Saturday, February 19, 2011

Labour taking the option?

Following up my post of yesterday the noise about a possible Labour in/out referendum which has been swirling around Labour blogs. No it seems as if the Labour party heirachy are taking the suggestions seriously to the as this article in the Independent.
Sunder Katwala, general secretary of the Labour-affiliated society, said: "There is unlikely to be a referendum on British membership before 2015. But there must be a good chance of a referendum by the time of the 50th anniversary of the last referendum to stay in, in 1975, in order to settle the question of British membership."

He admitted that a plebiscite could create economic uncertainty, but said that the risks of losing the vote were not a good argument against holding one.

Wayne David, the shadow minister for Europe, said: "The Labour Party is having a fundamental policy review and this is one of the things that will be considered." He was "still to be convinced," he said, but some Labour figures believed a referendum would "lance the boil" of Euroscepticism.
Of course this is only a few straws in the wind, but in the absence of policy which is where Labour is at when it comes to Europe, and great glowing stick of dynamite is a wonderful thing to chuck under the cabinet table


Curmudgeon said...

If such a referendum were won by a 55/45 majority, it wouldn't in any sense "lance the boil", and would create pressure for another one.

Quiet_Man said...

Tbh, I don't think this is a referendum the Europhiles could win, that said, it's a nasty one to throw at iDave and co.

Gawain Towler said...

Never thought about myself as a boil before, pustulating or not.

A yes vote win of 0.5% would be perceived by the political class as set in stone, a No vote win of less than 8% would be perceived as opportunity for another go.

The Talking Clock said...

Would anybody believe any manifesto promise of a referendum on the EU (from anyone other than UKIP) anyway?

Once bitten...

I'd believe it if they were to make manifestos legally binding contracts. Until then...

Would be good for Labour in terms of making the Conservative Party squirm, though.

Jack said...

It will never ever the Labour Party or anywhere else.

Edward Spalton said...

There is sufficient cross-party agreement between the main parties' leaderships in favour of EU membership for them to start rigging the referendum game now. The actual referendum campaign itself will only be the home straight for a process begun long before. Propaganda is a long game and the most effective is absorbed without realising it.

Don't forget that the Electoral Commission itself is something of a player rather than merely an umpire. It has a statutory duty to "inform" people about the institutions of the EU.

An in/out referendum will only be called when they are as certain as they can be that the vote will be for "in" - just as Mr. Wilson was in 1975. I remember him smugly putting down a heckler with "We will accept the democratic decision of the British people. Will you?". He knew he had it stitched up.

I covered the techniques of manipulation in an article I wrote when we were expecting a referendum on the Euro back around 2000 . It appeared in Euro-Realist a few months ago with a new foreword. If anyone wants a copy, I will be pleased to send it.