UK Liberty

On the reason for binning the commitment to a referendum

Posted in accountability, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on April 24, 2007

The Times:

The proposed constitutional treaty, which will be renegotiated at the Berlin summit in June, would centralise power even further, taking it from elected national parliaments and giving it to the nonelected bureaucracies. The British thought that they had the safeguard of the guarantee of a referendum; that is now in doubt.

Last week the Prime Minister let it be known to some European journalists that he was no longer standing by his 2005 commitment to hold a referendum on the European constitution, which has itself been defeated in the Dutch and French referendums. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is now trying to resurrect the constitutional treaty, in a modified form, but with unchanged legal effects. She has circulated the European governments with a memorandum, which includes this rather disingenuous question: “How do you assess the proposal made by some member states to use different terminology without changing the legal substance?”

It is clear from this letter thatMs Merkel contemplates rewrapping the constitutional treaty without altering the contents of the parcel.

Indeed, is it even possible to view it positively?

What is the real argument against a referendum? It is simple and compelling. The advocates of a constitutional treaty believe that they would lose a referendum. They think the British voters would vote “No”, and they are not prepared to risk it. So they want — as Mr Blair wants — to ratify the proposed treaty against what they consider to be the will of the British people.

After all, if they thought they could win a referendum they would have one tomorrow, wouldn’t they?

They know what’s best.


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