(Wolfers’ note: Apologies for the radio silence recently, this has been down to variously; work on the aforementioned project, which if not bearing fruit is seeing the blossom drop off and the little proto-apples starting to form, a holiday and a change of ISP which resulted in some down-time.)
I always remember my history lessons at school, it was a subject I enjoyed a great deal, this was down in no small part to an excellent and engaging teacher. I remember the great emphasis he put on the concept of self-determination in the context of the end of the Great War. Of course the important point was that nations had the right to self determination, rather than their population, but even as a teenager I was asking the question ‘what is a nation if not the population that resides therein?’
As is right it has been announced that the three thousand or so inhabitants of the Falkland Islands will be (once again) asked in a referendum if they wish to remain British or become part of Argentina. I’ve a shiny fifty peso note that says it will not be legal tender in Port Stanley any time soon. As is also right, the Prime Minister has come out and said that he will support the outcome of said referendum.
Well, that’s very magnanimous of you, Dave. I understand that acting upon the will of the electorate is a novel concept for you, especially given that you were so adamant we shouldn’t be allowed a say on our own futures, that you tried to whip all your MPs through the lobby to prevent us from doing so.
Yet in a startling display he’s come out and made what must either be one of the most delusional or deceitful statements I can remember a Prime Minister making. Yesterday he (or more accurately, his spokeswoman) said that ‘But in terms of our membership of the EU, he feels that is not something we should have a referendum on now. That is not something that the British people want right now.‘
That really is up there with Brown’s claims of abolishing boom and bust. The thing is with Brown I honestly believe he thought he had, I really do think that Brown was unhinged, with Cameron I think it was a bare faced lie because he’s so wedded to the project, I have little doubt that he is either a staunch supporter of the EU project, or having one of their placemen sat next to him, he looks at what happened to the leaders in Greece and Italy and figures that his fate would be the same were he to push that button. Either way, it seems obvious to me that his continuing employment as PM is a greater priority to him than the sovereignty and prosperity of the country he is supposed to serve.
Yesterday the Express was running a story that 80% of people now want a referendum on our membership of the EU. That doesn’t equate to 80% of us want out, I would imagine that a large proportion of that number want to be able to cast a vote explicitly in favour of the status quo, but their opinion is just as important as mine, and it seems only just to me that people should have the opportunity to say yes, no or meh.
Even if there’s a large degree of inaccuracy in the poll, that still equates to a public opinion that is clearly and hugely at odds with the PM’s assertions. Given the spike the PM had in his popularity in using the veto that wasn’t over the treaty that isn’t, surely his best bet of holding onto the big chair is to play this card, and the fact that he is so dead set against doing so speaks more about his claims of Euroscepticism than anything else could.
It isn’t going to be long until there’s a race between the big two to be the first to offer the referendum.
If the Tories came out and offered it first, would I vote for them? Not a chance, because I’m convinced that they and Labour, would have a question on the paper not a million miles removed from the voting reform referendum, it’s going to be ‘Do you want the status quo, or do you want to re-negotiate?’ And as anyone in business will tell you, there’s a world of difference between negotiating a deal and actually getting one.
I’m not going to be cancelling my UKIP membership any time soon, because I have no confidence in the big two to deliver.