Monday, 1 February 2010

The Lib/Lab/Con 'Cabal'

The Oxford Concise Dictionary: Cabal - n. 1. A secret intrigue. 2. A political clique or faction.

On the question of a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, let us consider each party's background and policies:

Liberal Democrats: Do you remember the excuse the Lib Dems gave for reneging on their manifesto promise of a referendum on the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty? You don't? The reason that the Lib Dems wouldn’t support the referendum, Nick Clegg said, was that it was the wrong sort of referendum. What he wanted was not a plebiscite on Lisbon, but one on what he called “the real issue”: should Britain be in the EU. Here, for example, is what he said on the Today programme on 25 April:

The positional we took was that the referendum, which we wanted to see take place, was a referendum on the big question about Europe, which is whether we stay in or out. What we disagreed with, as the party, was the Conservative proposal to have a referendum,a very narrow referendum,only on this Lisbon Treaty. And even if the Tories had got their way and there was a referendum, it had then been rejected, it wouldn’t have changed a thing to the way in which the European Union is presently organised. So we wanted the serious debate on the underlying issue, the underlying angst, if you like, in the European issue. We were thwarted in our attempt to even have that debate in the House of Commons, we made our … I made my sort of, you know, frustration about that perfectly plain”.

Hardly the words of a 'Churchill', but you get his 'drift'. The previous evening, in the House of Lords, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who takes the UKIP whip, duly proposed what the Lib Dems said they wanted: an in-or-out referendum. So, did they back him? You guessed it. “We didn’t want to give any succour to UKIP,” one of their peers explained.
Labour: In their 2005 manifesto, pages 83-84, they said: "The new Constitutional Treaty ensures the new Europe can work effectively, and that Britain keeps control of key national interests like foreign policy, taxation, social security and defence.The Treaty sets out what the EU can do and what it cannot. It strengthens the voice of national parliaments and governments in EU affairs. It is a good treaty for Britain and for the new Europe.We will put it to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a ‘Yes’ vote to keep Britain a leading nation in Europe." (my emphasis)

In respect of Labour, nothing more needs saying!

Conservative: We firstly had the 'cast-iron' pledge - and do note the words "on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations" (my emphasis - and I repeat the word "any") - then we had the 'EU Policy Statement' that contained unworkable and undeliverable promises and, since then, silence. The Conservative Party will not even discuss it, to the extent that if one looks at the Albion Alliance database and the replies that they have received to emails sent to Conservative candidates, it is obvious that the Conservative Party have issued their candidates with a 'standard reply'.

So what exactly is going on? What are we, the electorate, not being told? And then one wonders why I use the word 'Cabal'?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See also for an alternative...