Our fellow citizens can help us out with their vote

The argument for a referendum is well rehearsed. A narrow majority secured by deceit and illegality for a range of proposals is no mandate for any one specific proposal. With a million marching, over six million signing a petition to call for revocation of notice given under Article 50, and polls consistently showing a majority who wish to remain in the European Union; any mandate, even for a vague set of proposals, is doubtful.

Without a referendum on future arrangements the people of the UK will be in the position where their government, elected by an archaic and dysfunctional electoral system, will impose major change against the wishes of the very people the change will affect.

Now, the UK leaving the European Union is a matter for the people of the UK. The rest of Europe has no right to interfere. There is, though, no duty on the rest of Europe to facilitate major constitutional change without consent. There is no duty to help get the Conservative and Labour parties “over the line” without having to call a public vote. There is no duty to help a UK government ignore its citizens.

I hope that our fellow citizens, at the coming elections, will elect a parliament that will refuse any necessary ratification and any necessary co-operation with the European Council on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union unless:

  • An agreement has been confirmed by a vote of the UK electorate; and
  • That electorate includes all UK citizens, whether resident in the UK or overseas; and;
  • That electorate includes any citizen of another European Union state resident in the UK at the time of the vote.

I hope that parties, especially fellow the Liberal Democrats fellow ALDE parties, will include a commitment to this stance in their manifestos for the upcoming elections. I fervently hope that my fellow citizens will vote for it.

Let the broader citizens of Europe help us, those in the UK, take back control.

* Tony Lloyd is a member in Lewisham Liberal Democrats, an accountant and so pro European that he insisted on the European national anthem at his wedding.

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22 Comments

  • What use is democracy if you cannot respect the peoples vote to leave the EU . You are quick enough to ask people to vote for your party but you do not believe that the electorate actively know what they are voting for.

  • Peter Martin 9th Apr '19 - 9:26am

    @ Tony Lloyd,

    “I hope that our fellow citizens, at the coming elections, will elect a parliament that will refuse any necessary ratification……………. unless:

    An agreement has been confirmed by a vote of the UK electorate ……”

    Yes I think I get the idea.

    I was just wondering if it would also be a useful way of holding the UK together in the event that Scotland voted for independence in a referendum. We could have a few years of negotiations, then offer the Scots a really terrible deal with, say, a £10 billion leaving bill attached.

    We’d demand access to their fishing grounds and oil fields etc.

    Then, we could say it wouldn’t be fair on the Scottish people to have to leave under such circumstances and they should have a ‘final say’ in a confirmatory referendum once the terms of the final deal became known.

    What do you think?

  • I think Peter that the Scots would indeed get a terrible deal, mostly because in that negotiation all power lies with the biggest protagonist. We can see the blue print with our negotiations with the EU, you start of with the smaller side proclaiming “We have all the cards” and end up with them begging for scraps. It is a lesson in power politics, not fair you cry, but when was the world “fair” Peter. So yes if Scotland voted for Indepence I would think it only reasonable they got a vote on the final deal, especially as it is likely to leave them much poorer ( again a parrell with Brexit).
    It is also intresting that more and more of the brave Brexit cheerleaders are cry pax, for example
    Daily Mail commentator and former Brexiteer, Peter Oborne, told Today that “the economic case for Brexit has collapsed” and that questions around the Irish backstop could lead to “the end of the United Kingdom”.ttps://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p075vdw5
    A classic case of “getting your excuse in” all be it in his case rather late in the day.

  • David,
    Everything you say of Scotland is true but it is based on the Barnet formula, after independence that would cease, paying for health and education with an aged population would be an issue. A sad fact but a fact neither the less. We can all do fantasy but reality will eventually gatecrash the party.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Apr '19 - 12:22pm

    TERRY

    What use is democracy if you cannot respect the peoples vote to leave the EU

    Ok, so why don’t you argue against PPI refunds on the grounds “people agreed to pay for it, so they must have it”? Or anything else like that “Once people have paid for it, they’ve said they want it, that’s the end”. I.e. no-one should ever be asked after they have made a big expensive decision “Ok, now you’ve experienced what it really means, are you sure you still want it?”

    Suppose you are a worker and your boss says “I want you to do X because I want Y, and X will give me Y”, but your expertise means you know that X will give the opposite of Y. What should you do? Just do X knowing it won’t give Y? Or respect what your boss really wants, explain why you think X won’t give, and ask him whether on those grounds he should reconsider?

    When I hear what so many people say about why they voted Leave, I know for sure that if one respects them, one should NOT support Leave. Many people have said they voted Leave because they don’t like the way our economy has gone as it has got pushed down the free-market route, leading to a country which is run by and for millionaires.

    Yet the leaders of Leave, who will take control of this country if we get it, the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, are the people who pushed our country that way, and if you look at the discussions they have amongst themselves, they want Leave to be able to push it even further that way.

    Maybe back in the early 1980s it was still possible to say that Britain is essentially a socialist country, and being in the EU stops us from being as socialist as we want. However, our country has been pushed so far to the economic right since then that there is no way it is true or can go back that way. It is extreme economic right-wingers who want to leave the EU to push us further they way they want. They DO have a clear picture of how they want the UK to work after that. No-one else does.

    So anyone who voted Leave voted for them, even though they thought the opposite.

  • Mick Taylor 9th Apr '19 - 12:35pm

    Terry: What use is democracy if you can’t change your mind? Democracy isn’t a single event. It’s a process. If it were not we would never have new governments. Opinion polls, not 100% reliable I agree, suggest that leave is no longer the will of the people. If, as you obviously think it is, leave still enjoys majority support, what is to be lost by having a 3rd EU referendum to seal the deal? Could it just be you worry you might lose?!
    David Raw: Not everything is about you or Scotland. If, and it is still an if, a post Brexit Scotland was to have a further independence referendum, then it would need to be made clear what the financial settlement would be. Like the others in this thread, I suggest it would put Scotland in a far worse financial position than at present. Now Scots may feel that is a price worth paying, but they would need to be aware of the full facts first.
    Matthew Huntback: Good to see you back in the fray. I agree with your post 100%.

  • David,
    You are going down the “We are exceptional and special” path. The very argument’s you express are straight out of the “Brexiteers” play book. Scotland is a great country and we have invented most of the major scientific break throughs, is a chant often heared from Scot Nats, why one claimed over 50% where from Scotland. The facts are. Scotland is an aging nation on the fringes of Europe, the trend is for economic activity to be pulled to the centre, unless you become an EU tax haven and Eire has that role, so unless you intend to cut corporation tax to outdo them best of luck. You should also note there would be dammed few votes in being nice to Scotland and if there is one thing that is beyond doubt is the Tories will throw “furrins” including expat English voters under a bus to retain power, tis just what they do.

  • Scotland would thrive outside of the of the UK. Lots of good land, a low density population with a very good education system. It’s only a little smaller than England with only around a tenth of the population.

  • Mick Taylor 9th Apr '19 - 3:46pm

    All well and good Glenn, but right now Scotland gets subsidised through the historical Barnet formula much more than any other region of the UK. So an independent Scotland would have, almost certainly, to manage without that money. In order to keep the level of public service it now enjoys or to improve it, would require significantly higher taxation. As I said in my earlier post, Scots might decide that’s a price worth paying, but the information would have to be out there for them to make that choice and too many politicians dislike having to give bad news or to raise taxes.
    I do agree with David Raw on one thing though, an independent Scotland would almost certainly never have to suffer a Tory government.

  • Mick Taylor 9th Apr '19 - 3:49pm

    All well and good Glenn, but right now Scotland gets subsidised through the historical Barnett formula much more than any other region of the UK. So an independent Scotland would have, almost certainly, to manage without that money. In order to keep the level of public service it now enjoys or to improve it, would require significantly higher taxation. As I said in my earlier post, Scots might decide that’s a price worth paying, but the information would have to be out there for them to make that choice and too many politicians dislike having to give bad news or to raise taxes.
    I do agree with David Raw on one thing though, an independent Scotland would almost certainly never have to suffer a Tory government.

  • Mick Taylor 9th Apr '19 - 7:43pm

    I can answer Mr Raw’s first question
    Public Expenditure per person in Scotland was £12,800 in 2015/16, around £1,300 more than in the UK as a whole. Public sector revenue per person in Scotland was £10,000 in 2015/16, that’s £400 lower than the per person revenue across the UK. So multiply £1300 by the population of Scotland and you get the benefit to Scotland of the UK connection approx £7 billion. Add to that the lower level of taxes paid and you get a further £1.8 billion. [Assuming a billion is 1000 million]
    The second question could only be speculated upon, but I doubt if it would recompense Scotland for its financial losses at least in the short run

  • We need to start worrying about spreading the good news about the European Union and stop worrying about the minutiae of a dysfunctional system of government in the UK

    We might also have a campaign for real democracy- and please don’t mention the alternative vote!

  • Thanks for all the comments.

    With all the debate about the possible position of Scotland it’s clear that in any future Scottish referendum it won’t be entirely clear exactly what the people of Scotland will be voting on. Perhaps a side effect of the UK’s trauma over the last couple of years will be the creation of referendums multi-staged by design.

    A couple of specific replies:

    @TERRY

    ”What use is democracy if you cannot respect the peoples vote to leave the EU”
    I hear what you’re saying and it sounds like “what use is democracy if it doesn’t stop when I get what I want?”

    On 23rd June 2016 “the people” voted for the UK to leave the European Union. If on 10th April 2019 they want the UK to stay in the European Union then they want the UK to stay in the European Union. WTF are the people supposed to be “respecting”? The worst term you can throw is “fickle” or, more fairly, “unable to see into the future”.

    @Peter Martin

    ”What do you think?”

    I think your scenario requires a relationship to be unilateral, both in terms of its nature and the length of any negotiations to get there. “We could have a few years of negotiations”, suggests a length of negotiations neither dependent on the complexity of the issue at hand nor the advance preparedness of both sides, but on one side’s decision. “We demand access to their fishing grounds and oil fields”, blankly stated with no indication as to why this would be agreed to. I could see that it might be agreed to if there was something in the future relationship that was of benefit to Scotland that would outweigh the “price”. But absent that, it simply does not go in the agreement: the rUK cannot simply decide what Scotland will agree to.

    Your penultimate paragraph is just confusing. Are you saying that under normal circumstances that there would be no agreement to a deal from the “other side”? Is asking the other side to agree a deal rather than just imposing it on them akin to imposing a different outcome? Or is it critical that the Scottish people as opposed to the Scottish government are asked to agree? Asking a government to agree is part of coming to an agreement; but asking a people is, in fact, manipulative and scheming? Would “we” (I’m unsure about whether this is the government, Parliament or the electorate) need to make a judgement about the fairness of an agreement before insisting that it is agreed?

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Apr '19 - 10:38am

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47879777 – quoting from this…

    “The result of a nationwide referendum has been overturned for the first time in modern Switzerland’s history. ”

    “supreme court has now voided the result on the grounds that voters were not given full information, and the vote must be re-run.”

  • Peter Martin 11th Apr '19 - 10:39am

    @ Tony Lloyd,

    I’m not quite sure if you’ve appreciated that my comment on Scotland was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    I could have added that, in the event of a serious dispute with Scotland, we could take the same approach as the EU did witb Greece. As the Scots use the £ we could semi-freeze all bank accounts North of the Border, restricting withdrawals to £50 per day, until they agreed to toe the line.

    But just for the record, I’m not at all in favour of that!

  • @Peter Martin

    I get that you don’t really want that to be done to Scotland. Running a scenario to produce a ridiculous result is one thing, though, a ridiculous scenario quite another.

    “Tongue in cheek” doesn’t get you out of a set up that is almost entirely false.

    And, unfortunately, with dishonesty being endemic amongst leave campaigns, websites, social media, and politicians, humour around inaccuracies is in short supply.

  • Peter Martin 11th Apr '19 - 10:17pm

    @ Tony Lloyd,

    I’m prepared to correct anything I may have got wrong.

    Up until the Greek crisis of 2015 I was fairly agnostic about the EU. But the EU/German treatment of the Greek people changed all that. The EU supposedly prides itself on being a rules based organisation. Therefore, if Germany or any other EU country had a issue with any Greek government, the correct procedure would be to have resolved the matter through the European courts. Just as you or I would have to if we had a grievance over an unpaid debt or similar.

    It’s not down to a country to use its economic muscle to give itself an advantage. Angela Merkel and, the then German finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble had no democratic mandate outside German borders yet they took it upon themselves to speak for the whole of the EU during that crisis and force an unwilling Greek Government and population to do as they were told!

    They really had no legal right to semi freeze Greek bank accounts. Either the euro is a single currency or it isn’t. If a Greek worker earns his euros in Germany and then returns to Greece they should be just as good as German euros. But they weren’t. Greek ATMs were programmed to issue euros on demand to German tourists but there was a limit of 50 euros per day for Greek people.

    https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2019/03/12/eu-court-ecb-varoufakis/

  • @Peter Martin – You are overlooking the fact that the UK was an important member of the EU, by keeping quite the UK tacitly agreed with the German position…
    I fail to see how the UK leaving the EU will lead to better/more considerate behaviour by the major EU members…

  • Peter Martin 12th Apr '19 - 9:36am

    @ Roland,

    The UK government at the time was predominantly Remain so their acquiescence was no surprise. What was more disappointing was the reaction of the UK and EU left. There wasn’t a peep of criticism from them. If the USA had indulged in this kind of international bullying it would have been much different of course.

    The EU does, for whatever reason, tend to have a numbing effect on the critical facilities of most of the left and just about all of the centre left. That’s why they have just about ceased to exist as an effective political movement in many EU countries. It may seem a trivial example, but if the UK government suggests abolishing daylight saving time we have lots of criticism from the SNP who rightly point out the dangers to schoolchildren of having to go to school in the dark. The EU does the same thing and nothing! Maybe they think there is no point because the EU isn’t going to be listening anyway?

    I certainly would feel much more comfortable with the EU if the supposed left weren’t so subservient and were content to leave the protesting to the far right.

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