Wednesday, 5 March 2008

No referendum... no surprise

A final quick post for today.

MPs voted this evening - by a margin of 331 to 248 - against holding a referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty. This is despite all three of the main parties at Westminster campaigning on the promise to hold a referendum on the new EU constitution - the failed treaty that Lisbon Treaty replaces.

It is a sad but unsurprising finish to the six-hour debate on the Treaty in the Commons, and again it is the splits within parties which dominates the headlines rather than the lack of support for a referendum.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg had told his colleagues to abstain, but no fewer than 13 broke ranks - including 3 frontbench spokesmen who all resigned - to support a referendum.

I should point out that I don't really care either way. But as I said before, I think it is an inconsistent position to argue for a referendum on continued membership of a union that you agree with (ie, the EU) but disagree with holding a referendum on continued membership of a union that you also agree with (the UK). And that, for me, becomes all the more surprising given current polling which suggests that the UK may actually vote to remove itself from the EU but that Scots might vote to stay in the union with England.

So there you have it... an incomprehensible position.

One more thing. I was recently told that blogs in general, and mine in particular, are "a bit ill-informed and partisan." Needless to say that the holder of such an opinion was not only a member of the Labour party, but works for an MP as well.

I have to say I'm unsurprised on both counts. I don't think I'm that partisan - I say what I think, and, quite frankly, a lot of what I'm saying is being said by others in other parties and none. And I take a bit of offence at being told I'm ill-informed. The most ill-informed people about Scottish politics are Labour MPs - and, it seems, their staff.

However, just to make nice with the guy - and he has a hard life, he's a Falkirk fan - I'll pledge this: I will try to be more informed and less partisan. If I do that, can I be the next Labour spin-doctor?


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