Monday, 2 July 2012

The Euro Referendum - Myths and Monsters.

Dan Hannan blogging for The Telegraph, trotted out the comforting Tory euro-myth...

If the Tories refuse to give such a commitment [To hold a referendum], they will lose the general election... If they get this issue right, they will win...
It's bollocks of course, as I argued a while ago. The electorate do not vote on the European issue in General elections. It is almost never (about 2%) given as a top 3 or 5 priority in polling. You may argue that "Europe" dominates the issues, 'the economy' and 'immigration' which always come on top, but the electorate simply don't see it this way. When asked, they express a broad hostility to the EU project, a desire for a referendum (the electorate is anywhere and always in favour of referenda), but no real enthusiasm for pulling out.


The EuroNutters simply can't grasp this. Yes, depending on how you ask the question, a plurality or even Majority of UK voters say they would like to leave the EU but THEY DON'T HOLD THIS POSITION VERY STRONGLY.


The other point I've been arguing for a while, so I am not matching my rhetoric to Tory policy as will be alleged. Indeed, Cameron has moved towards my position. NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR A REFERENDUM. Simply put we don't know what we're leaving, and we might get what we want, a federal Eurozone core, and a looser periphery, led by the largest of the 'outs' The UK. Now in making this claim, I will be accused of being a closet Europhile and therefore a traitor, by people who think leaving the EU should be the Government's main priority. These people are idiots who imagine leaving is without cost (especially opportunity costs) and risk. It's all very well standing on the White cliffs of dover, imaginary Supermarine Spitfires roaring overhead, saying "Very Well, Alone!"

But we're not fighting a monstrous tyranny like Hitler's or Stalin's. We're disagreeing how to organise some of the wealthiest societies on the planet. I don't like the EU bureaucracy, but much of what makes the UK a shithole is our own, domestic political idiocies, however comforting it may be to blame our lost competitiveness, or the idleness of the British chav, on the machinations of the Brussels regulatory industry.
Unpopular on the Euorphile Lib-Dem Benches as it will be on the more frothing end of the Eurosceptic right, a renegotiation of our relationship THEN a referendum on the result, some time after the next election (hopefully when the economy is on the mend) is better than an in/out referendum now. However because this isn't a promise to hold a referendum to withdraw next Thursday, and dismantle the entire EU political machine in the UK by Thursday week, the Blazered golf-club bores of UKIP will not be satisfied. This policy will satisfy almost no-one who cares about the issue. 

It's a good job almost no-one cares. Cameron is right. Renegotiate, and secure a commitment to hold a referendum on the result, when the time is right. It's problematic for a blogger, agreeing with an unpopular government who's moving along the right lines, despite the backbench headbangers and the press who are pressuring a Government into doing something stupid.

For those who think the Government's 'lost its way', this is another 'Big Issue' they've got right, assuming they can get this past the Liberal Democrats. On the cuts, taxes, benefits, schools and hospitals the Government's policies are an anathema to powerful vested interests, but not radical enough to appease the new intake of Tory MPs. The presentation, and attention to detail are lacking, but the big picture is looking good. It's just a shame no-one agrees.



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You haven't got a hope in hell of renegotiating anything. The European Project will go ahead even if every pleb in the EU is destitute.

At the moment the project is reeling, NOW is the time to kick it in the guts and quit the EU. No referendum, quit NOW.

Denmark, Netherlands and France would probably join the rush to the door.

cuffleyburgers said...

The renegotiation idea is a non starter, it will never happen and talk of it is simply a placebo for the hard of thinking.

Events are now moving faster than the politics can keep up, and Cameron is likely to find himself forced to fight the next election with Europe at its core as a new treaty emerges from what looks like an upcoming IGC.

This will likely be a treaty which given the current situation any government would be mad to accede to without a referendum.

It's going to present aluminium dave with a few real headaches, and the rest of us with lightened wallets.

Having said that Jackart I continue to be surprised by your attitude, you are very wise on many many issues but on Europe, which is a major problem however much the BBC may pretend otherwise, and getting a lot worse very fast, you have your head in the sand.

Anonymous said...

Renegotiating?

Renegotiate what exactly?

You have to sit down and ask what it is about the relashonship you want to change, before you can decide what action to support.

All the silly directives, the trade laws etc are a part of the EU, I don't really get what negotiating there is to do.

Peterloo said...

I doubt any sane-minded person would baulk at a trade-relationship with Europe, but trade is not what the European Project ('EP') is about.

The EP is about bringing the nations of Europe under one politcal rule with unelected elites at the top.

If the UK pulled out of the EU tomorrow, do you really believe that the other EU nations would roll down the shutters on imports and exports? The vengeful Eurocrats will, I expect, extract childish revenge via embargos and increased tarrifs, but I expect there are many more exporters around the world willing to trade with us.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Except that re-negotiation is illegal, you're completely correct.

We might not care that it's illegal, but the EU sure as hell will.

There was an error in this gadget