Last month I had recorded the fact that the parish of East Stoke in Dorset had held a local referendum on the question "Do you want a referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty? Yes or No?" Out of those who voted the reply was a massive "yes". I pointed out that a number of parishes in Devon and Cornwall were looking to ask a similar question. However I hadn't realised then that permission to hold such an event was in the gift of the relevant authority and now it transpires that some of them aren't going to play.
However the other week villagers at Shaldon on the south shore of Devon's Teign estuary had their chance to make their view known (well done Teignbridge District Council for facilitating this). On a turnout of 18.1% the votes were 260 to 12 - a pretty convincing margin I'd say for the yesses.
'Newton and Noss' in the far west of The South Hams could be one of the next places to exercise their democratic right on this issue. I don't think Gordon Brown will have an easy ride in the House of Commons regarding the EU Treaty and if enough parishes have a chance to express their opinion who knows what may happen. I hope those Labour MPs who are harbouring doubts about where their leadership is taking them will make a firm decision when their turn to vote comes; it is certainly not a matter to abstain on, that would be a real cop out. So a definite "Yes" or "No" is needed ladies and gentlemen.