Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Case For A Referendum

From Jack Straw last night, on why he is proposing a referendum on the Alternative Voting System.  From Hansard:
We propose a referendum, however, because we believe that it is not for us to make the final decision. It is important that the people should have that choice in a referendum. If the Conservative Opposition feel so strongly about the merits of first past the post, why do they not have the courage of their convictions? They should back the proposals and allow the people in their constituencies, as well as those in every other constituency across the country, to make that choice-a mature and balanced choice-after detailed debate some time before October 2011. That is what we propose and that is what I believe should be supported. I commend the new clauses to the House.
Right back at you Jackie.  Where was the courage of Labours convictions in manifestly promising a vote on the Lisbon Treaty and then withdrawing that referendum pledge when your political masters in Brussels deemed it essential to do so?  Labour did not obviously feel they could make the case for Lisbon, nor for EU membership being beneficial to the UK.  How stupid the electorate was indeed, for voting Labour who have no intention of following their own manifesto. 

Like wise to Chris Huhne on the Daily Politics yesterday regarding the Liberal Democrats position on AV and a referendum:
We have said we think AV is a very small; a most minimal step in the right direction because it it gives voters more choice and less waste of vote...  Yes, we will back it.
So, the Liberal Democrats under the newly elected Nick Clegg could not support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty despite a maifesto comittment, because it did not ask the question they wanted, that of overall EU Membership.  However, they can back a referendum on AV that does not answer what they would claim to be the problem and is nothing more than a small, minimal step. 

The Liberal Democrats will have their convictions tested this month when Doug Carswells Bill requiring a referendum on EU Membership reaches the floor and they get the opportunity to vote exactly for what they said was necessary just two years ago.  But, of course being the Lib Dems, we won't know which way they will vote until we know which way the wind will be blowing on that particular day.

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