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Why I’m not keen on referenda

24 January 2013

10:43 AM

24 January 2013

10:43 AM

It did not, in the end, take very much to outfox Ed Miliband. You wonder what he had been expecting the Prime Minister to say about a referendum on withdrawing, or otherwise, from the EU. As it was, Ed floundered, and felt obliged to say that Labour would not be promising a referendum – that will lose him even more votes to UKIP. Later ex shadow cabinet and existing shadow cabinet members had to defend this position, which they did by stating that this was Labour’s intention ‘at the moment’. Great.

There’s increasing evidence that UKIP is taking more and more votes from the Labour Party, whereas once they thrived on disgruntled ex Tory votes. This is particularly the case in the north of England, where it is less opposition to the EU than opposition to immigration which drives Labour voters – especially older labour voters – over to UKIP. Nigel Farage, of course, would say that these two oppositions are one and the same, of course, and he would have part of a point.

Meanwhile, the latest opinion poll suggests that people would vote to stay IN the EU. This is one of the reasons I’m not keen on referenda; the public mood is perpetually shifting, always volatile, dependent upon vagaries and caprice. Also, it means people like Sarah get to have a say in what the country should do, regardless of whether she’s taken her Xanax or not.

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