With Zac on the case, resistance is futile
Patrick has already posted today about the launch of the People’s Pledge campaign this morning, highlighting particularly how the crowd mostly appeared to be drawn from the ‘Hooray Henry/white van alliance’.
As you can see from the picture above, the ever-reliable Daily Express has even eschewed the tragic events unfolding in Japan to devote their splash to this campaign, which purports to be merely ‘pro-referendum’, but is allowing hope to stir in the hearts of Britain’s most ardent euro sceptics.
But the campaign has pulled off a major coup by persuading touchy-feely Tory Zac Goldsmith to lend his support. Goldsmith, a star of the new intake, gives the campaign a way of rebutting the idea that this is a thinly-veiled attempt to put pressure on the government to pull out of the EU. He lends credibility to their claim that this is just about democratic consultation
When I asked him yesterday evening whether there was a danger that this campaign could be hijacked by anti-EU, rather than pro-referendum, campaigners, he was firm on his own rejection of that position, but didn’t rule it out as a possibility. He said:
“My very strong preference is that the campaign is pro-referendum, and pro democracy. If and when the campaign is successful, we can then have a much-needed debate about the EU itself involving arguments for and against.”
Whatever his “strong preference” might be, this morning’s launch definitely demonstrated that the anti-EU lobby is very keen on the success of this campaign, and are certainly hoping that by forcing a referendum, they will be able to secure the UK’s withdrawal.
Zac, though, has different motives for his involvement, saying “I signed the pledge because I believe in democracy... No one of my age has ever been given an opportunity to have their say on the EU, and it’s time that changed.”
He went on to say:
All decision makers, here or elsewhere, should feel the pressure of democracy. For me, that is just not negotiable.