I recall that in my school days I was always confused at the connection between the bungled, but successful assassination of Franz Ferdinand and how it led to the Great War. As I grew older I started to see how many other seemingly isolated and unrelated events start a chain reaction into something much larger. A more modern day example of this was the self immolation of a member of the public seemingly the precursor of the so called Arab Spring.
I have this in mind as I see the forthcoming debate and referendum vote on our presence in the EU. Understandably there seems something of a mixed bag of opinion on it. Daniel Finklestein used the word farce in one of his Tweets yesterday around the same time as the Peoples Pledge congress, although I'm not certain precisely what he was talking about. There have also been some excellent posts about the debate from Witterings from Witney and a particularly informative one which Autonomous Mind picks up. In addition Richard North's EU Referendum blog has also weighed in with some food for thought. All of these posts I would recommend to readers to help crystallise their own thinking as they have done for me.
My personal view is that in many ways the progress of the EU has moved beyond a referendum on in or out because so many of our problems as a nation stem from the structures and edicts from them. That said it should be put to the people and it is up to people who share my view to make a credible and cogent article around that case and their will abided by. I also agree with AM that the people of Britain probably aren't in a place where they are clear about what they would be voting for in such a referendum.
All that said, the debate and the vote presents an opportunity that should be capitalised on. I expect ultimately that the vote will be lost for a number of reasons, but it brings us something we can use and we should work on it. For me this is one of those seemingly innocuous events I mentioned at the top of this post. I believe this 'failure' can be turned into an opportunity on many fronts. For some bizarre reason I find myself agreeing with Kate Hoey who suggested that this might not turn out to be a victory but it presents a first chink in the armour.
What we have seen from the introduction of the debate is a palpable sense of fear in the top table of British politics. If there's one clever thing Cameron has done, it was bringing the debate forward. He has turned his metaphorical submarine towards the enemy torpedo in the hope of tackling it before it is able to explode. It is clever because it illustrates that those of us who want a referendum or who want us out of Europe haven't sold it to the electorate in a way that they properly understand and will take action on. Whilst Cameron's action might seem savvy, it has also exposed him and his ilk as terrified, especially with the introduction of the three line whip.
Something else that will come to the fore over this is that many so called Eurosceptics, many of whom are in reality Europlastics along with many other MPs will vote the way their parties tell them to. There will be no recognition of the will of the people.
In short, there will be no referendum offered on Europe but this time it will be glaringly obvious why. To this point we've seen it dressed up in the language of obfuscation and they're even trying it now as Hague tries to talk up the idea that it will distract efforts to fix the Eurozone economy.
Despite all that, the truth is that you can't have a referendum because they don't want you to have one.
What we will get is a no vote in which MPs will put self interest above the will of the people. They will maintain the status quo, hiding behind the illusion of a power base that is Westminster. As I've mentioned in previous posts, they hide there because the place they do not want the argument to take place where true balance of power lies - the local constituency. It his here that the illusion of their power is shattered because this is where they must seek your consent.
What I think we're presented with here is an opportunity and a starting point to lay the foundations of local voting blocs. This is where our MP's feel the real power in democracy, but that only exists where the people gather to exercise that power. Local is where it is at. We can call the MPs all we like for not being representative but it is us that have let them off their leads and it is us who must put them back on it. I believe this debate gives an opportunity for such a move to gain some traction.
No more "someone should do something" - go on and exercise your rights in a lawful and honest manner. Britain needs you, now more than ever.