Is Nigel Farage trying to distract us?

2 May 2014

On location for The Sunday Times in the exciting by-election town of Newark-upon-Trent, I asked a nice local woman about her voting intentions. What way do you think you’ll be voting, I asked. This is what she said.

“Um, yes, the poll. Well, I will turn right out of my house and walk down the road and then there’s usually a what-do-you-call-it, poll thing, in St Leonard’s Church, on the corner. I think that’s right..”

I just thought I’d share that response with you.

It is interesting that the leader of UKIP. Nigel Farage, who is of course somewhat Eurosceptic, apparently believes that contesting a poll for election to the House of Commons is merely “a distraction” – presumably a distraction away from the important thing, which is the elections to the European Parliament. I think he’s frit.

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  • shar

    I share your disbelief that we have reached the point where the saying
    of a single word can lead to a person losing a livelihood.
    کرکره برقیدوربین مدار بستهدرب اتوماتیک

  • mopa

    They only attack white males – the uber-baddies des nos jours.
    کارشناسی ارشد بدون کنکورپارتیشن

  • bilejones

    Well the old corporate media whores do seem to be getting touchy, don’t they?

    Perhaps there is a threat to the status quo after all

  • Lungfish66

    fuck off then

  • Lungfish66

    duh, I think most os thick coonts like ukip mate , wec are thick and luv it

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Behind these attacks on UKIP there is outrage that a new party is making its presence felt when the main parties thought they had everything nicely sewn up. To make it worse, the upstarts give voice to the concerns of a large number of voters. Who knows where this unwelcome development will end?

  • Kennybhoy

    ” I think he’s frit.”

    Et tu Liddle…?

  • Agrippina

    UKIP will put up a local candidate with knowledge of the issues. Unlike the liblabcon troughers trick of parachuting in chosen folks, esp their progeny (kinnock,blair,straw, gummer & hurd).

    EU & local elections take priority and then after those results are analysed, UKIP can build for the general election, quite simple really. It is called a strategy, just like the media efforts to keep UKIP out at all costs.

  • R Fairless

    All these hacks support either Labour or Conservatives and being without integrity will resort to any slander to further the aims of their chosen party without consideration of the real needs of this country. Most of their efforts are self-defeating as most people are now aware of their motives and biases. A false storm around Newark aims to unsettle UKIP but we recognise it for the rubbish it is. It’s like advising an airline pilot that there is a vacancy for a bus driver at the local depot. Who is deceived by such nonsense?
    UKIP, lead by Nigel Farage, a politician of incomparable qualities will shortly demonstrate their appeal to the British public.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Not happy about circumstances, are you, Rod? You’ll have to wait another day.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    “Personally, I think he’s frit”.

    I disagree. The real explanation for his decision not to stand is that he is racist. Racism lies every decision he makes.

    Or so I gather from reading this excellent magazine.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    If only Nigel Farage had the guts of Stephen Kinnock, who has chosen to stand as Labour candidate in Aberavon. He was selected solely on his merits, too.

    Nobody can say that he is frit.

  • Mike

    Some say Farage bottled out of running in this by-election but it was chicken **** Cameron who bottled out of a debate with Farage. Nigel Farage knows full well that strategically he and UKIP are better off going from strength to strength as a anti EU party within the EU for the short term.

    It has nothing to do with ducking out of going into a by election as winning that by-election doesn’t achieve any lasting advantage and just dilutes UKIP’s achievements so far.

    Slowly, slowly catchee monkey and bide your time before giving Cameron a knock out blow, thats the correct approach and good luck to him.

  • David davis

    Et tu, Rodde?

    Don’t you like the British People, or something? Were you a member of the British-PoliticalEnemyClass all along?

    We all thought you’d got sacked by the BBC for being an ordinary human.

  • Richard N

    What is just incredible is the simply pathetic quality of the propaganda that the liblabcon media puts out through all UK media outlets against UKIP.

    With all their vast resources of money, and just about the entirety of the UK media and all their prostitute ‘hacks for hire’ writers at their service, that this kind of lame rubbish (this ‘article’) is the best they can come up with – apart from digging into every UKIP supporters’ face book accounts, so that they can shout ‘racist!’ if they find anything juicy there.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Much of the nation is frit, or at least in denial, as evidence amounts about the sleaziness and cowardice of the political class.

    Last night there was a programme on Radio 4 about sexual predators in the House of Commons. The predatory behaviour is widespread with the main victims being researchers employed by MP’s.. The worst cases involved coercion into sexual relationships.

    The non-predators prefer to keep quiet about. They didn’t get where they were by not keeping quiet about the rottenness of their parliamentary colleagues. Only one MP, who belonged to the Labour Party, gave an interview, although another was quoted as saying that there was a serious problem – confined to the Conservatives.
    I will remember this the next time I hear an MP condemning some moral lapse ‘in the strongest possible terms’.

    • Liz

      You won’t find a sympathetic ear from Rod Liddle, champion of the handsy BBC presenter because when he was at school he thinks he remembers that girls he thinks he remembers probably really wanted it because they probably had posters of pop stars on their walls, or something. And anyway a pert slap cures it, probably or something, except where it doesn’t and gets you murdered by Adrian Bayley.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        …and a big hurrah for Rod’s memories and pert slaps, so much healthier than the asphyxiation of today’s PC bores and grievance-industry fellow-travellers.

  • Colin

    FFS, not you, as well, Rod?

  • Wessex Man

    Rod, how childish of you, I was in the audience at Bath when it all broke and Nigel Farage said he would think about standing, everyone could see he was winding up the establishment.

  • Raw England

    Rod’s now well into his mid-life-crisis phase.

  • MikeF

    Rod is just getting ahead of himself anticipating Millwall avoiding relegation and is becoming a bit light-headed – that’s all. No need to take it too seriously.

  • Penny

    I couldn’t disagree more with all this “frit” stuff.

    I can’t imagine any committee would select a candidate if a) it was the party leader and b) also an MEP who c) is facing the biggest election of his political career in the EU elections and so d) wouldn’t benefit from the distraction nor have the time to canvass in what is e) a by-election in which he would be f) a “parachute” candidate with no local knowledge. Furthermore, if he won he would g) add even more to his workload by being and MP in addition to party leader and MEP at a time when his party is building support. And let’s not forget that h) he would open himself up to the favourite criticism that his party is a one-man band.

    To suggest that the above considerations make for a viable candidate is quite daft.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Under the EU’s current “dual mandate” rules an MEP can stand for election as an MP, but if he succeeds he must choose one or the other.

      That is what Huhne did; he thought he could better advance the cause of the EU by being inside the UK Parliament, so after being elected as an MEP in 2004 he stood for Eastleigh in 2005 and managed to infiltrate himself.

      Having been elected as an MP he then resigned his seat in the EU Parliament, which was handed to Sharon Bowles who had been next on the LibDem candidate list for the south east England euro-region.

      And also what Lucas did; of course there was no by-election after she gave up her seat in the EU Parliament after winning a seat in the UK Parliament in 2010. she was simply replaced by another Green; but how much has she since advanced the Green cause by being the only Green MP?

      • Penny

        Thanks, Denis. There are several considerations that I’ve seen even at local level. The “parachute” candidate is a niggle because a) it’s difficult to canvass if you don’t know enough about the local issues/concerns and b) residents will naturally wonder how such a candidate will genuinely relate to issues they’re not experiencing themselves. Of course the “parachute” candidate exists and can win – but it’s not ideal to field one.

        The timing of this particular election is also not good at all. Not only because of the focus on the EU elections that Farage would have to have, but also the time that would be needed by a relatively new party to organise itself in order to mount a really good challenge in this particular consitutency. Farage would have to be part of the canvassing team and although it’s possible he’d have some time after the EU elections I’ve actually no idea what happens in terms of the post-EU election bureaucracy. Even so – I’d say that time is a big factor.

        Again, even at local level you cannot put the same candidate forward for too many jobs. It gives the appearance that you’ve no one else in the entire party/council who is fit to do them. I don’t think Farage would have won whichever way he went with regard to this by-election. Not standing = “frit”, “chicken” ” bottled it”. Standing = one-man band.

        • Raw England


          This whole narrative was started off by Hostile Immigrants like Mehdi Hasan etc, and the far Left media, with the sole, desperate intention of undermining UKIP and Farage.

          Its obvious to all normal people that the way forward is to put all resources into the Euro Elections, and march onwards to the next step after that’s completed.

          • Penny

            That’s a stretch, RawEngland. The Right has been just as busy indulging in playground insults as the Left. None of them hostile immigrants as far as I can tell.

        • atticus1900

          Mercer’s timing to stand down also seems to have been perfectly placed. A coincidence? I think not. It was a definite trap, and the fact that the Tories threw one of their chaps on the bonfire show just how desperate they are.

          • Wessex Man

            don’t give them the brains for thinking up something like that, they haven’t.

            • atticus1900


          • Penny

            I wouldn’t think it’s a trap beyond the fact that it created an opportunity – not to see if Farage would stand because I can’t see that even they thought he would – but perhaps to do all this “frit”, “chicken”, “bottled it” stuff.

            I’d also say that against the idea of Mercer’s departure being a trap is the current political environment re: both Labour and UKIP. I don’t know enough about the constituency to be sure of anything, but if the Tory party win it is possibly with a smaller majority than before and the possibility of UKIP making a reasonable fist of things. Neither of which is helpful for the Conservatives.

          • Ooh!MePurse!

            Please tell me that you don’t actually believe this!

            Yesterday I read a post claiming that Cameron had paid the man who egged Farage.

            Security, security…..

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      So why has he stood as a candidate in constituencies elsewhere?


      • Penny

        Because, as you can see from the polls, the political landscape is entirely different at the moment. If that were not the case then there would not be dozens of articles being written about UKIP/Farage, and there would be absolutely no one saying “frit”

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          Not convinced.

          A Westminster seat must be Nige’s ultimate aim. Even just one!


          • Penny

            You’re perfectly entitled to your opinion. Far be it from me to engage you in constructive discussion if it’s not your thing.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              A Ukip supporter championing constructive discussion! There’s a first!

              OK, let’s do it. You’re not allowed to use the words troll, liblabcon or traitor. You can set restrictions too.

              First point Penny.

              • Penny

                My first point is that I’m not a UKIP supporter. I’m a one-time local politician who dislikes dirty politics and biased media.

                • Ooh!MePurse!

                  OK, that’s well and truly put me in my place. Apologies for assuming.


                • Penny

                  I’ve set out my view contra the “frit” argument so “next” would involve you telling me where it is wrong rather than offering up a question, an opinion or a jibe.

  • bhutanbeau

    What does frit mean? Sorry, I’ve been away….

  • JonBW

    Mr Liddle, you’re not going to get away with the heavy sarcasm (describing Newark as ‘exciting’) by ingratiating yourself with the locals through the use of dialect (‘frit’).

    If you start addressing people as ‘me duck’ you’ll lose all credibility; it’ll make you look like an East Midlands version of some resident of Shoreditch using cockney rhyming slang to disguise the fact that they grew up in Richmond-on-Thames.

  • Denis_Cooper

    UKIP would be wise to set up two specialist teams for the Newark by-election.

    The first to conduct a rigorous positive vetting exercise for their potential candidates, thoroughly investigating their backgrounds back to their childhoods
    and checking to see whether at any time they might have said, or done, or even
    thought, anything which could be twisted or distorted and used against them.

    The second team to do the same for the candidates of the three old parties.

    There’s a good chance that there’ll be some dirt to be dug up on all of them if the UKIP team search hard enough, and that could make it into the local media even if the national media chose to turn a blind eye.

    Of course UKIP doesn’t really have the resources to do that kind of trawl for all of the thirteen thousand or so local candidates being put up by the other parties in the same way that the Tories and Labour can do it for UKIP’s two thousand odd candidates, and most journalists in the mass media are not interested in doing it
    and are only interested in repeating and embroidering whatever they are fed about
    a small number of the UKIP candidates.

    In fact UKIP doesn’t really have the resources to do that kind of rigorous probe even into its own two thousand odd local candidates, let alone those of the other parties, but they could certainly do it just for say a dozen people involved in the Newark by-election and would be well advised to get cracking on it.

  • JoeDM

    The EU is the fundamental issue.

    Whilst we are still members of the EU we cannot start to put our country back together.

  • DougS

    Rod, Rod……………Rod.

    Are you stupid or just pretending to be stupid? I’ll answer that for you – you’re not stupid. You are, therefore, dangling a bait out for the unsuspecting to snap at and I’m sure you’ll catch a few.

    Would Ed Miliband stand for this seat – yes, yes I know he’s already got one but try to imagine he was looking for one – would he stand? Of course not, he’d be too frit wouldn’t he?

    A vote for UKIP is a vote to get our sovereignty back.

  • Denis_Cooper

    I should think that by June 5th many people in Newark will be getting a bit fed up with election campaigns. No local elections there, as I understand, but the campaign for the UK parliamentary by-election will overlap with the campaign for the EU Parliament elections. I expect that after he’s finished travelling all around the country for the EU Parliament campaign, and the votes for that have been cast, then Nigel Farage will be free to spend a lot of time campaigning just in Newark, which of course is what his opponents wanted him to do straight away. No doubt there will be complaints about the cost of the extra policing needed to control the thuggish elements among UKIP’s opponents, including the UAF which Cameron continues to support.

  • John Little

    Dear Rod,
    Darling, I’m your biggest fan, but I can see why Nige isn’t standing this time. One – it’s a trap, a safe Tory seat, two, he’s got momentum with the Euro elections coming up, why get sucked into a constituency fight so close to the Euro polling day

    • Wessex Man

      What I want to know is why isn’t BoJo standing and why isn’t Rod having a pop at him for not standing!

      • bwims

        Because he doesn’t want to attack LibLabCon in this instance.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Why isn’t Rod standing?.

  • Eyesee

    If UKIP, as the biggest party in parliament decided to take us out of the EU, it would be right that Farage as leader would and should be an MP. But, as UKIP have no MP’s he is in an excellent position, as an MEP to be a thorn in the side of the perpetual liars in Brussels and also to the pathetic crew of tax raisers here. Is Farage brilliant? I haven’t seen any evidence. Are UKIP right about everything? Doesn’t seem likely. But then, the Conservatives seem very New Labour, Labour are trying to be Old Labour but without actually having any, you know, policies and Nick Clegg is an idiot. So which as Hobson would ask, is your choice? The noble liberal democracy of England has been turned into a sad and useless joke, by the cynical Party system designed to serve short term goals of grubby politicians. They evolved this corrupt abuse of the system, because otherwise they would have to work for a living, even as politicians.

    • arnoldo87

      The Conservatives ARE very New Labour, admittedly with a more than welcome Eurosceptic edge.

      And long may it continue

    • Fergus Pickering

      Actually that’s not Hobson’s choice which is no choice at all. We have one and we choose our Nige for the reasons you give..

  • Polly Fabian

    Imagine the political mayhem that Farage could cause if he was photogenic and witty. Our idle political class see him as a threat, but in fact they’re getting away very lightly so far.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      “..he was photogenic and witty…”
      These qualities can be overrated. The late Sir Cyril Smith had neither in abundance, yet he was the a star turn for the Lib Dems.

  • oldestel

    “Um, yes, the poll. Well, I will turn right out of my house and walk
    down the road and then there’s usually a what-do-you-call-it, poll
    thing, in St Leonard’s Church, on the corner. I think that’s right..”

    Sounds just like my dear, long-departed ma when she was taking the mickey out of someone.

  • James Allen

    I think you’ve been hanging around the Times’ offices a bit too long. Could it not be as simple as Farage doesn’t want to spend the next 12 months (or potentially the rest of his political life) knocking around the East Midlands? The issue here is the media’s short attention span, which means they think all breakthroughs happen today or tomorrow… Farage has been working at this for 16 years… he’s content to leave it a little longer!!

    • bwims

      Disappointing that Liddle turns out to be a Labour tribalist smearing the first decent opposition in a long time.

  • IfItPleasethThee

    Interesting that Nigel Farage regards the European Parliament as important. I don’t, so I’ll draw a willy on the ballot paper. Or vote Tory, which may come to the same thing.

    • James Allen

      To win a national election would be an historic achievement… and send a clear and unambiguous message to our international friends and partners, which will help to hasten the UK’s exit from the EU. I’m not sure why the media thinks Farage operating as a one-man-band in Parliament is supposed to be helpful to the UKIP cause…

      • IfItPleasethThee

        So the European Parliament is now “national”. Haha, that’s hilarious. No doubt you were singing Ode to Joy to your computer while typing that.

        • James Allen

          Er…. national in the sense it’s happening everywhere in the UK, not one specific region (e.g. local elections only in certain boroughs). Is that answer satisfactory, my Lord?

          • IfItPleasethThee

            Sadly, I am not noble. Perhaps some day.

            • Vote for Change (2nd attempt)

              you’re almost there, just missing the le at the end.

              (sorry, couldn’t resist)

              • IfItPleasethThee

                Ah, yes, that took me a while, but I have now caught up. “I’ll labour night and day to be a pillock”, that kind of thing. Well, my heart is warmed by your encouragement, anyway!

            • Wessex Man

              Well we know that!

    • mightymark

      If you could only get fellow eurosceptics to do the same we might get rid of the turbulent Farage for good!

      • IfItPleasethThee

        A little concerned by the word “turbulent”, at least insofar as it suggests sainthood …

  • helicoil

    What is the point of this article?
    Two paragraphs of drivel just to work in a dig about UKIP.

    • saffrin

      Cash from Brussels.

    • tjamesjones

      it’s not an article helicoil. It’s a blog. You’re on a blogging site. Rod is blogging.

      • helicoil

        that makes it all right then, how silly of me.

      • Streben80

        Ah a blog, apparently a few meaningless sentances thrown together then?
        Iain Dale is certainly better at it then, far more amusing and insightful.

        • Ooh!MePurse!


    • EF

      I think one of the points of the blog was to show that a certain cross section of the population isn’t fit to vote.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well, it’s one of Rod’s so the point is to needle as many people as possible.Which is OK by me.

  • saffrin

    The nice local woman in Newark-upon-Trent obviously thought you wanted to know the way to the polling station Rod you pillock.
    Had you not had your head stuck in you’re…., she may have heard what you thought you said.

    • tjamesjones

      oh, I see!! thanks saffrin!!

  • Tim

    A bit random Rod.

  • pobinr

    In 1973 British Prime Minister Edward Heath mis-sold the European Union to us as a ‘Common Market’.

    It’s turned into the European Union & is now becoming a Federal Europe.

    Under mis-selling rules please can we have our country & democracy back & the money too.

    40 years at todays prices about 40 x £11bn net = £440bn.

    Taken by a bunch of crooks who can’t get their accounts signed off >

    • Kaine

      Regardless of what Ted said, there was a referendum in 1975. Everyone could have read the treaty. “Ever closer union of the people’s of Europe”. Now either the people of 1975 agreed, had no opinion, or didn’t understand that rather simple phrase, because they voted to remain in the community.

      • atticus1900

        Your apostrophe is in the wrong place

        • Adam Carter

          There shouldn’t be an apostrophe at all.
          Apostrophes are for contractions or to denote possession.
          It is wrong to attach apostrophes’ to plural’s, wherever you put them.

          • bwims

            Boring pedant #2

        • bwims

          Boring pedant

      • Wessex Man

        Most people back in those days actually, poor fools, believed what the lying politicians said today they don’t believe a word. There were quite a few of us that were horrified with the treaty and voted to get out. The people now are better informed!

      • Fergus Pickering

        I don’t suppose you were even alive at the time so shut up. We were lied to by the ruling class who said it was a trade arrangement and nothing more. Foolish to trust the bastards but we did in those days. Now we wouldn’t trust any of them to tell us the time. So we will vote for Nige. We don’t care what he’s for. We know what he’s against. And so are we. 41% is te latest figure I think.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          28℅ is the latest figure.

          • saffrin

            That’s Labour.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              No. Labour are on 29%.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            It was 38% on 30 April. The decrease must be due to the Spectator’s dramatic intervention.

            • Ooh!MePurse!

              No, it’s a ComRes poll. Google UK polling report. It summarises all poll data and is very interesting. Ukip are largest party for Euro’s in high twenties. Slump back down to where they belong for GE.

              Nasty little stain on our civilisation.

              Vote Conservative for growth and a referendum. Vote Ukip for Labour, no referendum, sky high tax, sky high interest rates and mass unemployment.

        • Kaine

          I take it you were one of the people too thick or bone idle to get to the third line of the Treaty of Rome?

          • Fergus Pickering

            Absolutely. You don’t want to read those things. Just vote for Nige and you’ll be OK.

      • saffrin

        Ted didn’t post a copy of the treaty to every member of the voting public way back in 1975 Kaine.
        Foolishly, they believed and relied upon what they heard from the politicians of the day and what they heard on the BBC.
        A trading agreement was all I remember, there was no mention of a future dictatorship, a hatred for democracy or any mention of an expansionist agenda that could only lead to war.

        • Ridcully

          Kaine probably doesn’t realise that there was no internet back in the 70s.

        • Kaine

          Wonderful thing libraries.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            see my explanation above. You really are about 14 aren’t you? You probably think Stonehenge is built from discarded Betamaxes.

      • bwims

        How many people read anything to do with elections? Half of them have an IQ less than a hundred. A quarter of them miss their behinds when they wipe them. They mostly drag their knuckles to the voting booths and vote with their tribe and do what their smarmy Labour leader tells them to.

      • Mike

        As Clegg famously said recently, we should have read the small print. Oh I forgot, there wasn’t any small print after all, just lies !

      • pobinr

        What we were told >

        If we vote NO ‘it would be damaging’

        As damaging as this?

        1] Cheap imported labour that drives wages down & take jobs from locals

        2] Classes full of kids that need special lessons in speaking basic English

        3] Being told it’s just Daily Mail fiction when I see it with my own eyes

        4] Higher house prices & rents due to increased demand

        5] More crowded surgeries & longer NHS queues

        6] Worst housing shortage since WWII

        7] More & more houses on greenbelt

        8] More & more road congestion

        9 Theft of our democracy

        EU gave Ford a loan to move our Southampton Transit factory to Turkey!

        Southamton ship repairs moved to Germany.

        Our dry docks sat empty for years.

        10% of our economy now under threat thanks to an new EU dictat

        And compulsive liar Clegg has the gall to say being in the EU protects our jobs

      • Hexhamgeezer

        The Interweb wasn’t invented in those days. It wasn’t easy to get a copy of the Treaty of Rome. Those who did and saw the ‘ever closer union’ phrase were told that it did not mean a ‘united europe’ or was in any way a political aim. We were told that by the BBC for instance. Any person who disagreed was labelled as an extremist nutter. And so like, say, immigration a pattern was established. Lie, continue to Lie, then when the Lie was unsustainable shamelessly ignore your lying and claim that the new reality is actually a great thing. Incrementally this has brought us to the place we are now. A place the BBC and it’s fellow travellers claimed they were not heading for but only extremist nutters could object to.

        I assume that you are around 14 years old. That can be the only sane reason that you can put together a bunch of pixels like that.

        • Kaine

          So you don’t trust the people to vote. So you’re against another referendum?

          • Hexhamgeezer

            No. I don’t trust Labour, or Conservatives, or LDs on Europe. I trust folk that are informed which includes you out.. And by the way. If you wanted a copy of the Treaty of Rome from a library in the 70s you had to order it. This may have taken months to arrive and then you went on a waiting list.

            A referendum is not a referendum is not a referendum. Just like the 60s is not the 70s is not the 80s is not the 90s etc etc etc.

      • Baron

        Where in the document you quote does it say “ever closer union of the people’s of Europe”, Kaine?

        • Kaine

          Third line of the first page.

      • Robbydot1

        “Everyone could have read the treaty”.
        How exactly could they have done that? On the Internet perhaps?

        • Kaine

          Prior to this government we had a wonderful thing called libraries. It’s not like the Treaty of Rome was a new or obscure document in 1975.

          • Robbydot1

            Amongst some very stiff competition, that has to be one of the most facile comments ever posted!

            • Kaine

              Suggesting that people read something before they vote on it is facile?

              • Fergus Pickering

                Did you read the bleeding treaty? I expect you were just the sort of child who would. Iwas far too busy catching up on my smoking to read stuff like that.

                • Kaine

                  Which is the argument against referendums in a nutshell.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  On the contrary. It is the argument FOR referendums.

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