Tag Archive: Referendum


Pat McFadden MP writes in Progressonline about immigration per se, his article carrying the heading: What kind of country do we want to be?

One has to say that, in the main, it is a reasonable article, yet one that misses the most basic question which, being it is written by a politician, is not surprising.

In posing the question he fails to stipulate to which ‘we’ he refers – the people, or his fellow politicians. Setting to one side the question of whether immigrants are an economic asset or not; setting to one side our ability to adapt to change; and setting to one side the ethnicity of immigrants, there can be no doubt that the fabric of our society has been changed beyond recognition.

Where ever one looks, we have been subjected to not only societal change but change through the imposition of laws by which we are told we have to live; we have had imposed on us a form of speech alien to us; we have had imposed on us beliefs alien to us – and not once were we asked whether we agreed to this.

We can debate, probably with no result, the question to whom a country belongs – that of its people, or to a select small percentage of individuals who profess to represent us and thus govern us. Leaving aside the fact that I am a believer in the idea this country belongs to the people, if we accept, purely for the sake of argument that our fate lies in the hands of those supposed to represent us, then the question remains: should we not still have been asked our views on any particular policy that would change the fabric of our society and/or country?

As a believer in the principles of direct democracy and that people should have a voice in how their country interacts with the outside world, I also believe that people should be able to decide what local services they want, if they are prepared to pay for them. In this regard, an interesting situation has arisen in Brighton & Hove. The ‘governing minority’ party (Greens) are seeking support for a referendum as they wish to increase their Council Tax by more than the 2% level set by central government, stating that the extra revenue raised would be spent to fund adult social care services, including care for the elderly, and grants to third-sector organisations. It will be interesting to see if the electorate of Brighton & Hove are given the opportunity of agreeing to the first but disagreeing with the second where the question of an increase in their council tax is concerned – but I digress.

Is this decision by Brighton & Hove the beginning of  ’progress’, one whereby people can decide for themselves the society in which they wish to live and how they wish their taxes to be spent? It does of course then raise the question that if they are being asked how one portion of their council tax (albeit an increased, supposedly ring-fenced portion) should be spent, then why cannot they also decide how the contribution they make to national taxation should be spent and on what?

If we ‘progress’ those ideas, the situation may well arise whereby people start wanting a voice in whether our country should go to war, where and when our armed forces may be used in ‘peace-keeping’ roles. Is the ‘Pandoras Box of Democracy’ being unlocked which could result in the introduction of the 6 Demands?

Needless to say, I won’t hold my breath.




And the difference, Boris, is?

The main post for today will appear late afternoon as it concerns what is, in my opinion, the incorrectly termed ‘Draft Treaty’ of a new European Union.

In the meantime I cannot let pass without comment the latest article by Boris Johnson in this morning’s Telegraph. Condemning the Labour idea (House of Lords debate of Friday) that only Parliament should be the judge of what does -and what does not – happen in the UK; and that a referendum is essential to give the British people their say – he writes:

One by one their Labour lordships reminded each other of the wise words of Clement Attlee, that referendums were the devices of despots and dictators – and why? Because there was always the risk, don’t you know, that the poor benighted public would say or do the wrong thing.

Trust the people? Dear me, no, said the representatives of the so-called People’s Party. You couldn’t even trust the people to understand the question, let alone answer it, they said. These are difficult matters, they said, which are capable of being misrepresented by the Right-wing media. It is only we – the privileged oligarchic caste of experts – who are capable of adjudicating on issues like Europe, they said.


Is there some difference in the cognitive faculties of the British people? Is Labour saying we are incapable of getting to the heart of the matter, and of coming up with an answer that is in the long-term interests of this country? If this is the position – and I defy Ed Miliband to say it isn’t – then it is not only patronising and condescending to the electorate. It is boneheadedly stupid.

The question Boris Johnson has to answer is that if it is essential for the British people to have their say on our present and future membership of the European Union because of the effect on the sovereignty and independence of the UK; then should not the British people have that same right where their own government is concerned? Just where is the difference between the British people not being afforded a say on EU membership and their not being afforded a say on the level of Council Tax they are forced to pay? One could be forgiven for agreeing with the Labour peers as why should our political class break the habit of a lifetime? Why single out this one matter, when Parliament passes law every day, during the process of which the British people have no means of voicing their acceptance or dissent?

Therefore just where is the difference between how the European Union imposes law and the way our national Parliament imposes law? As has been said many times, I fail to see the point of the people reclaiming their sovereignty and independence only to hand it to what amounts to another set of dictators, albeit home grown ones. If anything is boneheadedly stupid, it is this last point.

Johnson concludes his article by stating that where this country’s membership of the EU is concerned we will get no change from Miliband or Clegg, but that we will with Cameron. Oh dear! Boris has obviously not read Fundamental Law (of which, as promised, more later) and has yet to realise that Cameron’s intent has been blown out of the water – literally. Where UK membership of the EU is concerned, the aforementioned document makes a basic point – what may be termed a fundamental point of EU law – that Cameron can’t change/instigate squat-diddly. For Cameron and Open Europe to maintain that he can is also boneheadedly stupid.

That Johnson can suggest Open Europe has the right idea and the right way forward only confirms that he does not understand the actualité of matters EU. While we continue to have such purile commentary from our political class, we remain in the situation of the blind being lead the blind.



Fact and Fiction

With David Cameron’s recent announcement that he is to tighten the rules affecting EU migrants, in effect what he is doing is but repeating fact and thus creating a fiction that he is ‘doing something’.

As Autonomous Mind writes, this is the ‘norm’; while Richard North questions have we not been here before? Richard North is extremely kind, in my opinion, when he refers to Cameron indulging in ‘gesture politics’ as I would go further and accuse him of lying to the electorate and thus misleading them.

Only two days ago the European Commission published Memo/13/1041 entitled: European Commission upholds free movement of people and further back, in February this year, there was this information on blogs.eu.

To add insult to injury the electorate also has to suffer the media blithely repeating that which Cameron has said with no attempt to refute his misinformation – a further example of which is here.

To add further insult to injury there is nothing really Cameron do, being constrained as he is by the supremacy of European Union law – and where we the people are concerned, there is nothing we can do either; unlike some.

On 9th February 2014 the electorate of Switzerand have the opportunity to vote on the SwissPeoplesParty (SVP) initiative to set annual quotas on permits granted to foreigners in Switzerland. This has understandably sent waves of shock/horror among the Swiss government with ministers lining up to plead that voters ignore this initiative on the grounds that it would would jeopardize long-established bilateral relations with the European Union and test Swiss treaty obligations with the EU.

Were this initiative to succeed it would indeed create massive problems for the Swiss government, similar to those that the decision by the people banning further minarets created.

It is well known that the majority of the political class in Switzerland would have their country in the European Union; and there is indeed an application for membership filed but which is ‘held in abeyance’ purely due to the Swiss people declining to allow their sovereignty to be taken from them.

If only the British people had the control over their sovereignty that do the Swiss people.


So, who and how much?

Helen, Your Freedom and Ours, picks up on a question posed by Lord Stoddart of Swindon in respect of the proposed referendum on this country’s membership of the European Union.

As with most parliamentary responses, that of Lord Wallace was as about as illuminating as lighting a match while standing in the middle of Wembley stadium in the dead of night. He refers to Section 119 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 which, for the average member of the electorate, helps not.

Turning to the Electoral Commission and the section on referendums, from the “referendums factsheet” we learn that additional legislation must be made to enable a referendum to take place. Presumably as the question in both the Scottish referendum and the proposed membership of the EU referendum are about the matter of independence, the referendum proposed for 2017 will follow the broad outlines of that for the Scottish referendum – at which time will be set limits on campaign spending and donations.

In which case, if run under the rules of PPERA, Lord Stoddart’s question was not answered and, in view of Helen’s comment at the end of her article, it is obvious said referendum will be anything but fair.

Just saying………..



A “Major” misunderstanding

Today Sir John Major regaled an audience at Chatham House with his views on the proposed EU referendum, one that he believes will “cleanse politics”. His speech was “live-streamed” and although this does not appear to be available on the Chatham House website, a recording of his speech and the following Q&A session is available to listen to, together with a text version of the former.

Major talks about repatriation of powers, opt outs, reform of existing policies, and safeguards against unwelcome developments and in rebuttal that repatriation of powers is even possible, one word will suffice: Acquis. He states that work should begin now preparing our case yet fails to mention that preparatory work should also begin on the need to negotiate  trade agreements should the referendum result in a ‘No’ vote; something he acknowledges can take years to resolve.

The only bright element in his talk is that he acknowledges an exit can only be accomplished through invoking Article 50 because, as he states, we are obligated by Treaty to negotiate our exit. Having said that, it is indicative that in his speech is the belief renegotiation will succeed and that the British people will then accept what is on offer.

A fellow blogger suggested that as people such as Major have nothing of value to say, it is a waste of time listening to them – and in this case, he may well be right. After all, if one is to have a misunderstanding on any subject then it may as well be a major one.


Cutting to the chase

The debate about this country’s membership of the European Union does not, I suggest, purely rest on trade, access to the single market, improving the EU’s competitiveness, maintaining an area of peace, healing the wounds of history, or any of the other faux-reasons put forward by David Cameron in his recent speech.

What the debate in regard to this country’s membership of the European Union is basically about is that of sovereignty: the ability of any nation to decide its own future direction of travel within the world environment, with whom it should enter into treaties and why, how the funds that the people of this country contribute to the country’s running costs is spent – and on what and where it is spent, to name but a few aspects.

More importantly, underneath the arguments that both Eurohiles and Eurosceptics put forward is what can be described as a more basic problem – namely what constitutes a democracy? Regular readers will, hopefully, forgive me for repetition – but said repetition is vital. The word “democracy” is derived from two Greek words: “demos” – people; and “kratos” – power, which when combined provides the phrase “people power”.Now where, in either the European Union or the UK is there “people power”?

By our membership of the European Union we are subject to legislation decided and implemented by those we have not elected and over whom we have no democratic control. In the UK, under representative democracy, we are subjected to legislation decided by those we may have elected but over whom – during their 5-year tenure – we have no democratic control. There is no control either over legislation or over how – or where – the funds, forcibly extracted from our pockets, is spent.

Does not accountability – and more importantly, control  over those the people elect – for the legislation that is passed; and the accountability and control of the funds extracted from those who elected them, not form the basis on which any democracy is founded? Does not every other aspect of what should constitute a democracy not flow from those two basic precepts?

Let us take two examples of accountability and control – one national and one local. Where politicians decide that a percentage of GDP should be offered to “developing nations” to further their progress and democracy – should not the people have the deciding voice over (a) whether such funds should be spent; (b) if they are to be spent, to which nation; (c) how they are to be spent; and (d) whether the needs of those nations is greater than the needs of the indigenous population of their own country? On a local level; should not parents have the right to decide (a) what classification of school they want for their children’s education; (b) what curricula should be taught; (c) who should teach it and how that should be done?

Eurosceptics argue, time and time again, that there is no “democracy” where the European Union is concerned, yet forget to mention that where the UK is concerned likewise there is no “democracy” – not in the strict meaning of the word, “democracy”.

When considering these Demands, I defy anyone to show me where even one of these is “met” by either our membership of the European Union or our present system of representative democracy. Therein lies the reason why this is so important – namely that The Harrogate Agenda must become a member, if not a leading member, of the ‘No’ campaign in the “promised” referendum.

When – and if – the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union does finally “arrive”, the people of the UK are going to have to decide what it is they do want. In order to make that decision they must be given the knowledge on which to make it, knowledge based on facts – not “spin, nor “lies”.

It is those on whom the final decision will rest to whom the courtesy is owed of truth – not just about the European Union and the ramifications of membership – but of what democracy should mean and, for their benefit, provide.






Media reaction

Much has appeared in the press about David Cameron’s speech yesterday and prior to starting on that, two cartoons (Ack: Presseurop) as cartoonists invariably hit the proverbial nail on the head.



Politics Home have a feature they call “Today’s Top Ten Must Reads“, which unsurprisingly have only one item that is not about Cameron, his speech and the European Union. The authors of these 9 articles include the usual suspects – Peter Oborne, Timothy Garton-Ash, Mandelson, etc etc. – they can be accessed from the preceding link.

Another of their features is “Today’s Five at Five” (same link) and of those 5 articles, 3 are writing on the same subject as this morning’s 9. Cameron must surely  have hoped that his speech would “park” matters EU to one side and methinks, in this regard, there is little hope of that.

Adding to the articles above, Presseurop has a round-up of some of the views expressed in newspapers on the continent which, it writes, provokes reactions ranging from outrage to – more frequently – understanding. Some of the extracts quoted contain what may be termed “enlightening” statements.

In this post Richard North, EUReferendum, makes some very, very important points where conduct of the forthcoming – if one can use that word bearing in mind the coming forth is 4/5 years away – referendum is concerned. As he writes, this will not be a game but a battle for the future of our country as an independent nation; and name-calling can only denigrate the efforts of those who will be fighting Europhile politicians, their sycophants and the media – not forgetting the European Union.

Besides the renegotiation meme, another that seems to be gaining traction within the media is that should the UK cease its status as a full member of the EU, then trade is no longer possible – coupled with the idea that access to the Single Market is only possible by means of being a full member. To combat these “ploys” – and no doubt similar to come – we do indeed need to get down to work.


That Speech – further brief thoughts (2)

Another factor which has come to mind is with reference to the assumption that following Cameron’s speech this morning he has shot the Ukip fox where Conservative-held marginals are concerned, thus removing the threat that Ukip might take Conservative votes, thereby letting Labour gain the seat.

It should be noted that unless MilibandE reverses his current position of denying the electorate a referendum on EU membership, his policy may well work to the disadvantage of Labour MPs whose seat is classified as marginal, whereby as things stand today Labour may well lose votes to Ukip, thus letting the Conservative candidate win – which is a sure-fire way of losing ones “Balls”, but I digress. Were I a betting man I could see myself putting a tenner on a change of “European” policy” prior to 2015 – one feels sure that “Mrs. Gary” will be bending the ear of EdM long before we reach “High Noon”.

There must be great concern among eurosceptics that a repeat of 1975 will occur, when the ‘No’ side were heavily out-spent and heavily out-PR’d by their opponents. Perhaps a move should be made to hire whoever managed the last ‘No’ campaign in Switzerland, or make an attept to “poach” Helle Hagenau – who is actually from Denmark – and worked as Secretary General in Norway’s “No to EU” in 2001. Lets face it, it has got to be worth a try, especially if it prevents a “Matthew Elliott” type with an over-inflated opinion of his self-importance getting his hands on the ‘No’ campaign tiller.

Just a couple of random thoughts – there will probably be others….…..



That speech

“A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood.
William Shenstone

The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite!
Tennessee Williams”

David Cameron’s speech began with a lie in that he stated he wanted to talk about the future of Europe when in fact he was talking about the future of our country. In speaking about the millions that lay dead across the world as a result of a battle for peace and liberty – and also mentioning that we should never forget their sacrifice – is it not odd that he supports a course of action which makes a mockery of the sacrifice paid to retain that liberty? I talk of his support for continued membership of the European Union providing he is able to repatriate certain powers, yet did not those who died fighting for this country fight because they were not prepared to relinquish one tiny aspect of their liberty to decide their own future?

As only a country can have people, I take exception to Cameron talking about the European Union and its peoples, the European Union is not a country therefore it has no people. I also take exception to him, or any other politician for that matter, talking about the defence of our sovereignty – the minute this country ceded the first power to decide something for itself and then action that decision regardless of what any other country thought, it no longer had sovereignty. It is disingenuous to couple the European Union with the words “prosperity, stability and being an anchor of freedom and democracy” when this country’s freedom to make its own decisions is no more and the European Union is most definitely not a democracy. It is indeed  hypocritical to maintain that Britain today is independent when it most assuredly is not, neither do we need to be reminded our country is open – one look at the immigration figures confirms that.

It is possible to lie by omission which Cameron does so well and doesn’t break what appears to be the habit of a lifetime when maintaining that membership of the European Union is necessary to have access to the Single Market. Richard North, EUReferendum; The Boiling Frog and Autonomous Mind have passed judgement on Cameron’s speech, with Richard North picking-up on what was probably Cameron’s biggest lie, namely that Norway has no say over EU legislation, a point also noted by The Boiling Frog. It is on the subject of lies that this entire question of the UK’s membership of the European Union hinges. Cameron is a liar, as has been demonstrated, so why should anyone trust anything he says now or in the future? As I write, I notice that Richard North has just posted on this matter of Cameron’s lies, making the point that The Great Deception continues.

Still on the subject of lies, one fears for the fairness of any referendum that is held and especially so when we can see that even now both sides of the debate are each telling lies. Where Cameron’s desire to renegotiate our membership of the European Union is concerned, I notice what appears at first sight to be conciliatory statements coming from political leaders and politicians of other Member States. As Autonomous Mind points out, if Cameron believes he can break-up the Acquis then he is being a tad delusional, despite what may be conciliatory statements and because of that, the fear must be that Cameron may return from his “negotiations” with changes that amount to no more than window-dressing and that – as in 1975 when Harold Wilson sold his country a pup – Cameron will repeat Wilson’s trick.

Of course, as in common with all liars Cameron is also devious so the questions which The Boiling Frog raises in his post are extremely pertinent. The really depressing factor in all this is that it matters not who inhabits No10, that inhabitant will do all that they can to skew the referendum to obtain an ‘In’ result, which means those of us fighting for ‘Out’ have the mother of all battles on our hands – and that last point is what one might term an even sad’m state of affairs.




Home-grown EU madness

For one who would have us believe he is knowledgeable about ‘matters EU’, Daniel Hannan, time and time again, writes what can only be described as tosh and his latest article now gives the impression that he is going overboard on some form of ‘associate membership’. All one can say to Hannan is that if this article is the result of him having used his thought processes, perhaps in future he should save himself unnecessary further effort. Anyone who can write that neither Switzerland nor Norway have no voice in the framing of EU legislation doesn’t deserve a serious critique of his thoughts – and he won’t receive one on this occasion!

Hannan is one of those calling for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, as is Farage who adds that he wants a ‘free and fair’ referendum, yet neither to my knowledge have addressed the question of the conditions under which any referendum might be held that would meet the demand of fairness. Among the conditions that would ensure a ‘fair’ referendum are, for example, matters such as equality of exposure in the media, limits on expenditure and the quantity of publicity material produced by each side.

What must be avoided, at all costs, is a repeat of the events which happened under Heath and Wilson whereby on each occasion, at varying stages of each referendum, the people were duped. Consider the stunt pulled by Harold Wilson to ensure his victory in the 1975 referendum. He pretended that he had achieved a “fundamental renegotiation” of the EU treaty. The government pamphlet recommending a “Yes” vote was headed “Britain’s New Deal in Europe”. All that had happened was that some minor changes were made to agricultural prices to reduce the catstrophic inflationary effects of the Common Agricultural Policy on the housewife and some extra concessions were achieved in quotas for things like New Zealand lamb and butter. Otherwise, not much else of significance. People often say they voted to join a Common Market – a free trade area. That was never the purpose of the EEC. The intention from the beginning was always political union by imperceptible, irreversible stages. Yet the impression given by the government leaflet certainly led people to think it was a free trade area we had joined. The leaflet refers ten times to the “European Community” or “the Community” but 34 times to “The Common Market” or “The Market”. The leaflet also promised that the British government and parliament would always have a veto on any new proposals to extend the power of Brussels.

Where being duped is concerned, it is worth recalling a paper produced by Eurofacts on 31st March 2000, one entitled: “How they swung it in the 70s”. This paper from Eurofacts contained excerpts from a transcript of the BBC Radio 4 programme, transmitted at 8.00 pm, Thursday 3rd February 2000, entitled “Document: A Letter to the Times”. This programme told the story of how opinion was swung in the early ’70s in favour of Britain entering the European Economic Community, including how the BBC and ITN news programmes were influenced to support the campaign for Europe. It also reveals that the European Movement and other organisations received substantial hidden funding from the CIA. Those excerpts are well worth re-reading and some of the points made, included:

  • Back at the start of the 1970s, the greatest issue of the day was whether Britain ought to become European…. and had you been scanning the correspondence columns of the Times you might have noticed a flood of letters in support of our application to join the EEC. A good many of those letters were stage managed on behalf of the then Conservative government.
  • Every week as Edward Heath’s government inched Britain towards Europe, Geoffrey Tucker, an advertising guru who helped to market the Conservative party, organised breakfasts for the political shakers and the media movers of the day. Journalists were there and captains of industry, editors too and television people.
  • Ernest Wistrich’s European Movement was the natural organisation to front the public campaign for Europe

From the excerpts:

“TUCKER: We decided to pinpoint the “Today” programme on radio and followed right through the news programmes during the day….the television programmes, “News at Ten”, “24 Hours” and “Panorama” and from radio “World at One” and “Woman’s Hour”. Nobbling is the name of the game. Throughout the period of the campaign, there should be direct day by day communication between the key communicators and our personnel e.g. Norman Reddaway at the FCO and Marshall Stewart of the Today programme. And in 1970 the Today programme was presented by Jack De Manio, who was terribly anti-European. We protested privately about this. Ian Trethowan listened and De Manio was replaced.

PRESENTER, CHRISTOPHER COOK: Ian Trethowan was then the Managing Director of BBC Radio and a known friend of Edward Heath’s. Another of Geoffrey Tucker’s guests was Lord Hattersley, a leading figure in the pro-European faction of the Labour party.

LORD HATTERSLEY: The one breakfast I went to was a very chummy affair. We were all fighting the European cause to the extent that some of the protagonists actually drew Ian Trethowan’s attention to broadcasters who they thought had been anti-European, and asked him to do something about it. Now I was so shocked that I decided I couldn’t go again. It sounds terribly prissy but it really did shock me at the time and, frankly, remembering it shocks me still.

SIR EDWARD HEATH (PRIME MINISTER 1970-1974): The support in public opinion polls steadily mounted until we got to the point of finally concluding negotiation and had just on 50 per cent support which was very considerable.

PRESENTER: How helpful was the European Movement?

HEATH: Very helpful. They worked very hard and they received funds from supporters which enabled them to publish their own literature as well as ours.

DR RICHARD ALDRICH (political historian) – on being asked what was the documentary evidence for the alleged CIA funding – I was absolutely astonished to discover that the library (George Town University in Washington) had the entire archive of a CIA front organisation which documents from start to finish funnelling millions of dollars into Europe, into Britain, with correspondence, for example, from British Labour MPs. The whole accounting structure of the European Movement was designed to hide the fact that CIA money was coming in.

HATTERSLEY: – on being asked for his comments  – All those years, all the Europeans would say “Let’s not risk trying to make fundamental changes by telling the whole truth, lets do it through public relations rather than real proselytising” and they were always inclined to “spin” the arguments rather than “expose” the arguments.

PRESENTER: And that clearly, in your view, was the wrong approach?

HATTERSLEY: Not only was it wrong for us to deal superficially with what Europe involved, but we’ve paid the price ever since because every time there’s a crisis in Europe, people say, with some justification, “ Well, we wouldn’t have been part of this if we had really known the implications. Joining the European Community did involve significant loss of sovereignty, but by telling the British people that was not involved, I think the rest of the argument was prejudiced for thirty years.”

Fraudsters who have pulled a trick once will continue to repeat that trick until they are exposed. Pressure is being exerted by the United States on Britain not to end their membership of the European Union and today we have the US State Department’s Philip H Gordon, the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs ratcheting up the pressure even more; meaning no doubt that history will repeat itself and the fraudsters will repeat their trick once again by accepting yet more dollars to fund their efforts.

Years ago the function of the Foreign Office used to be to represent Britain abroad. It was said that an ambassador was an honest man, sent abroad to lie for the good of his country. Little known is that the Foreign Office now has a section called “EU (Internal)”, responsible to Mr Hague. Thomas Barry is the current Deputy Head Europe Directorate – Internal (appointed March 2011) among whose responsibilities is a team of twelve working to develop and deliver UK Government policy on European Union issues. We can be damn sure that part of that remit entails lying to the British people for the good of his paymaster.

In any event all this talk about a referendum is pointless – something which both Hannan and Farage should know full well, but give the appearance of not – as Richard North, EUReferendum, has just pointed out with this post. Politicians would have us believe they are not stupid, yet here we have two politicians who should know better calling for a referendum now, when they know damn well said referendum cannot and will not happen; coupled with a prime minister who states that he has no wish to leave an organisation whose aims and construct in 4 years time he knows not.

The world has truly been stood on its head.

Update: Calling England has kindly added to the excerpt above in the comments section with this link.




Hosted By PDPS Internet Hosting

© Witterings from Witney 2012