Author Archives: Andrew Duff

The dangers of the ‘people’s vote’

As the Chequers agreement and White Paper evince, the details of the interim package on offer are highly complicated. Submitting the terms and conditions of the Article 50 negotiations to a popular vote would be fraudulent. A referendum would be unlikely to elucidate the pros and cons of the Facilitated Customs Arrangement, the future of the City of London or the Irish backstop protocol. Rather, the hapless voter would face the same dilemma as vacillating parliamentarians – namely, a crude and invidious choice between the government’s Brexit deal and the cliff edge.

Ms. Miller & co make two gigantic misjudgments. The first is that, in the event of a referendum rejecting the Barnier package, the EU would be prepared to open up a new negotiation under Article 50 or to suspend Article 50 until the Brits sort themselves out. Having offered Cameron one new settlement for Britain in 2016 and May another in 2018, toleration of the British will be at an end. There will be no third negotiation. So what would be the referendum question? Moreover, on which side would Lib Dems be campaigning?

The second big mistake is to assume that the Remainers would ‘win’ the second referendum no matter the question. Opinion polls suggest that the outcome would be just as close as the first: certainly the assumption that Remain would win handsomely and settle the business of Britain’s place in Europe is an arrogant one, not supported by the facts.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 102 Comments

Opinion: EU Bill is bad Tory policy

The European Union Bill is a Tory policy. The Liberal Democrats went into the last election arguing for a referendum on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU. Thankfully, having lost the election, we were not in a position to test public opinion on that one.

The Conservative party wanted a referendum on the Lisbon treaty in order to repatriate powers and to entrench national sovereignty. On losing the election they discovered that Lisbon was already in force and could not be undone. So their new tactic was to undermine the Lisbon settlement whenever opportunity arose, and it …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged , , and | 26 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 23rd Aug - 8:59am
    Endlessly repeating "advisory" doesn't make it so. It was stated throughout the campaign that the government would act on the result of the referendum whatever...
  • User Avatarfrankie 23rd Aug - 8:55am
    So Mack, A supporter of Jeremy and a proud socialist who has to vote Depeffle or Fromarge. Some socialist are you, all that matters to...
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 23rd Aug - 8:35am
    Michael BG and Thomas: (More apologies from me -- I am Roger above. My name used to appear automatically, and I did not realise the...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 23rd Aug - 8:18am
    EXPATS Corbyns policies on nationalisation are popular .This may be true until they get to know what the real costs will be and the loss...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 23rd Aug - 8:09am
    @Mack "Oh, come on. Have you forgotten the list of people who have been convicted and fined and even gone to prison for breaking electoral...
  • User Avatarpmknowles 23rd Aug - 7:55am
    @Mack Because the referendum was advisory a lot of the sting was taken out of what the Electoral Commission could do in terms of punishment....
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