Friday, 18 February 2011

Where's The Real Referendum?

The proposed referendum on our electoral system, that no party stood for at the last election and that no-one wants, including the Lib Dems, has finally passed the Lords. The vote for either AV or First Past the Post will be held on May 5th.

I, however, will not partake. I intend to spoil the ballot with the words; "where's our EU referendum". My reasons are simple.

In 2005, 631 out of 646 MPs stood on a manifesto promise of a referendum on the EU constitution (in fact the EU - and related issues - is the subject that has the most promised referenda on).

Here's the Labour manifesto from 2005 (page 84):
It is a good treaty for Britain and for the new Europe.We will put it to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a ‘Yes’ vote to keep Britain
a leading nation in Europe.
And the Lib Dems manifesto (page 27):
We are therefore clear in our support for the constitution, which we believe is in Britain’s interest – but ratification must be subject to a referendum of the British people.
And the Tories (page 26):
We oppose the EU Constitution and would give the British people the chance to reject its provisions in a referendum within six months of the General Election.
and Cameron on the Lisbon Treaty (my emphasis):
Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.
Of course we all know how worthless these promises turned out to be, a referendum asked for and voted on by the electorate was ignored. Conversely we now have one that wasn't promised. The utter arrogant conceit of the political classes is astonishing, but not surprising. There's plenty of weasel words like 'cleaning up politics' and 'accountability blah blah blah', but they have no interest in cleaning up politics at all. If there was a genuine desire to reform and improve the electoral system then the referendum would be on all available election procedures: AV, AV+, STV or FPTP. Allow the British people to decide.

Instead we are only granted a referendum on their terms; we end up with a 'miserable little compromise' where the only choice is between what we currently have and a system that no-one wants or genuinely supports. It truly is insulting to our intelligence.

Why should we take part in such a sanctimonious sham? I say we don't. Avoid voting, make the result as low as possible by spoiling your ballot paper. I'm proud to say my ballot paper will be emblazoned with the words:
Where's my EU referendum?
I hope I won't be the only one.

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