Cameron’s poverty of ambition


                                 At least the tie is the right colour, Dave

One of the great weaknesses of Cameron’s position on his much-vaunted EU referendum has been his failure to set out what he wanted from his “renegotiation”, and indeed his lack of clarity on what circumstances (if any) might cause him to call for an “OUT” vote.  (I suspect that he cannot conceive of any circumstances in which he would campaign for Out).

In a sense he’s on a hiding to nothing.  Any significant concessions would require treaty change, which could not conceivably be delivered within his 2017 timetable – still less by 2016, which appears to be his new target date.  So at best he’ll have to “do a Harold Wilson” and talk up trivial and nugatory concessions as a basis for an “IN” vote.  Quite literally he will be offering us little (trivial non-treaty concessions) or nothing.

But today – on the Today programme – a suggestion emerged.  If he could agree a deal with European leaders limiting welfare and tax credit payments to EU immigrants, they suggested, then he would campaign for a Yes vote.  I expected he’d settle for not very much, but I must admit that I am gob-smacked by his poverty of ambition, if he thinks that’s enough to change minds.  He’s dealing with one narrow aspect of one policy area (admittedly an important one), but leaving the whole range of other EU costs and grievances in place.

On immigration, we should still fail to control our borders.  We don’t know exactly what the impact of his proposed measures would be.  The ONS says 214,000 (non-Brit) EU migrants came to the UK in 2014.  Maybe Cameron’s measure would cut that by 10%.  He’s fiddling at the margin.  After his great renegotiation, we should still be unable to control our borders.

We should still be unable to do our own trade deals.  Little countries like Switzerland and even Iceland have negotiated their own trade deals with China, for example — but we cannot.

On employment regulation, we should still be stuck with the Working Time Directive, which was blamed earlier today (May 25th) by John Black, former President of the Royal College of Surgeons, for “a significant proportion of the £3.3 billion wasted in the NHS on agency staff last year.”  Cameron’s concession would leave the Agency Workers Directive and a mountain of other damaging red tape in place.

On energy costs, we should be left with the EU’s ruinous energy policies and emissions targets, which do nothing for the planet but (as former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani put it) “are creating an industrial massacre in Europe”, closing plants and costing jobs.

The hugely damaging plans for financial markets regulation, including the lunatic Financial Transaction Tax, would remain, undermining the future of the City of London.

Our EU membership would continue to cost the British economy an estimated 10 to 11% of GDP (including regulatory costs)

Our farmers would still be subject to a subsidy policy designed in Brussels for French farmers, rather than a policy designed in Britain for British farmers.  Our fisheries would still be an EU “common resource”, to be raped and plundered at will by the Spanish and others.

And worst of all, most of our laws would continue to be made in unaccountable, unrepresentative, unresponsive foreign institutions which have demonstrated a towering contempt for the democratic will of the people.

Not good enough, Prime Minister.  Must try harder.  All you need to do is to deliver a new relationship with Europe based solely on free trade and voluntary intergovernmental cooperation, and I for one will be happy to vote “YES”.

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13 Responses to Cameron’s poverty of ambition

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    yep..a large bunch of us had to vote Tory because UKIP was not in a strong enough position in many areas. That and Scotland dealt with Labour.Still 4 million voted for UKIP only to get the damp rags in the current Tory cabinet.

    The EU tells them time and again they won’t change anything of significance. So in they go and largely to waste time and money. I cannot see a referendum coming at all. And so it goes on and on and on….

  2. Flyinthesky says:

    Cameron should clearly define his wishes on where he wants to negotiate and what his red lines are. These he should present to the electorate before going to the eu. He’s not going to do that though is he, he’s looking for wiggle room within the constraints of prevailing legislation and present them as a great victory, I hope it doesn’t wash but I’m not at all confident. Keep your eyes peeled, we’re going to be shafted, again.

    • David says:

      Yes he,s been trained by heath & wilson, they were good at fudge too. I refuse to give either a capital letter.

  3. Derek says:

    What has to happen is that we need to get behind the Better off Out campaign and start to inform the public with articles in the media and leaflets through doors outlining what we expect the negotiations to bring back as a minimum, plus making the positive case for the out result. Dan Hannan’s piece in today’s Mail (as highlighted above) was excellent. Owen Paterson on the Today programme (the clip starts at around 8.30) also put the case well. The campaign should start now.

    • David says:

      It seems we hear from to many of those who wish to stay in, who are basing their opinions on business only, very often business owners or business organisations. Whilst the people should be allowed to base their decision on all aspects of the eu, the good(if you can find anything) & the bad, of which there is plenty.

  4. Anne says:

    I should think it is time for all elected Politicians to realise that a great many people see absolutely no point in voting for or paying for National MP’s here in the UK that have to obey all EU orders, Directives, Regulations and ALL THE EEC/EC/EU TREATIES THEY HAVE RATIFIED-without ever letting the people have a say BEFORE any EEC/EC/EU Treaty was indeed ratified. We freely elect MP’s to Govern us according to our very own Common Law Constitution, which in living memory two World WARS have been fought and WON for exactly that reason-to Govern this Country “ACCORDING TO LAW” the words all say along with the Oath each make before any one of them may take up their seat in that House of Commons even though some people-not ME in that last General Election-take up their seats.
    There should also be at least 90 Hereditary Peers (According to Law-from the time of the re-shaping of that remarkable House of Lords.) in that stuffed to the brim House of Lords which now holds 780 Peers. Sadly All of which-when they attend-also have to obey the orders of foreigners. What a terrible waste of money paying foreigners billions of British Pounds to do so-no wonder we are over a £trillion in debt!

    I would like to see a British Prime Minister be able to GOVERN this Country by and through our very own Common Law Constitution and through his own decision, perhaps the like of Winston Churchill that worked night and day to make sure this Country could win that last WAR and for those MP’s that followed him could Govern this Country truly ACCORDING to its Constitution which obviously would indeed be “ACCORDING TO LAW”. During that last WAR, my father wrote a letter to Winston Churchill, with a proposal re disguising the Manchester Ship Canal-much used in those days. He had a hand written letter back.-I can’t imagine any UK Prime Minister doing THAT in peace-time, never mind during a WAR-but then Churchill was indeed a remarkable Prime Minister, and it should be remembered that had it not been for him-fighting to prevent the then major foreigners from taking over this Country, many alive TODAY and in that wonderful Houses of Parliament-might never have been born.

  5. Ex-expat Colin says:

    On the subject of those who can/can’t vote in the EU IN/OUT referendum. This came up on the BBC World Service last night. This is a real bother I think:

    Christian Allard MSP for N. East Scotland

    This person was offended (he said) when questioned on the subject of him not unable to vote because he has not bothered to change nationality. He is married to a Scot and resident in Scotland for 25 yrs. He is a French national, but insists he and others like him should have this vote. Seems others can vote in EU countries in such circumstances.

    And the 800,000 Irish have a vote…the BBC said so!

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      unable, read able …

    • Sean O'Hare says:

      I suspect that the majority of Irish people resident in the UK will be “outers”. If they were that keen on the EU they would have returned to the Emerald Isle a long time ago.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      I can understand that Sean. Someone mentioned this:

      “For now pretty much obsolete historical reasons we have reciprocal arrangements with the Irish Republic allowing Irish citizens to vote in our elections and our citizens to vote in Irish elections; but that ridiculous arrangement does not extend to referendums in Ireland, when only Irish citizens are allowed to vote; why then should we allow Irish citizens to vote in our referendums, how can they object if they are excluded?”

      Looks like we made no move to change arrangements when they flipped over to the EU….no surprise really?

  6. The question is not whether or not we leave: it is how.
    If we join EFTA and the EEA and then work hard to achieve complete independence, isn’t that the easiest way which will give a route out and also save a lot of people’s face?

  7. Jane Davies says:

    It would seem Cameron has been left to play by himself in the school playground the bigger boy and girl have ganged up on him….

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