Please: Sign the People’s Pledge

You won’t often find me on the same team as Zac Goldsmith MP and Mark Seddon (former Editor of Tribune), but I am this time.  I’m asking you to sign the People’s Pledge (, a new initiative launched by (amongst others) my good friend and comrade-in-arms Dan Hannan MEP.  And it’s a cross-party campaign.

The Pledge is calling for an EU referendum, and signing it commits you to vote at the next General Election only for a candidate who has undertaken to call for a referendum on EU membership.  Note that (critically) you are not asking your MP (or other candidate) to commit to opposing EU membership, or to commit to an “OUT” vote.  You are merely asking them to support, and vote, for an EU In/Out referendum.  They may take the perfectly honourable (if ill-judged) position of someone like Lib-Dem MEP Andrew Duff, a passionate pro-European, who nonetheless has argued for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, because he believes that the voters should be able to legitimise it.

This is a vital point: the Pledge can be signed equally by those who want out, and those who want to be in the EU but believe membership should have democratic legitimacy.  Moreover it means that Conservative MPs and candidates can make the Pledge commitment with confidence: Conservative MPs who support Better Off Out have been told they may not hold front bench posts.  There is no such sanction against calling for a referendum.

No one in this country under the age of 57 has had an opportunity to vote on EU membership — indeed arguably no one has voted for it at all, since the EU we have today is nothing like the “Common Market” we thought we were voting for in 1975.  Many who did vote in 1975 would now like to change their position.  I voted YES in 1975.  But in any new In/Out referendum, I should of course vote OUT.

I won’t set out here the arguments why Britain should leave the EU — I’ve covered that ground so often.  But I’d like to share with you the thoughts of Mark Duchamp of the “Save the Eagles” Campaign, who put it rather well, bringing together my concerns over the EU with my concerns over energy and climate:

Brussels is responsible for:
– a disastrous bio-fuels policy that greatly contributes to the destruction of tropical forests.
– a disastrous carbon certificates policy that causes the destruction of native forests and the planting of eucalyptus in places where they will have a detrimental effect on native species: in Brazil for instance.
– a disastrous wind farm policy that deepens the deficit, causes fuel poverty, and destroys jobs, the amenity of the countryside, quality of life, rural and landscape tourism, the enjoyment of outdoors activities, property values, birds, bats, and neighbours’ lives.
– a disastrously expensive solar energy policy that will cause more fuel poverty.
– a disastrous carbon trading policy that will export jobs to China, Brazil, etc.

Why continue to pay the salaries of these inept (and sometimes corrupt) bureaucrats? Why relinquish your sovereignty to them?


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11 Responses to Please: Sign the People’s Pledge

  1. Sue says:

    I have a great deal of respect for you Roger but 1) what good is another campaign? 2) What is stopping the MP’s from going back on their word (its not like they haven’t done it before) and 3) I believe this is a ruse to stop people voting UKIP.

    UKIP is the only CERTAIN way we will get a referendum. Why don’t you join us?

    • 1 To keep up the pressure, and involve more MPs and candidates in a commitment to an In/Out referendum.
      2 Even MPs would have difficulty dismissing the result of a UK referendum
      3 It’s a cross-party campaign which is open to Conservatives, UKIPers and anyone else.

  2. Kev Cornish says:

    Sue, I think this new one got so much fanfare because it’s actively promoting itself as cross-party….it has trade unionists and so forth on board….so I guess we should be thankful that the ’cause’ is getting support from people you’d never it think would before!

  3. Mandy Worrall says:

    I have to agree with Roger here. Stalling on an issue like this because of a one party mentality, when it is quite obviously a whole country issue, would be a mistake. However, I am worried about the wording of the referendum, as it’s easy to stack language and give the wrong impression, which could lead to a no when a person means yes to the EU, or yes, when one such as I vote no to membership. We don’t want any slippery double speak, thanks.

  4. This issue goes beyond being even a cross-party concern. It is vital that all supporters of an In/Out Referendum on the EU, do what we can to keep up the momentum. In addition to Roger’s summary of the disasterous problems which have been brought about or exacerbated by the EU, this secular and socialist institution has also violated many different civil liberties – and systematically attempted to marginalise Christianity (particularly in public life). Spread the news about this campaign, sign the pledge and encourage others to do the same!

  5. Peter Hulme Cross says:

    Firstly, Roger, I don’t think there is a chance of an In/Out Referendum while this hybrid Coalition is ‘in office’ (but not in power, which resides in Brussels), or while Cameron is leader of the Conservative Party.

    But let us say, for the sake of argument, that we do get an In/Out Referendum.

    How do you propose to win it? By that I mean – How do you propose to get the result which most of us want, which is ‘Out’?

    Opinion polls may show that a majority of people would favour being ‘Out’ but people can be swayed when it comes to a vote. The Government would campaign for staying ‘In’, and so would the BBC under its Chairman Chris Patten. Much money (Taxpayers money of course) would flow from the EU to promote an ‘In’ vote and also from large Corporations with a vested interest in securing an ‘In’ vote. The old chestnuts would be trotted out about our ‘Trade being affected’, 3 million jobs would be ‘lost’, and Britain would be ‘Isolated’. All of this would carry weight with the General Public who are not as well informed as you are.

    What I am saying is that it is very difficult to ‘win’ a Referendum which the Government and most of the Broadcast media doesn’t support. It is very difficult to win a ‘negative’ Referendum. It would be tragic to hold a Referendum at the ‘wrong’ time and ‘lose’ it to an ‘In’ vote. That would set the Eurosceptic/Eurorealist cause back by a generation.

    At the moment there is no really positive vision of a Britain thriving outside of the EU. What we are lacking is a popular alternative vision of a “Promised Land” which exists for Britain outside of the EU.

    Of course I believe that we would thrive outside of the EU, without the dead hand of EU regulation, and once again governing ourselves. But if an In/Out Referendum was held now I believe we would ‘lose’ it, that is to say the British people would vote to stay ‘In’ for the reasons I have outlined above and because there is no positive popular alternative vision of a future for Britain outside of the EU.

    Events may conspire to change all this. Portugal will be needing a bailout to which we may well have to contribute. This comes on top of our contributions to the bailout funds of Rep. of Ireland and Greece. We are not even in the Eurozone but we are still required to contribute to the bailout funds of countries in the Eurozone.

    Spain will be next. What will happen when Spain needs a bailout??? That will be more than Ireland, Greece ans Portugal all put together!

    • I keep hearing about the need for an “alternative vision”. I think freedom, independence and democracy should be enough, but ensuring our future as a great global trading nation, rather than an offshore province in a country called Europe is an added bonus.

      Referendums are dangerous and we might lose. But we might win — and we won’t know till we try. The alternative is to give up trying, and I’m not prepared to do that.

      • Peter Hulme Cross says:

        You haven’t really addressed my question, Roger, as to how you would ‘win’ this Referendum i.e. to ensure an ‘Out’ vote.

        There would need to be a lot of publicity telling people why they should vote ‘Out’ and this needs finance, a lot of it. Where would that come from??

        The Government of the day is in the best position to get the result it wants because it controls the wording of the question, the timing, and has virtually unlimited access to the media. I am mindful of the 1975 Referendum when the Government knew the result it wanted, was determined to get it, and employed some less than scrupulous means to that end.

        I repeat my fifth paragraph….
        What I am saying is that it is very difficult to ‘win’ a Referendum which the Government and most of the Broadcast media doesn’t support. It is very difficult to win a ‘negative’ Referendum. It would be tragic to hold a Referendum at the ‘wrong’ time and ‘lose’ it to an ‘In’ vote. That would set the Eurosceptic/Eurorealist cause back by a generation.

  6. An excellent and detailed reply from Mr. Peter Hulme, much of which I concur with. At this point, I would also like to recommend the recent blog post from Douglas Carswell regarding Britain’s liability for Portuguese debt (refer to his blog).

  7. Despite Peter’s understandable concerns and observations (some of which I share), our EU membership is both too damaging to the national interest and too controversial – to address without a referendum. Even if we lost, the result would not be legally binding. Whatever the result, it would help to raise public awareness of the importance of this issue – and the many problems relating to our EU membership. And, as Roger mentioned in earlier reply, it would help to put more pressure on the government.

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