Fighting “Heart & Soul” to stay in the EU


The Tories have their tails up.  Their Prime Minister has promised an In-Out referendum.  They’re up in the opinion polls, and UKIP, against a strong recent trend, is down.  Tory back-benchers and Party members and activists feel that at last there’s some movement on the vexed question of Europe.

But maybe it’s time for a reality check.  This Prime Minister, in whom so many are now investing so much hope, has promised a referendum.  OK.  He’s also promised to “fight heart and soul” to keep Britain in the EU.  Strange that the hopes of eurosceptics could be pinned on such a man, and such a promise.

Bear in mind also that in 2007 Cameron gave a “cast-iron guarantee” of a referendum on Lisbon — only to wriggle out of his commitment on the grounds that he’d meant “if we can do it before Lisbon is ratified” — though he’d conveniently forgotten that caveat when he made the promise.  He also seems to have forgotten that the only EU referendum we’ve ever had, in 1975, was itself a post-ratification, post-facto referendum.  It’s not just we could have had a post-facto referendum — we’d actually had one already!

This new referendum depends on his having a working majority after 2015, which is not looking likely.  It also (presumably) depends on the result of a renegotiation, the outcome of which is uncertain, to say the least.  I rarely agree with German MEP Elmar Brock, but I just heard him on the BBC news saying that EU employment regulation is an essential part of the Single Market, and therefore not negotiable.  He’s right.  Cameron insists on the importance of keeping the Single Market, and he just doesn’t seem to understand that the regulation he wants to repatriate is an essential part of that Single Market.  You can’t expect to be in the Single Market and not subject to the rules.

(A reminder: our UKIP position is that we should be out of the EU, and out of the Single Market, but that we should ensure market access by means of a Free Trade Agreement).

And it’s not just the employment regulation.  There is a whole list of areas where we need change.  Will Cameron be addressing:

  • Free movement of labour into the UK?
  • Parity of benefits between UK citizens and EU immigrants?
  • Our subservience to the European Court of Human Rights?
  • The European Arrest Warrant?
  • Return of the UK’s fishing grounds?
  • Reducing/eliminating the UK’s £10 billion net contribution to the EU?
  • The Common Agricultural Policy?
  • The EU’s lunatic energy policies and renewables targets?
  • The right of the UK to negotiate its own trade deals?
  • The Working Time and Temporary Workers Directives?
  • The regulation of our financial services from Europe?

I’d welcome an opportunity to talk with David Cameron about his passionate, visceral, instinctive commitment to EU membership.  Why, David, why?  What benefit do you see from EU membership which could not be achieved by a simple Free Trade Agreement?  You apparently take it for granted that there are benefits of membership, and costs of leaving.  No, Dave.  Start to worry about the costs of staying in.  You ask if foreign investors would find an independent UK attractive.  But outside the EU, we’ll have market access, flexible labour markets, and potentially lower costs, lower taxes, cheaper energy.  What’s not to like?

(Additional material by Tony Brown).

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36 Responses to Fighting “Heart & Soul” to stay in the EU

  1. Are the populace yet to fall for his in out lies, as he did on the Con Manifesto, not to be trusted is this posh boy!

  2. Stewart Murray says:

    Cameron is only promising a Referendum AFTER (fat chance) he is re-elected at the next General Election. Show us how genuine you are, Dave, and give us the Referendum BEFORE the next General Election…No…? Didn’t think for a second you would, Dave…! We believed you ONCE but never again…you have had your chance and blew it!

    • David Curtis says:


    • Pete Hodge says:

      The trouble is, most people in this country vote for a party regardless of policies. A Labour supporter will never vote for a Tory and vice versa. Until we get rid of party politics in this country we will never have real democratic accountability

      • That is the big problem with British politics: In this area of the country they’d vote for an untrained monkey if it wore a blue suit, and in Hackney they’d vote for an untrained ape if it wore a red one. Furthermore, another slice of the electorate would rather vote to keep out the party they really don’t want, rather than that which is nearest to their own thoughts. And with ‘first past the post’ system, it all conspires heavily against minority/new parties (e.g. UKIP)

  3. mikestallard says:

    The central problem is this: if we do leave completely – everything – then will we be able to survive?

    Actually the countries who actually trade with the EU are very insignificant indeed. We could surely do better.
    There are, of course, lots of promises!
    And how powerful are the United Nations? I hear they have a great presence in Europe which insists on free trade throughout the world. I do not know, but aren’t the EU just one of a lot of trading organisations?

    • rfhmep says:

      Why would we not survive? We will save £150 bn a year, we will maintain our trade with the EU, but we will refocus our engagement with the Rest of the World, where the growth is. We’re not leaving the EU in spite of the economic implications. We’re leaving BECAUSE OF the economic implications!

      • Russellw says:

        Roger – what will happen to the farming industry in an ‘out’ situation? (Perhaps in a separate blog)

      • Will says:

        The farming community will probably enjoy some of the subsidy currently squandered on French farmers, directly from the huge amount saved by being ‘out’. As I understand it, being ‘out’ does not prohibit inter EU trade, any more than it did before successive British governments gave away so much British sovereignty and British cash.

    • Will says:

      The EU has grown to become a deal more than just a bunch of trading nations, that was only its initial purpose. For me, it is the fact that between Brussels and Strasbourg, Britain has become little more than an undemocratic EU puppet, compelled to allow every eastern European migrant access to our benefits, housing, jobs, healthcare, and education. Cutting those strings is the only option left to us. because without full agreement of every other member state, Britain will never be allowed to meaningfully renegotiate the terms which previous treacherous governments like the last Labour lot gave away behind numerous Brussels doors.

      As has already been said, we will still be able to trade with our European neighbours…we just won’t be run by them any more!

    • rollo57 says:

      And how powerful are the United Nations?

      Well if one studied what was going on in the world, quite a lot of the ‘new’ movement is all down to the UN! Most decisions taken in the last 20 years have been based on Agenda 21, a UN policy, which Tony Blair signed us up to in 1997! From the EU / US FTA, being discussed now, back to the acquiring of millions of rounds of ammunition by Homeland Security, in USA and the ‘Gun debate’, they don’t want people shooting at them when they go to take their land? Agenda 21 for Dummies

  4. maureen gannon says:

    Earnest leaving aside your posh boy comment, I agree with you and the answer is yes , people rely on our media and apart from one all seem in favour of us remaining shackled to what I comsider to be a fraudulent body, the fact that we are now being lectured as to why we should continuing by the man who left our country on its knees [bLiar] gone on to make a personal fortune is enough for me ,
    Why are the exponent of the virtues of this body never questioned as to why they are so in favour of something that in our own country would be seen as fraud and the fraud squad sent in , I have yet to hear this discussed or questions raised as to why we in this country as the elderly who have paid into the system all their lives are now placed on Logans Run, sorry fruedian slip Liverpool pathway of care, why are we are giving said fraudulent body !0 billion+ a year,,

    • David Curtis says:

      Have you noticed how much alike are tblair & our current europe minsiter, a d liddington.
      That cannot be a good sign.

  5. neilfutureboy says:

    At £150 bn a year we will have blown about £700 bn before this referendum comes about (assuming Cameron doesn’t renege – something he has previous on). It would have to be a particularly spectacular “renegotiation” package for it to be worth waiting for.

  6. DougS says:

    There’s a huge fly in Cameron’s IN/OUT referendum ointment.

    He can’t bring himself to say that he would campaign to leave the EU if he doesn’t manage to repatriate significant powers. He can’t even say that he’d want to leave if the ‘deal’ was unsatisfactory. This question will be hurled at him time and again and if he fails to answer it in a logical way, he’s toast

    This silly stance means that he’s blown any chance of getting anything other than crumbs because the ‘colleagues’ know that he’ll stay in whatever.

    UKIP is the only party that wants what I want – out of the greedy, corrupt, anti-democratic EU!

    • Doug, he doesn’t need to say he;ll leave. He’s already stated “I will fight heart and soul to keep Britain in”! What really irks me is, we all know that the EU have not had their books audited for 18 years, WHY are they not forced to answer the questions? WHY do the likes of Helmer and Farage not ask Cameron and Clegg about these discrepancies and WHY he is giving more to their budget? Quite frankly we don’t hear enough about the EU’s books, unlike our welfare state or lack of, which is being rammed down our throats!
      The last audit, a couple of months ago, failed again to sign the books off, it also showed that FRAUD was up 3% year on year and now stood at 500 billion euro!!
      If this was a company, ALL directors would be in jail now!

      • rfhmep says:

        But Doug raises an important point. Cameron says he’ll campaign for IN when he comes back from Brux with a deal he can recommend. But suppose he doesn’t? Suppose he gets nothing, or with a few trivial concessions that will be ripped apart by the media? Is he still committed to a referendum at all? Or will he say “I did my best, I negotiated in good faith, but I haven’t come up with a deal I can recommend, and therefore my commitment to a referndum is null and void?”

  7. Mike Spilligan says:

    There is a large majority of that indefinable block, the man (or woman) in the street, who read only the captions in the newspapers – and the “morning after” MSM verdict on The Speech was that it would satisfy everyone. There was no need to look further, no need the go into detail. “Experts” had pronounced on what they’d heard, and lo, it was good.
    That was good enough for almost all of the critical Tory backbenchers too – after all they are worried mostly about losing their seats, not what is good for the nation and its people.
    As I understand it, the “bounce” was only about 5%; hardly worth all the lies required to sustain any kind of consequence. We have so much work to do to inform the unwilling who would give a lot to know the outcome of the next episode of East Enders.

    • rfhmep says:

      Like Cameron’s “veto” recently, I think the opinion poll bounce will fade rather quickly as the true implications sink in.

  8. Pete Hodge says:

    Cameron knows he is unlikely to be in power after 2015, so he can promise a referendum knowing that Labour will probably be in power, and with Miliband rejecting outright and possibility of a referendum, Cameron knows we will stay in the EU. By then also, we will have another million East European immigrants receiving all the benefits we are now losing in order to pay for theirs. These people will have to vote, so are certain to vote for the status quo. Therefore, what France, Germany, Spain and Portugal have tried for hundreds of years to achieve, the complete subjection of Britain will finally be accomplished.

    • rfhmep says:

      The probability is that Labour will have to match the referendum promise before the General Election. But do we trust either of them?

  9. Pete Hodge says:

    I am curious. If we have as many free trade negotiations being undertaken with major trading nations around the world, for example, Japan and the USA, what is taking so long to complete them? Is the EU seeking to impose its restrictive practices on these countries that is causing the delay?

    • rfhmep says:

      Yes it is, to an extent. But to be fair these negotiations are complex and take time. Many have been concluded — e.g. Korea.

  10. Dave Sargeant says:

    The bounce has reached as high as it is going to and will soon be on the way down. I believe that UKIP will continue to pick up points as the year goes on and next year will see a massive boost for us. Come election year UKIP will be riding high and both the tories and labour will be in decline. The lib dems will be also rans, in fact it could take them thirty or forty years to make a come back.

    • David Curtis says:

      Hi Dave,
      Im just very surprised that many tory anti eussr MP,s have swallowed this. I now suspect their true stance on this subject.

    • Pete Hodge says:

      Ummm! Mr Cameron has, I am afraid to say, ‘form’ on making political promises. He will say whatever he thinks the voters, or in this case, his MPs want to hear, with absolutely no intention of going through with it.

  11. Dave Sargeant says:

    David, they will only swallow it for so long, I believe that David Cameron has a difficult two years ahead of him as many of his party do not agree with the new high speed two rail link. On PMQs last wednesday Milliband said that labour will offer no vote on europe, the hs2 was their idea in the first place so labour has a problem. We should gain from the divisions in both parties.

    • Pete Hodge says:

      That’s why Nigel has said we should go after the Labour members now. Not impossible. I’m a former Labour councilor and a fellow member of our branch is a former Labour member.

  12. Wilfred Aspinall says:

    As is said the promise of a referendum depends on the Conservatives forming a government with a working majority or in coalition with others who have the same view on Europe, including repatriation of powers. This promise is a ploy to get the electorate to support the Conservatives in 2015

    In reality any enabling Bill presented after the General Election is likely to fail because not even all Conservative back bench MPs will support it. Opposition Party MPs will also vote against. In addition such a Bill is unlikely to be presented until the latter part of 2015, perhaps early 2016. The member states of the EU are not going to roll over quickly, if at all, and therefore any repatriation / reform negotiations starting in 2016 are going to last for at least 2/3 years – perhaps even longer because the arguments will be legal and delaying tactics will ensue and then the negotiations will fail on fundamental issues. There might even be a reference to the European Court of Justice. So we are looking at a potential referendum really by the General Election in 2020 if not later. Actually there is not going to be a referendum unless there is public demand even then.

    Furthermore let’s look at the EU’s reputation in dealing with the financial crisis. Not decisive by any means. In fact the whole process has gone from one meeting to another with no conclusion with the hope that the issue will go away or solve itself. The same will apply with negotiations to reform the EU with those who want the status quo delaying decisions, looking for time out until a new political order emerges in the UK

    Perhaps a different government (even Conservatives), an EU that has adopted an “ever closer union” for the member states in the eurozone – and remember all member states, except those with an opt out, have pledged in their accession Treaty to join the eurozone when their economic situation permits them. This will mean political union where decisions are taken at EU level that were once taken by individual member states and fiscal union where decisions on tax and spending in the member states will be governed by – at least oversight – with a veto by the EU Institutions.

    I agree with all those who say we need a referendum now

    Wilfred Aspinall
    Former Member
    European Economic and Social Committee

  13. Chris. says:

    If anybody believes Dave will offer a REAL In/Out referendum in 2017, then they must also think the tooth fairy and Father Christmas exist. What I cannot understand, is why so many Tory MPs and journalists have bought this piece of rubbish hook, line and sinker.

    There’s only one party, who believe in an In/Out referendum and that is UKIP.

  14. Chris. says:

    The Sunday Politics 27th January 2013.

    David Lidington, Europe minister on the Sunday Politics this afternoon with Andrew Neil.

    Question. If the rest of Europe fails to play ball, and agrees to repatriation of next to nothing would it follow for you and the PM to campaign for an Out vote? If you don’t get what you need, will you say Out?

    Answer: We will take a judgement as those negotiations go on and at the end of that process. Your question seems to assume that this is Britiain on its own, going and arguing against 26 other countries. That is very far from the case. We are having a lot of support on the issues on competitiveness, on recognising the need for flexibility to do with Euro in or out and of democracy.

    There’s your cast iron deal. No answer to what will happen if there is no repatriation of power.

  15. matthu says:

    I am somewhat surprised that your list did not include (financial) accountability somewhere very near the top, or is that no longer a requirement in these rarefied political circles?

    It certainly would be for any company I was going to work for … nobody of any respect would work for an outfit that had not had its accounts properly audited and signed off for eighteen years.

    But I suppose that is not a reaklistic negotiating stance over the next 5 years.

  16. Roger Turner says:

    Credit where credit is due.
    Cameron has uttered the words Referendum and it seems to be within the text of in/out, for the moment it doesn`t really matter that nobody knows what the actual terms are, his lot may have had a temporary shift back to nursie, but that won`t last long and he has legitemised UKIP..
    The Liberals are all over the place.
    In the face of the British public`s opinion for OUT which will harden over the next couple of years if UKIP spell out the correct tale, I cannot see Labour wanting to go into the next election saying “No Referendum” – the drivel already on the statute book won`t wash ( you know that con about further powers)
    Alex Salmond wasn`t meant to get overall power in Scotland.
    On paper UKIP aren`t meant to succeed, I suspect the voters are in the mood to say “a plague on all the old failed parties”
    Come on UKIP SELL it right ;and go for the jugular

  17. Tim Wadsworth says:

    David Cameron would have got a lot more creditability if he had actually named the precise date on which an IN/OUT referendum would take place. Not only would this have concentrated minds but I might even have believed him.

  18. Bill Power says:

    Davy has promised a referendum ONLY AFTER hes re elected and after Eastleigh Personally I wont hold my breath waiting for that promise to be unburied after that event. He also claimed his party would not lurch to the right. They arn’t lurching they appear to be doing backflips instead
    I believe that the statements by Chris Grayling and Teresa May are simply a cynical ploy by a desperate Conservative party following their disasterous showing in Eastleigh. I understand there are May elections in the offing and that these cynically planted stories are solely calculated at stemming the flood of their supporters to UKIP prior to that election

    Frankly I believe this is a huge cynical con by a cynical Con-servative party leader. His deputy has been caught out telling blatant porkies about a sex scandal to defend a big party funder so Dave is no stranger to being economical with the truth either


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