Monday, February 28, 2011

Boris adds a little more pressure on Cameron

In today's Telegraph Boris uses his normal mixture of hyperbole and whimsy to link Gaddafi and Gordon. He is trying to stick it to the AV referendum.

But he leaves a final barb at the end for iDave.
By all means let us have a referendum – the one we were promised, on the Lisbon EU Treaty. Have you noticed the EU policy on North Africa? Have you heard much from Baroness Ashton? Shouldn't we have a vote on all that?
Of course Mr Johnson shows his customary 'away with the faeries' aspects here. He calls for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, a game that has been over for months. The troops have moved on, jeepers even Labour has moved on from the Lisbon Treaty. Today the call is for an In-Out Referendum, rather than on the minutiae of the Lisbon Treaty, welcome though that would have been at the time goven that all promised some such.

That being said it all increase pressure on IDave, particularly when he has stated on Al-Jazeera his considered opinion was that,
'I don't believe an In/Out referendum is right, because I don't believe that leaving the European Union would be in Britain's interests'
As Dan Hannan points out,
Just for a moment, though, forget about forecasting the outcome. Instead, stand back and ask yourself whether it is right in principle to consult the country. As this blog never tires of arguing, it is hard to think of a clearer textbook example of where a referendum is proper. The European question divides the parties internally; it’s a matter of major constitutional importance; there is public demand for a vote; there is a disjuncture between Parliament and people; and, not least, the three parties keep promising to hold such a ballot.

There is something faintly surreal about holding a referendum which no one asked for on a voting system which neither of the two Coalition parties supported, while refusing to hold one which the country does demand, and which both Coalition parties were recently pledging. What is the point of consulting people on how to elect their MPs, but not on whether those MPs should run the country?

1 comment:

Edward Spalton said...


I believe a vote on the Lisbon treaty (or the European Arrest Warrant or the Common Fisheries Policy) would be far preferable.

If successful it would throw such an almighty spanner into the EU works that it would amount to "out". If it failed, it would be a battle lost but not the war, like an "In/Out" referendum. This is also the opinion of Tony Coughlan of Irish National Platform, who knows more about fighting referenda campaigns than anyone this side of the water.

I have not yet seen the slightest evidence that those pressing for an "in/out" referendum have given a single thought about how to win it and what sort of media, party and other interest groups they think they would have to defeat.

It is called "appreciating the ground from the enemy's position" and is the only sound beginning of any successful operation. The actual, official referendum campaign will only be the umpired home straight of a much longer race which anybody can join in without any rules.

Just consider how the Electoral Reform Society has jumped into the AV referendum campaign with £1 million plus the loan of members of staff. Nobody has taken account of the number other ostensibly charitable, "third sector" and public/private bodies, loaded with government and EU money, which could dive in, perhaps providing a front for commercial interests too.
There is less preparation than for the Charge of the Light Brigade.