Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

For its own sanity, Britain should hold a preferendum on the EU.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 9, 2012 in British Politics, European Union |

Let’s be honest: the British attitude to the European Union is beginning to border on neurotic. Pretty much the entire Conservative Party, most of the print media, and a large section of the populace regard the country’s membership of the EU as being a source of woe. What’s more, the inability of the British to settle this issue is causing them to adopt positions in the EU which causes hassle for the rest of us. This has to stop. At the same time, a successful resolution of the issue has to be calmly negotiated and then clearly endorsed by the British people. So, how to proceed?

The government should negotiate that new relationship with its EU partners, while announcing that there will be a preferendum, where a number of options will be put to the people, including a new renegotiated arrangement, and which will be voted on in order of preference until one option receives over 50% of the vote.

The options should include the status quo, the new renegotiated settlement, and withdrawal from the EU, all put to the people in a preferendum. Everybody from UKIP to pro-Europeans to moderate Eurosceptics will have an option on the ballot, and presumably a second choice.

And in one clear vote, the British people settle the matter for a generation, a decision that both sides of the European divide will have to accept. Giving the rest of us some peace.

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