Sayeeda Warsi’s Catch 22

She may seem to be listening. But she’s not.

Baroness Warsi seems to specialise in Catch 22 situations.  Someone described her recently as “The Conservative Party’s answer to Baroness Ashton”, and they both seem to be struggling a bit.

I have on my desk a letter from an Oliver Wells in her office.  It is addressed to a long-time Conservative member and activist angry about Conservative inaction on the EU, and he forwarded it to me.  It says, inter alia: “An in/out referendum would be a false choice: it would not give a choice to the mainstream of British opening who want to be in Europe but not run by Europe.  But a three-way referendum would be so unclear it’s hard to see how it would resolve anything”.

In other words, the 90% of voters in Thurrock who say they want a referendum are either ignorant or foolish, but they’re certainly wrong.

Frankly I have rarely seen so many egregious errors encompassed in so few words as in Mr. Wells’ remarks.  First it is by no means clear that the majority opinion in the UK wants to be “In Europe but run by Europe”.  That slogan was brilliant in electoral terms in 1999.  But it’s now tired and threadbare and discredited.  It’s also ill-defined.  If “In Europe” means full membership of the EU, then we’re stuck with the acquis communautaire like all the other members.  We are run by Europe whether we like it or not.

The majority view in UKIP is that renegotiation is impossible.  I don’t think it’s necessarily impossible, but it would require hugely more guts and gumption than this government possesses.  It would also require a threat.  “If we don’t get these powers back, we’re going to quit”.  Hands up anyone out there who believes that this government — or any Tory-led government — is going to take such a hard line.  None?  I thought not.

Then Mr. Wells seems to say that the majority of the British people want to stay in the EU.  But a number of recent polls suggest otherwise, and given the huge differential turnout we’d expect (those wanting to stay are apathetic and resigned, those wanting out are passionate about it), I think a NO vote is very likely.

But essentially Mr. Wells (and presumably Baroness Warsi behind him) has used a verbal trick to try to explain why we can never have the referendum which the Tory Party, and Brussels, dread.  The plain fact is that a huge majority want a referendum and that the question “Do you want Britain to remain in the EU?” is clear and simple.  The British people have been promised such a referendum by the three old parties, who are now wriggling desperately to justify their volte face.

The British people demand a referendum on Europe.  If the government won’t give them one, then they will use the 2014 Euro-election to make their voice heard, and the old parties won’t like the result.

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11 Responses to Sayeeda Warsi’s Catch 22

  1. DaveP says:

    Last night I read that the EU is to grant Turkish citizens the same residency and labour rights in Europe as existing EU citizens. This was apparently decided by UNELECTED EU officials, unless you know otherwise. Even more reason to get out of this nightmare.

  2. jerrythespringer says:

    After a lifetime of voting Tory…not never again…not nohow. When we’re given a referendum as promised, all three main parties will find out, to their detriment, that they should have had the backbone.

  3. John W P Lloyd says:

    It is about time that Democracy in this Country of ours is taken off the back burner .

  4. jerrythespringer says:

    I voted Tory since I was old enough to scrawl my ‘X’ on the ballot paper. Never again. We have been lied to, deceived and taken for fools. After 50 years, I’ve joined UKIP.

  5. Malcolm Edward says:

    The only thing I’d agree with the Wells/Warsi letter is that referendums cannot be three way, for decisiveness they must be binary. However I can reassure Wells/Warsi that multiple choices can always be achieved by a series of binary referenda, so they need have no objection to a referendum on the EU on that account.
    Clearly, an In/Out referendum would be a very real choice, it is the big question and the one that must be asked first. It is also the question that would expose the leadership of the lib lab con parties for the eu cartel that they are.
    In the unlikely case our nation voted to stay “In”, they could hold another referendum on whether we wish to keep the status quo (run by the EU) or whether we want to regain some powers and be semi-detached (a charade, as the EU would still have its tentacles in our affairs).

    The “Out” choice, must mean Out, and not EFTA. EFTA is a trap – much EU legislation would still apply and we would still have to pay heavily for it. “Out” needs to mean the only relationship we offer the EU is one of free trade for free. We will also need to regain control of our national utilities – if we cannot buy into other EU utilities, they should not be able to buy into ours. We also need to cut the defence agreements with France, we cannot want to integrate our defence forces with the EU province that antagonises us most.

  6. James A. Hutchinson says:

    If Dave P is correct it IS truly frightening with regard to immigration , particularly as we have no control of our borders . As far as I was always taught , Turkey was in Asia ? Are the EU clowns going to expand eastwards for ever ? Sarkozy was recently reported as threatening to bring back passport controls at all French borders if the level of immigration into France didn’t stop . What a laugh . Who lets illegal immigrants have free travel through France to the Port of Calais ? Will the Turks be the next to take advantage of our weak borders and over-generous hand-outs ?
    Let the people have a referendum on our membership of this corrupt club – the EU.

  7. James A. Hutchinson says:

    I agree with all that Malcolm Eward’s writes but , on the defence issue , I would say that we should NOT integrate our forces with anyone let alone the French . Furthermore , with the likelihood of the Falklands becoming another conflict area , I would remind the government that it was our “friends ” France that sold Argentina Exorcet missiles to be used against our forces . Would they now loan us a carrier to go down there ? I won’t hold my breath .

    • Malcolm Edward says:

      I agree with what you say – for clarity I should have said “abolish our defence agreements with France”.
      Giving the French access to some of our key defence establishments is madness as they will trade our confidences to their advantage, and it is having a bad impact on our relationship with the American defence establishment.

  8. EU Hypocrisy says:


    Try this article with links to the Commission’s latest policy decision :


    Commission decision taken last week
    Brussels bringing Turkey into EU under the radar
    Detailed plans to extend the same rights to Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Israel

  9. ogga1 says:

    Referendum required, with an out result we would at long last be in a win/win position. All pro E.U M.Ps sent to a political Coventry or Brussels but never again be allowed to taint the English/U.K
    political scene again.

  10. Derek says:

    I think it would be very risky to have a simple in/out referendum as it would lead to those on the side of “in” whipping up all sorts of scare stories about being isolated with huge loss of jobs and trade etc. The “out” side would need to reassure the public that “out” would not mean these things, and that we would in effect be re-negotiating our position with regard to trade. In fact what is needed is to ask the public to vote for a re-negotiation with the EU followed by a referendum on whether the public accept the outcome. Two referendums – first one re-negotiate our position/ maintain the status quo, and second one, accept the new terms/ reject them. Both referendums would be simple two choices.

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