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EU In/Out? Is a referendum the best way?


spider9
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I'd always thought we were a Parliamentary Democracy, and, as such, we elect paid representatives to take difficult decisions on our behalf.

Membership of Europe is a difficult , complicated topic, and most people (including myself) would be hard pushed to appreciate all the pros and cons - so the populace will now be bombarded by media propaganda aimed at the lowest common denominator, I suspect.

Loads of 'crazy' EU stories will emerge and be fed to the Great British public, with 'good' EU stories being more difficult to show. Hence the media barons will, once again, get their way and politicians can then 'blame' us if it turns out bad.

Weak leadership I'm afraid.

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fourm member

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spuds

The point I made to Quickbeam was that people will ignore what is plainly in front of them if it disagrees with their view.

Unfortunately, the link I posted before to Heath's speech in October 1971 was a casualty of the glitch at the weekend.

Here it is again (from a different source) During his speech, Heath said;

As a member of the Community, Britain would have a strong voice in deciding the nature and the timing of political unity.

And;

*'Tonight, the world is similarly watching Westminster, waiting to see whether we are going to decide that Western Europe should now move along the path to real unity – or whether the British Parliament, now given the choice, not for the first time but probably for the last time for many years to come, will reject the chance of creating a united Europe.'*

Actually, finding this new source is interesting because it also has the text of a pamphlet written by Macmillan in 1962 that includes;

'It is true, of course, that political unity is the central aim of these European countries and we would naturally accept that ultimate goal.'

Go back all the way to the formation of the EEC with six members and you'll find that, at the time, the nine countries that formed EFTA were concerned about the aim of political union espoused by the six who formed the EEC.

It is simply untrue to suggest that no-one knew about political union in 1975. Some people try and find explanations for others not sharing their views. On the EU, this centres on suggesting that the majority, that voted to stay in when the 1975 referendum was held, didn't know what they doing.

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Flak999

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I have yet to see any reasoned argument as to why EU membership is good for the UK. In 2011 Britain's net contribution to the EU budget was £7.3 billion (this takes account of the rebate)this level is set to increase.

What do we get for this, are we receiving value for money?

Come on all you pro EU commentators, make the case. Why is our membership a good thing?

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Flak999

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fourm member

I think the politicians lied to the electorate, or were at least economic with the truth. The text of the referendum question in 1975 was this:

"Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?"

Where in that question does it talk of political union? Of a federated European superstate led by Germany? You can quote Heaths speeches to Parliament all you like, but who other than politicians read or understand the nuances contained in them?

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Forum Editor

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"On the EU, this centres on suggesting that the majority, that voted to stay in when the 1975 referendum was held, didn't know what they doing."

Any more than many of them will know what they're doing, should there be a referendum in the future.

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Forum Editor

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Flak999

"Where in that question does it talk of political union? Of a federated European superstate led by Germany?"

Nowhere, because 37 years ago that was not the agenda. Nobody but a fool would have doubted then that the ultimate progression would be from a trading alliance to a political one - it was inevitable, and was mentioned repeatedly in the media at the time, as well as in parliament.

All this talk of a superstate led by Germany is paranoia incarnate, and typifies the backward-looking stance you, and others like you adopt. Your attitude seems to be 'once an enemy, always an enemy'. The world moves on, whether you like it or not, and constantly referring to what went on in the past gets you nowhere. Germany has become Europe's biggest economy - that's a fact, and we have to live with it. We can either stick our heads in the sand, like you, or we can look the world in the face and deal with it as it is.

I advocate doing the latter - we can work our way back to prosperity that way. The other way lies incessant droning on about what a glorious nation we were, back in the day, and now everyone is out to get us, boo hoo!

We had a past, and we can have a future, it's up to us. A withdrawal from the European Union would be a grave mistake, and we would regret it bitterly later on, when it would be too late.

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Flak999

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Forum Editor

Nowhere, because 37 years ago that was not the agenda. Nobody but a fool would have doubted then that the ultimate progression would be from a trading alliance to a political one - it was inevitable, and was mentioned repeatedly in the media at the time, as well as in parliament.

Forgive me, but in one breath you say that it wasn't on the agenda, and in the next you say it was reported repeatedly in the media! If it wasn't on the agenda why was it widely reported as such?

You also say that nobody but a fool would have doubted that a trading alliance would become a political one! There must have been an awful lot of fools then! Because a lot of the older people that I speak to on this subject all think they were joining a trading bloc, nothing else!

I don't know how old you were at the time? I was sixteen, so could not vote. I think it is right and proper that there should be a referendum so that the current generation can pass judgement on what our parents have condemned us to.

You advocate continued membership in your usual acerbic style, perhaps then you could enlighten us all as to why continued membership of the union is so right for Britain?

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Woolwell

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FE - I am obviously a fool as I was unaware 37 years ago that we were being lead towards a political alliance. It didn't help that I was away from UK at the time but the majority of the media were in favour of Europe and put a positive slant on it. Some of the same media are now putting forward a negative slant. Are you implying that you cannot trade with a country without being tied politically?

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fourm member

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Flak999

The question, in 1975, should have said European Economic Community because that was the name of the body at that time.

Dropping 'Economic' from the question looks like an attempt to make people realise that this was more than a discount club for shoppers.

Far from suppressing the broader purposes it looks as though the government wanted to bring them to the fore.

'but who other than politicians read or understand the nuances contained in them?'

You have a very odd way of advancing your argument.

You know that the only way the UK would leave the EU is if a refendeum vote called for that but you acknowledge that the electorate doesn't pay enough attention to issues to be trusted.

As for advancing arguments for the EU. To what purpose? As I've said, any referendum will be determined by the undecideds who are receptive to discussion.

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spuds

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fourm member

I seem to recall at the time the Common Market was originally discussed and put to the public, most people were not interested in obtaining statements or had easy access to obtain what was the thinking of politicians and their followers. They (the public) were reliant on what was being told to them via television and possibly 'endorsed' media reports. People at that time were seeking a 'better' life from the heartaches of the past, and they were reliant on those elected to provide this.

I seem to recall actually seeing Edward Heath standing in front of a television camera holding a glass of wine or something, with a black 'nautical' blazer and captains/sailor hat, telling the public that this proposal was 'the best everything for everyone' (not the exact words but something very similar), and a chance never to be missed. At the time it gave the impression that the general public were a bunch of idiots if they did not accept Yes. I am not sure if I voted or not, but at the time I was very reliant on what information or whisper I was offered for a Yes or No box tick. A lot of that information was never understood or made easily available at the time. The general public were just given or allowed, what they were considered they deserved, as was most cases at the time.

Perhaps from those days to this, people have become more wiser, at least we now have the advantage of perhaps obtaining past documents or statements far quicker and easier with internet search engines, and power are perhaps more able to give quotes from selection. But going off subject, how many documents are now being released as past long term secret classified documents, that are now bringing shock and horror due to 'misleading', because honest information was not given or allowed to be given at the time. No doubt,there is some shock horror report on the Common Market that will be aired in years to come, possibly on the very same 'airing' or raised points we are giving here on the forum today?.

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Woolwell

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How many people vote in or are aware of European Elections. The first one in UK was in 1979 but before that the European Parliament was an unelected body with delegates.

The implications of the Treaty of Rome were never explained to the public.

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