A debate on an EU referendum

At the time of writing this (it’s about half past two – don’t ask) only the Mail on Sunday is running with the news that the House of Commons will hold a debate on whether to allow us a referendum on the European Union. The MoS makes it sound like a rather spectacular victory for the British public but its headline is misleading.

The decision to hold the debate was announced by Natascha Engels, Chairman of the Commons Backbench Business Committee; it will be a one-day debate at some unspecified time before Christmas this year.

There’s a long way to go yet, and even if a referendum were given, I wouldn’t be falling over myself in excitement,  but let’s see what’s said this week at Conference,  particularly in light of two other articles in today’s papers (mind you, they are from the Observer and the BBC):

William Hague: “… governing with the Liberal Democrats is wonderfully refreshing”. He also rules out a referendum on UK membership of the EU.

Nick Boles MP: “I hope that the Conservatives will be focused on what matters to the British public – which is growth, jobs and the rising cost of fuel, not our little petty obsessions.”

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In a Sunday Times (£) article the euro problems have now hit Belgium as Dexia,  one of the biggest banks is in trouble.

“The eurozone crisis entered a new phase this weekend with France and Belgium racing to rescue a large continental bank.
“The countries’ finance ministers meet tomorrow to discuss the future of Dexia, one of Belgium’s largest lenders, with 35,000 staff and 8m customers in Belgium, Luxembourg and France. It has been crippled by the collapse of the inter-bank lending markets and large exposures to Greece.”

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Christopher Booker has an excellent article in the Telegraph:

“The story of the euro, as the supreme symbol of the lunatic drive to weld Europe together into a wholly undemocratic political union, is now entering its Nightmare Stage. People like Barroso predictably claim that the only way forward is more of the same: “more Europe”. We are witnessing the unfolding of one of the great archetypal patterns that shape human affairs, one we can compare to the story of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
“…In the case of the EU, there is no sorcerer. There seems to be no means by which Europe’s leaders can halt the chaos that now threatens to bring down the euro, much of the world’s financial system – and, ultimately, even the EU itself.”

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