This appears to be the strategy for Merkel’s lapdog to keep the UK in the EU
- Only ask for trivia. The PM is not asking for the ‘fundamental change’ he promised before the election. His renegotiation will not address the EU’s deep problems.
- Create lots of fake rows so the trivia appears important and the PM seems to be engaged in a heroic struggle against foreigners. (In different ways, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did exactly the same with EU councils for a decade, as did John Major before them.)
- Declare victory on the trivia.
- Package the trivia as part of a bigger deal – the creation of ‘a new type of EU membership – the British model.’ The opt outs on the euro and Schengen will be combined with victory on the trivia and the promise of a new Treaty and legal changes in the future to claim that the fundamental terms of membership have been changed. There was a reference to this ‘British model’ in Cameron’s Chatham House speech.
- Combine the renegotiation with the fact that Brussels, Berlin and Paris agree that there must be a new Treaty to save the euro. This new Treaty is sketched in the Five Presidents Report. It is due to happen after our referendum and will transfer many new powers to Brussels. It will also be pre-spun as a transfer of powers back to the UK.
- Osbourne wants the whole thing out of the way before the end of September 2016. Downing Street special advisers, the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office and their allies in Brussels are looking to see if they can declare victory around the EU Council on 19th February then have the referendum. There are many things that could derail this plan.
What happened recently?
European Council president Donald Tusk published his response to David Cameron’s list of demands on Tuesday. He confirmed that a deal could be done by February but there is ‘no consensus’ over migrant benefits. It was later reported that Brussels may offer Cameron an ‘emergency brake’ as an alternative to his demands. The PM claims that limiting migrant benefits is one of his most important demands. However Sir Stephen Nickell – a leading economist at the Office for Budget Responsibility – slammed his proposal, stating it would make ‘not much difference to immigration from the EU – and that ‘any changes to benefit rules are unlikely to have a huge impact on migration flows.’ The media agreed. The Sun wrote: ‘The stage-managed ‘bust up’ in Brussels over letting Britain halt benefit tourism looks like a smokescreen for the absence of any campaign to reclaim full and permanent border controls. We can only conclude that David Cameron has given up on stemming migration. The Mail echoed this, stating that ‘withdrawing is the only way we will ever control mass immigration into this country.’
The In campaigns’ rhetoric of Brexit threatening the UK’s national security hit another road block, when US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that it was ‘highly concerning’ that decisions made by EU politicians and judges are undermining the sharing of information vital in the fight against serious crime and terrorism. Just last month, former Head of Interpol, Ronald K Noble, warned that the lack of EU control over borders ‘is like hanging out a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe.’
The fact that we have given away control over our borders, human rights law and our powers to fight terrorism and crime to the European Union and EU courts. Outside the EU, we will be able to continue cooperating with our European partners to fight organised crime and terrorism, just as we do with important allies across the world. It is the safer option to Vote Leave and take back control As Lord Rose, Chairman of the BSE campaign, recently admitted: ‘nothing is going to happen if we come out of Europe in the first five years, probably, there will be absolutely no change.’