Thursday, 9 September 2010

Email for A Referendum

As promised yesterday, I've sent an email to my MP urging him to sign the pledge. Here's the text in full:
Firstly may I congratulate you, and your party, for the election result on May 6th. I’m writing to you as my MP because, as you’re no doubt aware, a cross party campaign for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has been launched by Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan.

As Daniel Hannan rightly points out, no-one under the age of 54 has had an opportunity to have their say on our relationship with the EU. Since 1975 the so-called common market has morphed into a political project which I believe that the British people did not vote for 35 years ago. Indeed I’ve lost count of the number of those that did vote ‘yes’ at the time who now regret doing so.

As I’m sure you will also appreciate, I am perplexed that numerous promises of referenda on EU issues have been made over the last 13 years but have never materialized, yet next May one will take place on our voting system (AV); a promise which was never included in any of the main parties’ manifestos.

In the last 3 months there also appears to be little resistance to the constant slide towards more EU control; for example opting into the European Investigation Order and agreeing to new substantial EU financial supervision of the City of London.

It is poignant that at the time of remembering 70 years since the start of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, the question of who governs Britain is as urgent as ever. It is with this thought in mind that I urge you to sign the referendum campaign and call for an open debate with the British people regarding our future within the EU.

Yours sincerely,
I expect a big fat 'no' in response. It always seems a waste of time, but it's worth remembering though that one of the arguments against a referendum by MPs is that no-one writes to them about it (this logic doesn't, of course, apply to the issue of climate change), for example Tory MP Alan Haselhurst in 1991 on the Maastricht debate:
Let us consider what we spend our time doing. The Order Paper shows the various matters that concern us. Our constituency mail bags show us the matters that our constituents want us to consider. We should recognise that we are not dealing with great international issues all the time. I must have had about three letters about the Maastricht treaty, but I had 10 times that number about Sunday trading and similar matters.
And Labour MP Mike Gapes on the Lisbon Treaty:
Many words have been spoken about the great interest in the [Lisbon Treaty] outside the House, but I have had only one e-mail and one letter from my constituents— [ Interruption. ] I am waiting for more to come.
It's also an argument that Tom Harris MP deploys on copious subjects for example:
As for CCTV, I know of no MPs whose constituents have approached them asking for fewer CCTV cameras in their constituencies.
If anything at least by emailing it takes away one of the arguments against a referendum. I will update on any response I get.

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