Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Referendum Challenge To My Readers

Seeing as some of my readers seem to be blind to reasoned argument, let me issue them with this challenge. Can any of you point to ANY occasion when David Cameron promised a post ratification referendum? See, you can't, can you, because he didn't? And don't take the Gordon Brown route of pointing to the 'cast-iron guarantee' quote in The Sun. I've quoted it before, but seeing as though a good proportion either can't read or choose to ignore what it says in favour of what you'd like to think it said, let's have another look at it, shall we?
"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. No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum."

See that last bit? That's the bit which people conveniently ignore - presumably deliberately, because it doesn't fit their argument. Think about those words - "No treaty should be ratified"... let me spell it out for those who have their fingers in their ears and are shouting 'la la la, can't hear you'. No Treaty Should be Ratified means that a referendum should be held IN ADVANCE of a treaty being ratified.

So again, I issue the challenge: show me where David Cameron has ever promised a post ratification referendum, You can't, because he hasn't. He has consistently said that he would not let matters rest there. And yesterday he explained how.


Half The Story said...

Just left wing trolls & right wing euro-wingnuts.

Queer bedfellows.

Guido Fawkes said...

That phrasing does not logically exclude a post-ratification referendum.

Dave didn't rule it out either.

Alan Douglas said...

Judging by the hugely increased number of "I hate Cameron" posts yesterday almost immediately AFTER he spoke, the trolls have had this one planned for some time. Their intention is to give us, or probably more importantly the MSM, the idea that a huge number of Tories are against DC on this. Ecery right blog was swamped.

They can scweam and scweam all they want, and I hope they are sick, cuz I don't see it working.

Looks like DC gor it right then ....

Even the French started spewing forth, all garlic and surrender.

Alan Douglas

Lisa said...

Iain, Thank you for saying very clearly what I have been thinking while reading some of the comments here and on Con Home in the last 24 hours. I hope those threatening to vote UKIP don't have children relying on the education system, or parents who rely on the NHS or jobs that rely on the economy improving. Bigger picture, people.

Alan Douglas said...

Your headline should have read

A Referendum Challenge To My Trolls

ALan Douglas

James Higham said...

Iain - it's past that now. Dan has resigned the frontbench and it is now time for the other ES MPs to follow.

The 2010 bill is a pap, still arguing form within the system and trying to paper up cracks which then crack somewhere else. the EU now has self-amendment.

It is time, as I wrote yesterday, for the disaffected Eurosceptic MPs to resign or at the least form a bloc to threaten to resign en masse because Cameron is leading us down the path to a hung parliament.

It's no longer time to argue what he might have done - he is one of the EU gravy train and needs be ignored now.

The power is in the centre right and with the true conservatives. Many have indicated resigning their party memberships but what they should do instead is stay inside and fight as a conservative independent alliance within parliament.

Then it will be necessary to form a coalition at the next election with the UKIP and LPUK.

This has now gone beyond Cameron's control and it's all of his own making.

Weygand said...

Although I have just posted something similar on the previous thread - I hope you don't me mind repeating the following as it directly supports your claim.

The online Channel 4 Factcheck found that

"Cameron has campaigned so vociferously for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty that it's easy to think he gave a "cast-iron guarantee" to put the Treaty to the vote no matter what.

But when he used that now-famous phrase, he did appear to be talking about the Treaty pre-ratification, rather than undoing the signed-on-the-dotted line that will now become an EU-wide reality."

Kalvis Jansons said...

If I had been DC I would have made the statement logically tight, and it is not, as GF points out.

Weygand said...

Desperate stuff from Guido.

The debate was what approach should be adopted to the ratification of the treaty - did it need a referendum or not.

It was implicit in the logic of the question that the matter would need to be reconsidered once ratification had happened.

Once you are on the train and it has left the station, it's no good saying I think we should take the car.

David Boothroyd said...

No, David Cameron has never promised a post-ratification referendum, in the same way as no-one in the Government has ever promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. But that did not stop Conservatives claiming that the Government had in some strange way gone back on a pledge by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty by the usual method. There was no pledge by the Government to have a referendum on Lisbon at all.

Meanwhile as you're challenging your readers, here's a challenge back. Where are the insults you remembered me posting "in one of the Kaminski threads"?

Windsor Tripehound said...

Iain, a further challenge you might consider. If there were to be a referendum (a) what question could be put and (b) what useful purpose would it serve?

I was amused listening to the planted questions on PMQs that the Labour androids trying to make capital out of "cast iron guarantees" were oblivious of the fact that it was they, not the Conservative Party, that reneged on a manifesto commitment and that it was Brown, not Cameron, who broke his promise to the electorate.

Knut said...

Quite right! I am sick and tired of the petulant whining coming from the troll squad.

Newmania said...

Remember ,this promise was made when it appeared likely that the great Fearty would actually call an election. It was not an empty formula which timing could be relied on to take away . Cameron deserves great credit for that.
That Brown funked it is not Dave’s fault. What I wonder is how much the Euro elite and their offers of tasty sinecures contributed to the timing of the New Labour election. Who will be surprised to see Milliband lording it over us from his High Representative throne and Brown ensconced in some stupendously well rewarded Kinnock-esque seat at the trough.

The odium for this belongs to Gordon Brown and no other.

John said...

With all due respect Iain, you’re being a bit of a loyalist on this one.

If this was the Labour Party, the Tory grassroots would absolutely focus on the first sentence of his famous cast iron sun pledge and delete everything after the first full stop. If you do that, you can see why the critics have bullets for a gun.

johnwillman said...

I commend James Higham's post as the perfect example of a wingnut view.

Just remind us what percentage of the European election vote UKIP got. Even that was bolstered by disgust at the mainstream parties over the expenses scandal.

cmp said...

Bigger picture?

Lady Finchley said...

Unfortunately nothing will shut up the euro-bores. Like all one issue fanatics they are selfish and blinkered. Most of them are retired and prosperpous and they don't give a monkey's about anybody else. UKIP, like the BNP has absolutely no other policies so UKIPers - here's the door!

ItsFairComment said...

Mr Cameron is rightly putting putting the fact that the Conservatives have to be in government to effect anything.Being in opposition for another five years is the alternative.
Starting an internal argument is not going to help anyone.Everyone is feeling betrayed by Blair/Brown, and have placed great hopes on a rescue by the Conservatives.All is not lost, and people should remember who has let them down, and its not Cameron.
Blair/Brown have sold everyone out for nothing more than power for powers sake. The Guido blog personifies the frustration felt by many,but lets not forget where the anger should be directed - to Blair/Brown and one vote that even Labour can't avoid that of a general election. As a footnote,as poited out in Dizzy's blog, most European countries just ignore rules that are incompatible or inconveinent to their national interests. Food for thought perhaps.

Anonymous said...

The wording is ambiguous, Iain. The final sentence, "No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum", could be read as outlining a general principle, rather than relating specifically to the Lisbon Treaty. I would have said that the first sentence, containing the 'cast-iron guarantee' phrase, is rather less ambiguous. Read David's lips: "will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations". Sounds like a promise to hold a referendum whether or not it has been ratified; indeed, the general principle outlined in the final sentence would appear to support that view.

Mr Mr said...

"So a progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain and from judges to the people. We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending.

David Cameron 1st May 2009.

Sounds like a cast iron guarantee of a referendum to me. So why has he dropped it?

Shinsei said...

I'd just like to add my backing to Iain's take on events of the last 24 hours.

I have found the offensive and disingenuous attacks from posters on Cameron on this and other supposedly Tory-supporting sites somewhat depressing.

Cameron really couldn't have been clearer on his cast-iron promise made in The Sun and a more detailed version of that promise has been on the Tory website for months.

I haven't the slightest problem with anyone wishing to have an "in or out" referendum on the EU, but that referendum was never promised by Cameron. So all the comments about Cameron's "betrayal" or that he is "really a Euro-federalist" and has already signed up "to the EU gravy train" are just ridiculous.

Cameron is clearly a Eurosceptic and leads the most Eurosceptic Tory party since WWII.

For anyone who cares deeply about changing this country's relationship with Europe the only viable option is to support the Tories. A vote for UKIP will just give this country another five years of Gordon Brown. How can you claim a love and loyalty for your country and yet still want to inflict that nightmare upon her ?

Salmondnet said...

"No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British People in a referendum". It is a remarkably strained and desperate interpretation of that phrase to claim it means "there will be no referendum if the treaty has been ratified". Most people will, justifiably, have seen it as affirming the need for a referendum and suggesting that, if the Lisbon Treaty were to be wrongly ratified without a referendum, the Conservatives would right that wrong.

There was clearly no caveat against a post-ratification referendum. If Cameron was making such a mental reservation he should have shared it with the rest of us.

You are attempting to defend the indefensible Iain. Truth should place limits on loyalism.

And no, I am not a troll, nor is Daniel Hannan, nor is Roger Helmer, nor is Norman Tebbit. I would like nothing better than a Conservative party I could trust.

Jez said...

Absolutely right. Brown and Labour signed the Lisbon Treaty with no mandate to do so, cheered on by a British political class beset with snobbery, desperately seeking redemption for the louche, common, reeking Englishness cast upon them from birth. I don't remember Cameron, the Tories or the electorate having any say in the matter.

So, what should Cameron do if he held a referendum once in power and received a 'no' vote? No to what? It would be about as useful as holding a referendum on whether we should have gone to war in Iraq. His response yesterday was sensible and measured. I haven't seen any criticism so far - from the left or right - that rises above a base attempt to dent his popularity, bitterly resented on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Chameleon will have to hold a referendum - In or Out - if he has an unlikely majority - just as Wislon actually did.

Otherwise his government will be paralised by the split just as Major was by the weevilling og his "Bastards".

But Chameleon has less ring craft than Wislon had in his little finger, and less principle than Brown has in his.

Oh - and:

"Bullies who failed to bully Brown into their original preferred election timing crow over their failure"?

Yep, that's it.

Anonymous said...

Iain, It's a hopeless cause - these foaming at the mouth old skool Tories will never act reasonable.

DC has always been very clear about his stance on Europe. It's the Eurosceptic nutters who DO NOT listen. They only hear what they want to hear.

The Tories are their own worst enemies - as always.

David Cameron needs to be the voice of reason about Europe. Why would DC want the UK to be marginalised on the world stage by being obstructive and awkward about Europe? He's way smarter than that. DC deserves a lot of credit for his juggling act and patience.

The Conservative party will never be 'modernised' until these nutters go away and join ukip.

Klaus Westwood said...

You're being highly disingenuous, Iain. While one could argue from the comments that Cameron is pledging a referendum only pre-ratification, he clearly does not explicitly say so. Browbeating people by stating something is self-evident when in fact it isn't is bad politics (but of course standard practice).

"I promise to have eggs for lunch today. No one should have eggs on a Thursday." Following your argument I am not promising to have eggs for lunch today.... in fact I am, even if I think I ought not to.

Roland Deschain said...

Iain, your argument is akin to Gordon Brown saying the referendum was promised on an EU Constitution, not the Lisbon Treaty. It may be strictly correct in terms of words uttered but not in terms of the impression made and intended to be made. We can argue over the meaning of words but it is a breach of faith as much as breach of promise.

And as I commented yesterday, his explanation as to how he would not let matters rest is meaningless piffle. He knows the other countries will not agree to repatriation of powers, so asking is a waste of time (but looks like he's doing something). He knows the Lisbon Treaty is self-amending and so no further treaties to take powers away from the UK are necessary.

Toby said...

but the hilarious thing of this all, is that every tard saying 'waah wahh i'm now voting UKIP' hasn't the SLIGHTEST clue just how the kippers will manage their feat of pulling out the EU. And neither do they. Go on, any kipper want to take me up on that ..? Give me proof that UKIP have a coherent plan that would ACTUALLY work, to take us out the EU.

given our financial state, the fact that any referendum would be asked to the UK and NOT just the English, it would cost millions to set up and fight and the reality that a withdrawal would be financially a disaster and take massive amounts of time and pain for what ..?

While there are a lot of people willing to vote tory to get labour out, not all of them would vote to get out the EU.

Some people keep repeating the mantra that the treaty is self ratifying and that the EU is some all consuming demon that is to be obayed as we HAVE NO CHOICE, well.. we do actually, we have a number of very good levers we could use to get what we want and the nuclear button of a in/out referendum as a last resort.

There are a number of countries who have kept stuff they like and got rid of stuff they didn't.


we could just shrug our shoulders and say ..'merde' as the french and spanish are masters at ignoring stuff that isn't in their national intrest.

Did they EVER pay the fine levied at them when they refused to import british Beef after the ban ..?

Paddy Briggs said...

The Conservative Party in Parliament did not vote in favour of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the leadership has consistently opposed the treaty. It would be perfectly proper for the Party to go into the next election with a manifesto that reminds the electorate of this fact and which says that in view of the overwhelmingly important reasons why Britain should not have ratified the treaty they will reopen the issue (i.e. open negotiations with EU partners) on the grounds that the new administration cannot be bound by the “errors” of its predecessor. In the manifesto the Party could say that following these negotiations the Government would put re-ratification of the treaty to the people with a recommendation for or against from the Government. Then let the people decide.

As a pro-European I hope that the above doesn’t happen and it looks unlikely. But there would have been nothing improper about it.

David said...

The fact that the French have gone berserk over Cameron's speech ( would seem to indicate that he was on exactly the right lines......

Liam Murray said...

That's disingenuous Iain, similar in fact to Labour's sophistry over their promise of a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty distinct from Lisbon.

If you hold politicians to the letter of what they say, rather than what they're commonly understood to have said then you have to do it for them all, not just those you support.

Osama the Nazarene said...

This is an "it was all within the rules" argument but then we do know that you were somewhat luke warm about pursuing the troughers within parliament.

Dan Hannan is the one who has taken the principled step in resigning from the Shadow Cabinet. I hope he is as much a thorn in Cameron's side as IDS and the Maastricht rebels were in Major's side.

Cameron has shown himself to be a mini Major, following the well trodden path laid by Heath, Thatcher and Major. His statement on future policy made no mention on how to achieve a "Europe of Free Trading States". Instead it was tilting at windmills which the French have already blown over.

Twig said...

Why the EU-philes on here resort to name calling, can't anyone be allowed to have a different opinion from you without being called a headbanger or a nutter.

It appears that most Europeans that were asked did not agree to this constitution or treaty or whatever you want to call it, which is why there has been so much smoke and mirrors to get it passed.

The Irish referendum was a travesty.

Anyone with an ounce of sense can see through DC's weasel words.
There will be no need for further treaties now that Lisbon has passed due to it's self amending nature, so DC's promise of "no further transfers of power" is meaningless.

For anyone not happy for the UK to be ruled unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, there's no point in voting for Lib/Lab/Con, as they will continue to support the EU project as we have already seen.
We need some fresh blood in our parliament.

Ean Craigie said...

Iain you again miss the point I do not care whether there was a cast iron gaurantee or not he lead us to believe that he would because Brown would not. In turning around on that, and he is otherwise the speech would have been different he shows himself to be nothing but a business as usual pol.

We need a say on the EU and if he will not give us that then he should step aside or possible see labour back in because I will not vote for him.

I understand that the economy needs to be a priority but he does not need to fight the referendum or does he not trust, as Brown does not, the commn sense of the British. Indeed I would go so far as to say he should just say have the referendum vote as you will and keep Government out of it.

jaybs said...

I do think DC could have made it much clearer, I know so many who feel disappointed and are looking to UKIP?

But regards Hannan and his crazy gang, do they not want to leave the party if he feels that strong.

Anonymous said...

You're no lawyer are you, Iain but a great grasper of straws and hitcher up of fig leaves

The second sentence does not depend on the first it is Obiter dicta - a casual extra remark.

It is better read with the elided word replaced....
"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. For no treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum."

It was a cast iron guarantee until he got scared of the battle it would cause.

Carl said...

From the BBC today:
"Conservative MEP Roger Helmer has resigned as the party's employment spokesman in Brussels, telling the ConservativeHome blog: "I can neither justify nor support our new EU policy."

He said Tory leader David Cameron's pledge to hold referendums on future treaties, also announced on Wednesday, was like "installing a largely ineffective burglar alarm when the family silver has already been stolen." "

Your stance on this line is...?

Duyfken said...

Just sophistry, unconvincing and unedifying. If this is an indication of the manner in which a Conservative government will conduct itself, I am less than impressed.

Irene said...

I'm afraid people don't get beyond cast-iron.
He is dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn't.
But I think he has certainly rattled a few cages and hopefully if he is elected, it should be fun!

Malcolm Redfellow said...

The whole of Cameron's piece for The Sun is on-line.

I invite you, and anyone else, to read it through and find a hint that Cameron was distinguishing between a Treaty (requiring a referendum in his view) and a settled Law (which seems to be his current weaselling to get off that self-impaled hook).

I particularly relish (from that original article):

The final reason we must have a vote is trust. Gordon Brown talks about "new" politics.

But there's nothing "new" about breaking your promises to the British public. It's classic Labour.

And it is the cancer that is eating away at trust in politics. Small wonder that so many people don't believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

Irene said...

Even Guido doesn't get it!

You can't have a post ratification referendum - you can only have an opinion poll on that treaty if it has been ratified, end of.

As for voting Ukip, why?

Elby the Beserk said...

No-one under the age of 52 has ever had a direct vote on the EU. There is no reason NOT to call a referendum on our membership of the EU; sod the Lisbon Constitution.

We were promised a referendum. No-one believes that the Treaty is not a Constitution.

Let Cameron hold the Referendum Blair and Brown promised us, and then we can have done with this.

Where is the will of the people expressed in what has happened? What is the notion of democracy to do with what has happened?

Shame on our leaders. All of them.

Costello said...

"right wing euro-wingnuts"

That would be those who favour democracy and do not believe that the question of Europe is best left to our betters in Westminster and Brussels.

Chris said...

I think it's fair comment that a plain reading of Cameron's Sun article leaves you with the impression that he is proposing a referendum come what may. That was inept - but to an extent he dealt with the point in his speech yesterday:

"A made-up referendum might make people feel better for five minutes but my job is to put together a plan that lasts five years, and I don’t think a phoney referendum should play any part in that.

Let me repeat: a Conservative government will guarantee a referendum if there is any attempt to transfer further powers from Britain to the EU.

But if we wasted everyone’s time and taxpayers’ money on a referendum that has no practical effect, I don’t think the British people would thank us for it."

I'm sure that Cameron is now regretting his precise form of words in that Sun article and hopefully he's learned something. Say what you mean - mean what you say.

Having said that, I think the new policy is more or less right to take us into the GE. Leaving the EU is not Tory policy and it never has been. Of the three main parties only Labour has ever put forward that policy at a GE (in 1983). If you are in favour of leaving the EU you should either a) accept that it's not party policy and back off or b) leave and join a party that supports withdrawal.

Personally I'm not afraid of UKIP at the GE. They will cost us half a dozen seats at most and I'll be very surprised if they win more than one themselves. In the matter of Farage vs Bercow, it's hard to have strong feelings either way!

Roger Thornhill said...


I agree with you but Cameron was UTTERLY disingenuous. Admit that, please, for your own mental health.

I am beginning to suspect the focus on "cast iron" is because what Cam has just said appears to be total horse poop aimed at stalling things long enough so as no action need really be taken because no action CAN be taken and Cameron in fact does not CARE if no action is taken as long as he can become Gauleiter.

It is like the rush at Copenhagen because they all know AGW is horse poop too and if they get an agreement then the inevitable non-catastrophe can then be "explained" by their totalitarianism.

Lisbon gives EU primacy. To have UK Sovereignty back would need to undo it. Fine, that is what I want (i.e. I want MY PROPERTY BACK), but not only is Cameron aiming to not have to do anything, what Cameron is suggesting is we cross out "Dog" on our Dog License and write "Cat" in orange crayon.

A Cat License it does not make.

The European Court would need to not be the final court of appeal, but a UK one. The ECHR to be at most a guideline not legally enforceable. Working time directives and other issues? Well, the EU says for the UK opt outs would give us unfair* advantage.


That is a government's job - to get out of the way so people can get on and "go about their lawful business without let or hindrance", i.e. earn a living, sell stuff and keep as much of the fruits of their labour as possible so they can decide how it is spent and on whom.

The EU is on our lawn. There is no point Cameron asking for our ball back (or in this case, HIS BALLS), until the tanks are removed, by any means necessary.

So stop trying to focus on "Cast Iron" and look at the shameless piffle that is being spun as "the answer".

p.s. Hague should be ashamed and I am certain he is. I strongly urge him to consider his position, for as Foreign Secretary of the UK in a regionalising England, he will have less real power than some jumped up berk at Yorkshire First. He must not let misplaced loyalty to a person get in the way of his integrity.

* using the poisonous Socialist concept of "fair", which is not fair or equitable at all.

cherami said...

Guido Fawkes

Surprised to see you joining the wingnuts.

What is the point of a post-ratification referendum? Leave or stay in?

If not, what question do you ask.

Cameron's speech was brave and realistic.

So stop your infantile cot rattling.

Michael Fowke said...

Say what you want to say, Iain.

But tens of thousands of us won't be voting Tory now.

Grandpa said...

I don’t think the issue should be “Show me where he promised a referendum”, it should be how do I rebuild confidence and trust in the political “Elite”. Accepting a situation where the nation’s voice is muted on the issue of Europe taints him with the same smell of disease & political dishonesty found in Brussels. The best way to clear the air is to give us a voice in a referendum on our future relationship with Europe. A multiple choice paper could easily be devised, the average position determined and become binding on the government. I recognise my view may not be held by everyone but I must insist that I am asked in a clear unambiguous referendum devoid of party politics. Anything less than clear transparent reference to the will of the people will mark the conservatives as cowed by the Brussels “Machine”.

cassandra said...

A referendum is simple and a proper way to ask the UK voter about the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
I have not yet read any reason why the UK voter should be denied a chance to decide on our own future?
The supporters of Camerons treachery seem to ignore the elephants in the room, he promised a referendum and now we know he was lying to us.
Why do the political classes fear a democratic vote so much?
Why is it that the one thing that unites both newlabour and the tories is a fear of a referendum on either the EU treaty or an in/out vote.
Why do the supporters of Camerons U turn ignore the simple fact that a referendum isnt a waste of time, its our democratic right to decide our own future.
What we have is a refusal to trust the UK voter to make the 'right decision' the Westminster political class have decided our future lays in being a region of a superstate, a vassal subject state ruled by foreigners as nothing more than a colony of a superstate.
It may well be that the UK voter could be persuaded to vote for a federal state BUT the choice to listen to both sides and make an informed choice by democratic means is our right as a free people.
The so called tories posting here beggar belief, the fact is that the EU treaty denies us of our national sovereignty, no ifs no buts no aahh wells!
This treachery by the political classes is beyond forgiveness or understanding, political power does not mean they can hand over our nation unless we give our permission.

Anonymous said...

Chameleon promised a referendum.

He hopes to go into a General Election Campaign with a promise to obtain various "concessions" which, if the electorate understood them, wouldn't want. No-one will believe that he has much chance of changing anything, will we?

But if he does get his way his representative will be arguing the employers' case, while the rest of the EU will be backing the interests of British workers.

F u - u - u - u - unny peculiar.

But then he and Osborne come from a class which hardly seemed to exist out of the amours of princes in tabloids until Dave Davis' campaign peaked too early and he fluffed his big speech.

davidc said...

let us not forget the way the lib dems wimped out in spite of the promise of a referendum being included in their manifesto, when the lisbon 'treaty' was being discussed and then voted upon in the h of c

they all ran away and hide!!!

still as has been established 'a manifesto promise is not a legitimate expectation'

Alex Agius said...

The bit Iain quoted also says:

"I will give this cast-iron guarantee: IF I BECOME PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty"

This has not happened. David Cameron has not been PM at any time while the treaty could be voted on.

Elby the Beserk said...

@quietzapple said...
But Chameleon has less ring craft than Wislon had in his little finger, and less principle than Brown has in his

Well done, Quietzapple, for getting the words "Brown" and "principle" into the same sentence.

Not an easy task; I guess that must be a different Brown to the one who lied to us regarding an EU referendum, and then went to court to ratify HIS right to lie in a manifesto.

No, that Brown would not know principle if he was slapped around the head with it. Repeatedly.

Do tell us about this other Brown, though, and what he is to do with all this farrago?

Johnny Anomaly said...

You are absolutely wrong. The words "in advance" did not appear in Cast-Iron Cameron's statement and were absolutely not implied by the words he did use.

The treaty has now been ratified, but we have yet to be "consulted in a referendum."

If the Tories are elected at the next GE, they therefore owe us that referendum.

On what? On the EU and whether we want to be a part of it. It is too late, as the treaty has now passed into law? Laws can be unmade as well as made.

The crucial point is that the EU constitution has no mandate, in this or in any other country, as most of the referenda that were held resulted in a "No" vote.

The machinations that followed the Irish "No" showed that the EU is not only undemocratic, it is also anti-democratic.

Some of us still want to fight for freedom and democracy, which is more than can be said for snivelling apologists like Iain Dale.

Anonymous said...

"Guido Fawkes said...
That phrasing does not logically exclude a post-ratification referendum.

Dave didn't rule it out either."

So, Guido, explain to me the sense of having a referendum on the ratification of a treaty that has already been ratified.

Grumpy Old Sod said...

Regardless of what Dave said about a referendum and/or the various interpretations put on what he said, the fact remains that now the deal's been done a referendum is a pointless exercise. However, Dave now needs to be very, very clear about the party's stance on the EU. It's a binary decision, IN or OUT. Since there is no way Dave is up for the exit option, he would do well to get all the sceptics together and tell them in monosyllabic language that the UK is in the EU, will stay in the EU and the next one of them that carps about it will be removed. Dave in No 10 is by no means a done deal and if he goes into the next general election without stamping his authority on this topic, it will cost the party and perhaps him a lorra, lorra votes.

We've got a ditherer. We don't need another one.

Libertarian said...


"I hope those threatening to vote UKIP don't have children relying on the education system, or parents who rely on the NHS or jobs that rely on the economy improving. Bigger picture, people"

You're on the ball not!

You don't want grammar schools- Vote Tory

You don't want Healthcare voucers to chose your own treatment vote Tory

You want a tax rise to 50p vat at 20% and ring fenced public spending - vote tory

you want to maintain 5.6 million unemployed with all the EU anti job legislation - vote Tory

If you don't want any of that vote


It's in OUR manifesto

Lenty said...

If the treaty is bad enough that you want to stop anything like it occurring again without a referendum then surely a logical step if you get into power would be to try to prevent the loss of power to the EU as much as possible?
Saying that you're going to stop any more loss of power when you've already lost diplomatic, foreign affairs, legislative and economic powers in a self amending treaty isn't good enough if you acknowledge that that is what the Lisbon Treaty does.
Of course David Cameron didn't say anything about after ratification. It's easy to say words when things seem in the distant future, making realistic promises is another.

strapworld said...

I sent many emails to David Cameron asking what he would do IF the Lisbon Treaty was ratified prior to his winning a general election.

He has been consistent throughout, telling me that it was one step at a time. When and if the Treaty is ratified he will then immediately set out what he will do. He will not let it rest!

That is what he has done.

Guido and all the other bloggers will find so many observations by me and many others asking that question just What would he do! He has now answered it.

He is not a liar. I believe him to be weak. But he has stuck by what he said.

Too many people are now playing with words.

And as for those who are considering voting for that squalid little party of small minded fifth rate politicians. Read the news of Tom Wise!! Pleading guilty to fraud!!

Farage will say he was kicked out of the party! Yes like the other one! Just look at his ''colleagues'' their is only one decent one there.

Ukip if you want to. BNP if you want to. But a vote for either of those will bring back Brown!

Steve Tierney said...

I agree he never said it. He was very careful not to. Sadly.

But I am getting sick of so many commentators, yourself included, calling those of us who are gutted about the decision one name after another or accusing us of being 'trolls'.

It is wishful thinking, Iain. There are no doubt some trolls out there. But there's a legion of very miserable Conservatives too. Pretending otherwise is counterproductive.

Calling us names or running us down doesn't make you right - just disrespectful. I'm surprised, to be honest.

I've blogged at great length myself how I feel about this. I don't suppose anybody is particularly interested in my personal take - but its there if you decide you are.

Denny said...

It doesn't really matter if Iain's argument is pedantically true, you can't 'un-offend' people by appeal to literal technicalities. They believed he would fight the Lisbon Treaty, which he did for as long as it did not inconvenience him in any way. And now it's fizzled out. An angry mob isn't going to say "oh, ok," and go home just because you've read them the small print.

Anonymous said...

I for one am quite capable of having a rational discussion. I cannot see what you are getting at by quoting Cameron from the Sun. It is quite easy to interpret it in the way you are doing or the way others are.

I think it would be fair to have a national vote on whether or not to stay in the EU (I think that Lisbon sets out the protocols for doing so).

The vote in the 1970s was whether or not we should be part of a trade bloc, not a international federation of states.

The EU manages to put its nose into all sorts of business, which should be left for the nation state to deal with.

Let me give one example of how the EU shapes UK govt. policy, whether or not the UK govt. agree.

Banking reform.

The EU is breaking up many a big bank under competition rules - look at what ING, RBS and Lloyd's are having to do, selling off assets, presumably at knock down prices ,halving their balance sheets (a great thing to do in a recession!) etc .

Now breaking up RBS and Lloyd's may or may not be a good idea. But why should the EU have a say in this ? Surely it is for the UK govt. (who unlike the Commission have to face the voters at least every 5 years) to decide upon what to do with the nationalised banks and not the EU?

The same goes for Trade, foreign policy ,defence (why have an EU army, isn't NATO good enough?) and numerous other issues which have slowly eroded British self determination. .

We can vote out our government every 5 years , but we can never vote out the EU commission.

Therefore a simple vote in or out would just end this issue for good

Anonymous said...

Cameron's stupidity takes my breath away.

But I have sufficient breath left to say this: Cameron has blown his opportunity to end his Europroblem once and for all.

All he had to say was that he will hold a referendum for in-or-out of the EU one year after taking office.

End of problem.

But now he has a vast and insoluble problem.
What a stupid prat!


Nigel said...

You may not like Cameron's position on not holding a "post ratification referendum", but it has been pretty bloody clear for the last two years.

Daily Telegraph, 22 Oct 2007
"... David Cameron is refusing to commit to holding a referendum on the EU treaty if it is ratified before the Tories come to power.
He came under pressure at a press conference to say that an incoming Conservative administration would still allow people a say on the reform treaty that was signed in Lisbon last week.
But he repeatedly refused to do so, insisting instead that now was the time for a referendum on what is the old EU constitution in all but name... "

ContraTory said...

Titus-aduxas, I was struggling to understand Guido Fawkes' logic too.

J said...

Guido: it doesn't exclude it, but it doesn't promise it.

David Boothroyd: Why do you think you know more about the Constitution and Lisbon than d'Estaing?

Anonymous said...

Let us get this clear. It is not only UKIP Euro-bores but also Tuscan Tony and 'Weighty' Gordo supporters who keep this issue going. The latter because, in the problem areas of immigration and economy which are by far the top concerns for the majority of voters, Tuscan Tony and Gordo have not delivered. The deluded Phil Wollas had a spin otherday- our soldiers are in Afghanistan to prevent mass immigration from there! The other day we heard in the radio from an immigration officer that bogus students get through the loose points system without any problem. As for the economy, the worry for 99% of people, the UK is still in recession, thanks to Gordo and his fixing of boom and bust cycle-we are bust.

Robert said...

We all knew Dave would renege on his promise of a referendum if it were ratified before an election. We are not stupid.

It was Dave's reticence to say what we would do in the event of ratification which has outraged most Eurosceptics and his current position on bringing powers back to Britain which even the French have rubbished. Dave has posed as a Eurosceptic for as long a she dared and now he challenges those who do not want Lisbon to put up or shut up.

I will not shut up and I will never vote for the Quisling Tory Party ever again. I live in a Labour marginal. Dave does not get my vote.

Dave can win the next election with the Eurosceptic vote. Can he win without it?

Jimmy said...

So the position has always been that the pledge was limited to the pre-ratification period, and presumably it was only been freak attacks of laryngitis which prevented him form answering direct questions on that precise point before yesterday?

Loyalty is admirable but there's a point at which you start to look a bit silly.

Rog said...

"No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum."

The treaty has been ratified.
We haven't been consulted.
We require a referendum - NOT on Lisbon any more, but on our future relationship with the EU.

Come on Iain, there was nothing to prevent Cameron giving us such a referendum, and you know it.

You are twisting in knots trying to defend the indefensible.

jailhouselawyer said...

What are you saying Iain?

Road_Hog said...

"Therefore a simple vote in or out would just end this issue for good"

Yes but the problem is that we'd vote for the wrong answer, hence the reason we won't get one.

Nick said...

No further powers will go to the EU without a referenda.

So what happens if the treaty is modified? That's part of the treaty.

Are you really saying that becaus the treaty allows the EU to take more power, that no powers are transfered?

It's bollocks and the public have realised its bollocks.

It's completely anti democratic.

The plebs don't get a choice because the dictators won't allow it.

David Boothroyd said...

J: Giscard d'Estaing has a vested interest, as the author of the abandoned constitutional treaty, in defending his own work.

The key point which Eurosceptics don't face is that the Constitutional Treaty had a greater significance than the minor efficiencies it introduced (and which were largely copied over into Lisbon). It was the status of the Constitutional Treaty which justified having a referendum on it, a status which Lisbon lacks.

I regret that Giscard produced a duff Constitution. A far more radical approach, downgrading the Council of Ministers and promoting the Parliament as well as the legislatures of the Member States, and instituting more direct electoral control of EU institutions, would have been far better. But if you put Giscard d'Estaing in charge of the process it's hardly surprising that that was not what was produced.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Perfectly clear that the promised referendum when it was though there would be a fall election in 2007. The final sentence says that there should be no ratification without a referendum. So, that then, was the intended purpose of a referendum and not the LibDem idea of an In or Out referendum.

Ratification has happened.

A referendum on the whole question of our relationship with Europe may yet come about and may be desirable. But there is no broken pledge here.

Guido says "Dave didn't rule it out either". There are a great many things he didn't do, some billions of them. Can we concentrate on what he did do and say?

If you want to cast stones then the targets are Blair and Brown.

Those who are promising to vote UKIP should realise that UKIP has no policies apart from BOO and is noted for having such as Kilroy-Silk and Wise elected to the EU Parliament. They did not even oppose the Common Fisheries policy when it was debated.

Anonymous said...

It's blindingly obvious, once fully ratified you CANNOT have a referendum on the treaty. The only referendum then is either IN or OUT. That will NOT be a referendum on the Treaty.

JuliaM said...

Salmondnet:"I would like nothing better than a Conservative party I could trust."


And no amount of name-calling ('Eurobore', 'euro-wingnut', etc) is going to alter the fact that it can't be trusted under the current leadership.

Sobers said...

Unfortunately a referendum is pointless now. The treaty is law and there's not much the Tories can do about it, short of threatening to leave full stop. They can jump up and down once they get into power, and demand all sorts of concessions, but the decision making process has no veto now, so they can't do the 'empty chair' thing to get what they want.

The only power left to the UK govt to repatriate power to Parliament is to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which effectively would mean we had left the EU. Then we would have to negotiate a new type of affiliation with the EU, that suited both sides. Which they would agree to because we pay in so much cash towards the budget, and our economy is such a large market for European produce.

But unless you have the balls to threaten to leave, and go through with it if they call your bluff, you will never get any change out of the EU. Its too late for nicey nicey behind the scenes diplomacy. It's 'balls out' give us what we want or we're leaving time.

not an economist said...

It amazes me that the BBC and Sky News will report Cameron's quote in full - including the bit about the treaty being ratified - and yet still claim thaty cameron is doing a U-Turn.

Its like reading and basic comprehension is a another world to them.

ukipwebmaster said...

You're beginning to sound like those apologists for the Soviet Union who could see no problems with the regime.
You've asked for proof; here it is:

"We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending."

Which, I hasten to add, is from the Conservatives' website:

We are linking here so our readers can see your response:

tapestry said...

There are other factors. The electoral system is so riddled with fraud that any referendum could easily be rigged. The EU would not idly by while effectively an IN/OUT referendum was held in Britain.

The media would be put to work. The postal votes. The ballot box handling strategies. No way would the OUT side be able to win a referendum, even if they had 75% of the vote.

Brits imagine all sides are playing cricket. They are not. That is why Cameron is right to play it long.

Before any referendum can be held, he must win power. And secondly he must regularise Britain's electoral and voting systems, so that a ballot could be held.

That comes before assessing whether an IN/OUT referendum (as that is what a post-ratification referendum truly is)is winnable when only 35% of the electorate want outright withdrawal.

There also needs to be a five year programme of educating the electorate about where decisions are now being taken in or rather outside Britain.

The hotheads must wise up. Follow Cameron's plan or lose the war.

Unsworth said...

@ Guido

Well, OK, so he neither ruled it in nor out.

That's the art of politics, ain't it?

Anonymous said...

No amount of name-calling, or eye-of-a-needle party political sophistry, or legalistic slight of hand alters the fact that we, the British people have been denied our say on the most important constitutional revolution since the Act of Union. We have been betrayed. Not only by Brown - no surprise there - but now by Cameron. The Lisbon Treaty has not been ratified by me. Until I have my say, it is illegitimate. It does not matter whether Cameron promised a referendum before, after or during ratification. Either way, holding a referendum is the right thing to do, and if Cameron offered me my say, he would get my vote. As is, UKIP will get my vote now. And if UKIP are not standing in my constituency, any party that stands up for British interests and British democracy will get my support. Cameron, has, in my view, just destroyed the Tory party.

tapestry said...

If Cameron concedes a referendum to the baying mob, it will be an IN/OUT referendum to be held after his next election victory in 2015.

If he concedes one earlier he will lose the election as the INs will rig the poll to a hung parliament.

If ever there was a time for the OUTs to keep quite while the game moves gradually their way, this is it.

Tony Sharp said...

@ Weygand - 9:12am

Sorry to be pedantic, but I can't resist. You wrote that the online Channel 4 Factcheck found that:

"Cameron has campaigned so vociferously for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty that it's easy to think he gave a "cast-iron guarantee" to put the Treaty to the vote no matter what.

But when he used that now-famous phrase, he did appear to be talking about the Treaty pre-ratification, rather than undoing the signed-on-the-dotted line that will now become an EU-wide reality."

Can I just point out the bit in bold is not actually a fact, it is nothing more than a subjective analysis. As such it really doesn't support the argument you're trying to make.

Nomad said...


With all respect, you are missing the point. I entirely accept that Cameron is an honorable man.

So here is my challenge to you. Given that euroscepticism is my top political issue, explain why I should not vote UKIP

tapestry said...


UKIP part of the Labour Party?

Not sure about that. But..

…they are certainly part of the EU, being members of the openly federalist Freedom & Democracy Group.

Marta Andreassen MEP SE (Colleague of Farage, recruited by Farage, former UKIP accountant who resigned over irregularities) is a declared federalist.

Yet no one who votes for her or UKIP has any idea.

UKIP can only get away with it because the media assist them by keeping silent. Farage has troughed £2 million in ten years unaccounted for. UKIP is no more than a business making money for their higher ranking personnel.

Hands in trough all over the place.

Shame for the voters who imagine them committed to a cause. It’s a business, selling false political gratification to desperate people.

Rebel Saint said...

There seems to be several recurring arguments:

1) "Because there's a lot of angry/upset/disillusioned comments they must be trolls". Could it be that there's a lot of angry/upset/disillusioned supporters?

2) "We should vote conservative because otherwise Brown will get in for 4 more years." Fatalistic bullshit. I'm sick & tired of this fatuous argument. We need to start voting with our convictions, not because we fear someone elses. Liebour are haemorrhaging voters to the BNP & UKIP at least as fast as the conservatives.

3) "Europe is just a marginal issue. We need to focus on the 'bigger picture'." Europe is THE picture. What's the point debating anything else if our ability to write our own laws, or set our own economic policy, or control our borders, etc is determined by people we did not elect and who cannot be removed. Everything else is like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic

Rebel Saint said...

There seems to be several recurring arguments:

1) "Because there's a lot of angry/upset/disillusioned comments they must be trolls". Could it be that there's a lot of angry/upset/disillusioned supporters?

2) "We should vote conservative because otherwise Brown will get in for 4 more years." Fatalistic bullshit. I'm sick & tired of this fatuous argument. We need to start voting with our convictions, not because we fear someone elses. Liebour are haemorrhaging voters to the BNP & UKIP at least as fast as the conservatives.

3) "Europe is just a marginal issue. We need to focus on the 'bigger picture'." Europe is THE picture. What's the point debating anything else if our ability to write our own laws, or set our own economic policy, or control our borders, etc is determined by people we did not elect and who cannot be removed. Everything else is like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

There's a real arrogance on this board at the moment. Just because some of us don't tow the party line doesn't mean we're trolls. I'm a party member, I have been since I was 17, and I'm pissed off with Cameron's soft line on Europe. There. I said it.

I will still be voting Tory at the general election because Brown has to go and DC is right on so many other issues, but some party members are pissed off with DC and will not be giving him their vote in May as a result of events of yesterday, and we're just going to have to deal with that.

Anonymous said...

"Rog said...
"No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum."

The treaty has been ratified.
We haven't been consulted.
We require a referendum"

Talk to the current Govt. They had the opportunity to give you one, before signing the treaty and lobbying the others to sign and ratify it.
It is the responsibility of this Govt that the treaty has been ratified, now grow up and start bleating at Brown and his cronies.

" - NOT on Lisbon any more"
Why not, everyone else thinks it will change something. If you want any referendum, talk to the current Govt.

"but on our future relationship with the EU."
That is a referendum that no-one has promised. You want one, talk to Gorgon Brown and his cronies, see where that gets you

"Come on Iain, there was nothing to prevent Cameron giving us such a referendum, and you know it."
Are you saying that Cameron promised a referendum on membership of the EU?

"You are twisting in knots trying to defend the indefensible."

I think you're talking out of the place the sun don't shine.

Paul Halsall said...

"We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living. The process is simple. All that is needed is the resolve of hundreds of millions of men and women to do right instead of wrong and to gain as their reward blessing instead of cursing."
Winston Churchill -

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Iain, but given the general mood of discontent with lying, spinning, disingenuous politicians, it would have been better for Dave to have had the balls to say – ok then, let’s have a referendum on EU membership – full stop! I think there is a large block of the populous who would rather we give up this eye wateringly expensive hobby altogether!!

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Iain, but given the general mood of discontent with lying, spinning, disingenuous politicians, it would have been better for Dave to have had the balls to say – ok then, let’s have a referendum on EU membership – full stop! I think there is a large block of the populous who would rather we give up this eye wateringly expensive hobby altogether!!

The Huntsman said...

How about this from Hague:

“This is a democratic country whose people were promised a referendum. We will always make time for the people to have their say.”

cited by Brogan @

Kieran said...

Iain, I'm a long-time reader/lurker here. I phoned in to your online radio show TWICE. I'm not one of your awkward squad. I'm not a labour supporter. I'm the sort of friend you ought to listen to carefully, if not follow slavishly.

However, you are insulting both my intelligence and yours.

Only if you view a post-ratification referendum as an impossibility does this make a difference. It opens a weasel-sized loop-hole for a dishonest "politician" (scare quotes deliberate).

Continue in this vain, and I will begin referring to you as the Tory Derek Draper and Cameron as the heir to Bliar.

Grow up.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

I've followed this exchange, and it's now getting v-e-r-y repetitive and v-e-r-y boring.

So, to conclude on my part:

1. There are many angry people out there. I think they're wrong; but then, as a former anti, I came round to being ambivalent over Europe in 1975. Those who say that was a long while ago are, as my eyesight, hearing and hair testify, quite correct. That doesn't alter how the debate then was remarkably similar to now: we antis were acutely aware and warned then:
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.

The great British public voted two-to-one against our warnings. 'Nuff said.

Even so, those who argue still from a hard-line anti- perspective are not all "trolls". To describe them thus implies one does not comprehend what "trolling" involves (and, believe me, I've done my bit.) Nor are they exclusively UKIPpers.

2. The present Government, for all its faults, is not uniquely the guilty party. Everything that has occurred is a natural consequence of:

(a) what we re-signed up for in 1975 (by which time the ERM, proposed in 1970, created in 1972, was already in place);

(b) the recognition that we couldn't continue to dump acid rain on Scandinavia, nor hoover the seas of fish;

(c) the establishment of democratic regimes, first in Iberia, Greece, and then in Eastern Europe: all of which needed to be supported, sustained -- and kept democratic; and so implied European-wide "rights" and obligations.

(d) the Single European Act of 1986: now, remind me who flushed the Downing Street loo then ...

(e) Maastricht in 1992, creating the EU, with the UK giving assurances on currency, foreign and security policy, justice and internal affairs; again, remind me who signed up for that one ...

So, by the time of the present Government, with the EU at 25 (and then at 27) members, consolidation was overdue. In the immediate future the entry of Croatia and FYR Macedonia will need to be settled. My guess is that will happen in the life-time of the next Parliament; but not involve a Referendum, come what may. I guess, too, that any UK Government will make cooing noises about Turkish entry; but not be too energetic in pressing it.

Quite frankly, what we've got there is, on balance, better than the alternatives. Those who sweat buckets over "ever-closer union" might care to look back beyond the last three decades or so, when ever-wider disunion was the only game in town.

3. When Cameron gave his "cast-iron" promise, he was in a corner (not far off the electoral ropes), was set on wooing Murdoch, and -- I suggest unwisely -- went a bit further than second-thoughts might have suggested. In doing so, he was either:

(a) presuming he would not have to deliver. In which case he was being casuistical and equivocating: not unusual in a politician;
(b) assuming that the Irish, the Poles, the Czechs or A.N.Other would already have rubbished Lisbon. In which case he was being calculating.

Neither implies a cuddly, endearing personality: either is the norm in the trade, however. It transcends human understanding that he would have wanted to be in the position of a newly-elected UK Government being the sole wrecker. Or that he expected the natural support of the Tory Party, in the City and business, would countenance leaving the EU -- especially when "Exit" is clearly sign-posted, for the first time, in Lisbon. That is the mark of his weakness at the time the "cast-iron" promise was put together, and his present moment of apparent self-contradiction.

Bob le flaneur said...

That contortion must have hurt terribly. You may be able to prove that Cameron never promised a referendum but we still need one.

Robert Peel said...


Sign this Petition asking Cameron for one

Houdini said...

If you think the actual words are more important than the perception of what the words are, then you are more New Labour than Tory and less of an honest politician than you like to portray yourself.

Tom Harris said...

Iain - if the last sentence was intended as a caveat or qualification, why didn't Dave say so explicitly, something along the lines of "We will have a referendum unless the treaty has already been ratified." The fact is he chose not to offer such a caveat, so his "cast iron guarantee" should be taken at face value.

Anonymous said...

It is all very well quoting Churchill, but the US of Europe he aspired surely is not where People have no say in how EU has to be run- structured and moves forward, where democratic deficit is the order of the day,where the states'can be overiddenn by appointed commissioners and other unelected officials. It is a bit too convenient for Labourites to quote Churchill.

The Grim Reaper said...

Devious, Iain. A most devious, slippery post.

No wonder you want to become an MP. You'd fit in perfectly.

Sean Haffey said...

Here's a further question on a challenge set a while ago.

How's your sponsored diet coming on? ;-)

Richard said...

Cameron's speech on 26 May 2009, under the title: "Fixing Broken Politics":

"A progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain and from judges to the people."

He went on:

"We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending."

Winston Smith said...

One reason for having a referendum is to demonstrate, once and for all, that the EU is anti-democratic, and has been imposed on people by dictat against their wishes. That is a politically powerful message. The EU has no mandate here. They need to have their noses rubbed in that fact; that they have no more legitimacy than any other of the world's despots.

But this whole argument is akin to saying that there is no point in having an election, because Labour have just changed the law so that they are in government forever. What would be the point in an election, if its conclusion must legally be ignored?

And if Cameron (and others) had said he had made an error in giving a guarantee without excluding the post-ratification case, that would be acceptable, although far from ideal. But to say that he never said it is simply spin.

What is the point in replacing the disaster that is Brown/Labour if what we replace it with is just as bad? Just as dishonest and unprincipled, as soon as it becomes expedient?

And you never know, if you hold the referendum, people might just vote "Yes". Democracy might not be so terrible for you after all.

Jabba the Cat said...

Like Call Me Dave I have also changed my position on the EUSSR. I now want a referendum as to whether we stay in or like Switzerland and Norway, merely have economic ties with the great European Socialist political pipe dream.

Andy said...

Some troll said: "But tens of thousands of us won't be voting Tory now."

So you wanted an 'in or out' referendum and now you can't have it. Sorry but that's realpolitik for you. So who will you be voting for? UKIP or BNP? What will that achieve? Neither of them can win an election, but they can certainly lose one. If enough of you jump ship we may end up with another 5 years of Brown, followed by Moribund and Balls. In which case get ready for 50% basic rate income tax , the introduction of Sharia law and compulsory CRB checks before you can pick your own kids up from school. So lets be grown up about this. DC didn't ratify Lisbon, but the fact is it has been ratified. That is the pond he needs to swim in, much as he,you or I might wish it otherwise. Spitting your dummy out won't change that.

ukipwebmaster said...

This is like the Clinton paradox. Did he inhale or did he have intercourse?

Rog said...

@ titus-aduxas...

Why the hell would I want to consult the current government? They are slavishly pro-EU, useless, traitorous tosspots. Personally I'd like to line them all up against the nearest wall and machine-gun them. Twice. After torturing them.

No. Cameron didn't specifically promise a referendum on our relationship with the EU. It's merely what your average non hair-splitting, non apologist, non party fanboy would have expected from his "cast-iron guarantee".

Party before country is what's expected from the socialist tribal dimwits.

Seriously, wtf is the matter with some of you?

Dan said...

Ian you are right, a Referendum to stop ratification of a Treaty is one thing a referendum to allow people to let off steam by saying NO!! may make people feel better but I have never heard a sensible answer to the question of and what happens next?

I have no problem with those arguing for an IN or OUT Referendum whether UKIP or Lib-Dem but that was not and never has been Cameron's position.

Maybe it should be to lance this long running boil. But the idea that we can stay in but somehow turn the EU back to a 1970's trade co-operation area is a pipe-dream.

Those who argue that the 1974 Referendum was after we had joined the answer was yes and if the answer had gone the other way we would have left. If we reject the rules of the EU as constituted from 1st December, we can leave or we can argue with the others to make changes if the others agree, we can not magically make the others unratify!

Anonymous said...

Some one who was an UKIP MEP may face criminal charges said the Timesonline yesterday. Wonderful! Any comment from Farrage the talkative, he seems quiet these days!

Dan said...

OK we have a significant number of people who want an In or Out Referendum. That is a perfectly sensible position which would have the support of the Lib-Dems and UKIP who would campaign on opposite sides.

Labour, CBI, TUC, Irish, Wesh and Northern Ireland parties would all campaign to stay in.

Official Tory policy now is to be in.

What would Conservative Party do after calling the refferedum.

Say the issue is contentious and we are giving the people their say but we think we should stay in, or stay neutral while individual MP's campaign on both sides.

IanW said...

A clever swerve, Iain. Get them bogged down in the minutiae of textual analysis, rather than the more telling practical and principled observations that have been made. Your evident discomfort does you credit, but I don't doubt the same could have been said of various New Labour figures in the early days of The Project.

p smith said...

Iain, you are being incredibly naive. Of course Cameron did not expressly promise a referendum on a post ratification treaty. However, equally, he did not rule one out. If, as he now says, you cannot have a referendum on a ratified treaty as a matter of logic and principle, then why was he not honest enough to say just that before now? Why not make it crystal clear that his promise only extended to a pre ratification referendum? You know damn well why.

He wanted to appear and sound tough on Europe to appease the Eurosceptics without in fact promising anything. The fact that anyone is surprised by this amazed me though. This man is and always has been an arch politician.

An honest politician would have said two years ago "My referendum pledge relates only to an unratified treaty. You cannot logically have a referendum once the treaty has been ratified by all member states". Clear, straightforward and true. But he did not because (rightly it seems) he took the public for fools.

And, yes, we all know that Brown reneged on a referendum too but is that what it has come too? Is that the Cameron benchmark for honesty? Cameron's sophistry is no less ignoble than Brown's argument that they only offered a referendum on the Constitution not the Treaty.