The problem with the debate on the EU is that one side doesn’t care, and the other has worked itself into an irrational frenzy. It’s now poisoning the Tory party again, whose inability to address this issue rationally (though the press presenting any Tory mentioning ‘yurp in the context of ‘splits’ doesn’t help…) leaves the serious possibility of Prime-Minister Miliband. This and the return to power of Brownian lickspittle, Ed Balls is a much more clear and present threat to the UK than anything the EU might throw at us. The eurosceptic movement has been proven comprehensively right over the Euro. The UK dodged that bullet thanks to the likes of John Redwood and, it pains me to say, Gordon Brown. Now the sillier Eurosceptics are making demands that are simply impossible to meet.
What do the Eurosceptics want? Many seem to want an immediate, unilateral withdrawal, by repealing the Single European Act. To imagine this policy is without costs is ludicrous, not least for the million or so British citizens living outside Britain in the EU. Business would suddenly lose free access to the single market, and while access would almost certainly be granted along Norwegian or Swiss lines, it’s hard to see the UK’s negotiating position improved by such drastic action. It will also take time, probably years to sort out. In taking this drastic action, the UK would STILL be subject to the ECHR, over which UKIPpers work themselves into a tizzy. The European Court of Human Rights, set up by British and American lawyers after World War II, is not an EU institution, and it’s convention has been incorporated into British law.
Yes, yes, yes. I want a bill of rights too, but this has little to do with the EU.
So, some sort of negotiated partial withdrawal, where the UK retains access to the Single Market, but withdraws from much of the decision-making process. As a net contributor, with a trade-deficit, a declared nuclear power, the 6-8th largest economy in the world, permanent member of the UN security council and one of only 3 countries able to deploy an expeditionary brigade, the UK will be able to negotiate generous terms for access to the single market. But the City, Britain’s largest foreign currency earner, would lose out as much EU business would drift to Paris and Frankfurt. True, the city would be slightly freer to operate world-wide, but it would be slightly less attractive to potential partners. This is not bonkers, but is a large leap into the unknown, and has risks as well as benefits. We will lose whatever influence we have over the EU.
The sillier end of UKIP will counter “but we have no influence over the EU anyway”. This is bollocks. The EU is as free-trade as it is because Britain and Germany together can gang up on France, rather like Waterloo. The idea that Britain has no influence in the EU is risible. The UKIPpers tend to forget that most of the UK doesn’t agree with them, let alone Europe. Enlargement was a British desire, as is the single market. France much prefers protectionism. The EU negotiates strongly in favour of Global free-trade. It’s hard to imagine that without British participation. The EU is a force for good, especially in South-Eastern Europe, where the carrot of EU membership is keeping nations once totalitarian hell-holes on the path to freedom and the Rule of Law. Britain has played a leading role in this. Of course the EU has costs: direct ones like fees and indirect ones like some silly and costly regulation. The cost/benefit analysis is, if you’re being sensible, pretty close. It’s not mad to want to leave, and I vacillate. I suspect I’ll vote out, but let’s see what Cameron comes up with first, eh?
The old rallying cry of the Eurosceptic movement was ‘single market or quit’. The Eurozone is forging ahead with credit-crunch inspired ever-closer banking and fiscal union. This leaves the outs split into to camps: still want to join (really?) and never will join. The Euro has been shown to be a massive risk for small countries, and in truth, many EU members will never join. Britain as by far the largest of the ‘outs’ will be the leader. EU leaders are likely to give a fair amount of ground to Cameron in negotiation, as it’s clear that unless they do, Britain will leave. They are getting what they want: ever closer union. It will cost them nothing to grant Britain a series of opt-outs while they’re busy shoring up the foundations of their group. It seems to me that the UK may get from Europe what we’ve always wanted. To surrender our participation in the EU’s decision-making while we negotiate it strikes me as idiotic.
The referendum is a distraction, and seen as such by the Electorate, to solving the immediate problems of the UK. Cameron has granted a referendum, legislated for in this parliament. He could do no more while in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. However having granted the wish that the dirty foreigners be pelted with turds, the sillier end of the Eurosceptic movement are now declaring Cameron to be a traitorous Europhile because he is not submitting to their (new) demand to kick the dirty foreigners in the nuts too.
Cameron’s strategy is right. The Eurosceptics are not serving their country any more, now they’ve secured a referendum from one of the Main parties. To this end, UKIP sniggering that “Cameron can’t win, therefore the promise is meaningless” is just another way of saying that UKIP are the main obstacle to their main declared end.
The Eurosceptic dog is now chasing its tail. If it’s not careful, Prime Minister Miliband will ensure it’s taken to the back garden and quietly drowned in 2015. If you want ‘out’, get behind the only referendum you’ll ever be offered.
http://bracken.uk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo-2.png00Malcolm Brackenhttp://bracken.uk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo-2.pngMalcolm Bracken2013-05-16 08:02:002017-07-21 01:43:20What do the Eurosceptics actually want?