Monday, November 02, 2009

Post ratification referendum?

Post ratification referendum?

Can we please put to bed the argument that, if Cameron wants to honour his word, he has to offer the British people a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, regardless of whether or not it has been ratified?  The left are, understandably, cock-a-hoop that it looks like there will not be a referendum after all.  The smugness is more than a little nauseating, since it is as a result of Labour’s reneging on a manifesto commitment that there was not a referendum in the first place, but there we are.

On the face of it, Cameron’s words were pretty damn conclusive:

Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.

Although the next sentence is less so:

No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.

But the argument put forward by both loons and lefties, that this pledge means that the Tories must either offer a referendum on Lisbon or break his word, is nonsense.  Because there is literally no point in a post-factum referendum on a Treaty that has been enacted.  If the Tories were able to force a referendum before the Czechs ratify the Treaty, then they would be able to withdraw British ratification.  Once Lisbon is ratified by everyone, it is no longer a Treaty, but a part of EU law.  It will not be unpickable, and a British referendum would be nothing more than a glorified opinion poll.

Referendums should be about determining future policy; not for determining what we all thought about the past.


Anonymous Pat said...

unless of course we're prepared to have an in/out referendum

9:16 pm  

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