Friday 4 January 2013

A Real Choice?

Cameron's much 'vaunted' and long delayed speech on the Tory party's position on the EU takes place in middle of this month - currently planned for the 15th. One suspects it has been much delayed because Cameron doesn't know what to say. He doesn't want to leave the EU but he knows he won't be able get away with a fudge - his 'cast iron' reputation lives on. Nothing short of real concrete options are going to save his Premiership from defeat in 2015.

But going by the Belfast Telegraph today, a fudge it most certainly is going to be:
Voters will be offered a "real choice" on Britain's future relations with the European Union, David Cameron said ahead of a keynote speech on the issue this month.
The Prime Minister refused to be drawn on precisely how he will respond to backbench Tory eurosceptic demands for an in/out referendum on future membership.
A real choice? How kind of him, a real choice that probably look something like the stitch up that was the AV referendum. This is confirmed by the repeat of the 'lie'
"I don't think it's right to aim for a status like Norway or Switzerland where basically you have to obey all the rules of the single market but you don't have a say over what they are," he said.
We all know this to untrue of course, but helped by his friends in the media it is a lie that will be half way around the world before we've even got going. Therefore what is looking increasingly likely is the referendum will consist of the following options;
  • The status quo.

  • A fake renegotiation option while remaining members (not going to happen).

  • Or out (which we will lose).
The obvious question though is if we have so much power and influence as members of the EU then why are we having to claw back powers?


  1. In my post about this one I finish by saying we won't bother holding our breath for an answer.

    There are just some questions they don't want asked because they can't answer them.

  2. Is it that important what Cameron says?

    He probably couldn't do much definite in this term even if he wanted to. Any promise about what happens after the GE is worthless anyway, but a complete joke from Cameron.

    I suppose it frames the discussion and to some extent, the freedom of movement for the Labour government, which looks almost certain to follow.

  3. @Autonomous Mind Thanks for the link, just seen your post. Indeed, that's the problem with deception it has the habit of prompting very awkward questions.

    @cosmic It's important for the Tories and Cameron what he says. A real promise may have given them a chance in 2015, anything less and they can write off their chances completely.

    Like you I remain cynical, but I agree it may 'bounce' Labour into a similar promise - which they will wriggle out of anyway.

    It's also important to keep plugging away at the lies so the Tories et al don't have a monopoly on framing the debate. That's probably most important of all.

  4. OK, the speech will be important not because it is likely to contain anything of substance but because it's Cameron making a speech and he's been forced into it reluctantly.

    Cameron has put himself in a position where he can't credibly give a real promise.

    I can't see that he can do anything other than plug some variation on the Tory "europhile but pretend somehow not to be" line. They're stuck with that and it would be hard to move away and come down on one side or the other.

    Basically another attempt to keep the lid down on the problem with false hopes and it's running out of steam.

    It will give something to attack and undermine.

    The interesting thing is that the straight in option and joining the Euro isn't credible.

    We know more or less what out is, with its various complications and arguments to be had about it.

    The reform/second class membership option is completely amorphous and justified with hand waving.

  5. Good piece. But I think you mean much vaunted not vaulted. Keep up the good work.

  6. @Peted1000 Yes you're right, oops now amended.

  7. Acting as devil's advocate, say he wins a Mandate for a renegotiation (which appears to be the preferred public choice, rightly or wrongly), and then fails to achieve anything meaningful because actually without invoking 50 it's impossible, surely we win? Even assuming a hell of lot of window dressing, it will become clear that the deal on the table is 'carry on regardless' at which point he's forced to say he's failed? This isn't 1973; the guy will be torn to shreds without genuine redmeat for his backbenchers, neverminding the wider aware public? He'll be forced then to present a like it or lump it bill to the house that he'll probably lose because Milliband, like John Smith before him, will be focussed on discomfort & power play than whether they buy the eurocoolaid?

  8. @Anon, It's a fair point and in some ways it would be good, by failure of renegotiation, to have this particular fallacy knocked on the head once and for all.

    The problem is Cameron has no intention of clawing back powers which is precisely why he's proposing it. It's a means by which to keep his party quiet and kick the subject into the long grass.

    Even if (by some miracle) he wins the next election with a majority, we probably won't get a referendum until mid way through the next parliament; by time Cameron gets around to it, then a referendum bill has passed Parliament (if it even does) and the Lords - who will delay it. So that we leave only a couple of years for renegotiation. Cameron can quite truthfully say these take time thus dragging it out for another term.

    Should renegotiation fail, he will simply claim that he will try again because that's what the voters wanted. Remember they rejected the 'out' option in referendum - which we will be constantly reminded of, so calls for another based on a straight in/out will be dismissed.

    Thus it's so important to call out Cameron's lies now