What had actually happened is that there was very little that had been “renegotiated”: the referendum called by Wilson was a device to hold together a Labour Party that was badly divided over the issue of Europe. Fast forward 40 years, and, once again, very little has been “renegotiated”, because the referendum called by Cameron is, er, a device to hold together a Tory Party that is badly divided over the issue of Europe.
So when Dave appears with his “piece of paper”, he is bringing us what we should now be calling “Wilson 2”, because that is what it is. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, that should not put anyone off voting to remain in the EU: we will, after all, be voting not on the merits of Dave’s diplomacy (fortunately, because it’s crap), but on whether the EU is a beneficial proposition for the UK.
That, to no surprise at all, is not how our free and fearless press saw it: the derision was palpable among the right-leaning titles, and of the tabs, it was, strangely, the Mirror that geve Dave the least hostile headline, telling readers “CAM’S GREAT EU GAMBLE … Future in Europe may be decided in June after shake-up deal”. That was as good as it got. Free sheet Metro brought the first bad news, with “EU ARE JOKING”.
We are? Do go on. “Tory critics attack Cameron over ‘diluted’ reforms”. Yes, they didn’t get the whole point of an EU referendum, and to no surprise at all, nor did their Northcliffe House stablemates at the Mail, where the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre was clearly incandescent with rage. “PM hails ‘reforms’ but critics say they’ll do nothing to curb migration and will trigger years of benefit chaos … THE GREAT DELUSION!”
Critics being Themselves Personally Now, of course. So they didn’t get it either, and nor did the Express (aka The Daily UKIP), with “CAMERON’S EU DEAL IS A JOKE … No control over our borders … Migrants will still get benefits … Brussels carry on [sic] calling the shots”, from which we can deduce that, even with the automatic quote generator engaged, Dirty Des’ finest are still missing those sub-editors.
What of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun? They portrayed Dave as Captain Mainwaring of Dad’s Army fame, ranting “Our Deal Turns To Chaos … Who do EU think you are kidding Mr Cameron? … He caves in over benefits … ‘Brake’ on laws is bogus … No control of our borders”. So they haven’t spent half an hour in a border check queue recently, either. And they have also missed the point.