A passably insightful piece in the Guardian today on the possible timescales for EU reform. Even the Guardian is prepared for a weak charade - and so is the Telegraph. This will be funny. Nobody expects the PM to come away with anything worth having.
The PM will come away with some crappy
concessions, no treaty change and supposed new powers to deal with
immigration that we already have. The problem is, the PM doesn't know what to ask for since half of the things we blame the EU on are a consequence of our own rubbish government. Cretins like Farage assert that there's nothing we can do about immigration without leaving the EU, but there is plenty we can do. We can reform welfare, enforce housing standards, tackle gang labour exploitation and uphold the minimum wage. Brussels officials will probably be telling the PM the same thing Westminster ones are. The fault is in our shop. That's why we're seeing this sudden crackdown on illegal immigration.
The one useful thing Cameron could ask for is more flexibility over our energy policy, but it was our own government that gold-plated the EU insanity. As to Human Rights, I don't think anybody really knows what it is we actually want. The only people with any certainty are Kippers, and anybody certain about anything in this regard should be ignored because it's not simple. I actually don't envy the PM. He knows he can't have treaty change, but there's nothing we want that we can't do already that doesn't require one. So he has to go through the motions, do his song and dance and come home with a weak set of measures that will be totally transparent even to our lame hacks.
Tories will then make a massive noise
about a stunning Cameron victory. Thicko Tories will clap like seals
(because that's what they did last time) while kipper and Tory
eurosceptics will go into hyperdrive, forcing the left to either defend
Cameron and say he isn't a liar, or stay quiet if they want to stay in
My gut instinct says we'll
probably lose this referendum and stay in for three key reasons. The
massive wall of deception by big business, scaremongering, and kippers
behaving like the toxic mouth-breathers they are. In the mean time,
while support for staying in is at an all time high, that margin will
close as people are gradually reminded why everyone hates the EU - and
in between there will be a minor Euro crisis of some kind that will spook a lot
of people. The margins will be close.
eurosceptic Tories will be hopping mad with Cameron, we'll see a real
swing to the mouth-breathers and we'll end up with another lame duck
Tory coalition, or a seriously crappy Labour PM.
After that, if you
think you've seen political turbulence in recent years, well, you ain't
seen nothing yet. And if you thought this last election was
unpredictable, this one will be off the charts. The Tories only have a
mandate on loan for the purposes of a referendum. If they don't get us
out, we might just end up with a grunting mob of kippers shouting across
at a grunting mob of SNP with two very broken establishment parties
unable to grasp what they did wrong.
Win or lose I think we're going to
see a huge push for Scottish independence and a lot of serious rows. The
Eurosceptics will not take a loss lying down, and when the EU gears up
for the final bullet treaty, that's going to be a resounding no in a
second referendum (the referendum lock), leaving us in the paralysis of the status quo - or
actually forced into a slow lane of the EU since the treaty draft will
anticipate a British no vote.
We will then be in Europe, ruled by
Europe, but also isolated and without a voice in the EU or globally.
After that, some time later, comes the mother of all rows, a parliament held in total contempt,
followed by a third EU referendum where we finally leave the EU. With
the caveat that the government does not break the law and ratify a new
treaty without a referendum, in which case we will be back to square one:
betrayal, euro-deadlock and continued political decay.
short of it is, British politics is not going to settle down until we
leave the EU and it will get very ugly if we don't. That's why I urge
you to get involved and get us out. The downside is that Farage will
then be lionised as some kind of latter day saint, and kippers will be
insufferable - and I'll want to leave the country.
Some Tories warn that Brexit means Scotland definitely will leave the Union. I've attempted to address such points here, but I'm not particularly satisfied with such thoughts and don't think the Scots would go for it. The threats that Trident will be kicked out of Scotland are simply unrealistic. There's nowhere else they can go, it's already a done deal and Scotland will want our money so we have leverage. The SNP will not succeed in cancelling or reducing the Trident order either. It was decided a long time ago and nothing is going to change it. The contracts are signed. I actually think in any case, in or out of the EU, Scotland is going to leave. Nobody in Westminster has the spine to stop it from happening.
There's no putting the genie back in the bottle. If we didn't want to lose Scotland we should never have signed up for devolution in the first place. What other conclusion could come of giving them a parliament? They will have their victory parade on us, they'll cock a snook at the English but we will see them quietly climb down as they realise independence doesn't mean independence, and adult status means adult responsibilities. They will ask London for more and more to help them out of their messes and that will come with terms and conditions - just as Greece now does as it is told.
The next ten years are going to be pivotal in the history of Britain. These times decide what is to come for the next century. What that settlement looks like is anybody's guess. And events do happen. So like all of you, I can only go with my best guess - and that is that Britain is not a happy member of the EU. It is stagnating politically and it needs change. As much a Brexit is a bureaucratic and technocratic and economic question, Brexit is a gesture. A big one. A gesture that says Britain wants to be Britain come what may. It is an assertion of ourselves and an assertion in the world. A statement that we wish to be a power that speaks for itself in a global forum, and not to a corner of Europe.
I want to see a proud Britain with, but not of a united Europe. One that leads Europe as ever it has and does so as a strong and independent voice. Not a nation that goes cap in hand to Berlin to ask "please may we?". Win or lose this referendum, the British desire to be British will never die. The independence question never went away for Scotland after their referendum - and if anybody thinks a Brexit referendum will settle the EU issue once and for all, unless the answer is out, then they are mistaken. Very mistaken. Anything less than out may well kill the Tories for good.