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Wednesday 3 February 2016

Dave’s EU Deal - Yes It’s No

Those of us of A Certain Age could be forgiven today for experiencing a sense of déjà vu at the reaction to Young Dave’s “deal” with his fellow EU leaders on all those jolly firm manifesto commitments on which the Tories went into last May’s General Election. That is because we have been here before: Harold Wilson told the country back in 1975 that he had “renegotiated” the terms of Britain’s membership of what was then the EEC.
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.

The point, once again, is whether the EU is a beneficial proposition for the UK. I believed in 1975 that the EEC was a beneficial proposition for the UK, and so voted Yes. When the next referendum comes, probably in June, I shall vote to remain, because I still believe that to be the case. Others will have their own view. But let’s not be led by the numpties of the press, as they run around like so many headless chickens.


Anonymous said...

TO be fair, the papers are mad because Cameron for years portrayed himself as a Eurosceptic, and always said that he would campaign to leave if he couldn't negotiate significant changes.

After all these months of 'negotiation' he's come back with.... nothing. This 'deal' will make pretty much zero difference to our relationship with the EU.

So he'll campaign to leave, right? Wrong! He's decided to pretend it's an amazing deal and hope the public are too stupid to realise he's lying.

They probably are and the papers know it.

Starbuck said...


in the UK, EUseptics and EUphile have pretty much the same meaning to Europeans elsewhere, as democrats and liberals in the US have compared to left-wing parties over here
that is, it's only a matter of difference of how much jingoistic and EU-bashing you are (and how much center-right or neo-conservative you are over there)

EUsceptics in the UK are truly EU-haters

anyone who has some criticism (whatever it is) towards the way politics are done in Europe and the institutional framework of the EU is to be considered pro-EU in the UK
why ?
because they dared not to be 120% for the eradication of that multinational organisaton, but are rather striving for its improvement (also called "reform")

indeed, what "reform" means is very different depending to what your understanding of world realities and your political leaning is
Jeremy Corbyn might not have the same reforms in mind than say people like Boris Johnson ... yet, they all talk the good talk :)

by any stretch of the imagination, Cameron is not pro-EU
if anything, by European standards, it's best to call him an english-centrist, EU-agnostic, toff
but at least, he realized that there is much more good for the UK to be had from cooperating with other European countries within the framework of the EU, than there is from whining on the outside, why those pesky continentals peons still refuse to celebrate the imperial greatness that is England ...

as a "continental" living in Ireland for the past decade, I respect your democratic sovereign rights to decide whether or not you wish to remain a member of the EU

however, as a citizen of my 2 countries, I find it pathetic that you can't direct your energies at the real causes of your frustrations in that little UK-english psycho-drama of yours.

that is, that your "democracy" is crap and has been broken for decades.
a referendum is the ultimate surrender of political legitimacy in a representative democracy, because it clearly shows that the political parties are refusing to stake their electorability upon that simple question.

in Ireland the last 3 referendums have been a disgraceful farce of citizenry, not because people were asked their opinions, but because the level of falsehoods by EU-haters and fringe groups (say left-wing pacifists or right-wing anti-abortion zealots) were not seriously fought back until after the political establishment realized the danger (in the case of the last 2 referendums)

indeed, if EU membership was such an awful thing, there is no simpler matter than to specify in your political manifesto whether you would keep staying in or out, and what kind of alternatives you would strive for as a policy.
and that would be in the top 5 issues that be trumpeted during a general election

as if ...
it'd require politicians to actually care about the common interest, writ large,
and for citizens to be more than sheepish subjects

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

I am in favour of a European Union. But not the capitalist Union that has assaulted the innocent citizens of Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal......and anyone else thieving bankers can ruin.

Yet in the Union it is what's left of social democracy that has still managed to deliver important social reforms and equal standards for honestly competing traders. Delivered in spite of neocon crooks and carpet baggers like the tories and their far right allies in Wall Street.

The Bullingdon gang would rob the bread from family mouths if they could get away with it. Or free school meals from children. Or socially funded secondary education. Or old age. Or, of course, our National Health Service.

That's why Cameron and his tenth rate crew of seedy scoundrels are untrustworthy in anything, let alone "renegotiation" (read: bullshit PR) with the European Union.

Unknown said...

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.

I think this says it all - expensive and pointless referenda forced onto a public that consistently places the EU way down on the list of priorities, merely because a political party can't get its own house in order.

Andy McDonald said...

The thing is, Cameron doesn't seem to realise that you cannot negotiate with the Out crowd - they are too far gone. As far as they're concerned, the question being asked is "Do you really want a bunch of greasy foreigners, who either start or don't pull their weight in world wars, to tell YOU what to do?".

He could have come back with unicorns and cupcakes for everyone, English to be made the official language of all Europe, and a massive statue of Thatcher to be made in gold and installed straddling the main road into Brussels, and they'd still want out.

rob said...

Jeux avec/sans frontières. C'est tout!

Anonymous said...

He's a useless fart!

His crack head deputy is a disgrace too.

anubeon said...

With all this fuss over 'diluted' reforms one wonders whether these 'Eurosceptic' have the slightest clue about the meaning of the word 'negotiation'. One doesn't NEED to negotiate if all parties agree, and one MUST compromise if parties are in conflict. A lesson that one Jeremy 'Biggest Mistake to Befall the NHS Since Lansley' Hunt is struggling to learn as we type.

Either that, or these 'Eurosceptic' are really just haughty 'Europhobes' many if whom are primarily concerned with the dilution of their power personally now (be it the power of Parliament, or the power of Fleet Street, the latter if which counts for nothing across the channel) and not with the views and vest interests of the hoi poloi. After all, they value parliamentary (not popular) sovereignty above all else and the European Parliament isn't a 'real Parliament now us it.

What really vexes me in these negotiations is the complete lack of imagination and courage shown in the EU migrant benefits. Any considerable embargo on migrant benefits (and certainly a four year embargo!) would be a body blow for the principle of free movement and fundamentally disadvantage the already disadvantaged position of labour VI's a VI's capital. So why no suggestion that migrant benefits be protected but subsidised, for a time, by the guests home nation? The host and guest's nations could see their liabilities phased in and out respectively over, oh I don't know, four years. That way migrants don't get short changed by being immediately cut off by their home nations (into whose benefits 'pot' they may have already paid a fair amount over the years), the host and guest's nation gets a fair settlement which sees neither's exchequer fleeced, and the principle of free movement of labour remains relatively unharrassed. Complicated? Maybe; Achievable? Probably; Proposed by the enemies if imagination and ambition (British politicians)? Nope, not in a million years and a day. :-\