In Out Shake It All About
So Dave has spoken. Assuming we elect him next time around, and assuming he gets what he wants from his negotiations with Europe, and assuming the price of fish is about right at the time, we’ll get a simple chance to vote “In” or “Out” in a European Referendum. So that’s all right then.
So let me get this straight. Dave’s going to go to Angela, Francois, and all the others and demand a raft of opt-outs and deals for the UK, but with the proviso that even if they accede to all our requests, we may still decide to tell them to shove it afterwards in a referendum. Nice one.
Seems to me, stuck up here in the Lake District, that being “in” with Europe on the basis we are now (ie free trade but no single currency) is no bad thing. What is bad of course is the excessive cost and waste of the vast bureaucracy that is Europe (unless you’re an MEP of course). Difficult one to change I know but at some point other countries in the EU will wake up and smell the Cafe/Koffee etc and realise that plenty of eurocrats are living the high life at their expense and things need to change.
Either way the alternative of being on the outside is probably not a sensible option. Much as we might like to believe that we can survive and indeed thrive in splendid isolation the reality is that much of our economy benefits from the European Market and free flow of labour and trade. Putting up the barriers may not therefore be the smartest thing to do.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of being in or out, Dave’s negotiating tactic of basically threatening to pull out and then saying he’ll go to the table to discuss our options in a couple of years seems a little insane. What does he expect to happen in the meantime? Does he expect the UK to have any influence inside Europe while we exist in this limbo state for the next few years? And when (or more likely if) the planets align in such a way as to take him to that negotiating table does he think anyone will actually take him seriously when he arrives?
Pandering to the Tory Backbenches
In my humble opinion the whole thing smacks of a lame attempt to placate the Tory back benches and try and snuff out the UKIPers. Well at least it’s not as if there’s anything more serious to worry about – it’s not as if the economy is in trouble, world terrorism is taking a turn for the worse, or Chelsea just lost the chance to reach a cup final by beaten to Swansea is it……