Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

If We're All So against the EU, How Come Mr Farage Isn't in No. 10? Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

If We're All So against the EU, How Come Mr Farage Isn't in No. 10? Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

REFERENDUMS? I loathe them; but up here on Tweedo Paradiso they love 'em.

When 37 English local authorities gave voters the chance to decide whether or not they favoured "doing a London" and installing a directlyelected mayor the ballot-loving burghers of Paradis-sur-Mer turned out in their thousands.

Voters in places like Southwark and Ealing might as well not have bothered. Indeed, most of them didn't: in both of those boroughs 10% turned out, while in England's most northerly outpost 64% of the electorate marched on the polling stations to post a resounding "No'" to the idea of a Berwick Boris.

Well done, Berwickers: you performed your civic duty in 2001, topped the national turnout poll and got the result right, too: only 13 councils voted to elect their mayors.

But, Berwick apart, would the nation be any more interested in turning out to decide Britain's European future if MPs had voted "Yes" to a referendum? Would we pounds 150m Brussels this year to build prosperity in the And if it did, would struggling regions such as ours remember the pounds 150m Brussels earmarked this year to build jobs and prosperity in the North East? Or focus, instead, on such apocryphal trivia as the legendary "straight cucumber" story? Fortunately, we will never know. Still, that doesn't stop the Euro-sceptics pulling their heads momentarily out of the sand to moan that "getting out of Europe" is the only thing the nation cares about.

Oh yeah? If the public felt as strongly about getting out of Europe as many right-wingers seem to believe then the Tories would have bombed in the recent election and UKIP's leader Nigel Farage would now be Prime Minister.

That doesn't shut them up, however. "No one under the age of 54 has had an opportunity to have a say on whether we should get out of Europe," they moan, citing the last referendum affirming the UK's membership in 1975.

Tough, I say. …

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