The Tories were warned that it was a mistake to try and out-ukip UKIP or try to appease their own right wing by following a UKIP agenda – they ignored that advice and are now suffering the consequences. (Ironically the resulting Tory message seems to have been: “Ukip is right, don’t vote for them”).
David Cameron has demonstrated that he is incapable of renegotiating any reforms to the EU. His jingoistic, inflammatory, confrontational approach to the EU means that even our friends will not support us. He manages to get himself into situations that are obviously untenable. Instead of joining forces with mainstream reality based European parties he has aligned us with ultra right wing parties that are inimical to “British values”. There is little chance he will be able to deliver any “reforms” and so, in his own words, he will be recommending an exit from the EU.
Tearing up our Human Rights Act: In addition, the Tory plan for tearing up our Human Rights Act (the modern descendant of the Magna Carta) is incompatible with our membership of the EU and so again the result will be a UK exit from the EU.
With the recent removal of the moderating influence of the only remaining members of the Cabinet with any semblance of rationality, the Tories are now under the control of the far right wing of their party with its scary mix of little Englanders and political fundamentalists. They are people who are clearly capable of putting their prejudices, ideologies or just plain ignorance well ahead of the interests and welfare of the British people. Under these circumstances we must assume that a vote for the Tories will be a vote for an EU exit.
Further, whether or not the Tories win the next election, there is a real possibility that Cameron will be replaced by someone who is recklessly right wing and anti EU. The Tories might even be in coalition with UKIP.
The conclusion must be that, there is a real risk that either by default, error or deliberate action, the Tories will engineer an inevitable EU exit for the UK. A referendum could be superfluous.
Under the circumstances we need an urgent debate on the consequences of a UK exit from the EU. In fact we need a full EU debate before the election because a vote for the Tories could easily be a vote to leave the EU.
Here in Salisbury our own MP, John Glen, is on record (Salisbury Journal 17th Oct 2014) as saying that he will wait until he sees what concessions we can get before deciding whether to vote to leave the EU. But I suggest that this is untenable. There is now a real possibility (given their track record) that a Tory government will be unable to negotiate any concessions at all. It is therefore incumbent on John Glen to tell us a number of things:
- How will he vote if there are no concessions from the EU
- What are the make or break concessions that he requires if he is to vote to stay in the EU.
- What does he think will be the consequences of a UK withdrawal from the EU.
These questions need to be answered before the general election so that his constituents can make an informed decision.
To Leave the EU would be one of the riskiest things we have ever done with potentially catastrophic consequences for ordinary people – these questions cannot be side stepped.
NB: John also used his article to try and blame the Labour Party for giving away all our rights to the EU but, as he knows, the right to freedom of movement for workers dates back to before the Treaty of Rome 1957 and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave her approval when she signed up to the 1986 Single European Act.
“Spain’s young unemployed take temporary refuge in Britain, helping to man its economy, and elderly Britons get to retire on Spain’s beaches – this is free movement – you can’t have one without the other. Who is going to tell the millions of Brits throughout Europe that they must ‘go home’ “. Hugh Brady
“On every count, despite its frustrations, of which there are many, despite the reforms we need, which are many, we are far better off in the European Union than outside.” John Major, Nov 2014
Question: Eurosceptics worry about lost national sovereignty by being in the EU but are enthusiastic about blindly joining international trade agreements like TTIP which give up our sovereignty to unelected corporate lawyers and are even more enthusiastic to sell off all our utilities and infrastructure to international corporations and foreign governments. Is this reasoned? Is it rational?? More on TTIP here. More on the sale of UK to the rest of the world here.
UPDATE:(26th Nov): In a recent speech in London to the Eurosceptic Business for Britain group, Owen Paterson (potential future Tory leader) argued in favour of a manifesto commitment to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty immediately after the next election. This would give formal notice of Britain’s intention to quit the EU and would instigate a UK exit from the EU irrespective of the results of a 2017 referendum. More evidence that a vote for the Tories is not a vote for a referendum but a vote to leave the EU.
UPDATE (7th Nov 2014): The latest debacle over the EU surcharge is just another example of how Cameron’s jingoistic, inflammatory, blustering and confrontational approach just gets himself into a position from which he eventually climbs down, harming even further the UK’s negotiating position: “UK to pay £1.7bn EU bill in full despite Osborne’s claim to have halved it”
UK media accept Osborne’s spin. Rest of world gets truth “U.K. Fails to Win Budget Payment Cut as EU Defies Cameron: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-07/u-k-fails-to-win-budget-payment-cut-as-eu-defies-cameron.html …
Germany exposes Tory anti Euro mythology by going through the normal channels without the need for any confrontation or inflammatory rhetoric: “EU migrants can be refused benefits” – ECJ: http://www.ft.com/fastft/234552/european-court-says-eu-members-can-refuse-migrants-benefits
Is immigration a reason for Britain to leave the EU? By John Springford (CER Oct 20132): http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2013/pb_imm_uk_27sept13-7892.pdf
David Cameron’s timetable for reform in Europe ‘impossible’ – EU experts cast doubt over prime minister’s ability to secure changes to European law before referendum on membership: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/29/david-cameron-europe-timetable-impossible?CMP=twt_gu