The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU

When the UK joined the EEC is was a trading block, but its power has increased hugely since then. It now has a major impact on how the UK is governed. Should the British people be given a say on whether to stay in the EU?

The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU

Yes because... No because...

The EU afffects us more than we agreed to

EU directives must be drafted into domestic law of all the member states within a certain time limit. This means that once something has been passed by Brussels, there is very little that national governments can do about it. EU treaties have a direct effect on the running of the EU and therefore affect not only the law making apparatus of the EU but the laws of all the member states as well. This has a major impact on how our country is run, and so we should have a say in it.

The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU

Yes because... No because...

Deemocracy good

Democracy is the best form of government. It allows the people being governed to give and renew their consent to be governed, and remind us that the role of the state is to enact the will of the people. As explained above the EU has a major effect on the processes of government, so be ceding power to Brussels the nature of national government is changed. If the people are not given a say on this change in the nature of how they are governed then they have not consented to be ruled in this way. This goes against the nature of government, in which the state exists to implement the will of the people with their consent.

The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU

Yes because... No because...

The EU is totally corrupt

EU legislation is distant legislation whereby unelected and far out of touch commissioners are already responsible for the creation of 70% of UK laws. I can name my local councillors, my local MP but like the majority of people I don’t have a clue who my MEP is, what he/she does or stands for.

I can only attribute the popularity for the EU amongst our existing MPs being due to their desire to get in among the riches that can be attained there and much evidenced by the entire Kinnock tribe. The current debacle about MPs expenses completely pales in significance compared to the shenanigans being played out aboard the Brussels gravy train which is entirely funded by us, the taxpayer.

They,, all elected officials must realise that THEY WORK FOR US the TAXPAYER.

The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU

Yes because... No because...

People are stupid

"People don't understand the issues"
"People are stupid"
"People will vote according to their prejudices, not the facts"
"People will be swayed by the media"

These are the arguments regularly trotted out by the anti-democracy lobby every time a suggestion is made that governments should consult the populace with a referendum.

Frankly, this is insulting, condescending drivel.

There are two main flaws with this sneering supercilious reasoning

1. The 'people' who make our laws, be they MPs, MEPs or (more usually) EU commissioners and ministers are ALSO people - so they are also swayed by the media, prejudiced, stupid and (as as been admirably demonstrated by Caroline Flint's failure to even READ the treaty she intends to foist upon us) they don't understand the issues.

2. That's democracy!

If any government wishes to claim a democratic mandate from its populace, it must consult them regularly, and obey. Governments do not have any powert of their own. They irregularly (and infrequently in some countries) ask to BORROW the power to make laws from the citizens, by means of a General Election.

If they wish to give this power away - by allowing a supranational body to pass laws affecting them, to attempt to bind their successors, or to sign away the right of a country to veto legislation that it does not wish, they must first ask the OWNERS opf the power if they agree with that - hence a referendum.

And this means a REAL referendum - not an EU-style referendum (q.v. Nice, the Constitution and Lisbon) where a 'No' vote is either ignored or treated with contempt and disdain and repeated votes held until the 'right' answer is given - why don't we eevr have a second vote a few years after a 'Yes' in a referendum?

If there was any true democracy, then regularly - every ten years? - there would be countrywide referenda held on all issues of power sharing, power transference, surrender of sovereignty, or (for those that have them) alterations to the constitution - this would ensure that the EU governments are keeping pace with the desires of their citizens.

In conclusion, either you trust the people to vote - and that's called democracy - or you don't - and that's called dictatorship

The vast majority of people do not understand the workings of the EU. They have a very limited understanding of how EU laws are made and how much they affect the lives of EU citizens. This knowledge gap would allow campaigners and the media to sensationalise the issues involved, making it even more difficult to get an unbiased understanding.

The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU

Yes because... No because...

Potential for bad outcome

"Bad" outcome?

More condescending "we know what is right for you" piffle from the anti-democrats

"A referendum on an issue which the public has a limited understanding of is unlikely to produce a desirable outcome "

Desirable for whom? Certainly not for those in power, but certainly desirable for those who wish to vote against the EU

If there is such a lack of public understanding of the issues, rather than forbid voting, why not have open meetings, transparency in decision making, and even allow proper debate and discussion of the issues?

As soon as a vote is denied on the grounds that you might get the 'wrong' outcome, democracy has been dealt a potentially fatal blow - after all, using this as a precedent, what is stop any government from withholding a general election on the grounds that the public might make the 'wromg' choice and vote for the opposition?

A referendum on an issue which the public has a limited understanding of is unlikely to produce a desirable outcome because the voters would not fully understand what is in their best interests or those of the country. Because there is a lack of detailed understanding of the issues involved with the EU, it is easy for the debate to be misconstrued. Anti Europe campaigners could overstate the potential harms of membership, and pro campaigners could understate them. This reduces a referendum to a vote on which campaign had the best PR. This is not just pointless, it has the potential to produce a result which could be detrimental to the long term interests of the country.

Debates > The UK should hold a referendum on whether to remain a member of the EU