Coffee House

Will there really be a ‘furious backlash’ to Ed Miliband’s EU referendum stance?

12 March 2014

1:52 PM

12 March 2014

1:52 PM

The Tories have been hoping that their pledge for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU would split Labour – it was the rationale behind John Baron’s regular pushes for legislation in this parliament for a referendum in the next, which David Cameron eventually satisfied as far as he could with the Wharton Bill. But so far the only dissenting voices on Ed Miliband’s pledge today for an ‘unlikely’ referendum have been the usual suspects on the backbenches such as Graham Stringer and John Mann. That’s hardly a ‘furious backlash’ and more expected and manageable rage – at present, anyway.

It will be interesting to see whether there are many more senior figures who break cover or at least brief off the record about the Labour stance on this issue. But Miliband’s team certainly don’t think there will be. One says to me that:-

‘Ian Austin and Tom Watson may have their say on this at some point, but we’re not expecting anything like what the Tories have had to put up with.’

Whether or not their judgement is correct on this will tell us a fair bit not just about how well Miliband knows his own party, but also how loyal his team feel towards him. The benefit of installing so many Milibandites in the most recent reshuffle is that many of them do have that personal loyalty – but others, such as Andy Burnham, have long pressed for a referendum pledge and may feel as though this is a rubbishy compromise. Some Labour figures see Burnham’s increasingly vocal interventions on issues such as HS2 as a sign that he’s gearing up for Labour to lose in 2015 and fight a leadership contest after that in which he’ll look to gain significant support from the left of the party. It will be interesting to see if he lets slip his views on this matter too.

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  • ArchiePonsonby

    Ed always looks so bloody weird!

  • Tony_E

    UKIP’s vote is pretty evenly spread – as is Euroscepticism in general these days. It sits just as prominently in Labour seats as Conservative ones.

    But Labour has an advantage in the marginals. Its vote is much more tribal, and many of the marginals are in the bag if those tribal voters simply turn out – they didn’t for Gordon Brown because he was terrible, but they did for Blair. Simply getting its core vote out will put Labour in No.10.

    The Conservatives have to face a more prominent threat from UKIP, because although their safe seats will remain fairly safe (they pile up votes in these like Labour does in the Northern Cities), they have fewer truly safe seats because of the current boundaries and the fact that the pile up the votes disproportionately higher in those rural seats. Only a small swing further from Con to UKIP will see a much increased Labour majority with many more marginals falling. The ‘Anti Tory’ vote will be key here, with Lib Dems tactically voting to remove Tories.

    So Ed’s done the maths and concluded that with the Lib Dem left vote coming back to Labour, plus tactical anti Tory voting, they are home and dry already. The Lib Dems have nobbled themselves because they did have the option with boundary changes of seeing another Lib/Con coalition. Now its simply a question of how small the remaining LD rump will be and whether the Labour Majority will sustain Ed for 10 years rather than 5.

    And there won’t be an EU referendum.

  • wobble

    Best photo ever , doing what Ed does best

  • swatnan

    Am I bothered by Europe? No. And nobody else is either.

    • Tony_E

      That’s akin to saying ‘Am I bothered by the law’?

      You should be – because ignorance of the law is no defence.

      Ignorance of Europe and the sheer level of effect it has on the UK legislative process is the only realistic explanation for such disinterest. Why be bothered to come to a political news/blog website if you are uninterested in the political and legislative process?

      Agree with the EU or not – propose reform, or agree the status quo – but disinterest in the EU is simply like viewing a Van Gough through dark glasses – you never really see the detail.

  • Iain Hill

    All parties need to learn to integrate frequent referenda into the political system. The present self serving system, based on transport difficulties in earlier centuries which made it impossible to ascertain the views of the electorate, is dead and must go. No party can claim to be following the views of the electorate at present.

  • Conway

    That’s hardly a ‘furious backlash’ and more expected and manageable rage – at present, anyway.” As usual, you are looking at it solely from a Westminster viewpoint. The furious backlash that will really matter will be the number of EUsceptic Labour voters who will be denied a voice.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …and the Millipede is rolling the dice, that they won’t head over to UKIP.

  • monty61

    Interesting to see this, Cameron has been totally outflanked here, no-one beyond a bunch of swivel-eyed loons give a monkey’s about an EU referendum.

    Cameron wants desperately to stay in, but had to give a referendum to keep said Loons on board.

    They may not have much of a clue about economics but Milliband’s Labour Party could teach the Tories a thing or two about party discipline.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …don’t count your chickens before they peck your eyes out. The Millipede is every bit as dumb as Call Me Dave.

      • monty61

        This is one topic on which I don’t disagree.

    • andagain

      Milliband’s Labour Party could teach the Tories a thing or two about party discipline

      Who couldn’t?

    • HookesLaw

      Keep saying it. The tories will keep laughing.
      ‘Only the Tories offer a realistic chance of a referendum on the EU.’ I suggest you and Labour adopt that as a slogan.

      • monty61

        Yes but nobody really cares.

        • HookesLaw

          Great – then keep saying it … go on.

          • BarkingAtTreehuggers

            By voting Labour the people will vote FOR Europe.
            By voting LibDem the people will vote FOR Europe.
            By voting Ukip the people will vote FOR Europe as it splits the vote.

            What other options do you need? The deal is done – no one will exit anything until there’s a treaty change which will require yet another contract to be signed like all the others before that. What’s new? No one in business it turning their backs on Europe, only some select moaning pensioned off are – but only after finding it increasingly difficult to fund retirement in socialist France with its superior healthcare.

          • Wessex Man

            Yes but nobody really cares.

      • Wessex Man

        Have you got any fingernails left Hooky?

    • Colonel Mustard

      That’s why in polling 52% want out of Europe, because 52% are swivel-eyed loons who give a monkey’s.

  • telemachus

    Andy, Mark Ferguson el al are on board with this for now
    *
    See Labour List

    • Alexsandr

      I don’t go on labour list since some muppet called me racist for discussing FGM.

      • Cyril Sneer

        Such is the mind of the humanity challenged Liberal progressive left winger.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …it’s the party of “reason” donchyaknow.

          • telemachus

            Yes

  • the viceroy’s gin

    It really doesn’t matter what anybody in the Londonistan bubble says about this. What matters is out in the lands, and what those people think. The Millipede is just as detached as Call Me Dave, so he can’t possibly know what those people think, nor how they’ll react to his statements.

    It’s likely best for the Millipede to just keep his head below the ramparts, and be grateful that the Camerloons are handing him an election. But apparently he thinks this is all happening because of his own good self, and is speaking out foolishly. That would be a mistake, I suspect.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘Aryans of the World Unite’ – go on go for it Mr Gobshite.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …?

  • saffrin

    If any in the LibLabCon party intended to give the people of the UK a referendum on Europe it would have happened already.
    Even if all three divisions of the LibLabCon’s do offer one pre-2015 General Election, who would believe them?

    • Bert3000

      ” it would have happened already.”

      It was in 1975.

      • saffrin

        That one was for a Cooperative Community not a Federal State.

        In less than fifty years that Cooperative Community has turned itself into an all controlling, anti-democratic super state, run along USSR politburo lines without the agreement of the 500,000,000 European peoples today’s EUSSR dominates.

        • Bert3000

          It was for ‘ever closer union’. Are you saying you weren’t paying attention?

          • Ron Todd

            Not the way it was sold to me.

          • Robert B

            So why did Labour make a manifesto promise to have a referendum on the EU constitution but then back out?

          • Conway

            That was not on the ballot paper. Are you saying that people should have voted on a question that wasn’t asked? The question was about the EC, EEC (Common Market). To have voted on ever closer union we would have had to have been asked about “ever closer union”. We weren’t.

            • Bert3000

              Ever closer union is in the first line of the Treaty of Rome, which was what we voted on and we knew that.

              • Colonel Mustard

                From the same pamphlet (Wilson 1975):-

                “The aims of the Common Market are:

                To bring together the peoples of Europe.

                To raise living standards and improve working conditions.

                To promote growth and boost world trade.

                To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.

                To help maintain peace and freedom.”

                Note Common Market and “bring together” which can mean many different things. No mention of ‘ever closer union’. We know now it meant “bring together” in a federal union run from Brussels but don’t try to pretend that was clear at the time because it wasn’t. By any definition with then and now those are weasel words.

          • gerontius

            “It was for ‘ever closer union”.
            No it wasn’t – I know because i was there at the time.

            • Bert3000

              So you couldn’t be bothered to pay attention. Not a great advert for referendums are you?

              • gerontius

                I was paying attention.
                Don’t try and rewrite history

                • Bert3000

                  Did the evil Euros hide it in the first line of the Treaty of Rome and fail to mention it anywhere except in every news broadcast and paper ever day for several years?

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  ‘every news broadcast and paper ever day for several years’?

                  That is what is known as a lie. The exact opposite is/was the case. It is in the introductory paragraph but on the very very rare occasions it was mentioned it was laughed off in a ‘they don’t really mean it’ kind of way. In fact, as you would well know if you’ve been resident in the UK for the last 40 years, any suggestion that we were on course for political and economic union was derided by LiblabconBBC and their facilitators.

                  We have been subjected to a monumental process of deception on many fronts – a process which you seem happy to continue.

                • Bert3000

                  There was a referendum on being part of ever closer union in Europe and not on whatever happened in your imaginary world. That is a fact. Get used to it. You’ve had almost 40 years,

                • Wessex Man

                  you are the perfect advert for UKip, thank you.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Suggest you check out Mr Wilson’s 1975 pamphlet – especially the bit about ‘Will Parliament Lose Its Power’:-

                  http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

                  Lies then. Lies now. Your party never changes.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  you seem to be replying to a different post…

                • Wessex Man

                  I was paying attention as well and like gerontius says don’t try and rewrite history.

          • Wessex Man

            This is why Ted Heath whilst laughing told us on Question Time that he had lied to the British people, weren’t you paying attention?

      • Wessex Man

        what, are you saying that the population that were lied to then and have mostly shuffled off their mortal coils can have been the only referendum? Not on pal, I voted to get out of the EEC way back then and certaily didn’t vote to get out of a EU monster that was forced on us after that.

        If all you pro EU people are so sure of your convictions then let’s have a referendum and prove you right!

  • starfish

    No surprise. The only choice is now Ukip if this is important to you

    • HookesLaw

      UKIP?
      Tell you what, I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that the miserable press are smearing Saint Nigel with accusations that he has both his wife and mistress on the EU payroll. Shocked. How dare they smear him like that. Ooops, sorry it is an ex UKIP MEP (there are a lot of them about) – what could she possible know.

      • Wessex Man

        TORIES?
        Tell you what, I’m shocked absolutely shocked, I tell you that the miserable press are smearming our Sainted Tim Yeo, Dr Liam Fox, Patrick Mercer, Lord Hannigfield, Aidan Burley, Maria Miller and dear old Nigel Evans, shocked I tell you!

  • Darnell Jackson

    Where’s my mildly critical comment?

    • monty61

      Mine got filtered too.

      • Wessex Man

        and mine.

  • Darnell Jackson

    Yawn

    I am tired of this endless speculation

    Why don’t you use your position to bring us something we don’t already know?

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