Wednesday, 27 May 2015

EU Referendum: Queen's Speech

Despite the understandable reluctance of many in the eurosceptic community to take Cameron at his word, particularly Cameron's previous form over his "cast-iron" promise regarding the Lisbon Treaty, the Queen's Speech today contains measures to introduce a referendum bill to be held by 2017:
My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all Member States. Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.
Politically Cameron never had a choice - it was a matter of political pragmatics. The idea that Cameron could be trusted was never an option, it was less about trust and more about reality. Politicians in general should never be trusted - which is why the concept of democracy exists, to give us the power to vote them out in order to concentrate their minds. Thus, by the Queen's Speech, and given that the Tories have a slim majority, it's clear we will get an EU referendum by 2017.

It is likely, and not unsurprising, that the referendum question will be similar to; "Should the UK remain a member of the EU?" which is well within the Electoral Commission's recommendations. The EC's preferred option was "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union", yet it looks like the "yes/no" option will form part of the bill.

It could be argued that a "yes/no" vote enforces the status quo effect to remain in, but here we are reminded that saying "no" can be effective as per the Community Charge rebellion back in the late 1980's:

It's now down to us to win...

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