Tuesday, 22 March 2011

DM backs new People's Pledge campaign for an EU referendum

by Marc Glendening

You may have read over the past week about an exciting new initiative to force a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU - called the

People's Pledge

We've received many enquiries about it in recent days, so I'm pleased to report that the Democracy Movement is enthusiastically backing this new campaign.

Launched last week in the futuristic setting of the Altitude 360 venue on the 29th floor of Millbank Tower, Westminster, the People's Pledge
is a potent new all-party campaign to secure a referendum on whether we wish to be ruled by those we elect to Westminster - or by the unaccountable institutions of the European Union.

Broad support

The campaign has assembled an impressive spectrum of supporters include John Cryer MP (Labour), Zac Goldsmith MP (Conservative), Jenny Jones AM (London Assembly Member, Green party), Marta Andreasen MEP (UKIP & former EU chief accountant), among many others.

It's chaired by businessman John Mills (Chairman, JML Group) and the director is Mark Seddon, ex editor of Tribune magazine and former member of the Labour National Executive Committee.

The prominent economist Ruth Lea is also a supporter, as are writers Fay Weldon CBE, Virginia Ironside and John King.

The campaign has the support not only of those who are opposed to, or sceptical about, the EU. It's also backed by those who are committed to Britain's continued EU membership - such as Keith Vaz, the former Europe minister and John Stevens, the former Conservative MEP - but who nevertheless acknowledge that the people should decide.

Unique pressure

But it's the campaign's strategy that really sets it apart from all previous referendum efforts and gives it a great chance of success.

The People's Pledge asks voters to pledge that they will only vote for a candidate at the next general election who promises to support a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU and to vote for it in the House of Commons.

Numbers of people signing the Pledge in each constituency will be displayed on the campaign's website alongside the MP's majority. This unique feature of the campaign will pile the pressure on MPs and their rival candidates, by enabling them to see exactly the strength of feeling in their area for the right to have a say on the EU - and how many votes they stand to gain, or lose, as a result of their stance on the issue.

The campaign's sophisticated website will also record and display each MP's voting record on all EU-related issues, available for any voter to look up using only their postcode, and will finally enable voters to hold their MP to account for their actions on the EU.

Local campaigns

From now until the next general election, through both national and local activities particularly in the marginal seats, supporters of the People's Pledge will be challenging MPs and their rival prospective candidates to declare their support for a referendum.

This campaign therefore presents a new and innovative way to harness and focus 'People Power' towards bringing about change in Britain's relationship with the EU. It's about pressuring the political elite into giving us what they have long denied us; a say on the future of our political system.

With the passing of the EU Constitution/Lisbon treaty, and with a new forthcoming EU treaty designed to establish what Angela Merkel calls 'European economic governance', it is now clear that we as a people have to make a choice: Are we to be governed centrally from Brussels in a growing range of key policy areas or, instead, do we wish an alternative democratic future for our country?

Sign the People's Pledge

We're urging all our supporters to sign the People's Pledge and to encourage as many others as they know to do so as well.

While the People's Pledge will make the case for people to be consulted about the EU's powers, it will not take sides on whether Britain should be 'in' or 'out'. That's why, while working closely with the People's Pledge to secure a referendum, the Democracy Movement and other EU-critical groups will also continue independently to make the case for Britain to forge a new, genuinely co-operative relationship with our European neighbours that, unlike the EU, respects democracy.

When the People's Pledge is successful in securing that referendum, we who want change must ensure we are in a position to WIN it!

So look out for more information here soon about how the DM will be taking forward the case for a referendum by supporting the People's Pledge - and promoting a new vision for Britain outside and beyond the confines of EU membership.

1 comment:

Ron Hurrell said...

Exacting a promise from a prospective M.P. will be of little value because insincere promises are built into the election process. However, as a longstanding member of U.K.I.P. I will give it a try.