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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

First topic message reminder :

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

Post by bobby on Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:33 pm

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

Could you please expand this comment?.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:18 pm

Good point - I didn't understand myself where that came from
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivanhoe on Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:03 pm

David Head wrote: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.

David Cameron wants changes in Europe. What Mr Cameron is "really" saying, is that he wants Europe to ditch it's long held social model in favour of our Anglo Saxon Thatcherite free market model. As far as anything else is concerned, Britain will never be fully in the EU because we will never ditch the pound in favour of the Euro.

So, we will always be on the outside looking in, without real clout in decision making.

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

Post by Dan Fante on Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:37 am

bobby wrote:Biglin said:  I'm seriously detecting a real whiff of fascism in some posts on this thread!

Could you please expand this comment?.
It's annoying being wrongly accused of saying things, isn't it?  Smile 
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by bobby on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:52 am

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

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:01 pm

Who didn't say what?
 
QUOTE:  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!

The figure challenged in debate was biglin's assertion that 15% of all new legislation was imposed upon the UK by Brussels.  The query was about how much of that "15%" might have duplicated laws already on the British statute book in a different form.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Penderyn on Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:49 pm

Anyone who believes we can reject the EU without becoming an American colony at about the level of occupied Palestine is being paid by foreigners or in an institution. They live in a dream world, and all they say is drivel. What is to discuss?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:15 pm

UK membership of the EU has one thing in common with religious debate - there can never be a resolution which satisifies everyone.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivanhoe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:46 pm

oftenwrong wrote:UK membership of the EU has one thing in common with religious debate - there can never be a resolution which satisifies everyone.

We will never be full members of the EU, because we will never adopt the Euro.

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

Post by Penderyn on Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:58 pm

Ivanhoe wrote:We will never be full members of the EU, because we will never adopt the Euro.
 
We won't adopt the dollar, either, but there is still no hope whatever of an independent existence for this artificial state, surely?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by witchfinder on Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:29 pm

Some time ago David Cameron suggested or proposed that local referendums could be used to determine planning applications instead of the current process whereby elected councillors decide, with guidance from qualified and trained planning officers.
 
When I heard about these proposals, alarm bells began to ring in my head, I could see what the future would hold for this very beautiful part of the country that I am fortunate to live in; The "in-commers" who have bought up many of the cottages to retire to or to own as holiday homes, and who are now in the majority in many villages, would oppose any development intended to keep communities alive, in other words low cost homes for local people to rent.
 
Some time ago a builder put in a planning application to build low cost homes to rent in the very pretty coastal village of Runswick Bay, the village is now dominated by part time residents who own most of the old fishermans cottages, amongst the comments of opposition were "it would attract the wrong sort of people, drug addicts and single mothers", hard to believe but true.
 
I do not believe in democracy by a succession of referendums, we have elections at many levels, parish, town, district or unitary authority, country and general elections, we have public consultations, public meetings and public access.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:49 pm

QUOTE: "Some time ago David Cameron suggested or proposed that local referendums could be used to determine planning applications instead of the current process whereby elected councillors decide, with guidance from qualified and trained planning officers."

Cynical? Moi? The entire planning system was devised to restrict the amount of new property coming onto the housing market , so as to maintain the "value" of existing homes, which collectively provided the Finance Industry with a healthy living from mortgage-lending and the collection of rents.

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

Post by Penderyn on Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:46 pm

As we all know, the media are for leaving the EU, and sill not allow any other thought. Is control of the media by the stinking rich democratic?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:31 pm

Control of the media by Leveson seems to have sunk into the sand.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:40 pm

Why is it that most of the calls for referendums (some might argue that that should be ‘referenda’) are on issues where right-wingers think they will win? Why no call for a referendum on the privatisation of the Post Office? Why no call for a referendum on the top-down reorganisation of the NHS that was forced through without a mandate from anyone? Why? Because referendums are not really about getting the views of voters, they are a tool the rich and powerful use when it suits them; they ramp up demands for referendums on topics of their choosing.
 
The big money behind the anti-EU line, which much of the right-wing press is pushing, hates the EU for what international co-operation can do against the power of the super-rich who are taking over the UK. So what better way is there than to con people by using a line which implies the opposite, suggesting that being anti-EU means "taking our country back", returning to "the good old days"? However, they don’t really want to go back to the boring 1950s but to Dickensian times, when there was stark contrast between the rich and the poor. And according to Oxfam, we’re well down that road already.
 
In the meantime, Farage, with his fag and his pint, pretends to be different from other politicians, feigning to bash the Establishment even though he is a part of it. He's a former Dulwich College pupil and City trader who openly admits to screwing millions out of the European Union in expenses - and who politically stands somewhere between the BNP and the Monster Raving Loony Party.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:50 pm

Ivan wrote:.... Farage, with his fag and his pint, pretends to be different from other politicians, feigning to bash the Establishment even though he is a part of it. He's a former Dulwich College pupil and City trader who openly admits to screwing millions out of the European Union in expenses - and who politically stands somewhere between the BNP and the Monster Raving Loony Party.

.... and with a pragmatic understanding as to his chances of becoming leader of any established political party.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Wed May 07, 2014 9:53 pm

Why Ed Miliband is right to oppose an EU referendum
 
From an article by Frederick Cowell
 
"Whilst UKIP often dismiss arguments about business confidence, supporters of a modern referendum need to accept the cost of two years of economic uncertainty in the lead build up to it. In their eyes that might be a cost worth paying but Miliband has concluded that it is a price not worth paying, because of the risk to economic recovery.

Because European referenda are offered, as mechanisms for resolving domestic political questions, their results are likely to be inconclusive in the long term. This has the effect of temporarily freezing the democratic problem, rather than resolving it conclusively.

A referendum does not make the EU vanish –a multi–billion pound single market and millions of consumers will be less than 21 miles away. Given that around half of the UK’s exports currently go the EU, a plan is needed for a post-EU relationship. Such a plan is possible but, if the Brexit side were to be credible, it would need to agree on an exit model, which could well be impossible. This could mean that whichever side loses the referendum they could simply restart their campaign again, arguing that the referendum that had just been was not a genuine choice."

 
http://labourlist.org/2014/05/why-ed-miliband-is-right-to-oppose-an-eu-referendum/
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed May 07, 2014 10:42 pm

Referendum is the mongrel product of a mediocre administration, which has already been put in Office to reach decisions on behalf of the general population.

I can think of several other matters (NHS, Privatisation, Austerity etc., etc.) which this Coalition has happily decided without reference either to the public or indeed its election manifestos.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Stox 16 on Tue May 27, 2014 4:52 pm

Well the only time i have ever seen the Tories be democratic is when they feel it will benefit them..but should Ed Miliband follow suit? not at all.. as all it will do is feed the UKIP mad media TV people.. as they will report we was forced into it by them.. as no one will give a jot about Europe come the 2015 Election.. as its the economy that will be the key issue then.. as it always is in fact.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by bobby on Tue May 27, 2014 5:23 pm

Stox Said: "as no one will give a jot about Europe come the 2015 Election.. as its the economy that will be the key issue then.. as it always is in fact".

Absolutely correct my friend.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:28 pm

From an article by John McCormick:-

The promise of a referendum is less about a genuine effort to put the question to a national vote than to head off a dispute within the governing Conservative Party, which is deeply split on Europe. There are shades here of the last time Britain had a referendum on Europe, in 1975; this too was prompted mainly by a dispute within the governing party, although then it was Labour.

History has shown that when the voters of EU member states such as Ireland, France and the Netherlands have been given the opportunity of a referendum, they will often make their choice less on the question at hand than on the basis of their opinion of the government of the day.

Offering the British people a referendum on UK membership of the EU may seem like a noble exercise in democracy, but we will have much cause to wonder about the implications. Will it really be an exercise in democracy, or just an effort to resolve a squabble within the Conservative Party? Have we fully thought through the implications of an exit? Will the outcome be based on a real public understanding of the pros and cons of EU membership, or just a measure of what Britons feel about the state of their country? And if Britain votes to leave, how confident can we be that it did so for the right reasons?


http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2014/07/29/the-meaning-of-a-british-exit-from-the-european-union/
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:32 pm

I really don't like referenda - we elect a government to govern and to make decisions on our behalf - if we don't like those decisions, we can lobby, write to MPs and ultimately withdraw our vote - I think that's how the system was supposed to work
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:49 pm

In an Editorial Leader today, The Independent seems to suggest that a Referendum is effectively decided as soon as it is announced. Writing about the imminent Scottish vote, it says:
How meaningful the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be with only the armed forces, foreign policy and The Queen in common is open to question. Leaving the formalities aside, Scotland would, for most practical purposes have already left the UK. (However the vote goes).

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

Post by Ivan on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:15 am

Should Labour offer a referendum on the EU?

From an article by Josh Younespour:-

"Labour could be the only party that does not offer an in-out referendum. It may seem like a risky decision. But over six in ten people are so apathetic when it comes to Europe that they did not vote in May – and so the chance of losing electoral support might appear worse than it really is. A YouGov poll in March 2014 showed support for  remaining in the EU (42% to 36%). Few voters would make a decision in the election based upon a promise of a referendum after. In these days of an imperfect and limited economic recovery, the EU is not the majority’s red line issue.

It may be better for Labour to simply say they support being in the EU, and allow the anti EU vote to be split among UKIP and the Conservatives. After all, those who would base their vote in the general election on the EU referendum are likely to be those who are most passionate about leaving it, and they are less likely to vote Labour anyway. Those who would vote to stay in the EU already have that situation. Labour could also win over big business by taking a firm no referendum approach. The CBI announced that the majority of its members strongly support remaining in the EU.

It seems the safest choice is not to offer a referendum at all. Taking a decisive stance could gain the pro-EU vote (thus nailing down those disaffected Lib Dems) and the undecided, those who are not sure but still do not want to leave. Let the other parties fight with UKIP in the election over the EU issue. Ed Miliband should not let a party (UKIP) that has no MPs dictate the political discussion.
"

http://labourlist.org/2014/08/should-labour-offer-a-referendum-on-the-eu/
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:37 am

Sensible points - the whole 'referendum on Europe' thing is nothing but a sideshow anyway, in my view - if acceptable domestic and foreign policy measures are in place, no-one would care
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by TriMonk3y on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:03 am

Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?  My view is no, it is both positional, and democratic.

The franchise are given the opportunity to vote for a range of political parties, offering a range of political views at every general election.  If they don't like the prospectus' they are presented with, they are quite within their rights to organise their own political movements, or stand themselves on an independent ticket.

If voters wish to have a referendum on the matter of EU membership, then they should elect representatives who have asked for a mandate to provide just that.

Labour's position that it will not offer a referendum is not undemocratic, quite the opposite.  It informs that a vote for labour, is a vote not to have a referendum. Whether or not you believe that is the correct decision is entirely separate.

Of course, the question of whether Labour has canvassed its own membership on it's stance is another matter entirely.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:29 am

We probably didn’t see the whole picture down here in the south of England, but the debate in the recent Scottish referendum seemed poor. There was vagueness on the Yes side about the currency issue and mainly negative scaremongering tactics from the No camp. And even though a 10% margin in the result was decisive, it still leaves 45% who want an independent Scotland and who won’t go away. The issue may be settled for the short term, but it will no doubt surface again within a few years.

That supports my contention that referendums often don’t solve anything. If one is held on our EU membership, the result may be close and/or the turnout low. I’m fairly confident that the British people would vote to stay in, but probably not by a large majority, so the UKIP headbangers and other assorted ‘Little Englanders’ on the rabid right would still continue to peddle their lies about how much we contribute and what percentage of our laws are made in Brussels.

We elect and pay politicians to make decisions on our behalf. I sincerely hope that Ed Miliband will stick to his guns and continue to rule out an in/out referendum.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by TriMonk3y on Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:12 am

The debate in Scotland was actually very good, what was incredibly poor was the media coverage of it.  For two reasons.  It was heavily slanted towards the no camp, with only a single weekly newspaper coming out for yes, but also because it was heavily slanted towards what was happening at party political level.  I think that you make the point well that there was very little debate from the no side beyond the farcical 'but will we still have access to haggis in an independent Scotland?' type questioning, there was no positive case for the union put, which is why there was a 20 point swing to Yes.

The referendum saw the emergence of grassroots organisations like Common Weal, National Collective and Bella Caledonia.  Genuine left voices in an overwhelmingly right of centre world, leading the way to create a new left vision.  That work continues, as you say, it hasn't gone away - and even with an appropriate devolutionary settlement is unlikely to.  Not because of the daftie elements that the media choose to report, but because there is a lot of work to do creating a more equal Scotland that works for all, to coin Common Weal's mantra an allofusfirst Scotland.  So again, the debate remains really good, but the media coverage is still in the gutter.

Back to the point in hand.  I also hope that Labour continue to rule out an in/out referendum, not only because I agree about the decisiveness, but because it is the right thing to do.  But for a rabid right wing press representing the interests of the very wealthiest, and the lunatic fringe in society we probably wouldn't even be having the debate.  It is certainly not a sovereignty issue, the UK is a voluntary member of the club, it can leave whenever it chooses.

My feeling is that the majority of the T*** party does not even want to leave the EU.  The offering of a referendum far from being a brave and bold one is a meek ploy to put the decision in the hands of the electorate so that they tear themselves apart making it, rather than than the T*** party.

That takes me back to my main point, which is that we need to get organised and find new, democratic, ways of doing media and politics.  Not simply lapping up what we are presented with by the established parties, our economic masters, and their media mouthpieces.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:21 pm

1. David Cameron made a "cast-iron" pledge before to consult the Nation upon Britain's membership of the EU, but it went rusty.

2. MPs are elected to Parliament precisely on order to act as our representatives in reaching decisions on our behalf. To require a second consultation of the Public on tricky matters may be described as a cop-out.

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

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:32 pm

A BBC documentary currently showing, "Long shadow", describes how the European union came about as a response to the Nationalism which sparked two world wars. Ted Heath inserted the UK 15 years after the event, and we have been keeping one foot on the ground ever since.

Nationalism is still alive in Britain, and you have to wonder who benefits from a separatist attitude.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by cybercheshired on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:33 pm

Surely Edmund Burke wrote the book on this. MP's are representatives not delegates. They vote on their judgement not under voters' orders. The irony is that referenda by-pass MPs and thus undermine the very sovereignty of parliament Eurosceptics claim to be upholding. The 1975 one was all about party management: Wilson used it as a device to keep his party united. The 2017 one ditto for Cameron. Yet he could be the leader likeliest to end the argument for a while. YouGov polls consistently show high support for quitting, but it plummets when the same question is put about new terms re-negoiated and recommended by him.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Charlatan on Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:16 pm

cybercheshired wrote:Surely Edmund Burke wrote the book on this. MP's are representatives not delegates. They vote on their judgement not under voters' orders. The irony is that referenda by-pass MPs and thus undermine the very sovereignty of parliament Eurosceptics claim to be upholding.

Don't you think they want to keep their jobs? they need to answer to the people, as the people are the voters.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:56 pm

Quite so. Every five years politicians must be very nice to the Voters. In between, they please themselves.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Charlatan on Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:29 am

oftenwrong wrote:Quite so. Every five years politicians must be very nice to the Voters. In between, they please themselves.

They never get the chance to please themselves, as, they are too busy being corrupt, wasting time on decisions, or doing what they should to get more votes.

If you were to think of yourself as a politician, what would you do? if you were to work under a politician, what would you suggest they do, or, would you just do what you need to to stay where you are instead of taking a chance at making a suggestion, and, maybe being relegated?

Now, you must also remember that politicians are out to be people too. if you were a 'people' that wanted to get popular with other people, there is only what you know, or, what you take in to separate the two of you, yes? i mean, you cannot know what you do not know, unless you learn it. if you were to exploit the needs of politicians, then you will see them need you more, of course.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Charlatan on Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:31 am

boatlady wrote:Sensible points - the whole 'referendum on Europe' thing is nothing but a sideshow anyway, in my view - if acceptable domestic and foreign policy measures are in place, no-one would care

Actually, if there is nothing to complain about, you will complain about nothing all the time, yes?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:02 pm

Whenever a Tory lie is exposed, rather than attempt to defend it, supporters of the nasty party will often reply with a ‘tu quoque’ – namely that Labour breaks promises as well. One of the favourites, cited by UKIP as well as Tory Europhobes, is to claim that Labour broke this promise in its 2005 manifesto:-

"We will put the EU constitutional Treaty to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a ‘Yes’ vote to keep Britain a leading nation in Europe."

Channel 4’s FactCheck looked into this:-

The 'Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe' was signed in October 2004, and it was this treaty to which the Labour manifesto referred. But it was rejected by France and the Netherlands and thus abandoned. So Labour can plausibly claim that they did not break their promise.

But a Reform Treaty – also known as the Lisbon Treaty – was created instead, and Gordon Brown signed it in December 2007. The Conservatives and others claim that the Lisbon Treaty is sufficiently similar to the original one as to make no difference. So who is right?

The European Union introduced a mandate in the summer of 2007 which said: "The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing treaties and replacing them by a single text called 'constitution', is abandoned".

Open Europe, a think tank that calls for radical reform of the EU, has calculated that the original Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty are 90% the same. While technically no promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was ever made, it could be argued that the spirit of the manifesto means that Labour should offer a vote on it. But equally it could be argued that with the constitutional implications of the first Treaty removed, the promise has not been broken.  


http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/vote_2010/how+did+labour+do+on+its+2005+manifesto+pledges/3609602.html

Anyone arguing about the ‘spirit’ of a manifesto is on very shaky ground when you compare that to clear Tory promises like “no top-down reorganisation of the NHS”, “no cuts to frontline services” and “no plans to increase VAT”. With his track record, how can anyone believe a word that Cameron says?
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by stuart torr on Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:54 pm

Ever since his second year in power, all the people of the UK and probably Europe, certainly realised that they could not believe a word that Cameron said.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:27 pm

With the accuracy of hindsight, we can now probably say that, Democratic or no, many of the electorate seemed unimpressed by Labour's firm rejection of the EU referendum proposal.

People like being asked for their opinion.
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by Ivan on Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:25 pm

Would this be the most appropriate question for the forthcoming EU referendum?  scratch


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNz4y5wWUAAQQ_6.jpg
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

Post by boatlady on Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:57 am

Bit complicated maybe for a referendum question - but seems about right - that is the question he'll be asking
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Re: Is it undemocratic to be opposed to an EU referendum?

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