we live in a democratic land and you will never get a majority for them. The UK wants first a reneg before an In/Out referendum.
So take the best realistic option or likely end up with Labour or even worse Messrs Ed's Labour'. Eat half a cake or only look at a complete one but never even take a bite.

3. Re the EU. Works basically great. However imho he should put a bit more pressure on them. They likely make more mistakes. Or better let the backbenchers or Ip do that, like now.
Simply the 'Wilders gambite', attack them on some real problems and get all sorts of PR garbage (for them) as reaction. Like people should not vote on that, or the EU works just fine, of course the EU should spend more money and of course the UK should accept more immigrants (preferably economically useless ones).
As a media event this attracts too little attention in the rest of the EU. The population there is your ally more than the politicians. EU is on the way down and will remain doing that unless the problems are solved (nothing indicates that). First with the voter, after that with the MSM and politicians. Re the voters they looked to be close to the turning point. If that remains that way somewhat longer term it becomes a given.
And with a headline media event; top of the political agenda; long term (over several elections); determining voter behaviour there is only one outcome.

4. Cameron should move the pressure from him to other parties. he does basically what the majority wants and still get all the Flak. While others eg Mr Ed make a much bigger mess of it and get away with it. Politically not cleverly played.
Attack them on democracy (useful towards the EU as well). 15-20% of the electorate want that different fronm the current EU/Labour line. Simply only on the way voters are kept out. Would be highly surprising if these were all Conservatives (more likely LibDems and centralist labour voters would be my guess).

Rollo said...

No one could "think" that we should stay in the EU; anyone who thought would be for getting out. Unfortunately their are many in high places who believe we should subjugate ourselves to an unelected foreign power. But to believe; and to think: these are not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

O eleitorado Birtânico irá dizer o sim há Europa

Rik said...

It perfectly does its job. If there is (after the reneg) an in, nothing has to be done.
If there is an out, art 50 should be started up.

Referenda should be simple: yes or no; in or out; approve or not, it does this perfectly well.

Freedom Lover said...

It's all about buying time, so that some new wheeze - anything will probably do - can be found by Cameron & his clique before 2017 to avoid an In/Out referendum if it looks like the "Outers" will win, or to allow it if (though this is very unlikely) the euro-philes are the strong favourites.

The only way we can be sure that a genuine choice will be available is if Article 50 (the leave the EU clause) of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked, & then the ensuing negotiations are conducted by those particular UK officials who are quite prepared, if necessary, to see the negotiations fail - & who will then be prepared to report that this is what has happened, if in fact they have genuinely failed. Meanwhile, to get things going, & to bring all this tedious government-inspired prevaricating to an end, Article 50 should be invoked NOW!

Anonymous said...

"Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?”

Too long.

This is better -- less wishy washy:

"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”

Hugo Miller said...

This is merely an opinion poll question. It signifies nothing.If the answer is 'no' what happens then? It doesn't commit the govt to anything at all. The govt could simply say 'ok, we'll work on it'. Five years later they could still be 'working on it'. Nothing will have changed. And that's after the five year wait for the referendum itself (which gives them five years to figure out how to rig the vote).

RolloMarc said...

Great! Then, a few more years, and Tories can finally propose a referendum for the UK to become the US´s 51st state.