EU speech at Bloomberg
Wednesday 23 January 2013
This version of the speech given by David Cameron at Bloomberg is as written not as spoken.
This morning I want to talk about the future of Europe. But as it doesn’t have one, I’ll burble meaninglessly about the past for a bit instead.
Seventy years ago, Europe was being torn apart by bossy Germans, and deserted by a bunch of French chocolate soldiers, but the change from war to peace did not happen like a change in the weather, oh no: it happened because the Yanks got bombed to f**k at Pearl Harbor, and thus came over to give Fritz a well-deserved bloody conk.
After the Berlin Wall came down, I visited that city, and I will never forget how the abandoned checkpoints gave me a sense of excitement about spending quality time with randy Osti women while scoring some cheap coke. And although we must never take cocaine for granted, the first purpose of the European Union is not to help me sniff cheap lines, but to secure prosperity for we in the elite, in what is going to be a race for the wealth and jobs of the few at the expense of the many: the map of global influence is changing before our eyes. These changes are already being felt by the coffee shops in the Netherlands, Brunhilde in Germany, and the disabled in Britain.
So I want to speak to you today with urgency and frankness about the European Union and how it must change, while cleverly putting off the urgent in favour of keeping the 1922 Committee and UKip happy – because let’s face it, they want to ram a yardbrush right up my arse and as we’ve just redecorated Number Ten, I’m buggered if I’m going to hand it over to that Jewboy who keeps whingeing at me from the other side of the Commons corridor every Wednesday.
Let me set out the spirit in which I approach these issues.
I know that the United Kingdom is always seen by Johnny Foreigner as an argumentative and rather strong-minded member of the family of European nations, but this is merely the character of an island nation – independent, forthright, passionate in defence of our sovereignty, and incapable of remembering that winter happens every year. And because of this sensibility, we come to the European Union with a frame of mind that is more prattish than braindead, because while we know we’d be far better off in the end selling Pringle sweaters to the Chinese, we don’t have the bottle or determination for it, so for us the European Union is a means to an end – most notably, lots of jolly fat pensions for us lot as we can’t afford our own State index-linked jobbies any more.
But all this doesn’t make us somehow un-European, good gracious me no: from Caesar’s legions kicking the crap out of Boadiccea to Wellington kicking the crap out of Napoleon, and then our brave lads walloping the krauts 5-1 in Germany a long time ago, we have helped to write European history, and Europe has helped us to write off ours by subjecting us to membership fees of £130bn per annum.
Over the years, Britain has made her own, unique contribution to Europe: the Frogs witter on endlessly about la perfide Albion and us sinking the fleet their spineless government was going to hand over to Adolf in 1940. But in reality, our national character, our attitude to Europe is about independence and, above all, openness. Let there be no doubt that we are open for business: especially funny business, at which our contemporary heroes Baron Green, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson excel. For we have always been a country that reaches for any handout, and leads the charge of the Light Brigade into the Valley of Death in an entirely futile gesture designed to illustrate the incompetent enthusiasm of those having big ideas many miles behind the front lines.
I do not want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world and I am not a British isolationist: I just want everyone – you, us and even the bloody Scots – to get a better deal at the expense of the taxpayers. So I speak as the British Prime Minister with a positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part in screwing every last citizen into the ground.
There are always voices saying “don’t ask the difficult questions”, but I heed them not, chiefly because there are three major challenges confronting us today and the last thing I want is a bunch of jumped-up oiks poking about and asking awkward questions I haven’t a clue about how to answer.
First, the fiscal problems in the Eurozone are doing my f**king head in. Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness given that the bolshie workers want everything on a plate with lashings of double cream, especially in France. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years, and it mustn’t be eroded. We all earn far more than they do for doing far less, and if we don’t convince the buggers that this is normal, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit for some reason or other that has been explained to me from time to time but I can’t be arsed with it any more, and I don’t want it to happen. I want the European Union to be a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us Establishment Johnnies in the pink, behind closed doors, and well pensioned.
That is why I am here today: to acknowledge the nature of the challenges we face, to identify and analyse them….. and then run as far as possible away from them. Because the future shape of Europe is being forged using hammers and great big furnaces or something, and also a Mickey-Mouse euro that has profound implications for all of us – whether we are in the single currency or not and we are not, and we’re never going to be so up yours Wheelchair Wolfgang, and yet for some reason I can’t recall off the top of my head which is being done in so to speak, we all need the Eurozone to have the right governance and structures to secure a successful currency for the long term because there are some countries within the EU which are doing pretty well eg Germany, although Europe’s share of world output is projected to fall by almost a third in the next two decades and that.
Now it seems to me that the progress in dealing with this conundrum has been far too slow. People like Hermione van Rompuy for instance are increasingly frustrated, and starting to see trouble-makers in the demonstrations on the streets of Athens, Madrid and Rome. We are seeing it in the parliaments of Berlin, Helsinki and the Hague. We are seeing it in the shop windows of Regent Street, and we are seeing this frustration with the EU very dramatically on Sky News and that is a big warning sign.
Let us be clear about this: Europe’s leaders have a duty to hear these concerns. Indeed, we have a duty to act on them. For just as in any emergency you should plan for the aftermath as well as dealing with the present crisis, so too we must plan for the future after the aftermath, and what the world will look like when the difficulties in the Eurozone have become a thing of the past offering no guidance to the aftermath of the future.
The biggest danger to the European Union comes not from those who advocate change, but from those who change advocates in the middle of a case about burning heretics who turned out to have a point. And my point is this: yet more of this bollocks is going to cost me my job, so that is why we need fundamental, far-reaching change.
My vision for a new European Union fit for the 21st Century is built on five principles: competitiveness, flexibility, diversity, cooperation, commitment, power flowing back to Member States, the right balance, nothing being off the table, a bigger and more significant role for national parliaments, and the sort of fairness that means – whatever new arrangements are enacted for the Eurozone – I can sell it to the mad buggers on the 1922 Committee, to the LibDems, and to the pub boors shouting the odds alongside that rather vulgar Nigel Farrago. And yes I know that’s ten principles not five, but I do have my double standards to think about here.
Our participation in the single market, and our ability to avoid most if its bonkers rules, is the principal reason for our membership of the EU. So it is vital for us to protect the integrity and fairness of the single market for all its members, especially us.
However, in Britain quite a few awake people have spotted what an undemocratic, illiberal crock the EU is. In fact, disillusionment with the EU here is at an all time high: Brits see referendums promised – but not delivered. Especially by me. The result is that democratic consent for my Government in Britain is now wafer thin. That is why I am in favour of a referendum, because it will distract attention away from Hackgate, paedophilia, and Jeremy Hunt’s willy being up Rupert Murdoch’s bottom. But it doesn’t commit me to doing it on my watch, because by 2017 I’ll be history anyway.
Some argue that the solution is to hold a straight in-out referendum now. I understand the impatience of wanting to make that choice immediately, but I say to them, “What are you like are you having a laugh or what?”
For a vote today between the status quo and leaving would be an entirely false choice, and leave the Conservative Party split right down the middle.
My strong preference is to enact these changes for the entire EU, not just for Britain, and preferably not before I’m out on the lecture circuit earning the zillions of which I’ve always dreamed. So although it is time for the British people to have their say right now, the time for it will in fact be around 2017. We won’t leave NATO, because it is in our national interest to stay with an alliance that actually has some squaddies in it, and ships that can afford the fuel required to leave harbour. And if I have my way, we won’t leave the EU either, because it is the only chance we have of continuing to wank about without people like me having to genuinely do something.
Hundreds of thousands of British people now take for granted their right to work, live or retire in any other EU country given that life in the UK is so hopelessly sh*t. So we need to weigh up very carefully the consequences of no longer being inside the EU and its single market, and thus not being overrun by Romanian drug gangs street-fighting with Turkish Cypriots.
There will be plenty of time to test all the arguments thoroughly, in favour and against the arrangement we negotiate. The fact is that if you join an organisation like the European Union, there are rules….even though the general French approach is to ignore them, the general Italian approach is to misreport them, and the Brussels approach is to change them according to the prevailing wind.
We should think very carefully before giving that position up. At the end of that debate the British people will decide, and depending on what they decide, we will back them to the hilt. I say to our European partners, frustrated as some of them no doubt are by Britain’s attitude: work with us on this. For an EU without Britain would be like a foot without a verruca, a head without a chicken, and a cross without a City wall.
Let me finish today by saying this. I have no illusions about the scale of the task ahead, because the vision I have outlined will be impossible to achieve: there is no way our partners will co-operate, the British people have set themselves on a path to inevitable exit, and it’s all tits-up. But I refuse to take a defeatist attitude – because with courage and conviction I believe we can deliver a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union in which the interests and ambitions of all its members can be met – up to but not including ours.
Over the coming weeks, months and years, I will not rest until this debate is won. For the future of my country. For the success of the European Union. For the prosperity of our peoples for generations to come. But above all, for the sheer hell of rubbing the French noses in it, and watching the Germans squirm with embarrassment.
Thank you. And now we go over live to Threadneedle Street, where Sir Mervyn Bling is about to launch the next helicopter spraying £100 notes over the rooftops of our ancient banking institutions, in a demonstration of how much more efficient a modern and privatised Father Christmas would be compared to all that Socialist humbug about reindeer, presents for the kiddies, and inappropriately sized chimneys….