The voice of young liberal democrats

Liberal’s European Russian Roulette by georgeinwashington

I just can not find it within myself to understand the Liberal Democrat’s insane policy towards Europe. In supporting a referendum on membership of the Union we are risking the biggest policy disaster of a generation and playing into the hands of the lunatic elements of the far right. This policy is just stupid.

As a pro European party the leadership seem to be banking on the fact that they will win any election on EU membership. This vote will validate membership and silence the far right. In the end it will be a positive thing for Europe. The tactic is nothing more than a game of chicken, with the winner taking all and the loser crashing and burning. It is nothing less than irresponsible.

The latest eurobarometer polls show that 39% of people in Britain view EU membership as a good thing and 30% as a bad thing. This is shaky ground to hold a referendum on, notwithstanding the fact that with a media establishment strongly opposed to EU membership any referendum will be a tough battle and victory by no means certain. Yes, pro EU parties are overwhelmingly in the majority in parliament and UKIP is insignificant but that is because for voters Europe is a marginal issue. However this makes a referendum even more dangerous those who are anti EU tend to be much more vocal and motivated. By isolating a marginal issue for the majority of voters in this way a referendum on Europe risks being won by a narrow margin by a minority of hard core right wing activists getting out the vote.

The result of a lost referendum will be catastrophic. Leaving the EU would jeopardize security and police cooperation putting us at greater risk of a terrorist attack. We would put at risk millions of jobs and the health of the economy, through disintegrating our economy from our largest trading partners. In terms of foreign affairs, the UK will see itself quickly fading into irrelevance.

Some might criticize my argument as anti democratic, what can be more democratic than a referendum? What could be more democratic than a referendum after all? Well they would be wrong. Firstly it is not democratic to have a small elite in the media coupled with a small minority of hard core racists, mobilize against the best interests of the people.

Secondly, we have fallen into believing the tory propaganda that the EU is poses a serious constitutional change to the UK and so it needs to be validated by the public. The EU is an intergovernmental organization. A highly developed one indeed, but still, not a government or a nascent federation. This is important to understand because it means that all power still rests with our national elected officials. The greatest PR coup of the right was to convince the British people that every new expansion of EU cooperation was a hand over of power to Brussels.

Nothing can be father from the truth. Through the council of ministers our ministers have a veto on all matters of importance and an effective veto on all unimportant measures. Decisions made in Brussels are approved and passed by our elected officials, and if someone has a problem with a certain law, they should take it up with their government and not with Brussels.

Demands for a referendum are not present because the EU is expanding its power, they come from people who only think that it is. Fed by propaganda from a few who are following their own agenda. In fact the new Treaty introduces many additional checks on power.

If the EU did pose a fundamental shift in the structure and functioning of our democracy, I would support a referendum also. Indeed fundamental constitutional changes should only be made with the consent of the people, but on more minor matters there is a reason why we have representative democracy. In this case the Liberals are simply fighting the wrong fight.


6 Comments so far
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Come on. Leaving the EU would not be catastrophic. There are literally hundreds of countries that have never been in the EU.

EFTA provides all the good bits of the EU, without the massive subsidy payments and the bloated, corrupt government. But no, we wouldn’t want to turn into democratically shambolic, miserably poor Switzerland now, would we?

Oh, wait.

Comment by Kendrick

We tried EFTA in the 1950s which was effectively a northern European block doing business with the then EC. We decided to ditch it and go for overall membership because we realised that in order to trade with the Community we had to accept all their regulations, at the expense of the British tax-payer, without having any say on them whatsoever.

The government of Norway constantly laments having to put up with this settlement, but in their last referendum, the people expressed their democratic choice to keep paying through the nose for abiding by regulations decided by other people, reflecting other interests in the complete absence of their own government.

Comment by londonliberal

Why oh why are anyone who disagrees with you classed as the ‘lunatic fringe’. It’s no wonder your party never gets anywhere in government.
Whatever happened to free speech. Sorry I can answer that, it has been delegated to the dustbin by this government.
We are drugged with caution because under this government to speak is to condemn.

Comment by Ray, Coventry, England

Why do I call you a lunatic fringe Ray? It is not because that I disagree but more for the eurosceptic right’s complete divorce from any form of logic, and the unwillingness to seek the truth. Over and over again we here about Norway and Switzerland and the models of how we should be. Two countries who’s economies could not be more different than the UK’s. One based entirely on natural resources, the other a kind of kleptocracy.

Unwilling to seek the truth? to quote from your own website “Myth 2: Britain’s independent foreign policy is unaffected
Oh yeah? Then what is the EU’s common foreign policy for? Why do we need a foreign minister, a Euro-diplomatic corps, accredited European embassies? It’s odd, really, how Euro-philes say this and then, in the next breath, tell us that Europe needs a strong, united voice in the world. You can’t have it both ways, boys.” Well Why dont you actually find out what the European foreign minister is for and answer your own question? you wont so I will tell you here.

The European foreign policy institutions will be to implement a policy that has previously been agreed upon and delegated to the commission by all member states. If you decided free of any coercion that a task will be better completed with one representative working towards a common good, that in no way encroaches on your ability to have an independent foreign policy. Especially if you keep your own foreign policy tools. The point of this is to increase efficiency, so that when European governments all want to do the same thing, you don’t have 27 foreign ministries all doing it, that would be a waste.

Comment by georgeinwashington

europe is a brilliant thing. Im british and patriotic but the times when the uk was a superpower has gone and we need to unite with europe in order to create a power to rival the usa and future powers such as china. Many people who a sceptic towards europe like to take all the good the eu gives us and doesnt want to give anything back, just near where i live (not in a big city or huge town) there is a sign saying where a road and a new forest has been made funded by the eu. Also europe gives us money, it helps to create regeneration in urban areas (liverpool 08). The problem with british culture is that we are scared of change we are slow and dont like to gamble on things, and having gordan brown as the prime minister isnt helping, we need a prime minister who will make changes quickly. you can see how cautious he is with his decisions (stopping the construction of the supercasino)

we need to wake up and smell the coffee, we are changing and we can either try and stop it or take advantage of it, and become powerful and prosperous or become a country without a voice!!!

Comment by kyle of uk

The government of Norway constantly laments having to put up with this settlement, but in their last referendum, the people expressed their democratic choice to keep paying through the nose for abiding by regulations decided by other people, reflecting other interests in the complete absence of their own government.

Comment by Roger

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