Monday 24 October 2011

Opportunism knocks

Given the perilous state of the European economy, I’m finding it difficult to be enthused by a referendum on EU membership. Euro-sceptics see this as a best chance in a generation to ditch an unloved institution, so I can imagine how it might make sense to push the issue now, but I can also see problems in this approach. Though it’s a crisis largely of the Euro’s making, there is a problem with the world economy too; in such times people are as likely to develop a herd mentality as they are to strike out with confidence on their own.

This is the wrong time to decide. There are economic advantages and there are regulatory pitfalls - I’m being polite - we don't yet know how these will be changed by the closer financial integration that will form part of the Eurozone recovery. The “loss” of the AV referendum earlier this year was seen as putting the issue of “electoral reform” on the backburner for a generation. Imagine a narrow vote for maintaining membership, used as an excuse for doing the same. Let’s wait until people know what it is they’re voting for - or against - rather than have them base it on a guess.


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