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Letter to the Stroud News and Journal: MP rejects EU referendum and democracy

This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Stroud News and Journal

Dear Editor,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Hynd

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New Labour, New Tricks

David Drew's confusing advert in the SNJ

New Labour is famed for its spin-doctors and deceit.  Their 13 years in government will be remembered for misleading the public over the case to go to war, for covering up the BAE scandal and most recently for trying to convince us that police officers spend 80% of their time on the beat. Recently however, our sitting MP looking for re-election, David Drew, has also been peddling his own kind of deceit.  A full-page advert has appeared in the Stroud new and Journal along with its sister paper the Gazette (see photo).

The advert, which at no-point mentions the word “Labour”, starts by saying, “Dear Green (and other) voters in Stroud…if you want a “Green MP” who campaigns against…”.  It is, in my eyes, a cynical attempt to miss-lead and/or confuse the voters. Local Green Party members have been furious thinking it was the Green Party is telling them to vote Labour! Green tinged voters have been baffled when they have seen Green activists on the streets (“I thought you were telling us to vote for David?”).  There are a few points that should be drawn out about this advert.

One, this is part of wider campaign by David Drew to distant himself from his party.  He is enough of a politician to spot that after 13 years of deceitful politics the word “Labour” is toxic in the voters mind.  He is pushing for his loyal supporters to come out and vote for him despite his party affiliation (if there is one thing that defines Drew’s 13 year stint it is his constituent case work).  On this front however, this advert has to be considered an own goal.  David presents himself as an ordinary chap, who does not sink into these sorts of “nasty” politics.  I think a number of voters will be severely put off by this latest move.

Two, David Drew is not a “Green MP”, in the sense that he neither truly represents an environmental agenda nor a full political agenda that the Green Party does.  Lets be clear, a man who supports Nuclear Power (and holds no answer to waste) and who voted against including shipping and aviation into the climate change bill cannot be an environmentalist.  Equally, he cannot be considered a “Green” (in the Green Party sense of the word) as he supported the war in Afghanistan, supports ID cards, has opposed equality by voting against progressive legislation on LGBT rights and obviously, is a big supporter of Nuclear power.  This is not a “GREEN MP” by anyone but Ron Baileys standards!

The Green Party continues to make a case for change.  As good as any MP is (and lets be honest Drew is one of the better ones) they cannot bring about change when they work in a rotten system.  David is still obliged to follow his party whips (the Greens do not have party whips), David is still tied to a party who refuses to bring about real electoral reform (a promise from their 97 manifesto).  Only the Greens can truly bring about the change this country needs.  This is why it is so exciting that the Greens look like they will be getting their first MP’s this May.  It is time for people to start voting for what they believe in, I want Green, not Grey!

SNJ have produced this follow-up piece

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