Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Betrayed by our political class

As Daniel Hannan has often noted, mainstream political pundits make much of the 'Tory split' aspect of the EU referendum rebellion, but the question we should really be asking is why so few of our elected representatives, across all the major parties, are prepared to give the people a say on who governs this country.

The DUP and the Green Party both gave 100% support to the referendum proposal (8/8 and 1/1 respectively). Lady Sylvia Hermon (Independent) also backed it.

By contrast, only 26% of Conservatives MP backed it (81/307), along with just 7% of Labour MPs (19/258) and one lonely Liberal Democrat, Adrian Sanders, out of 57 (less than 2%).

And it's not as if the people are indifferent on the matter. A recent Guardian poll found:

There is a clear majority for staging a referendum in all social classes and regions of the UK. Men and women are similarly keen, although rather more Conservative (71%) than Labour voters (65%) are calling for a poll.

Overall, just 23% of all voters say they would be against a vote that "could ask the public whether the UK should remain in the European Union or pull out instead".

That's 77% of the public in favour of an in-out referendum, compared with 17% of MPs (111/650).

All parties broke previous promises for a referendum on the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty, but the Lib Dems win the hypocrisy prize:

When our elected representatives refuse to represent us; when they break their promises with impunity; when the only say we get is a 5-yearly multiple choice, and whoever gets in continues to hand our money and our sovereignty to foreign bureaucrats; you have to wonder whether we pass that most basic test of a democracy: the ability to remove our government without violence.

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