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Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

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Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Wed May 29, 2013 1:16 pm

David Cameron is running scared of the Tory Party hemorrhaging votes to UKIP at the next election, so he dances to the tune of Nigel Farage and has proposed a referendum in 2017 on our continued membership of the EU. Should Ed Miliband follow suit, or should he keep out of this squabble between those on the right in politics? If Labour opposes a referendum, does that make it undemocratic?

Switzerland is one of the few countries to practise direct democracy. If you collect 100,000 signatures, a national referendum must be held. However, the usual way of doing things in Western 'democracies' is to send someone to the legislature to represent you.

Opinion polls invariably show that, if offered a say on any issue, the voters always favour it. Yet only 7% of UK voters regard the EU as “one of the most important issues”, so why have a referendum on that? Why not have one instead on an issue which is considered very important by most people – the NHS?

In 1973, the Tories took the UK into what was then the EEC without a referendum. Labour held one two years later and that confirmed support for our membership by a ratio of 2:1. Some will argue that nobody under the age of 56 has been asked whether they want the UK to be in this European club. I would reply that nobody of any age has ever been asked whether they want a hereditary head of state, or whether they approve of the unification of England in 1066. We haven’t even been asked whether we would like a voting system based on proportional representation; the ‘choice’ we were given in 2011 didn’t include that. So where does it end? Do we have a referendum next month on capital punishment, and one the following month on foxhunting, and another the month after on smoking in public places? If so, why do we elect MPs and pay them good salaries and very generous expenses if they’re not going to make decisions on our behalf; is it undemocratic to expect them to do so?

You can argue that it’s undemocratic for this government to be in office. 64% of those who voted didn’t want the Tories, and we’ve ended up with the most vicious and most right-wing regime of modern times, kept in power by a party which campaigned on a left-wing manifesto. Where was this government’s mandate to fix the term of the parliament at five years? Where was the mandate to privatise the NHS? What gave the Lib Dems the right to break their pledges (not just promises) on tuition fees?

Most opposition to our membership of the EU is superficial and largely based on ignorance arising from the negativity of much of the tabloid press. Rupert Murdoch is against the EU, possibly because he wants to avoid the regulation of his media empire from Brussels. Right-wing Tories and UKIP want to leave the EU so that it becomes easier to scrap employment rights and protect the privileges and bonuses of City bankers. To promise a referendum in 2017 on our continuing membership of the EU is crass stupidity, a move designed only to save Cameron’s skin in the short term. It creates uncertainty, one of the last things that businessmen like, and it may prevent investment in this country as a result.

Referendums are traditionally favoured by dictators; Hitler used them as a way of maintaining the illusion that democratic processes were still at work in Germany. They undermine representative democracy and grossly simplify complex decisions. They allow populist politicians to sidestep complex issues and concentrate on scaremongering. Voters bemused by complex EU issues use referendums for protest votes against the government of the day. Fears of Polish plumbers dominated France’s 2005 rejection of the European Constitution, while abortion loomed large in Ireland’s 2008 ‘no’ vote on Lisbon, even though the treaty had nothing to say about it.

Critics of the referendum argue that voters are more likely driven by transient whims than careful deliberation, or that they are not sufficiently informed to make decisions on complicated or technical issues. Would you ask José Manuel Barroso to fix your car, Mario Monti to do you a perm, or Angela Merkel to fill your root canal? So why ask mechanics, hairstylists, or dentists to do the highly complex work of running the EU? The man or woman in the street has neither the time nor the inclination to read hundreds of pages on permanent structured co-operation or fiscal compacts, so why ask them to make the decisions? Isn’t that what we pay politicians to do?

Chris Patten, a former Tory minister and now Chairman of the BBC Trust, said in 2003: “I think referendums are fundamentally anti-democratic in our system and I wouldn't have anything to do with them. On the whole, governments only concede them when governments are weak.” Weak certainly sums up the spineless Cameron, who doesn’t have the guts to stand up to the rabid right and the nonsense that is UKIP. As George Eaton has written for ‘The New Statesman’: “The more time the Conservatives spend ‘banging on’ about Europe, the less time they spend talking about the issues - the economy, jobs, housing, public services - that might actually help them win the next election. For this reason, among others, Ed Miliband has been right not to match Cameron's pledge of an in/out referendum. To do so now would be an act of supreme political weakness.”

Sources:-

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/05/tories-have-descended-madness-europe-labour-should-leave-them-it

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendum
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed May 29, 2013 5:42 pm

Democracy in the abstract may assume that every affected person will have spoken on the topic under consideration, but Britain operates a less cumbersome Delegate system.

MP's already have the mandate to vote on our behalf, so where is the logic in trying to second-guess that arrangement?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:07 pm

It's quite clear to me that the discussion of a referendum is a smoke screen for other issues the government wants us to not notice (the dismantling of the NHS and state education system, the selling off of all our national resources, the corrupt profiteering of certain members of government and their friends)

It's also quite clear to me that knowing enough about the EU to make a sensible vote on the topic would be a full-time job, and one I have neither the time not the inclination to take on - after all, I pay several hundred supposedly politically astute representatives in parliament to investigate, debate, and ultimately decide on these large issues of national interest. I suspect that offering a referendum is indeed a sign of incompetence on the part of the government - they don't actually know what to do, and they don't want to be blamed if everything goes wrong.

Personally, with the EU, the NHS, education, benefits and most of the public services, I was for keeping the status quo, at least until we have weathered the recession.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:26 pm

"they don't actually know what to do, and they don't want to be blamed if everything goes wrong."

Surely you can't think that Cameron isn't capable of making a decision. In the past three years he's reversed dozens of them.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:19 pm

Maybe he's become unnerved because he's had to reverse so many?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:53 am

David Cameron is a tactician and an appeaser rather than a strategist, and expediency is one of his key tactics for securing short term advantage. He won the Tory Party leadership by promising his Europhobes to split from the Centre Right European People's Party in the European Parliament. Good for him, but it left the UK isolated and in cahoots with some unsavoury types in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. The announcement of a referendum on changes to UK's relationship with EU to be negotiated by Cameron is in the same bracket. It wasn't primarily about the national interest, but about shoring up Cameron's increasingly precarious leadership of his party. This doesn't appear to have worked, of course. But there is no reason why the Labour Party should feel obliged to follow Cameron's expediency-driven course. Instead, it should argue that the way forward for UK's relationship with EU is to intensify engagement with and within its institutions and with other EU member states with a view to developing the EU towards progressive, democratic and economically sound goals. Labour should also point out repeatedly that signing up to a referendum of this sort in times of serious economic difficulty undermines business confidence and could well scare off inward investors and thereby reduce the prospects of job generation. In short, Labour has the chance here to show it is led by someone who is a strategist who puts the nation's interests before his own and is able to argue a sound case for this course of action.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by tlttf on Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:07 am

I guess it's safe to assume your all for Europe then David, even though it's proving to be uneconomical to stay in unless we join the euro and want to join the political dream of a united Europe which is a utopian dream that can never be realised. What's wrong with simply staying as a trading partner?

Cashpoint card snatches treble: Romanian crime gangs responsible for 92% of thefts from cash machines, police believe

Number of thefts carried out by cashpoints has trebled in the past year
Police intelligence suggests 90 per cent are linked to Romanian immigrants
Cost of card fraud expected to total £400million by the end of this year
7,572 cash machine card thefts in first four months of 2013 - up from just 2,553 in the same period last year

This is what we get from the EU at present!!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2337158/Cashpoint-card-snatches-treble-Romanian-crime-gangs-responsible-92-thefts-cash-machines-police-believe.html




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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:52 am


David, Thanks for a thoughtful and informed response to the topic.
I do agree with you, and really hope someone in Labour sees the opportunity for what it is.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:04 pm

David Head. Welcome to Cutting Edge, and thank you for that thoughtful and reasoned post on an EU referendum. I hope it will be the first of many contributions from you.

Unfortunately, some of our UKIP friends are not capable of replying in the same manner and can only resort to cutting and pasting near-racist tabloid innuendo. Scrape up a couple of anecdotes, quote what a policeman “believes”, and lo and behold, the entire population of Romania are by implication villains, so we’d better not let any more of them come here. It’s just a pity that those who can neither think, nor see further than the end of their noses, treat such rubbish as cast-iron facts and try to twist it into a valid reason for leaving the EU.

Norfolk has a large number of East European residents and one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Why doesn't 'The Daily Mail' explain that?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:07 pm

Labour is the antithesis of UKIP. Can there still be people who might not understand that to be the case? The next General Election is shaping up to be a referendum in effect, although there are several more pressing topics that should concern the voters.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by tlttf on Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:09 pm

Thanks for the accolade Ivan, yes I'm against a united Europe, what's the problem with that. I've answered David in the 1st paragraph, I haven't abused his version of facts simply added another piece to it, showing what Europe does for us, please read the following that shows the EU's version of democracy and note that only 4 out of 27 Countries wanted it.

Over the years, Brussels has become adept at dishing out heavy-handed and often disproportionate pan-EU ‘solutions’ to problems that are very often not problems for the majority of Member States. It’s at it again, this time on a proposal that would decimate the solar power industry in Britain.

This country and many of its European neighbours rely on the low cost of imports to keep the solar power sector afloat. But the European Commission is pushing ahead with a plan to slap punitive duties on the import of Chinese solar panels. This is despite a grand total of just 4 out of 27 member states voting for the tariffs and is proof-positive of the case for serious change to the way Brussels does business – and the way we do business with Brussels.


http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/06/brussels-continues-to-prioritise-politics-over-economics/

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:10 pm

showing what Europe does for us
tlttf. You haven’t done anything of the sort! A story about Romanian gangsters has nothing whatsoever to do with “what Europe does for us” (assuming that by ‘Europe’ you’re still talking about the EU). Romanians don’t even have the automatic right of residence here until next January, so you’re way off target.

That vile piece of so-called journalism is intended for the Alf Garnetts of this world, the brainless fools who can only cope with being force-fed occasional anecdotes which are then treated as the norm. The story isn’t even based on reliable evidence, just on what some police “believe”. It has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of the EU, and nothing to do with the subject of this thread, which is whether it’s undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum, not the merits or otherwise of Chinese solar panels. Maybe the opening posting was too long for you to read and understand.

As I’ve posted on another thread, please ensure that what you quote doesn’t appear as your own words.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by astradt1 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:31 pm

Cashpoint card snatches treble: Romanian crime gangs responsible for 92% of thefts from cash machines, police believe


I wonder if the police have anything other than a 'Belief'...you know a little thing like proof which could stand up in a court of law...
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:36 pm

Thanks for the welcome, Ivan. Glad to be aboard. With regard to the issue of criminality, I'd have thought that closer European cooperation was in the best interests of public safety.

I still think that a referendum is, like patriotism, too often the last refuge of a scoundrel.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:52 pm

I have no doubt that we are indeed in the hands of scoundrels, but Patriotism is not so much in their minds as political survival. The Tory-led coalition is pleased to be in power, but not quite so ready to accept responsibility. About half of the actions taken during their recent history have been some form of back-covering exercise.

MPs were elected to make decisions on behalf of the Nation, and they are really not at liberty to abdicate that duty by throwing the really hard ones back into the public arena.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:20 pm

Anyway, we've already HAD a referendum on the EU - surely it's the job of the government to apply their various 'talents' to ensuring that, as we're in, being in remains in the National interest.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:52 pm

I couldn't agree more. Furthermore, the problem with "definitive" referenda is that, rather like the war to end all wars, they usually beget another one. This now seems to be the case also with the referendum on Scottish independence, where the view is being expressed that a 40% no vote will justify a further referendum ten years down the road. MPs and governments are there to think and to act in the national interest. Referenda let them off the hook on both counts, and don't many of them love it. Labour would go up in many people's estimation if it assumed responsibility for the future development of UK in EU, because it would be seen as a party that is prepared to do a serious job.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by tlttf on Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:29 pm

We have never had a referendum on the EU, perhaps you meant "Common Market". Do you seriously believe people would have voted to give up their own nationality in the 70's in favour of our laws being made by an unelected professional civil service over our own Parliament, get real.

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:39 pm

Nevertheless, tlttf, that is precisely what people did. You see, they "trusted" the Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath.

Incredible but true.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:28 pm

Yes, the British people trusted Edward Heath in 1970, not only for saying that he would “cut price increases at a stroke” (he was to leave office with inflation running at 13.4%), but that he wouldn’t take Britain into what was then the EEC “without the wholehearted consent of the British Parliament and people”. It was assumed by many that the “and people” meant that there would be a referendum, but that went the same way as Cameron’s more recent “cast iron guarantee”. Harold Wilson provided the referendum and the result was a resounding ‘yes’ to stay in.

Not for the first time, tlttf misses the point of a thread. The argument here is not about whether we had a referendum on when the EEC became the EC and then the EU; it’s about whether we should have referendums at all, or whether elected politicians should make the decisions which we pay them to make on our behalf.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:57 pm

Spot on, Ivan. Referenda are not an intrinsic part of our democratic system, unlike Switzerland's. So when a UK politician calls for one, more often than not it is a means of shuffling off responsibility for decision-making on issues of national importance. By acceding to such calls, we give our elected representatives an easy life and enable them to forget conveniently why we elected them in the first place.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:50 am

MSN helpfully provides an example of how easy it is to skew a Referendum by the way in which the question is put.  64% of respondents chose the answer they were intended to.  A good answer for the NHS might be "To improve the standards of its Administrators."

How should the NHS manage its growing burden?

  1. Tax rises to provide more funding
     
    16 %
    Tax rises to provide more funding
    313 votes
  2. Charge for non-essential treatments
    64 %
    Charge for non-essential treatments
    1,292 votes
  3. Offer fewer new drugs/treatments
     
    3 %
    Offer fewer new drugs/treatments
    52 votes
  4. Consolidate hospitals
     
    12 %
    Consolidate hospitals
    240 votes
  5. Increase prescription charges
     
    5 %
    Increase prescription charges
    107 votes
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:16 am

An excellent example showing why any referendum ought to be accompanied by the warning "caveat emptor".
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by blueturando on Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:56 pm

The above example is not quite the same is it though?

A simple....Do you think the UK should remain in the EU...Yes or No? Is much easier.

Seeing as the 3 main parties have all been in favour of being part of the EU the electorate has never been given a NO option, therefore a referendum is the only fair way to decide

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:57 pm

One referendum leads to another. 1975, now another in a few years time, maybe. It is unrealistic to claim that the next one will put an end to the discussion. Compare the referendum on Scottish independence. Already, maybe in preparation for defeat, nationalists are arguing that if there is a 40% "no" vote, another referendum would have to be run ten years later. If Parliament is as important as the Europhobes like to claim, then it should be grown up about making decisions of national importance.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by David Head on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:07 pm

Correction to my previous post. Should have read: nationalists are arguing that if there is a 40% "yes" vote another referendum would have to be run ten years later.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:01 pm

blueturando wrote:-
Seeing as the 3 main parties have all been in favour of being part of the EU the electorate has never been given a NO option, therefore a referendum is the only fair way to decide
If most of the British public were as concerned about the EU as you imply (only 7% see it as the most important issue), they could elect a party like UKIP or the BNP which is unequivocally opposed to our membership. When Labour proposed withdrawal in the 1983 election, and when William Hague made a lot of anti-EU noises in the 2001 election, both lost by a landslide.
 
David Head is quite correct, one referendum leads to another. We elect politicians to take decisions on our behalf, and if we don’t like the decisions they take we can elect others.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:33 pm

The chances of an EU referendum in the next parliament are wildly overstated
 
Extracts from an article by Richard Mylles:-
 
If promising referendums were a good way of winning votes then you can be sure there would be more politicians promising them. Polls suggest they are always popular in theory, (after all, who could be against ‘giving the people a say’?) but in practice, voters generally seem happy to be left alone outside of election time.

Polls show two-thirds of voters in favour of a referendum on EU membership, but there is little evidence the issue would induce many of them to change their votes at an election. In fact quite the reverse: just 7% of voters mention Europe when asked to list “important issues facing Britain today” with only 2% identifying it as “the most important”. Labour and the Lib Dems have little to fear from failing to match the Conservative pledge. As to that pledge itself, it is only certain to be fulfilled in the event the Conservatives win an outright majority. But the chances of this appear to be diminishing. Current polling projects a Labour majority of around 100 seats.

There is also the small matter of the likely result. On one side of the debate would be UKIP, the eurosceptic press and a cabal of backbench, mostly Conservative, MPs; on the other would likely be the leaders of all three main parties, the non-eurosceptic press and a majority of the business community. Faced with arguments from non-partisan business people that leaving the EU would cost thousands of British jobs, we believe the British public would, reluctantly perhaps, vote to stay.

 
For the full article:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/07/chances-eu-referendum-next-parliament-are-wildly-overstated
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:38 pm

Meanwhile, how convenient it must be for Westminster politicians to be able to "Blame Brussels" for any unpopular measure.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:41 pm

The EU has provided us with the best Europe we’ve ever had

Extracts from an article by Robert Cooper:-

"There is no popular demand for a referendum on the EU, most voters do not care much about it: it comes somewhere between 10th and 15th in the issues voters list as important. Even for UKIP voters, the EU is not the most important question. The big demand for a referendum comes from those in the Tory Party who want to leave the EU but can’t see a way to get a majority in Parliament for it.

Are referendums a good way to make decisions? No. Democracy is not just about voting. It is also about debate and about responsibility. Debate is necessary to understand complex issues. We invented representative democracy because debate is time-consuming and it is not practical in a modern state to assemble the whole population in market squares to debate issues. If referendums are ‘more democratic’ than decisions by Parliament, why not make decisions about taxation or electricity prices by referendum, as has been tried in California (and then the lights went out)? When bad decisions are made in this way, who takes responsibility?

Would a referendum settle the question of the EU once and for all? No. If that were the case, it would have been settled by the 1975 referendum, when two-thirds of the British voters elected to remain in what is now the EU. Those who want to leave argue that we were tricked, or that Britain has changed since then, or that the EU has changed. These arguments will be available again whenever anyone wants to use them."


http://www.newstatesman.com/2014/01/the-best-europe-we-have-ever-had
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:48 pm

The crunch time will come when the other members of the EU feel strong enough to require universal adoption of the Euro by all member states.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by biglin on Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:44 pm

I don't think that democracy works very well anywhere. The problem is that there has been an increasing assault on our freedoms for well over fifty years by governments of both parties.

So I'm not naive enough to think that granting a referendum on the EU - particularly since the government would set the terms of the question and spend millions on a propaganda campaign persuading voters to cast their ballot the way they wanted - would be especially democratic.

But in a world where our freedoms are stripped from us on a daily basis a referendum is at least better than having no say at all in the matter.

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:49 pm

If you wanted to restore freedoms, I think there should be a referendum on which ones first.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by biglin on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:03 pm

oftenwrong wrote:If you wanted to restore freedoms, I think there should be a referendum on which ones first.

Well, two points. One is that our membership of the EU means that at present non-elected bureaucrats can and do pass laws that we in the UK have to follow without having any say in them. At least an EU referendum would allow us to have a say on whether we wanted more rather than less freedom to be restored to Britain.

Secondly, I am profoundly in favour of the maximum degree of freedom and there's NO way in which my support for an EU referendum is exclusive to my desire to reclaim our rights from generations of our oppressors.

But the trouble with socialists is that, like conservatives, they believe in paternalism and oppressing the people.

Both are enemies of the people!

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:14 pm

I wonder which specific freedoms you feel the EU has robbed you of, biglin?
I voted in the original referendum, and my impression since then is that all the stuff I've been unhappy about has been caused by laws passed by our own dear old parliament.

Maybe I've missed some nasty legislation from Brussels - maybe you can enlighten me.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by biglin on Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:41 am

According to an official House of Commons report published in 2010 the total percentage of EU law that was imposed directly on the UK was 15%. A lot less than the figures bandied about by Daniel Hannan and Nigel Farage but still 15% that the British people had NO say over.

And as that report is 5 years old the percentage is probably higher now - maybe 20%.

I wasn't even born when the 1975 referendum took place - I was born in 1978 - so unlike you I've never had the chance to vote on the matter.

But of course in those days - the days before Maastricht et all - the EU wasn't what it later turned into.

And as far as specific laws are concerned different people will object to different ones.

But defending the right to have a vote is a basic principle of freedom - it doesn't matter what the hell the issue is.

People in Scotland are having a vote on independence soon - why shouldn't the people of the UK be allowed to have one on the EU?


Now I'm not racist, xenophobic or anything like that. In fact I'm regularly told by racists and xenophobes that I'm not even English because I'm mixed race rather than pure Anglo-Saxon (assuming anything like that exists).

But I am a fierce libertarian and to me the PRINCIPLE of freedom matters.

You might as well ask why anyone bothered to fight for the right to the suffrage.

Why ARE socialists and conservatives such instinctive authoritarians and repressors?

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:15 am

Yes, but WHICH freedoms, specifically, do you feel you've lost?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by bobby on Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:33 pm

How many of the 15% were already in British law, before the EU imposed them.
I doubt the European Government's law makers go through each Nation members statute books and only pass laws not already in existence, they will be done collectively, so many of the EU laws were already in place making the 15% figure totally misleading, I personally doubt the true figure is even 5%.
The EU have been a good get out of Jail free card for any government who wishes to pass a law the public/voter may find unwanted.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by biglin on Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:16 pm

It's simple really - socialists - like conservatives - think they know best.

Both are authoritarian and repressive and don't trust the people.

In answer to your question about the 15% the answer is NONE.

I'm seriously detecting a real whiff of fascism in some posts on this thread!

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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:15 am

biglin wrote:-
I am a fierce libertarian and to me the PRINCIPLE of freedom matters…..defending the right to have a vote is a basic principle of freedom - it doesn't matter what the hell the issue is.

I wasn't even born when the 1975 referendum took place - I was born in 1978 - so unlike you I've never had the chance to vote on the matter….People in Scotland are having a vote on independence soon - why shouldn't the people of the UK be allowed to have one on the EU?
I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t believe in freedom, but we all have our own definitions of what that means. I believe all people should be free from hunger and poverty, to be educated so as to be free from ignorance, and to be free to have access to the best healthcare available, regardless of income. I also think that children should have the freedom to develop healthily without being subjected to cigarette smoke when travelling in cars, but of course that would impinge on the freedom of some adults.
 
One problem is that in capitalist societies, only those who have money can enjoy real freedom. Those who have no means of living other than by selling their labour may have some freedoms, but their opportunities are always restricted. In the USA, Republicans and the NRA think that freedom involves the right to own a gun, and we hear of the consequences of that quite regularly.
 
Getting back to the subject of this thread, I note you’ve never had a vote on our EU membership. I’ve never had a vote on whether I want a hereditary monarchy and an unelected House of Lords, or whether I want to see the NHS privatised by the Tories without a mandate. If your argument was taken to its logical conclusion, we’d be voting on every issue under the sun. That’s why we choose an MP and he or she becomes a member of our so-called representative democracy.
 
People in Scotland are having a referendum on independence because a party set up for that cause - the SNP - won a majority in the Scottish Parliament. The only party which exists to take us out of the EU – UKIP - has never won a single seat at Westminster and probably won’t win any next year. According to polls, the EU is not a priority for the vast majority of voters, and so it would be somewhat undemocratic to hold a referendum on our membership just to placate UKIP and some far-right Tories.
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