A motion to support a referendum on EU membership was put before a meeting of Thanet Council last night. The Council's ruling Labour Group blocked this motion on the grounds that decisions about EU membership are not within power of Thanet Council to make and that therefore it was not appropriate to discuss such a subject.
This is rather a strange argument to use. Thanet Council has previously voted to condemn the Bedroom Tax, to support Equal Marriage, to support changes to animal transport laws - all of which I supported and all of which are issues, like EU membership, which the Council does not have the power to decide on. So why did the Council Labour Group, decide to use this disingenuous reason to prevent a debate? Simple because if there had been a debate the Council Labour Group would have been forced to reveal that its political bosses in Westminster do not want to allow the British public to have a referendum on EU membership.
This dictatorial arrogance puts the Labour Party at odds with the vast majority of Thanet residents and the rest of the country, who want to have an open and frank discussion about our future in the EU. Pro or Anti EU, we have a democratic right to discuss and vote on this issue. The Labour Party and it representatives on Thanet Council are clearly turning their backs on the fundamental democratic rights of local residents when all other parties are supporting and encouraging it. I suspect this North Korean style of approach towards electors will cost them dearly.
I must say I was disappointed by the poor turnout of Tory Councillors (yet again). They were 6 councillors short. Had they all turned up it would have been possible to have forced some very close votes and perhaps won a decision to discuss the EU situation. Here is a recording of the debate - it would have been much better if the Council had allowed the public to film the meeting rather than employing private security guards at great public expense to oversee the riotous public in the gallery. Although last night the guard seemed to by paying particular attention to me - I wonder why?