Monday, 1 February 2010

Referendum Bill

Douglas Carswell posts on his Referendum Bill which has been published today, details of which can be accessed via his post.

It is worth noting that his supporters are listed as: Philip Davies - Conservative, Shipley; Philip Hollobone - Conservative, Ketting; Peter Bone  Conservative, Wellingborough; Austin Mitchell - Labour, Great Grimsby; Mike Hancock - Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South; Evan Harris - Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon; Richard Shepherd - Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills; Kelvin Hopkins - Labour, Luton North and Ann Winterton - Conservative, Congleton.

The Albion Alliance, in their campaign to have candidates at the forthcoming election sign a pledge to propose and support such a bill, have uncovered instances where some candidates, especially those standing for the Conservative Party, have intimated that they have come under pressure not to sign as they would then face deselection. For this reason Albion Alliance have introduced a 'secret pledge' whereby candidates may make their pledge, but that pledge will be withheld from public view until such time as nominations close, after which they could not be deselected. For some time David Cameron has exerted an 'iron-control' over his party, candidate selection and policies. (see this article and the quote "A very small number of people take a different view on the science, but the policy is driven by me, and that is the way it is going to be" as an example of his attitude) The question has to be asked if Cameron would dare to use his 'authoratarianism' by making moves to deselect such a 'high-profile' candidate as Douglas Carswell? If not, why 'bully' new candidates?

In his post Carswell states "For a generation it's been left to the political elite and professional diplomats to decide our relations with Europe.  Now it is time to give the people a direct say." One would have thought that Carswell would have realised by now that not one leader of the three main parties (which of course includes his own) believe in giving the people a direct say - that would, in their eyes, be taking democracy to ridiculous limits!

Were this Bill ever to see the 'light of day' - in other words, actually be debated - it will be intriguing to see if those MPs who are standing down continue to follow their 'party line' or would actually 'rebel' and vote as their constituents wished. Without doubt Miss Equality Harriet Harman will not allow this Bill to be debated, as - allowing for the likes of Ken Clarke on the opposition benches and some Liberal Democrats also siding with the government - it would not take that many of the MPs who are retiring, standing down, running away to bring down the government.

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