The wriggling nature of snake-in-long-grass Cameron, and why Vote Leave and UKIP must force him out into open ground
One consideration perhaps above all others for those in the Brexit/Vote Leave camp is that the ‘negotiating’ team with the EU regarding reform is one strong – David Cameron. This would be unhealthy at the best of times, but given the Prime Minister’s history of being both devious and lacking in common sense, it is a recipe for sellout on the sort of scale that would please many….but leave the better-informed Outers feeling very bitter indeed. The Slog warns for the second time that he is getting away with murder.
The Vote Leave contingent consists of many people with whom I would disagree, and whose reasons for wanting Out are often not mine; but they are almost all well-meaning, with a low swivel-eyes count. Not too deep down, they would agree with me that, like most Suprastates, the EU is anti-democratic and authoritarian.
But Cameron is playing a very clever game based on two simple realities:
- For the vast majority of Brits, In or Out of the EU is not a burning issue. Nigel Farage’s success with UKip has very little to do with opposition to a joined-up Europe run by unelected, mediocre crooks: it is based on first of all, the immigration issue – and let’s call a digging implement a spade here, it’s immigration….not freedom of movement or ‘migrants’; second (connected, but more general) a long-held citizen feeling that the Establishment needs to listen to us more; and a very poor third, concerns about the philosophy, ethics and generally bent way in which the Union operates. Ask Kipper insiders away from the mics, and most will readily agree that assessment: apathy is the biggest single factor in Referendum politics.
- Mr Cameron has one enormous ally in the forthcoming process: a Labour Party still largely committed to Big State ideas and ‘EU as agent for peace’ ideals. Somehow, the whole Brussels dictation, barmy austerity, German triumphalism, Greek-bashing, illegal fiscal bullying, Ukraine Imperial meddling and gangster ECB tactics seem to have flown above their brain radars like so many mythical pigs….the excrement from whom never seems to land on their privileged, muddled heads. CallmeDave knows that in the referendum, Labour’s intelligentsia and institutional support will be solidly behind continued membership – and the more traditional voter could be relatively easily pushed into support or abstention by vague promises about maximum migration levels.
I must be honest here and report that if, as a blogger, you are a hits-chaser, then Brexit news is not the best way to achieve your goal. The greatest threat facing the Outers is Cameron’s instinctive understanding that all most people want is to be reassured, and then left to follow Soaps, vote in formulaic fame shows, buy gaming software, read celeb mags and watch footie on Sky. Over the weekend, we saw further evidence of him riddling another stick in the already muddy waters of what we must get from the EU.
Just under a month ago, I posted this piece (to a wave of indifference) pointing out that Cameron appeared to have dropped the core demand of control of UK borders. At that time, his ‘4 key demands’ were:
- Brussels to make “an explicit statement” that Britain will be kept out of any move towards ‘ever-closer union
- An “explicit statement” that the euro is not the official currency of the EU, making clear that Europe is a “multi-currency” union and the Pound is forever.
- A new “red card” system to bring power back from Brussels to Britain
- The block of 28 nations to be reorganised to prevent the nine countries that are not in the eurozone being dominated by the 19 member states that are.
Both the Conservative and UKIP media centres determinedly fail to call back on the issue of the disappearing border controls demand. Yesterday, the Independent on Sunday reported that Cameron will make a hallmark speech tomorrow (Tuesday) following which the UK’s EU ‘reform’ wishlist will be handed to Juncker apparatchik, Poland’s Donald Tusk. They are now described as follows:
These are the brutally obvious differences:
- All references to a multi-currency union and guaranteed existence of the Pound have been dropped
- The ‘red card’ retrieval of powers demand has been hugely diluted, and become vapours about Member Parliament sovereignty
- The two-speed eurozone v EU veto has been removed completely
- The Border Controls demand remains absent, but this time an entirely different demand – reducing migrant rights to benefits – has replaced the core concern of all UKippers.
Is it just me? I’ve been banging on about the bleeding obvious now forever, but the people I want to win do not seem to get it. I apologise for the seemingly endless lists in this latest piece, and yet I must reiterate three final points:
- Nigel One-Note’s eternal bombast about immigrants is preaching to the converted, and likely to alienate the more enlightened Left that does have a problem with EU authoritarian corporatism. It is at best a waste of breath, and at worst playing into Cameron’s hands.
- Thus far, the Vote Leave campaign has been professional, sound and empirically damning about the flakey nature of most Stay In Arguments. But this too, I suspect, is yet more persuasion of the long-since persuaded.
- The man with all the power – and an unshakeable drive to keep us in – can defeat all the confident Outers by continuing to shift his ground, disappear back into the long grass, and emerge having muddied the waters in what he insists will be a future Oasis for Britain. That is devious claptrap based on self-interest, and the time to point out the inconsistencies in his constantly changing demands is already long overdue.
My appeal for the nth time is this simple: demolish the dishonesty in David Cameron’s referendum strategy, or you may yet lose. Again, because of the central importance of this debate to Britain’s future I am opening the comments facility to readers.