Daily Archives: 5 February 2008

Referendum Rebels: how far is too far?

The row brewing within the Labour Party over whether or not to withdraw the whip from the IWannaReferendum Three is an interesting one.

Predictably, over at Iain Dale’s gaffer, the cries are all “Stalinist!” even after I pointed out that the only party to withdraw the whip over a vote on a treaty referendum is the Conservative Party and FedUp reminded them about Howard Flight. Field, Hooey and Stuart are being hailed as giants and giantesses of political stature.

But hang on a minute. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with their stance, they are supporting a campaign that is actively campaigning against Labour MPs in marginal seats. In the case of Stuart, she is a member of the advisory group which presumably agreed that strategy.

And what is Iain’s view of rebels who happen to believe in something he doesn’t share? Like Clare Short?

If I were a Labour supporter I would be furious at the kick in the teeth she has administered to the Party which made her.

The gulag was too good for her – but what’s the difference?

A couple of footnotes. I observed two weeks ago that IVantToBiteYourFinger.com had just 35,000 signatures on it – in six months they got 5,000 fewer signatures than the Independent got in a month for electoral reform. Now it has 36,000 signatures – this is not a campaign that is going anywhere.

Back in September I predicted that Gordon Brown had a strategy aimed at boring the public to death on Europe. Despite the fact that events took a life of their own regarding the early election – and a May poll is obviously right out now – I stand by the bore-us theory and as far as I can see it’s working (why are the Tories floundering in the polls at the moment just as the Lib Dems and Labour are rallying?).

And before we get too chummy with Labour, we should remember this report by Frank Field of what Hoon has been saying about what the Eurosceptics tactics should be:

“The chief whip suggested we should instead campaign in Liberal seats. I am happy to take that idea on board. I am in the business of ensuring that Labour fulfils its manifesto pledge.”

I’m not sure what’s worse – Hoon’s “principled” stance or his understanding of basic strategy (bear in mind this man sent thousands of troops into Iraq).