Wednesday, 13 May 2009

New campaign: Not Liberal - Not Democrats!

The Liberal Democrat bid to increase its tally of MEPs at the forthcoming European Parliament election took an early knock yesterday, with the launch of a hard-hitting new attack campaign by the Democracy Movement.

The DM has announced plans to blast the party as "Not Liberal - Not Democrats" in some of its most vulnerable seats, over the actions of leading party figures on the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

In particular, the campaign has been launched in defence of Ireland's democratic 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty. Leading Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson has pledged to use taxpayers' money he and his colleagues will receive from the European Parliament to help the Irish and EU political elite bully the Irish people into reversing a clear 'No' vote to the Lisbon Treaty given in last year's referendum.

Speaking on behalf of all ALDE group MEPs in the European Parliament, Watson recently told the Irish Times that it "would be our great pleasure" to help the Irish government fund a major campaign in favour of the Lisbon Treaty in the repeat referendum that the country is being pressured to stage this autumn.

Ireland's vote was the only referendum any people in Europe have had on the Lisbon Treaty, its "substantially equivalent" predecessor - the EU Constitution - having also been rejected overwhelmingly by the French and Dutch peoples in 2005.

Watson's pledge makes a vote for the Lib Dems on 4th June a vote to disregard the previous referendum result and to bully the Irish people into reversing it.

Succession of affronts

But the campaign on the Lib Dems follows what the DM is calling "a succession of affronts to democracy and civil liberties" by the party, caused by their enthusiasm for handing ever more decision-making to the EU.

They amount to a stark conflict between the party's claimed values and actions that can no longer be allowed to pass largely unnoticed by voters.

Not only did the Lib Dems vote to approve the highly illiberal and anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty, but at every stage of the treaty's progress through Parliament the Lib Dems did what it took - abstaining in the Commons and voting against in the Lords - to prevent us being given the EU referendum they promised us at the last general election.

That's why the campaign has been called Not Liberal - Not Democrats.

'Double whammy' roadshow

A giant mobile poster bearing the Lib Dem logo and the campaign slogan (pictured above) is set to be deployed throughout May and early June. The roadshow will be accompanied by targetted local leafleting, letter-writing campaigns by DM activists and other activities.

The 'double whammy' campaign will rove Graham Watson's South West euro constituency, amongst other places, also visiting the most marginal Westminster seats of Lib Dem MPs who broke their promises and refused to support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty / EU Constitution.

These will include Chris Huhne - Shadow Home Secretary (Eastleigh, Maj: 568), Jeremy Browne - Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Taunton, Maj: 573), Paul Burstow - Chief Whip (Sutton & Cheam, Maj: 2846) and Julia Goldsworthy - Shadow Communities and Local Government (Falmouth & Camborne, Maj: 1886).

Twenty of the Lib Dem MPs who refused to support a referendum - almost a third of the parliamentary party - are in vulnerable Westminster seats with majorities of under 5,000.

Clegg ambushed

The campaign kicked off yesterday with a leafleting picket of the official Lib Dem Euro-Election campaign launch, forcing Nick Clegg to cancel a planned outdoor TV interview and to dodge our giant poster as he came and went from the venue.

Having ratted on the referendum they promised in their last manifesto, the Lib Dems now say that they support a wider 'In / Out' referendum on Britain's relationship with the EU.

But given the party's recent failure to deliver on an EU referendum promise written in their general election manifesto, it's not clear how they think their alleged support for a different referendum can be believed.

Even if they do now support a wider referendum on Britain's relationship with the EU, and would actually vote in support of one should an opportunity in Parliament arise, there's no reason why that should have precluded people being consulted in the meantime on whether more powers should be passed to the EU or not.

If fact, the logical action if you believe Britain's relationship with the EU is now at a such a stage that it should be reviewed via referendum is to block any further power transfers until that consultation is conducted.

That's what makes this 'new' referendum idea looks like typical politicians' spin, attempting to confuse people and disguise the fact that the Lib Dems do not support people being consulted about the EU's powers at all.

Please use our 'Order leaflets' link (above right) to request some copies of our campaign flyer. A pdf of the leaflet can be seen here. You can keep up with the latest info about the campaign by joining the Not Liberal - Not Democrats group on Facebook, or by signing up for the eBulletin on the DM's main website.


Ray Finch said...

Any chance of bringing it to Southampton Town Centre on Saturday?
The EU is holding a fun day.

Ray Finch said...

Also, could you let me know when you are coming to Eastleigh? I will get the troops out to support you.