Monday, 20 May 2024

National Liberal Debate 16 – How Democratic Will The 2017 EU Referendum Be?

By the end of 2017 we’ll know if Britain is still a member of the European Union

THE MANY problems faced by Britain – whether economic or social – are not going to be solved by screaming and shouting. Thus, the National Liberal Party is not interested in ‘hitting the headlines’ using the tired formula of macho–posturing and gesture politics. These problems will only be overcome by a combination of careful thought and action.

This means that we favour informed and reasoned debate. Here we concentrate on arguments, points of view and facts. We are not interested in personalities, prejudice or promoting self-interest.

The National Liberal Party seeks to build an organisation that encourages free speech and debate. To do this, we also attempt to take into consideration as many views as is possible in open debate. Thus, members and supporters are always encouraged to have their say.

We’re also interested in encouraging people to develop their debating skills. That’s why the NLP has introduced a new series of articles called Have Your Say! Whilst each subject will be announced on this web-site, they’ll be conducted in full on the National Liberals Facebook site, which can be found here:

Before we start this debate we’d like to remind folks of our ground rules:

  • First of all, say what you think – but think what you say.

  • Secondly, just debate the issue(s) raised. There should be no personal attacks.

  • As previously noted, we’re simply not interested in personalities.

  • Please note that we may ask selected members and supporters to play ‘devil’s advocate’. Hopefully, this’ll help sharpen the debating skills of all involved!

  • Finally, it should be remembered that all of the views expressed in Have Your Say! are personal and should not be taken to be the official view of the NLP itself.
As everyone knows, David Cameron is currently trying to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU before holding an in-out referendum by the end of 2017.

The NLP welcomes this move as we believe in genuine democracy whereby the people can directly – and regularly – have their say.  Indeed, as our recent General Election Manifesto noted We plan to make consultations with the public about major decisions a routine part of the governmental process. Popular and ongoing participation is essential to a healthy democracy.”

(Whilst we welcome the in-out EU vote as a step in the right direction, we feel that preferendums probably represent the most democratic form of government.  Indeed, we hope to feature a brief series of articles about preferendums in the very near future.)

A future National Liberal debate will look specifically at our attitude to the EU and what alternatives are available to Britain.

However, for this debate we wish to focus on the mechanics of the proposed 2017 referendum.  What form is it likely to take?  Will there be official ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps?  If so, will they be alloted public money – and be afforded equal access to the media?  And what will be the role of the media itself?

One thing that greatly concerns us is the way vested interests – both internal and external – could try to influence the vote.  Here we’re talking about big business, the financial sector and even Washington.  Other EU member states will want Britain to stay.  Will they try to influence the vote and if so, how?

With all this in mind, our question is simple – how democratic will the 2017 EU referendum be?

• THIS ARTICLE should be read in conjunction with the following:

Ten Of The Best! (13/03/2014)

National Liberal Debate 11 – Outside Of London Who Should National Liberals

Vote For In The Euro-Elections? Have Your Say! (15/05/2014)

National Liberal Debate 12 – What’s Our Take On UKIP? Have Your Say! (22/06/2014)

National Liberal Debate 13 – Should We Bring Back The Death Penalty? Have Your Say! (27/08/2014)

National Liberal Debate 14 – I Am Charlie. I Am Not Charlie. Have Your Say! (14/01/2015)

National Liberal Debate 15 – What Action Should National Liberals Take At The Polling Stations?  Have Your Say! (28/04/15)

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