Our country has been built on democratic values, where the people elect representatives to put their voice across on matters that affect us all.
The blood of many Englishmen down the centuries has been spilt to give us the rights we have today, yet the events of last Monday in Westminster make me question whether our elected representatives remember who they are supposed to be representing.
Hillingdon MP’s and the EU Referendum debate
I wrote to all three Hillingdon MP’s regarding giving the people a voice on our continued membership of the EU, as seen in my previous post (Give the people our say on the EU, 22/10/11)
Our two local Conservative MP’s, John Randall (Uxbridge & South Ruislip,pictured left) and Nick Hurd (Pinner & Northwood, below) did not reply to my email.
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes & Harlington, replied that he would be voting to give the people their say via a Referendum, a stance which I applauded.
The debate on Monday ended in defeat for the motion, hardly surprising when the leaders of all three of the old parties in Westminster told their MP’s to vote against or face sanctions. 111 MP’s put their constituents and their country first and defied the instructions, a large majority of them from the Conservative Party.
Mr McDonnell was true to his word and voted to give the people of Hillingdon their say via a Referendum – Both Mr Hurd and Mr Randall chose to keep their jobs within the House and voted against. (Nick Hurd is Minister for Civil Society, whilst John Randall is a party whip)
Why were we not given a say?
There has been much debate this week about why the party leaders all issued this instruction, and David Cameron in particular has been very vocal on the ‘timing’ of the debate. His argument is that there are many things in our society that need to be sorted out, and that jobs and the economy must be our main focus in these times of uncertainty.
I actually agree with Mr Cameron that the economy is of massive concern at the moment, which is why I believe that the people should have had their say on membership of the EU – After all, the estimated £77 billion that EU membership cost us in 2010 (£48.7 billion of which was due to over-regulation on business) has a massive impact on the UK economy.
Indeed, our economy between 1973 when we joined and 2010 when the last figures came out shows a trade deficit of £438 billion with EU countries, yet we trade in surplus with the rest of the world in spite of EU regulations that are a barrier to that profitable trade.
He also mentioned that the Eurozone is in dire trouble, and that ‘we don’t leave a neighbour in trouble when their house is on fire’. Indeed, we should not Mr Cameron – But how does going in to the house, sitting on the couch and having no firefighting equipment when it burns down around you. helping? We didn’t join the Euro currency (Probably the only decent decision Gordon Brown made as chancellor, even if it was only to spite Tony Blair), but you can guarantee that we will be asked to put yet more money in to a further bailout to stop it from imploding.
When that fails, it will be down to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to bail out potentially bankrupt European countries, and who puts large amounts of money in to the IMF? No prizes for guessing, it is the UK.
Despite this, President Sarkozy of France told David Cameron to ‘keep his nose out’ earlier in the week when the countries in the Euro were sorting out their latest rescue package – Once again, this proves the lie that we can ‘renegotiate’ powers back from the EU as our ‘partners’ don’t even want to discuss the problems with us until they come around with the begging bowl.
Surely a free vote could have been allowed, and if the answer was ‘yes’ then the Government could have deferred on a date until the Euro crisis in their opinion was over? This would also have given the Government and the Civil Service time to look at the options for taking the country forward in the likely event that the people voted to leave the EU.
I also strongly believe that if we do leave the EU and rebuild our own economy without the shackles of Brussels, not only will we be better off in terms of our trade with the rest of the world but will also be in a position to purchase more from our current EU partners, thus helping them out of their current economic woes. This is surely a better course than the current bail outs, which are getting nowhere in terms of rebuilding the economies teetering on the edge and are just dragging the more successful nations such as Germany and ourselves down with them.
Ignoring the will of the people
An interesting poll was carried out just before the Conservative Party Conference in September. Run by YouGov and commissioned by Vote UK out of the EU (Formerly The EU Referendum Campaign), it ran a series of questions both to Conservative voters and the UK public in general.
Here are some interesting figures for Mr Randall and Mr Hurd from amongst Conservative voters –
74% of Tories believe that Cameron SHOULD hold a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU
(62% of all voters agreed)
68% of those Conservatives would vote against the UK remaining in the EU
(51% of all voters agreed)
78% oppose ANY participation in further bailouts of Euro Zone member countries
(65% of all voters agreed)
Only 18% of Tory voters believe that the UK’s membership of the EU has been positive
(29% of all voters agreed)
Commenting on the poll results, Jon Gaunt (Chief Executive of Vote UK out of EU, pictured left) said –
“We have been asking for months for three good reasons why we cannot have a referendum. Now we know why! Cameron knows that he is isolated from not only his own party supporters but the UK as a whole. So he should now do the honourable thing and give the British people their democratic right”.
Unfortunately, as we saw on Monday night, that is not about to happen and is a stain on our democracy when those who we elect to represent our views so blatantly ignore them!
Neither Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour leadership are listening to the people of England, and two out of three of our local MP’s aren’t listening either.
Next time they ask for your support at the ballot box to keep them in their jobs, just remember how they ignored the wishes of the people of our area and our country, and vote for somebody who IS listening and WILL represent your views.
YouGov poll results courtesy of Vote UK out of EU, for full details visit www.voteukoutofeu.co.uk