Thanks to John and Dave…
I suppose the answer is that David Cameron promised an EU referendum in order to dissuade members of the Conservative Party, MPs and voters alike, from switching to UKIP.
His argument, as I recall, was that if people voted UKIP the likelihood was that they would get but a few MPs, who would be in opposition and who would have no power to offer a referendum. MPs crossing the floor might or might not be re-elected. (In the event only one of the floor crossers was reelected and he subsequently left UKIP and sat as an independent MP.)
However, if people voted Conservative, he, their prime minister, would call a referendum on Britain’s (and Gibraltar’s) future in the European Union.
Of course, Cameron didn’t believe for a second that he would have to actually call a referendum. When he was making these promises, the polls showed very clearly, that a Labour win was on the cards.
And even, had Labour not won, for the Conservatives to form another government they would have needed a coalition with the Lib Dems, and Cameron knew that Nick Clegg would make coalition dependent upon there being no referendum. (Clegg subsequently lost his seat in the 2017 election called by Theresa May to boost her majority, which left her in minority government, dependent for her existence on a hastily arranged, ill-advised and very expensive confidence and supply arrangement with a party from Northen Ireland. A party which back Brexit, against the will of the Northern Irish people.)
Smug, and satisfied as ever, Cameron thought he had it all in the palm of his hands.
No one had reckoned what a chaotic, useless and ultimately disastrous campaign Ed Miliband would run. He started off looking like little could stop him from becoming the next prime minister and ended up resigning and returning to the backbenches.
But Cameron, in a way, had also lost. He was left with little alternative but to call a referendum.
Still, the Eton boy, Oxford and Bullingdon culture pertained. He would win. Nothing would stop him. (And when Nicola Sturgeon reminded him that he might lose, he told her not to be silly.)
So, then he lost, and although he had previously promised to stay on and sort out the consequences of his referendum, he resigned as prime minister, and although he had further promised to stay on and serve his constituents, he resigned his seat in parliament, and took to a seriously expensive shed (£25,000) at the bottom of the garden to write his memoirs. (Apologies to Jacob for the comma before “and”.)
Being so sure of himself, as is his way, Cameron had failed to think about the consequences of his original plan and consider that it might, just might, go wrong.
And so today, having gone through 3 years of chaos with Theresa May dithering, holding an unnecessary election, losing cabinet members, signing an agreement with the EU, which was then rejected three times in parliament, and finally resigning to be replaced with something even worse… we are facing a hard Brexit, where there will likely be massive job losses, losses of rights, rising prices, falling standards, chaos and possibly riots. And, although it probably won’t initially affect the mainland, a possible return to civil war in Ireland.
Ironic, isn’t it, that this whole project was designed to keep the Tory Party together.
A thick posh boy plan gone horribly wrong.
The Tory party is split like never before, indeed some Tory MPs have crossed the floor and some are threatening to bring down the Tory government. A Tory ex-Prime Minister is threatening to take the government to court. Labour is split, and has lost MPs, and is utterly unfit for purpose. UKIP has split and largely been replaced by a party which has no policies except getting the UK out of Europe. The UK is split by countries and may end up dissolved. And Ireland is facing civil war.
Bravo, Dave, you wanted your legacy to be the “Big Society” (whatever happened to that?) and now it will be the probably break up of your precious union and of your party.
You complete and utter roasted posh boy wally!