« Smaller and better means large savings | Main | A Stiffy Arrives - So I'll Make the Most of It »

The Referendum We Need

A referendum, Prime Minister? Why not start with Europe? – Telegraph Blogs

As my old history tutor at Oriel used to say, the differences between Tory and Whig are nowadays so minor that they can be deferred to beyond the grave.
Tories and Whigs agree, for example, about the EU. The Tory sees in Brussels a Jacobin assault on old and trusted institutions, a levelling scheme that turns the Queen into an EU citizen, a destroyer of local particularisms. The Whig sees a plot against personal freedom, a menace to parliamentary supremacy, a shift in power from elected representatives to appointed placemen. Both feel in their bones that they are dealing with something un-British.

By all means have a referendum on the Lords. Have a referendum on the voting system. Have referendums on devolution, on tax levels, on antidisestablishmentarianism. Plebiscites are always and everywhere a good thing, serving to remind politicians that they work for everyone else. But let’s start with the most important issue: whether we want to live in an independent nation.


A referendum? Odd: I remember when the residents of Gibraltar decided to have a non-binding referendum on `sharing` sovereignty with Spain, Jack Straw called such an idea "undemocratic." Vote? Even a gesture-only one? Never!

As one of HM's happy Canadian subjects who has also lived in the UK and Europe, it has always puzzled me why the EU had to become anything more than a common market union (a perfectly good idea in itself).

We have the North American Free Trade Agreement over here with the US and Mexico which, despite the inevitable ups and downs, bumps along quite well without buggering around with anybody's national sovereignty.

Post a comment