An EU referendum and beyond
Daniel Hannan MEP has launched a campaign for a referendum on continued UK membership of the EU. Whilst is unlikely to be a development that David Cameron would welcome, I would certainly welcome such a plebiscite.
It is 35 years since the electorate was last asked and , since then , the six-member EEC (as it was then) has changed out of all recognition into a behemoth with 27 members and an apparently insatiable appetite for power, prestige and funding. Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, foisted upon the nations of Europe by a political class that is worryingly out of touch with public opinion, the EU now enjoys all the outward trappings of nationhood. This includes its own President, sometimes justified on the basis that it might one day need to answer the question, ‘If the US President wants to call ‘Europe’, whose number does he dial?’ Does anybody ask such a question about Africa or Asia?
Taking this a stage further, as well as the question of our position in the EU, there is a British constitutional question to be settled: that of the Union. Scotland already enjoys a high degree of autonomy but this does not satisfy the Nationalists and will probably never will. Perhaps it is time once and for all to call their bluff by settling the matter – on terms not of their dictation – via the ballot box throughout the United Kingdom? Having done so, it should then be possible to negotiate a settlement by which all parties can abide.
Presumably as the price exacted by the Liberal Democrats for entering the Coalition in May, we are of course getting a referendum on adopting the Alternative Vote electoral system. Given the major economic and social issues facing the country, this is a colossal distraction for all but the Liberal Democrats.
I can only observe that, if we are being given the opportunity to express our view on an issue that would barely register in other circumstances, why not on those that really are having an impact on the country?