Tag Archives: Referendum

The Missing Link (1)

A few days ago Simon Jenkins, witing in the Guardian, had an article entitled: Someone to hire – someone to fire. This dealt with local government and maintained that while national government may be a democracy, local government is a failed state. This article and its topic is one to which I will return in a few days time, but the phrase: someone to hire, someone to fire is pertinent to that which follows.

From the announcement of the referendum on this country’s EU membership until the eventual result, there is a missing link: the people.

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A swift divorce?

An article appeared on Reuters yesterday, mentioned by Richard North in his article, which stated that, in the event of a Leave vote by the electorate of the United Kingdom, the European Union would seek a swift divorce from the United Kingdom, coupled with statements by two EU sources familiar with the bloc’s latest thinking on a possible Brexit telling Reuters on Thursday that there was no appetite to grant any extension of the two years provided by Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty for negotiating a withdrawal, while any new trade partnership would take many more years to conclude. The Reuters article also states that tentative plans exist for the Commission to hold a rare Sunday meeting on June 26 to set its strategy; and that EU leaders would hold a brief summit with Britain two days later, at which London would be expected to give formal notice to quit.

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Democracy for sale?

Mark Wallace, writing on ConservativeHome, reports Michael Crick is tweeting that the Conservative Party is ‘watering-down’ its manifesto pledge of trade union reforms and that a ‘deal’ has been struck between ministers and unions, thus allowing Alan Johnson’s pro-EU campaign to spend £1.7m over and above the £75,000 provided by the referendum rules. 

The fear the government has that it will need Labour votes come the referendum in order to achieve the Remain result they want is apparently the reason for the ‘watering-down’ of its general election manifesto pledge.

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More twaddle from those who should know better……….

Yesterday saw the publication of a report from the HoC Foreign Affairs Committee, one entitled: Implications of the referendum on EU memmbership for the UK’s role in the world.

As with the electorate, the Foreign Affairs Committee acknowledges that it too is divided on the question of Britain’s EU membership; stating that they see this division as an opportunity to provide an informed and balanced analysis. Reading those words it was hoped that an informed and balanced analysis would be forthcoming; unfortunately all the report informed us was that, once again, those attempting to enlighten the electorate demonstrated their total lack of understanding of even basic facts. As a result my view of this FAC report is not very high, if I may be so ‘Crispin’.

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A Question:

There has been much ‘discussion’ about the fact that David Cameron has ‘ruled’ that those members of the Cabinet who are agin membership of the EU in the forthcoming referendum should not be allowed access to government papers to further their case.

 Leaving to one side that they are also members of the electorate, this begs the question why should those who, whilst being members of the government, be denied the information that is available to those who agree with him?

Just where is the difference twixt the two if democracy is to mean owt? Come to that, why should ‘we plebs’ also be denied that information if we are to make an informed decision?

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Some questions

It is always a source of amusement when reading the outpourings of political commentators on the subject of democracy. One only has to consider this from Gabby Hinsliff (and where she is concerned, ‘Gabby’ is so appropriate); or this from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown; or this from Philip Booth.

The first two articles centre on l’affaire Mark Clarke and intimate that young potential politicians, to quote Hinsliff: …..weren’t knifing each other over ways to change the world, but over getting seats, or jobs with MPs, or proximity to power of any kind. Hey, never mind the ‘young’ tag; isn’t that what politicians of all ages do? Alibhai-Brown reckons: degradation of politics by any party disables our democracy, and no party is immune to the effects. Hey, in order to disable democracy, first it is necessary to have democracy. That of Booth’s centres on the fact that: we have representation without taxation and an intrinsic big government bias in the electoral system, while suggesting that: a proper federal structure must be created for the UK.

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Time waits for no man – so they say

With Leave EU and Vote Leave behaving like two ferrets in a sack, the CBI publishing a pamphlet with so many inaccuracies contained therein – at which point one has to wonder at their audacity in even publishing it – and the Referendum Planning Group (RPG) not entering the fray so we are informed until February next year, the question to be asked is whether the public are being provided with balanced information.

While the RPG believe the ‘battle’ does not begin until David Cameron sets out his agenda, presumably they are keeping their ‘powder dry’ – fond as they are for military phraseology – unfortunately it would seem that events have overtaken their planning in that the two aforementioned ‘Outer’ Groups – and the joke that passes for the ‘In’ group – have ‘upped the anti’ somewhat.

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The Forgotten Factor?

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Confucius

In a comment on this article one commenter made the point that whenever The Harrogate Agenda is mentioned on this blog, it is not long before Confucius also gets mentioned; so I thought I would do likewise,  but I digress – although only slightly.

Whilst on the subject of The Harrogate Agenda, the same commenter, who is fond of quoting Confucius asked, in that same article and repeated same in an email to me, If you are party to a secret formula for the advancement of THA, which you say you support, then why not act on it and share it. As the question was originally posed in a public forum (see link above), I have responded within that forum. Digressing slightly (as is my wont), those readers who have migrated to ScribblingsfromSeaham from WitteringsfromWitney may have noticed that my blogging output has decreased somewhat. As in a marriage or group, when one is informed that one is not wanted, is it any wonder that interest in the relationship decreases considerably; especially when it is realised that the marriage or group in question only came into existence though ones own initiative.

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Circles in a spiral, wheels within a wheel

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel
The Windmills Of Your Mind – Alan Bergman, Michel Jean Legrand

Richard North writes about the ‘sharp practice’ (although I would have used a stronger phrase) of Andrew Lilico and Matthew Sinclair when they pass comment on David Cameron’s renegotiation of this country’s memberhip of the European Union.

What we witness with Lilico and Sinclair is no different to that witnessed in the utterings of any europhile; namely blatant misrepresentation of the subject matter exemplified by a complete (deliberate?) lack of knowledge. The article to which Richard North links amounts to another, not very subtle, attempt to influence the outcome of the impending referendum on EU membership.

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Hang on, When spake the Electoral Commission?

Open Europe state, in today’s press summary, that: The Sunday Times reported that the EU referendum ‘No’ campaign is in talks with at least eight cabinet ministers about joining the call for withdrawal. Leaked documents show that the campaign’s chief executive will be Matthew Elliott, the founder of the Business for Britain group. The director of operations will be Victoria Woodcock, Michael Gove’s former private secretary, while Georgiana Bristol, a fundraiser for Boris Johnson’s 2008 London mayoral campaign, will be development director.

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