Monday, 29 September 2014

EU Referendum: A Free Bet?

This blog has no ulterior motive other than to campaign to exit the EU a reflection of myself who was inspired to object to membership during the Maastricht debates and the ERM crisis. And as I made clear internally when I first joined UKIP, and stood as a PPC in 2010, my loyalty is to the cause not to any party.

However events change as they often do in politics. What I thought was not possible five years ago was that a major party would offer a referendum on EU membership as Cameron has done. Those who took part in very lonely campaigns over the last 20 years must be invigorated by the fact that the question of EU membership is starting to take centre stage.

In some ways UKIP can take the credit for this and for the about turn by Cameron. Despite Cameron previously refusing a referendum on the basis he wanted to stay in and deploying a three-line whip on the same basis, he has performed a very significant u-turn.

And he has done so as a result from pressure from his own party who in turn feel the heat from the rise of UKIP. It’s odd therefore that many in UKIP having extracted this concession now dismiss the Tories offer. One wonders what they actually want. Perhaps this is a reflection of UKIP’s long standing fundamental indecisiveness of whether it is a pressure group or a fully fledged party.

The latter seems to have won out and has a consequence become a party that not only jumps on every bandwagon going (when Nigel is not falling off it) but performs consistent rapid backtracking on party polices withing 24 hours as per VAT on luxury goods. Then in addition it often makes clear that it simply wants to destroy the Tories and nothing else. Somewhere in the mist the party's mission of exiting the EU has become somewhat lost.

Now it is understandable given Cameron’s track record of many not “trusting” him on this issue – an unprincipled, shallow, useless chancer he is. For me this for the eurosceptic side is a bonus – not only does his lack of authority and principles make him very vulnerable to his party’s whims but having an incompetent “general” in charge of the “in” camp is beneficial.

Thus for me it's not a question of trusting Cameron but strategy.  Like most in the country I don't trust politicians in general. Well actually more accurately I should emphasise that I do trust them…to do precisely what they’re told when they absolutely have to, for example the consequences of marginal seats concentrates the mind no end. That’s the nature of true power and democracy.

The EU referendum then becomes one that is more of a question of strategy and having a punt (worth noting that certain UKIP supporters bet against their party)

The brutal reality for those who wish an EU referendum is, as it stands, voting for any other party in 2015 will guarantee that we won’t get one, thus we stay in the EU for another 5 years. Labour won’t give us one, UKIP can’t and nor can any other party.

However… a Tory victory has given the possibility of a referendum in 2017. And in my view political reality says Cameron won’t have a choice but to deliver. If he wins the general election it will only be with a small majority giving rebellious backbenchers a lot of power. These backbenchers will consist partly of those who have campaigned for a referendum during this parliament and others who also simply just don’t like Cameron. Thus if he fails to deliver it is very likely that he will be out on his ear sharpish.

Of course despite this Cameron may be able to wriggle out of a referendum but in the event of that what would we have lost? Nothing other than 5 more years in the EU; the same as would be by voting for anyone else anyway.

So in betting terms what we have if we want a referendum is a free bet.

23 comments:

  1. Isn't the kipper problem that not all referendums are equal. That the question may be put in a loaded manner with the weight of the establishment in favor of a yes to staying in what will be presented as a reformed EU (all the benefits, none of the costs).

    A referendum weighted so you'll likely lose isn't really what Nige is after.

    Most people dislike the EU, but when told jobs are at risk will likely vote for the known status quo, than the unknown.

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    1. That's what the Flexcit plan aims to negate is the FUD of losing jobs. By remaining in the single market, as per Norway option, we can fight the status quo effect and the fear of economic consequences.

      http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/BrexitPamphlet001.pdf

      As for the question that has already settled by the Electoral Commission. It's either yes/no vote or a remain/leave vote.

      http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-referendums/electoral-commission-gives-its-advice-to-parliament-on-the-european-union-referendum-question


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    2. Access to the single market is only one consideration. There will be other factors such as the effect on Sterling and interest rates, and threats to up stumps or deny further investment.

      Nissan in Sunderland is forever threatening to throw its toys out of the pram if it doesn't get grants, as the reader comments in the local press express yawns. We can remind people that other industrials made noises about not joining the Euro.

      The British Chambers of Commerce are more worried about further integration than Brexit. I suspect many business types are disillusioned with the EU and are only retaining support for membership so long as far-reaching reform is possible.

      When Cameron etc do not deliver, that support will evaporate.

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  2. The worst case scenario is we get a referendum and we lose it. Now i have read over and over Flexcit draft 19a, and now will read draft 19b, though i will probably miss most of the changes.

    I believe that it is indeed our bast shot, its a brilliant plan. But the big question is can it be sold to enough people, in order to make them FUD proof? or will flexcit just be ignored by the masses and FUD really spoils our big day?

    Im all for the free bet, and its looking likely I will take it (not that it matters much as I live in a "pin a red rose on a donkey" area) but i will chance it anyway.

    though as I say the worst case is we get it and lose

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    1. Naturally there is a risk of losing as you say, fortunately there's a plan B in that event

      http://harrogateagenda.org.uk/

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  3. Trouble is Cameron wriggled out of the referendum this time around by claiming he didn't have an overall majority and therefore a clear mandate. I wouldn't put it past him to pull the same trick again.

    Of course if he's in a coalition with Farage, that would be different. I live in a safe Tory seat so my vote is academic and that annoys me even more...

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    1. If he doesn't have an overall majority then there's little he can do if the other parties vote against. But that would apply to any Conservative proposal.

      I'm working on the basis he achieves an overall majority albeit a small one, though this looks increasingly unlikely.

      I live in a safe Tory seat too...getting out of the EU is only a start in trying fix our electoral system.

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  4. What would happen to cheap tobacco if we leave the EU?

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    1. Nothing, in short. If you read through Flexcit as linked on this very site, you will see that Membership of the single market is not dependent on EU membership.

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  5. Peter Hitchens' article in today's Mail is a wonderfully lucid piece of writing...

    "Many former Tories have grasped (as so many journalists have been incredibly slow to do) that Mr Cameron’s protestations of ‘Euroscepticism’ (whatever that is) are utterly insincere and cosmetic. They have grasped that a jam-tomorrow referendum is not a commitment, but a manoeuvre.

    In fact, it may be worse than that. The referendum almost certainly will never take place. But if it does, in the hands of the Tories, it is a danger, not an opportunity."

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2014/09/a-tory-ukip-pact-would-be-bad-for-britain.html

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  6. Thank you for explaining the perceived inconsistency in the position of wanting to exit the EU yet recommending a vote for a party that has constantly been pro EU, whose leader has made it clear that he will do everything he can to make sure we remain in.

    I am not a member of UKIP but I do see a point, if they have managed to force conservatives this far and might just be on the point of a breakthrough, why throw in the towel now and accept a loaded referendum, why not maintain the pressure until the Conservatives are forced to give a fair referendum.

    I do disagree that this is not a free referendum if Cameron calls one he will want to win it, him doing so will destroy any chance of ever leaving the EU.
    Ken Adams

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    1. As my piece made abundantly clear it's a case of voting for a referendum not advocating voting for a party based on its internal politics.

      I'm sorry you misunderstood the post...

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    2. It is clearly understood that you are recommending voting Tory in order to get a referendum. You do however find it odd that others do not share your enthusiasm to hold a fixed referendum where everything will be stacked against us and would prefer not to take such a big gamble against all the odds.

      If the Tories do win on 2015 and do call a referendum then we will have no choice, but I do not see that we should use our votes to bring that about. But instead to maintain the pressure on the Tories until we force a change of leadership and direction. We would stand a much greater chance of success and a much fairer referendum if at least one major party were on our side.
      Ken Adams

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  7. UKIP support doesn't consist entirely of ex-Conservatives who've abandoned the Tories solely because of their stance on the EU.

    The Tories' problems are deep rooted and include a total collapse in their support in Scotland and the North of England, unfair boundaries, the collapse of the LibDems which mainly favoured Labour, the dubious postal vote and the Labour client vote. Then we have Cameron who's alienated much of their core support.

    We are talking about a party which has never looked like gaining a clear majority in a GE since the mid 90s.

    If everyone voting UKIP because they placed the need to get out of the EU above all else, voted Conservative at the next GE, lured by what many regard as a mirage of a referendum offer, it would be most unlikely that there'd be a referendum, because even with that, the Conservatives are so far from gaining a working majority.

    There can be very little doubt that UKIP have influenced Conservative policy and have kept the question of the EU at the fore.

    From the point of view of someone wanting to get out of the EU, I can see no point in tactically voting Conservative in the current circumstances.

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  8. "...performs consistent rapid backtracking on party polices within 24 hours as per VAT on luxury goods"

    TBH, I was at the conference and listened to O'Flynn's speech. Being slightly more than marginally hard of hearing I missed some of what he actually said with regard to 25% VAT on luxury goods and therefore, I too, took it to be party policy. However, I have since listened to him again on YouTube and he quite clearly states:

    "Now I propose that the Treasury Commission does something else as well. I want it to investigate the feasibility of imposing a a luxury rate of VAT.."

    Quite clearly we were not meant to take this as UKIP policy. Looking back over the years it won't be the first time that a delegate at a party conference proposed something that would never be acceptable as party policy. Unfortunately this no long happens with the terrible threesome which are all now completely stage managed. UKIP's conference was a blast, you really should have been there!

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  9. Am I alone in finding it curious that a party that claims to want us to leave the EU has its senior leadership suggesting that an EU tax (VAT) be raised to 25% in this way - with some of the money collected going to Brussels?

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    1. If you actually thought things through rather than go out of your way to indulge in mud-slinging, UKIP's vision is of an immediate exit from the EU. This means that any VAT would stay totally in our national coffers.

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    2. VAT is an EU tax and therefore would be abolished if we left. No doubt replaced with a purchase tax or similar but NO VAT !

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  10. TBF, I'm afraid you are truly flogging a dead horse on this. Just say Cameron gets back, like John Major, with an overall majority of 20.

    There are Europhile Tory MPs like Ken Clarke and Caroline Spelman who recently lobbied against a referendum with 'British Influence' on the grounds it would create instability. There are more Europhiles than people realise.

    Then the 2017 date. EU Referendum Blog has shown how there is no way that an EU Constitutional Convention and an IGC will deliver a new EU treaty to vote on.

    So Cast Iron Cameron will have to backslide again - don't forget that he will hold the Presidency of the EU that year and will be out to curry favour with his European partners.

    Any negotiations will be bogus anyway. It is not possible to repatriate powers as the ECJ Case 6/64 (this webpage, to the right) prescribes a permanent limitation of sovereignty.

    Expect squabbles over wording, going OTT over secondary issues, but no red meat. Cameron would get away with it as his party has proved it is too timid either to sack him as leader or precipitate a general election.

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  11. I think as a member of UKIP that we have learnt not to trust Cameron. The years he has been leader are littered with unkept promises together with the idiotic idea to campaign to stay in. The referendum is only promised if the tories gain a majority (not a coalition) which seems highly unlikely at the moment. Therefore we presume that this referendum will never take place.

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  12. My natural instinct is to vote Tory. Having read the above I fully intend to vote UKIP. Not only has the above decided me, Tory lies got us in, Tory lies will attempt to keep us in. They will fail, get out and vote UKIP. You only have to look at the amazing advances made by the Green parties in Europe once they gained seats under PR. Immediately the major parties of power adopted green causes. We need to be clever, we need to have a plan, above all we need to become manipulative bastards, just like the other manipulative bastards. Vote UKIP, that's the freedom bet.

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  13. Just re-read all of this in the light of my post today.

    Sigh, it's a tricky one. I do know that we, the rank and file, must not fall out. I do recognized the role political will plays in this. It smooths out the inconsistencies and takes years to oppose.

    What I like about the current threat to LibLabCon is that unintended change can occur and it sis a more volatile atmosphere now, which it needs to be. While I agree in principle with Flexcit, it lacks the sheer gall of someone with balls to pick it up and run with it.

    There are a few now in UKIP who would do that though, inconsistent though some of their policies are. At this stage, the action is the thing and the fine detail can come later.

    After all, you have it ready made here to go.

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