In the wake of scandals over phone-in competitions and even the name of the Blue Peter cat, the BBC needs to confront yet another failing. It reports a UKIP-inspired referendum held in East Stoke parish in Dorset on whether a referendum should be held on the EU (who are people obsessed with process rather than outcome?) claiming that the referendum was on “the new European treaty”, with the question: “Do you want a referendum on the proposed new EU treaty?”
(Read the story here.)
Following the link offered by the BBC to Purbeck District Council, who organised the referendum, one finds that the question actually was “Do You Want a Referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty? Yes or No?”
Now, the EU Constitutional Treaty was rejected by referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005 and abandoned at the European Council meeting in June 2007. The referendum in East Stoke was on the old European treaty, not the new one. The new one is the Reform Treaty, and is different. How much different is a contested matter, and the BBC may wish to reflect on whether it is correct for it to take sides in this matter.
It has also been asked why the parish of East Stoke is trying to revive the Constitutional Treaty when even the national governments that originally signed it no longer wish to do so – such ardent support for the European idea is most welcome 😉