Tuesday, December 01, 2009

LibDems Abandon Referendum Pledge

David Cameron mcopped a lot of flak when he made clear he would not promise a post Lisbon ratification referendum. Whatever one thought about it, at least it had some logic. The same cannot be said of the decision by Nick Clegg to abandon a promise of an In or Out referendum,

Readers will remember that Ming Campbell called for a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty, then after that was defeated in the French and Dutch referendums he switched to an "in-out" referendum as an excuse for their MPs to vote against having a referendum on its successor the Lisbon Treaty. But then in the Lords they didn't support having an "in-out" referendum either. Now they say that there's no longer any reason to have an "in-out" referendum because Lisbon is now in force - "history". Er, sorry? What's that got to do with a in-out referendum. Nothing!

A LibDem spokeswoman denied this. She said: "We always said, if there was going to be a referendum, then there it should be on the larger question of Britain's relationship with the EU."

That'll be "always", as in "always, except in our 2004 and 2005 election manifestos".

Surely if you believe in giving people a say by means of an "in-out" referendum, the argument for that is the same today as it was the day before the Lison Treaty came into force. Not in LibDem land, it seems.

31 comments:

Thomas said...

It's worth noting that Ming Campbell, whilst undoubtedly an expert on foreign affairs and one of our most prominent MPs, is not in the Shadow Cabinet and does not speak on foreign affairs for us.

Witterings From Witney said...

"Whatever one thought about it, at least it had some logic" What??!!

So the Tories wish to negotiate the return of certain powers - which will require the agreement of the other 26, highly, in fact, extremely unlikely. Logic? Where?
A referendum on any further transfer of powers - straight away you are then in a bust-up with the EU, something Hague said would not happen. Logic? Where?

If only there was some logic involved in Cameron's EU policy!

Come, come Iain, surely you can defend your leader better than this?

Iain Dale said...

Er, Ming Campbell was leader when this pledge was made!!

Iain Dale said...

Witterings, surely even you can see that there was little point in having a referndum once the Treaty was enshrined in law and had been ratified by every other country? You mnay disagree with it, but you can surely see the logic of that position.

dazmando said...

Well Im a lib dem and I posted about this here http://bracknellblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/eu-referendum-in-or-out-not-happy.html
I think Cameron should of not said the words Cast Iron then maybe he would of been ok.

Anyway Im not very happy about this very unclear stance from my party and I want some answers quickly.

BenS said...

Absolutely pathetic, from all 3 parties. No balls, no principles, no honesty. Ugh.

Paul Halsall said...

I think your criticism of the Lib Dems is fair Iain.

But I think your support of Cameron's duck is not fair.

Cameron repeatedly called for "a referendum" and *refused before the quite predictable passage of the Lisbon Treaty* to say what he would do afterwards.

I and others on here repeatedly claimed that Cameron was trying to have it both ways (so he could be elected leader), and would abandon the referendum pledge as soon as he could. Which is exactly what he did.

Now, Cameron could have said, "OK, Lisbon passed, but we will still have an IN/OUT referendum", but he didn't.

I am pro EU, but they have all been slippery here.

The Boiling Frog said...

Of course there's no point on a post-ratification referendum unless it's 'in or out', Cameron's mistake was not to be more upfront about this obvious situation from the off - Cameron has clearly wanted for a long time for the EU issue to go away which of course it won't.

Regards the Lib Dems, well quelle surprise! They never intended to have any kind of EU referendum whatsoever anyway because they know they'll lose.

So now we have the three major parties completely at odds with the majority of the country - that can't last.

haddock said...

more votes for UKIP, great!
.......and a few more Conservative PPCs cursing Dave for his stance on the EU.

trevorsden said...

Why would repatriation of powers to the individual nations not be agreeable to the other 26?

Any evidence for this, Witterings? And ultimately if the way the EU works is not acceptable to a conservative govt - then we might well need a referendum. On top of which a lot depends on how the EU chooses to behave.

Mr Halsall is talking rubbish. Given that the law has been passed, a referendum would have been pointless and could quite easily be ruined and made a laughing stock by the other parties simply ignoring it. Camerons statement was quite clear and he has stood by it.
And just how could you have an in/out referendum without first going through some negotiation process and putting the outcome and options before the public.

The facts are simple labour and LibDems have run away from their promises. They certainly do not deserve a reward for that.

cassandra said...

The Tory party will suffer greatly for the actions of its leadership, the voter is not prepared to forget nor forgive the betrayal and the dishonesty.
As from today the UK is a vassal stooge region ruled by stooge quisling lackeys on behalf of foreign masters.
The Westminster political class sold something that did not belong to them, they sold our freedom and they sold our birthright, they sold their own people into foreign ownership and for what? What has the bargain bestowed upon the traitors? they have earned nothing but eternal shame, they have earned the hatred of the people they betrayed so readily.
Our sovereign independence was never theirs to sell yet sell it they did and they sold it by stealth with silky lies and dirty tricks.
The political classes who conspired to betray their nation and its people think they have won, they think that the people of the UK will adapt to their new servitude and in time become willing slaves of the new empire, they think in time people will forget the treachery and treason, they are mistaken.

steveal said...

Iain said:
"...and had been ratified by every other country?"

Pity the people didn't get a shot. Oh, hang on - didn't the Irish eventually get it right?

Andrew Benton said...

You are seeing the effect of Cast-Iron Cameron's duplicity in the polls now.

No matter how you spin it, this is a Tory problem, not a Lib Dem problem.

Remind me, what is it that follows hubris?

Mirtha Tidville said...

If `Dave` wants to be elected I suggest he swallows his pride and offers a cast iron `In or Out` vote to the electorate...He wont of course because like the rest of `em he seems to find some sort of attraction with an unelected cabal resident in Brussels...

Meanwhile in the real world....

Twig said...

Good news. There will be a referendum, the General Election.

If you want the UK to regain independence vote UKIP, otherwise it hardly matters who you vote for.

John said...

We can all see that UKIP are not going to get any more votes than they have at present (3/5%), and when it comes to the election some will return and vote for Cameron.
There is a good chance that a number of Lib Dems will switch from a party that can not win, to Cameron. The reason I say this is on Lib Dem site they are voting for who they would want as next PM Brown or Cameron, at present it is about 60% Brown, and 40% Cameron.
A number of this 40% will when coming to put that cross on the paper will think, do I want Brown for another 5 years?. This 40% is the old David Owen side of the Lib Dems, and the 60% the old Lib side of the party.

momentsofc said...

Well it always was a silly policy in my eyes bourne more of political expediency than any great principle which makes it all the more dissappointing Clegg restated it on 5 Live...

Maya said...

Not sure how this squares with what Nick Clegg said on the Simon Mayo show today - iplayer 1.14.30 in.

quietzapple said...

Cleggy doesn't want his party to be too strongly identified with the EU at the General Election.

Neither does Mr Chameleon.

Mr Brown has little choice, and it may do no harm

Osama the Nazarene said...

Campbell did indeed indicate on Brillo's programme that there was no point in now having an "in-or-out" referendum. Two hours later on the Simon Mayo program (14:00) Clegg continued to espouse the exisitng LibDem position that an "in-or-out" referendum was still appropriate. Left and right hand...

I agree with you that a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty would be pointless once it was ratified (regardless of the stupid "iron cast" guarantee given by Wavey Davey) however an "in-or-out" referendum is perfectly justified and is the only relevant referendum.

Lord Pearson even promised that UKIP candidates would stand down if Dave gave another cast iron guarantee to hold such a referendum. But of course we know that the Tory leadership is fundamentally in favour of staying in the EU and could not afford to lose such a referendum. Hence any such guarantee would be riddled with rust.

Mrs Clayton said...

Are we seriously sitting here and debating a ratified treaty as if it is one of the key affairs to be dealt with by any new government?

It's done - for now. I'ts like refusing to feed a baby because the nappy may need to be changed in the future!

There are more pressing things to be put in motion while acknowledging this is an issue that should and will be dealt with

Robert said...

Just keep Cameron talking. Every time he opens his mouth his lead in the polls falls.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2009/12/camerons-rating-starting-turning-down-after-he-announced-his-new-europe-policy.html

The question you should perhaps be asking is will Cameron be dumped before or after the election? What is looking more and more likely is a hung parliament or a Labour victory.

Your man is incapable of hitting a cats arse with a banjo when it comes to knocking Labour or anyone else for that matter.

Graeme Reid said...

I'm not sure there's much to be gained in looking for consistency in LibDem policy.

Road_Hog said...

Yep, as said already, if you want a vote on the EU vote UKIP (or BNP) otherwise vote Cameron get Brown or vote Brown get Cameron.

More green taxes, more immigration, more power to the EU, why bother voting it's all the same.

Colleen said...

On this blackest of days in England's history, the least I expected was the blogging community up in arms over the outrage of the Lisbon Constitution's destruction of our democracy.

Blogs have always led the way, but they are sadly trailing behind the public on this issue.

I hope someone can correct me, but the only blog I'm aware with an appropriate response to this disgusting betrayal by our political class en masse and our media is Dan Hannan's.

What I'm waiting to hear is proposals regarding how we take our democracy, our sovereignty
and our freedom back from the corrupt and authoritarian EU.

And I fail to see any other means of achieving that now other than for us to leave the EU.

tapestry said...

Lisbon luvvies are all crowing about Cameron's lead narrowing. This is all down to the effects of the QE programme adding an all time record 66% to share values in 9 months.

Economists are hinting that Britain is already back in growth (coded comments such as 'these figures might be subject to review'!) but Brown will delay the announcement until seconds before the election.

Only 3% of voters believe Europe is a key issue. It's money that talks in politics.

once the bust is here, then the EU is vulnerable.

Simon Wilson said...

John-absolute rubbish.
A huge proportion of Lib Dem members were not members of either the SDP or the Liberal party.
The poll you refer to is not on an official Lib Dem site, it is on an independent public site. People expressing who they think would be least worse out of Brown and Cameron include members and supporters of other parties.

haddock said...

Osama 10:50,

please "don't mention the pact"....

Iain just doesn't want to talk about it.... and neither does any other Conservative blog.
Surely double-barrel surnames and lists are more important areas of discussion.....

quietzapple said...

Those who like referendums will be getting their wish it seems.

Pretty clever policy - dishes the Lib-Dems whose supporters will want to elect another Labour Government so as to be able to vote in the Referendum on PR which Chameleon would presumably deny them.

And whichever side HMG supports (if any) will permit those who want a referendum just to kick any HMG about, will be able to do their thing too . . .

Little Black Sambo said...

"We can all see that UKIP are not going to get any more votes than they have at present".
That would be some sort of second sight, I presume?

neil craig said...

Pot calling the coal bucket black.