You might not have heard, but there’s been a vote and Britain has decided to leave the EU. All right, Kent has decided that Britain should leave the EU. Hold on, scratch that, three thousand people in Mark Reckless’ constituency have voted to leave the EU. In a quasi-referendum that Mark Reckless put on all by himself.
I’m no fan of direct democracy, but even it deserves slightly better than this. It’s moments like these that really crystallise what it is I so dislike about the Conservative Party. When you’re inspiration for something comes from the Vladimir Putin playbook, think about it again, carefully. Please. It is worth going over the detail of this so called “referendum”: a Tory MP, in a very Eurosceptic party of the country, decides he is going to hold a faux referendum to demonstrate just how desperate the people of Britain are to leave the European Union (see quote below). It is sent out to everyone on the register in the constituency, but most of people who take part are on the Tory lists, presumably (in other words, they would have been the only ones even dimly aware of what the hell it was all about). So the most Eurosceptic people in a very Eurosceptic neck of the woods, basically. Then it returns a vote of 80% in favour of scrapping all of our bilateral treaties and starting from scratch. I don’t know about you, but this result actually makes me think that we pro-Europeans could win an In/Our referendum, no sweat; if 20% of people in a Tory-tastic past of Kent want to stay in, just imagine.
But seriously, can we all stop inflicting mini-Crimeas on the poor people of the United Kingdom, please? Actually, now that I think about it again, it’s only Mark Reckless that’s doing this. All right, can Mark Reckless stop inflicting mini-Crimeas on people who vote Tory in Rochester and Strood, please? Thank you. And please stop talking about the way that this sort of thing is “letting the people have their voices heard”. That’s the worst thing about it all. Again, sorry to keep letting the shadow of Vlad the Impaler of Moscow intrude on this article, but it has to be said again that having snap referenda with no lead in or oversight or explanation and then when the result predictably goes sharply your way, saying things like this:
“I believe that a substantial majority of the British people would vote to come out of the European Union and I want to show that strength of opinion.”
Thanks for that, Mark, but what you’ve actually shown is how much a certain slice of Rochester and Strood want to leave the European Union. Which proves the square root of nothing if you’re trying to extrapolate how much of the UK population as a whole wishes to leave the European Union.
On a final note: why can’t these Eurosceptic MPs just leave the Tories and join UKIP once and for all and save us all from terminal boredom?