This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Stroud News and Journal
On Monday you reported that our local MP considers now not a good time to hold an in/out EU referendum (Now is not the right time for EU referendum, says Stroud MP 07/10/2013).
Defending his position, Mr Carmichael is quoted as saying, “I think that we need enough time to properly re-assess and renegotiate our relationship with the EU” – whilst at the same time saying he backs a referendum to be held in 2017.
I am curious as to what Mr Carmichael is hoping the UK will renegotiate between now and 2017. The fiasco of the Lisbon Treaty (the UKs last real chance to renegotiate the EU) has only just been put to bed and there is no appetite in Brussels for any serious renegotiations in the coming years.
The worse thing is that I think Mr Carmichael knows this. To me, it looks like he is once again just playing politics. The only difference between now and 2017 is that there is a general election in-between.
Your article finished by quoting Mr Carmichael saying, “We are going to renegotiate, reassess, recalibrate our relationship with the EU.” Your guess as to what that means is as a good as mine.
In stark contrast The Green Party has been very clear about where they stand on an in/out EU referendum. They have said they stand for “Three Yeses”:
· Yes to an in/out referendum
· Yes to major reform of the EU
· Yes to staying in a reformed EU
As someone who, on balance, supports Britain’s involvement in the EU, I think it is important that we, the public, get the opportunity to decide if we stay in the EU or not…even if I may not like the outcome of the referendum.
I agree with Mr Carmichael that we are better off in the EU. Where I differ with him is that I think the people of Britain should be given the opportunity to make this judgement themselves.
If Mr Carmichael believes in democracy, he should back a referendum without delay.