In a superbly thought through blog post, Witterings from Witney has turned his attention to Monday’s debate on a Motion relating to the holding of a national referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
As WfW rightly points out, the European Union’s process of acquis communautaire means that once the EU assumes competence over any area of government it cannot be returned to member states while that nation remains a member, so the prospect of renegotiating EU governance over the UK and repatriating powers and remaining a member of the EU is a pipe dream.
The big problem is that in this country too many voters do not understand this because the do not know how the EU works or is structured. This lack of knowledge is why poll results professing to declare what the public would like to do about our membership of the EU, such as the YouGov covered in the Spectator’s Coffee House blog (which WfW references in his post) are pie in the sky. For example:
“The poll results also demonstrate that only a small percentage of the public would vote for the country’s current set-up with the European Union if they had the chance. Only 15 per cent would vote to stay in, compared to 28 per cent who would vote to leave, while 47 per cent would plump for renegotiation. If forced to chose between In or Out, the public splits 31 to 52.“
For all the value that poll analysis has it may as well read:
“The poll results also demonstrate that only a small percentage of the public would want to stay inside a burning building if they had the chance. Only 15 per cent would want to stay in, compared to 28 per cent who would want to leave, while 47 per cent would plump for a magic sky fairy to appear and ask the fire to undo all the damage it has caused and quietly extinguish itself. If forced to chose between staying In or getting Out, the public splits 31 to 52.“
The degree of public ignorance about what is and isn’t possible as an EU member confirms this country’s population is not anywhere close to being able to make an informed choice if presented with In/Out/Renegotiate options.
The calls for a referendum by enthusiastic Eurosceptics risk being seized upon by the Europlastics as an opportunity to spike the issue for decades by offering a false choice that could never be carried out, and using that vote outcome as the basis for maintaining the status quo. Most of the media has no interest in explaining to people the reality of the situation – and the politicians certainly don’t.
This country’s people must have their say about how this country is governed, but it must be an informed choice. That is not possible at this time.
Update: Richard North asks Eurosceptics one simple question over on EU Referendum – Still think you would win?