Saturday, September 15, 2007
Resignation over Ming's U-Turn on EU Treaty Referendum
I am resigning from my position as chair of the local Warwick and Leamington Liberal Democrats and as a member of the Liberal Democrats as of today.
I can no longer support or campaign for a party which is losing its way under its current party leader, Ming Campbell. Whilst over the years I have met friends and colleagues who do care about national and local issues similar to my own, I feel the current leadership is muddled and misguided.
The last straw was the recent announcement by Ming that the Liberal Democrats will no longer support calls for a referendum on the European Treaty. I was only three when this country voted for entry in the EEC and I believe in the last thirty years the British people have not had a direct say with each set of moves towards further political integration.
I was pleased when the Labour Party promised a referendum on this issue because it would have created a genuine open debate and given people information to make their own mind up. However because the French and the Dutch voted against the Constitution it has been slimmed down somewhat and repackaged as a Treaty.
This has given Gordon Brown the opportunity to break the promise given by the Labour Party and say there is no need for a referendum. And I believe Ming is also wrong and insincere when he says the Treaty is substantially different from the constitution and there is no need for a referendum. This is an old-fashioned con-trick. Is it any wonder why people are so cynical about politicians when they break their promises?
Unfortunately, it seems those who are pro-Europe are basically frightened of a referendum because they fear they will lose. To me, this is cowardice and weakens our democracy. Our representative parliamentary system continually lets us down on this issue because all the major parties have denied the British people a real say in Europe for the last thirty years.
Now that Ming is calling for a referendum on our membership which is just a foolish smokescreen which will backfire. If people wish this country to leave the EU then they can vote UKIP. The Tories play the Eurosceptic card but it was they - under Heath, Thatcher and Major - who led us into Europe, signed the Single European Act and Maastricht without any referendums.
I believe what people want is a vote on this Treaty. I fail to see why, over the years, countries like France, Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark can hold referendums whilst the British are continually denied. If I was given a vote then I would probably vote for the treaty – however I feel totally disenfranchised that I am not given such an opportunity.
I remember seeing Ming talk in Stratford-upon-Avon in late 2005 about values in a modern age of spin. I fail to see values when he breaks his word on such a key issue.