Well, here’s my letter setting out my demands for a reformed European Union – says David Cameron – and you will notice that, in common with ‘everything EU’ where reform is suggested, it is set out in very ‘broad terms’,; ie, nothing too specific; well one might be but as you can see I am open to diluting that if necessary. You will also note there is no mention of fishing, agriculture/farming, working time directives, energy or taxation in all its forms – to name but a few where repatriation of powers is concerned, which would then enable me to waffle on further about sovereignty – not bad, eh; coupled with the fact that I hope you will agree I have not ‘rocked the boat’ too much.
Today we had David Cameron’s speech to the CBI, together with various articles suggesting that were his December European Council meeting to ‘go well’ it may be that the promised referendum could happen in June 2016; or at the latest in September.
June is ‘pie in the sky’ for one simple reason: did not the Electoral Commission state there should be a six-month period between the referendum being called and the actual vote? Then of course there are Scottish, Welsh, local and London Mayoral elections in May 2016; plus the EU referendum bill is still in the House of Lords and the matter of whether 16-17 year olds can vote has yet to be resolved. If the Lords gives the government another bloody nose, it is highly unlikely redrawing the electoral register to widen the franchise would be achieved by June.
Yesterday, in the House of Commons, David Cameron repeated his dismissal of the ‘Norway Option’ as an alternative form of membership of the European Union, stating that Norway has no seat at the table and no ability to negotiate – something he repeated on Facebook.
Readers will recall my handing David Cameron a ‘dossier‘, during a meeting at his constituency office in Witney. Readers will also recall that in his response he stated that he could not agree with a number of the points I made, eventually informing me that he was drawing our correspondence to a close. In that dossier facts were presented to David Cameron which showed that Norway does have a seat at top tables and does have the ability to negotiate as a result of being heavily involved in the various stages by which EU law is implemented.
Within the field of politics it is generally accepted that August is the ‘silly season’, during which we are regaled with all the ‘wacky’ news and views both featuring those of whom we have heard and those of whom our first reaction is: who the hell are they.
We have only begun what may be termed ‘the phony EU Referendum’ period and already we have those with idiotic, unfounded and totally illogical views of what this referendum is about, spouting forth.
Joining the likes of Elliott, Rose, Farage and all the other comedic figures that are tryng to impress us with their knowledge (not) of ‘matters EU’, we now have Charlie Mullins and Caroline Lucas. To which all one can say to Charlie Mullins is: stick to plumbing (which presumably he knows something about – or not as the case maybe) because his article only exhibits what an ass/arse he is. For example, he claims that by ceasing our membership of the EU we would no longer have a place at the ‘top table – FCS, how can anyone ‘manage’ a company and not be aware of the origin of standards to which he has to adhere?
In his ‘Whats up, whats down’ daily email, Matthew Elliot wrote on the 31st July edition: Nigel Farage announced yesterday that UKIP would from September be launching a major grassroots push for a ‘No’ vote in the forthcoming EU referendum. Speaking in London, the UKIP leader pledged to hold hundreds of public meetings and “take the lead on the ground” in the run up to the vote. Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Farage also called for the ‘No’ campaign to focus on the issue of free movement of labour within the EU, saying the issue of “open borders” could not be ignored. The UKIP leader criticised the lack of scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation plan and lack of preparations for a ‘No’ campaign, despite the evidence that both are happening at the highest levels. (Emphasis mine)
Recently the European Union published its €13.1 billion investment plan for transport which has been endorsed (naturally, as transport per se is an EU competence) by Member States. Helpfully the European Union also published the proposal for the selection of projects in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport 2014 Call for Proposals.
Readers will no doubt be aware of the recent report published wih regard to the call for a third runway at Heathrow; a report on which our Prime Minister appears to be ‘sitting’ – no doubt with a headache as a result of his ‘no ifs, no buts’ statement to oppose that (but then we do know that Cameron is a man of his word, don’t we?)
Nick Cohen has an article on the Speccie Coffee House, one in which he begins by writing about the European Union; and then seamlessly moves to using the word ‘Europe’.
When members of the ‘Eurosceptic Aristocracy’ (a term of which I have just become acquainted) are unable to differentiate twixt a political entity and a continent, it begs the question just why the hell do people pay so much attention to similar offerings from such people?
Richard North, on his blog: EUReferendum.com has been producing some ezxcellent articles about ‘trade’, the last commenting on the problems created by non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and technical barriers to trade (TBTs). I have yet to hear any politician even raise these subjects in speeches, articles, or in the House of Commons; yet are not our politicians those who consider themselves ‘all-knowing’? This begs the question: when our political elite talk about wanting a trade agreement with the EU (without the ‘political baggage’): do they have the slightest idea of what negotiating a ‘trade agreement’ encompasses?
For readers awaiting news of my email to David Cameron I have to admit that after writing of my intentions I realised that a Prime Ministerial statement on the recent EU Council was due; so consequently decided to wait for this; which I need not have done – but I digress, to a certain extent. Anyway, my intention to email David Cameron remains, but requires a tad more thought than originally envisaged in that I hope the response that I will receive will result in him digging a bigger pit for himself – bigger to that he dug in response to my dossier.
So David Cameron has ‘laid down the law’, informing his EU fellow Heads of State just what and what is not acceptable to the United Kingdom where our membership of the European Union is concerned – well, that is what he said he would do, many moons ago.
As with ‘everything Cameron’, there is a vast difference in what he says he will do and what he eventually does. We had a demand for ‘full-on’ treaty change; now we now learn that we can’t have ‘full-on’ treaty change prior to ‘his referendum’. We now find that what we are likely to get is a ‘promise’ that his demands will be incorporated into the process of a future treaty change, something that will be legally binding – as and when that may happen. On this point of a promise, one can but refer to Richard North’s point (in the comments section) that there is a vast difference twixt legally binding and politically binding.