It has been a long time, but twenty years after the Referendum Party published the question they wanted the people of the United Kingdom to vote on, it is finally happening. In November 1996 (prior to the 1997 General Election), and having previously indicated a reluctance to presume the wording, they set out the exact wording. The question that the people would be asked was, “Do you want the UK to be part of a federal Europe or do you want the UK to return to an association of sovereign nations that are part of a common trading market”. This was much more precise and more accurate than the question, “Should the UK remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union” that will be on the ballot paper when we vote in the referendum on 23rd June.
This is important because we are not just voting about the EU as it is now, but also about the direction the EU is taking and about what it is destined to be – that is a fully functioning federal United States of Europe. We will not get a second chance to vote at some future stage because the Government tells us that the EU referendum is a once in a generation decision. The Government believes, and has set out to convince us, that the UK remaining in the EU is in our best interests. I am like many of you dismayed about the way the referendum debate is being conducted on this most vital and important issue. There is an old political saying, “If you cannot convince voters, then confuse them”. That is what the Government and its supporters are doing. Not only are their arguments getting sillier and sillier, they are also spouting a load of nonsense. They are dismissive, without reason, of any statements from the Leave campaigners that have some substance. It is getting very nasty with personal attacks on people who hold sincere and valid opinions that are contrary to those of the Government.
The professional politicians leading the Leave campaign have broad shoulders, but there is something or somebody missing from the campaign. That person is Sir James Michael Goldsmith and his message that rallied people to join the Referendum Party in 1994 [they claimed over 50,000 members] and enabled them to contest the majority of the constituency seats in the 1997 General Election. The threat that this posed to New Labour resulted in Tony Blair promising to hold referenda on further European integration and entry to the Euro currency zone. This was consolidated before the 2005 General Election when the Daily Mail organised the largest petition ever of people demanding a referendum on the proposed European Union constitution. In order that it did not become an election issue all the main parties promised a referendum. Labour and the Liberal Democrats later reneged on their promises.
Sir James delivered a powerful keynote address at the Referendum Party conference held in Brighton in October 1996. He died in July 1997, after contesting the general election, and the Referendum Party was then dissolved in the belief that they had delivered a binding commitment from the new Prime Minister, Tony Blair. But, you can never trust professional politicians.
Sir James had clearly set out his position in a book – The Trap – and in his keynote address. You can download the book and listen to and watch his rousing speech by visiting http://www.sirjamesgoldsmith.com/politician