Coffee House

David Cameron should explain why Europe isn’t working

21 December 2012

Philip Collins knows a thing or two about speech writing; but I can’t help thinking that his assessment of what David Cameron should say about Britain and the EU is misguided. Perhaps it’s his Labour blood, but he is fascinated with ‘those in Mr Cameron’s party who are obsessed with Europe in general or frightened of UKIP in particular’. Collins’ analysis seems to suggest (or hopes?) that Cameron’s speech will be primarily for Bill Cash et al. But the speech is the first step to a referendum renegotiating Britain’s position in the EU. The primary audience must be the public – Mrs Bone rather than Peter Bone. Therefore, its content should be about people rather than politics.

What might David Cameron say? Collins is right that Cameron does not have a European policy, at least in the sense of not having a manifesto for reference. Collins sees this as a weakness; but I see it as a possible strength. Where the public is concerned, some vagueness on the detail might not be a bad thing provided Cameron can shape a compelling story of why and where Britain’s relationship with the EU must change. This speech ought to deal in imperatives or Cameron may fail to capture the public’s attention at the outset.


Downing Street’s strategy at last month’s EU budget negotiations revealed something of its overarching analysis of the EU. The target was not ‘good Europe’ (ie, the single market), but ‘bad Europe’ (ie, the excesses of federalism). Cameron had some success building a coalition against the EU Commission’s plans by contrasting unaccountable Brussels’ comforts with the deprivations imposed on Greece. This simple gambit suggested a very strong moral argument that the federalist project is failing Europeans. The internal logic said that ‘Europe costs too much’, and not just in terms of money. This logic should be articulated and developed.

To do that, the government would need to persuade the public that there is a link between what is happening in Athens and what has beset some post-industrial areas of Britain: that inherited unemployment and other long-term economic difficulties in the provinces are partly the result of businesses being made uncompetitive by the failure of federalist EU regulations and costs. The government has made this case in the past, but not often enough. Neither has it succeeded in explaining that abstract money arguments are really about people (both present and future), something that David Cameron conceded recently.

There will be pressure on Cameron to frame his policy in the grand terms of ‘strong Conservative leadership repatriating sovereignty and restoring parliament’. But small words about little people are better, especially given the contempt in which parliament and other institutions are held. The ‘how’ of change is a difficult question; but it isn’t yet important. The present need is to be clear about why there must be change.

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  • Boudicca_Icenii

    One of the main manifestations of the EU that isn’t ‘working’ for the UK is the free movement of peoples. It means that we get flooded with the poor, badly educated, unskilled of Eastern Europe (along with the useful Eastern Europeans) and we then have to provide them with social housing; NHS treatment; state eduction for the kids; Job Seekers Allowance; Child Benefit; Tax Credits if they have a job etc etc.
    In 2014 we are going to be flooded with a million or more Romanians and Bulgarians. But Cameron wants to stay in the Single Market which means we can do nothing to control our own borders and operate a sensible immigration policy.
    Remaining IN the EU is not good for the ordinary people of the UK – although it suits the elite and Big Business.
    The ONLY Party that will put the interests of the ordinary people first is UKIP.

    • HooksLaw

      Well you are correct. How about that. We agree. Sadly labour ignored opportunities to put limits on the free movement of Labour when the new states came in.

      Now I can see the benefits in theory for this, not least if we had a labour and or skills shortage. And of course we have in London the 6th biggest French city. All those French people paying English taxes. And there are benefits for our own exports in assisting the likes of Poland to greater prosperity.

      But in practice it has blighted the lives of many of our own workers who have been parked on benefits whilst east Europeans take their jobs. It has also allowed us to ignore the whole ethos of lower paid and more menial jobs.

      Such a policy needs to be controlled when you have different countries with different standards of living.

      But of course Norway is not in the EU and allows free movement of Labour and is in the Schengen agreement. Being out of the EU is no panacea.

      Having said all that, your conclusion is wrong. Quite wrong. For those out of work it is true that cheap labour is bad. It is true that the principle is morally wrong. But for the rest – the vast majority – it is fine and dandy. The great majority all get the benefits of cheap labour and a growing economy (created by the influx of people), good service in coffee shops, plumbers on call, nice clean offices, and no inflation.

      • Rahul Kamath

        I don’t agree that low skilled migrants took jobs from low skilled workers. The studies don’t support this contention. But even if it is true, it misses the fact that those same Eastern Europeans would have come to the UK and worked illegally and paid no income tax/ NI. They did not require visas or anything beyond an ID card to enter the UK. By allowing them to work legally the govt was able to regulate and tax something that would have, in any event, happened in the black market.

    • Andy

      Lets bring our benefit rules into line with those of Germany or France where, I believe, it is much more difficult to claim benefits.

      • Rahul Kamath

        Do u have any data showing that our benefits for European migrants are more generous than in Germany or France?

    • echo34

      Why do we have to Boudicca? No other EU country does to our levels.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “Parliament means, in the mouth of a lawyer (though the word has often a different sense in conversation) The King, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons: these three bodies acting together may be aptly described as the “King in Parliament”, and constitute Parliament. The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty mean neither more nor less than this, namely that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever: and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.”

    —A.V. Dicey Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885)

    Parliament cannot “unmake” its sovereignty and especially not to a foreign power as is made clear in the 1689 Act.

    • HooksLaw

      Parliament voted for the Lisbon treaty. There is currently no majority in parliament to come out of the Lisbon treaty.
      Parliament voted us into NATO. A NATO force is in Afghanistan now. Parliament gives away sovereignty all the time.
      If out of the EU parliament would vote to join the single market and comply with EU rules which no UK official would have any say in.

      Assuming we have a Conservative majority then we will not sign up to the forthcoming EU fiscal union treaty which would indeed usurp the power of parliament (fiscal union is a de facto political union). This is the clear policy of Cameron and the conservative party.
      Any course of action which would see the return of a labour govt would undermine and indeed negate that. Labour would bring us closer to Europe.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        NATO has sovereignty over us? I don’t think so. And we can leave it any time we like. The Fench did. We may enter or leave international agreements in accordance with normal treaty protocols. Your arguments are weak. You are losing. Shift as you like, you are wrong and would have the UK in a pathetic beholden position vis-a-vis our neighbours because of fear and doubt. Get a backbone.

    • Andy

      Parliament is the ‘Crown, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament Assembled’.

      What Parliament makes, Parliament might unmake.

  • Balanced View

    Can he?

  • In2minds

    As Cameron does not understand he cannot explain

  • Bert3000

    Nice article on why the conservatives won’t be in government after the next election.

  • Archimedes

    “Mrs Bone rather than Peter Bone”

    Sorry, I forget, but which is the more euro-sceptic one? Always assumed Peter Bone was under the thumb, and it was his wife, and little Tommy Bone, that were driving the agenda.

  • HooksLaw

    In rather suspect you will end up pissing into the wind with this thread.
    With the Euro project the EU crossed the Rubicon. With the Euorozone collapse and bail-outs it burnt its bridges.

    Someone may be able to make a case for the Euro but not the way it was implemented. A 20 year project truncated into 5 and even then its rules ignored. The suspicion is the Euro was used as a lever a means to an end to create a closer more political Union. The UK was never going to be a part of that, though i guess with Blair in charge we came pretty close. the collapse of the Eurozone has probably saved us permanently

    It now remains to create a new framework for our relations with the new EU, the Eurozone, when they create their new closer fiscal crypto political union. The argument to be totally OUT fails on 2 counts

    1 – being OUT is no real difference to being IN. We would have to implement EU directives, be involved in movement of labour and pay moneys to the regional funds as does Norway (and indeed Switzerland) – but with no say.

    2 – The EU is not going to go away; it will still exert an influence on us even if we are OUT, and the economic progress of its members is important for our own economy.

    If we are OUT of the EU (in a few years time quite possibly the only European country of any significance to be OUT) then major events could conspire against us but without us having any say in them.

    Its cosy having a bogeyman, it helps sustain hysteria and prejudice, but the real world exists and the flawed arse about face EU is a big part of that.

    • Rhoda Klapp

      Your arguments for staying in are non-sequiturs. If it’s the same as out, out please. Because the EU is an unaccountable undemocratic bureaucracy with undefined or at least undeclared aims. We are in it with the intention of spoiling it. because we always oppose the major power in Europe. We have not been successful in spoiling it and now it plans to go where we will not follow. We don’t have much influence or much of a say. If we were out, as the 7th (or so) largest economy we would have the ability to vote our own interest in international agreements and treaties rather than have the EU decide for us. Most of what comes to us as EU rules is the result of negotiations with other world organisations. We would have our own seat at that table. Other countries outside the EU seem able to survive and make their own decisions, carve out their own way in the world without the dead grip of the EU on them. So could we. Now, there may be problems. We are not going to become magically competitive. All our ptoblems will not be solved. But we would at least repatriate the ability and the responsibility to solve them.

      And Trevor, if you deign to reply to this, try and stay within the bounds of polite conversation. Don’t give me the usual array of insults and fail to answer the points. Britain is not Norway. We can be outside if that is what we want.

      • HooksLaw

        Delusional. Unprepared to admit to reality.

        If out we would still be signed up to the single market and all the EU regulations that go with it and also sign up to the regional funds. Stop pretending otherwise.

        Most of what comes from the EU is not from other organisations and what makes you think that one seat for us on our own would count for anything against the rest of the world? Total delusion. Indeed by your own argument we would still not be in control of our affairs but be outvoted by the rest of the world.
        ‘We are not Norway’ is a fatuous argument. Leaving the EU leaves us holding a pig in a poke. There is no guarantee we would get a deal as good as Norway’s!

        Let us be out. Fine. But do not pretend that it would be significantly or materially different.
        It Would Not.
        We ARE going to be effectively OUT anyway when we inevitably renegotiate the new relationship we will have to have with the centralised Eurozone.

        And of course even if OUT then there is nothing to stop a Labour govt form signing up to whatever additional EU rules it wants to, as Norway does already. You are living in a total fantasy world which if you succeed will one way or another put Britain in the thrall of a Europhile Labour Party. A policy which, no matter how you look at it, is totally bonkers.

        • Rhoda Klapp

          You are wrong. What about all the other countries which are not in the EU. They do not need to conform to any single market rules internally. They do not need to stick to the social chapter or the working time directive. They can have bent cucumbers and dodgy sausages if they like. But above all it is an undemocratic bureaucracy and we are not obliged to be in it for any reason of self-interest. We are not norway, and the government by fax norwegian quote is from a europhile seeking to justify being in. It isn’t true except inasmuch as the norwegians allow it. There are numerous international organisations which treat with the EU as a single entity and with other nations individually. You know that and misrepresent it. You know the EU is an undemocratic body, yet you think being in and being out are the same. Even if the two were economically identical it would still be better to be out.. Because it isn’t about money, it is about principle. It is about being grown-up, independent, self-reliant. and responsible for ones own decisions.

          And that is more important than which of the three identical parties wins the next election, you tribalist moron.

          • HooksLaw

            Why has Canada been spending years negotiating an agreement with the EU? Because it thinks its economy would benefit. Countries exist outside the EU but their economies are affected as a result. they have to meet EU import regulations . Few major European countries are out of the EU and most want to join. Clearly Croatia and Turkey think they would be better off in.

            The idiotic nature of the EU is not the point. It exists, it continues to exist and will affect us with or without our heads in the sand. We have a chance to repatriate powers and still keep the benefits of the single market – Cameron and then Boris, has said this. The EU is changing and we will change our relationship with it.

            Let us be OUT. But do not pretend there would be a material difference. To be out of the EU but in the single market would still affect employment law etc – thats the point of the single market, its in goods services and labour. Commonality. This is the whole disingenuous basis of calls for IN/OUT.

            • Rhoda Klapp

              Canada plans to change its employment law to suit the EU? No, they will get their trade agreement without that or numerous other impositions of the single market. So could we. It’s a pick and mix. A negotiation. If you anticipate giving up everything, of course you won’t be better off. But I do not expect to come out with a bad deal, the other side has many reasons to want to trade with us, not least of which is that they are the main beneficiaries. Staying in the single market is a mantra of your Mr Cameron. I do not put it in those terms. i’ll accept normal world trade terms. China and India and Brazil seem to do Ojk with that. Maybe the UK can join EEA. If we do, we’ll get what access we need. If the EU makes things difficult (and I see no reason why they should) then maybe we will send home all those outfits which have bought our utilities without exposing their markets to us. Being out will not be the same, AND EVEN IF IT WERE, it would still be in our interest.

              • Baron

                Rhoda, however much it pains Baron to say it, and he’s said it many times before, bar any self-implosion of the Brussels undemocratic monstrosity engendered by the synthetic currency, we are stuck with it, referendum or not. Except for the hoi polloi every institutions’s in favour, the lot of them, even the messiah would be unhappy if we left. If they gave us the chance to vote on ‘in-or-out’, we didn’t get it ‘right’ in the first count, they would keep on repeating the charade until they got us to say yes, and then it would be in for the long haul.

                Our best chance is to ‘work to rule’ within the EU, boycotting meetings, decisions, initiatives on the basis the EU accounts have not been audited for years, take the Commission to court, a UK court, argue that any company failing to submit audited accounts would be taken to court, wound up, why not the EU, court other EU member countriess unhappy with the set-up, form a block pursuing the same tactic of undermining the bureaucracy from within and stuff like that. It could work, the USSR imploded because a group within the politburo unhappy with the construct turn against it, the unwashed then took over, the whole fell apart.

                Cameron is clearly incapable of pursuing any such strategy because the boy’s in favour of the set-up, it suits him, and even if he did embark on any such exercise, he doesn’t have what it takes to take the Brussels apparatchiks head on. Obama was right remarking after first meeting him the the guy’s a ‘lightweight’.

        • Rhoda Klapp

          Your counsels of despair are not impressing anybody. You admit the EU is a bureaucracy, undemocratic and bad for us. But you can’t see a way to leave. You have no idea of how to achieve desired results by negotiation. You have no national pride. You have no notion of history. You are a defeatist, a quitter and an apologist for the defeatism of the man Cameron and his dismal government.

      • Justathought

        What would happen to the UK if Scotland choose to leave the UK and N Ireland followed with a border poll in favour of a United Ireland? I raise it only because the NI census for 2011 (released this month) shows a UI as a significant possibility.

        My understanding is that if the UK choose to leave the EU (which the US is against) then Scotland and Ireland could well vote to stay in. The assets and natural resources would remain with both Scotland and Ireland while the dept would remain with HM Treasury. (Bondholders would never agree for the debt to be passed from UK ‘AAA’ to these other countries).

        In the end there will have to be an In/Out vote and if that is postponed beyond 2015 then we will have to live with the electoral consequences.

        • Rhoda Klapp

          Those nations in the UK may vote as they wish. I think they would be better off independent than in the EU as little fish. I think the same for England, or England and Wales, if that is the way it goes. I don’t want to keep anyone in the UK who doesn’t want to be. They can have their share of the debt though, Bondholders? What choice do they have? Do they want to precipitate a default with no bailout saviour at hand?

          • Rhoda Klapp

            Oh, and the Northern ireland census does not bind the republic, who might not be quite ready for unification right now.

    • DaveL

      I wholeheartedly disagree – I think OUT would have a huge difference to being in. 70-80% of our economy is internal. Out of the remaining, only 8% or 9% trade is with the EU, yet ALL trade has to be 100% compliant with EU law. Unshackled from that red tape I would expect a significant difference to small and medium businesses.

      We would have sovereign control over our own fishing grounds. Added with getting out of the the CAP would save every family £1200 a year on their food bills. We might have to eat more fish, but that’s a nice payrise thank you very much!

      • HooksLaw

        More than half the value of the UK foreign trade is to the EU. Do you want to export to the EU and a) have the benefits of the single market and b) be within its tariff wall?
        No? then tell that to the workers in Sunderland, tell it to them and still expect to win a referendum?

        The whole point of the single market is common rules and a level playing field. You may not agree or like it but that is how it works and we would want to be within that.

        And I repeat – even if not – then as soon as a Labour govt returns it would sign up to it anyway. You need to grow up and realise that the EU exists and is not going to go away.

        I had thought the Eurozone would have collapsed long before now but it has not. It probably will not. That’s their problem and as and when they sign up to fiscal and de facto political union we will negotiate a new relationship with them and there will be a referendum.

        • DaveL

          UK exports to the EU is a tenth of our *total* economy. UK exports to the EU is a tenth of our *total* economy. I’ve said it twice because I think you missed the point it in my previous post. It seems you are either misinformed or deliberately scaremongering to suggest if we left the EU we’d suddenly be unable to trade with them. They will want to sell us stuff, and that’s a great negotiating position to be in. Plus, outside the EU, Britain would be free to negotiate even better trade agreements with third countries than is possible under the Common External Tariff.

          • HooksLaw

            We would be in a poor position to get anything pout of the EU if we walked out as you would suggest.
            Talk of tenths is facile. A hit to our economy, any hit would be bad, and even as it stands, sitting idly by and watching the Eurozone go down the tubes is bad for our economy. But we can do little or indeed nothing in respect of the Eurozone.

            Repeat things? OK. Being OUT is little different from being IN. ‘Just look at Norway’. We would be part of the single market and would comply with EU regulations. We would be a major contributor to EU funds. A new treaty is on the cards – do you want it negotiated by Ed Balls and Ed Miliband?

            • DaveL

              When people post “More than half the value of the UK foreign trade is to the EU” it leads readers to believe it’s a huge proportion and we’d
              somehow lose it. I don’t think we would. Perhaps I interpreted that part of your post incorrectly, if so I apologise.

              However, so far I think you’ve failed to convince anyone with your posts. We may have to agree to disagree.

              One thing I will add though is that your line of “do you want it negotiated by Ed Balls and Ed Miliband” does nothing about making me pro-Conservative. If anything it depletes the weight of your argument with me. I hope you accept this positively.

              • Andy

                The ‘More than half the value of the UK foreign trade is to the EU’ is dubious at best. It does not take into account the ‘Rotterdam effect’. I export to the USA, but quite often my stuff goes via Rotterdam. Those exports are counted to the EU, but actually are merely loaded from one ship to another.

    • russell

      I would suggest that the majority of the UK electorate don’t ‘want a say’ on how the EU operate, and certainly don’t want to pay £billions per year and be the second highest contributor to ‘sit at the table’.(only the Germans pay in more than us)

      The majority want OUT and the politicians in both Labour and Conservative parties know it, which is why they will not give us an in/out referendum.

      Once out of the EU, why would major events conspire against us?

      We import far more from the EU than we export, the EU would not dare risk losing £billions of exports by upsetting one their biggest customers, the UK.

      The UK fishing Industry would flourish with established and enforced fishing limits around the UK.
      All businesses would flourish once rid of many of the EU regulations which stifle business and cost companies a lot of money.

  • EJ

    Got to love your optimism!

    The public have given up on Cameron, end of story. He’s not going to give them what they want – the IN / OUT referendum which he reneged on – and they know it. So why would they bother listening to yet more lies and obfuscations?

    • HooksLaw

      Cameron never reneged on anything. Continually fantasying about what happened merely shows you to have no logic, no argument.

      • EJ

        The damage is done pal. Nothing more to say.

        • HooksLaw

          Just admitting how bigoted you are is no defence.

          Presumably you are such an avid follower of matters EU, you will have read the Tory manifasto in 2009.

          This being so you will have read…
          ‘We pledge that if the Lisbon Treaty is not in force in the event of the election of a Conservative Government this year or next, we will hold a referendum on it, urge its rejection, and – if successful – reverse Britain’s ratification. And if the Constitution is already in force by then, we have made clear that in our view political integration in the EU would have gone too far, the Treaty would lack democratic legitimacy, and we would not let matters rest there.’

          I trust you will therefore withdraw your anti Cameron lie.
          The only party to break its word was the Labour party which did so quite blatantly – it ratified the treaty which came into force before the election, Brown famously sneaking in to sign it without ceremony. Yet your actions if successful would return it to power.

          Nothing more to say.

          • EJ

            Touched a nerve clearly. I’m not withdrawing anything and your pompous contempt is unlikely to persuade me back into the Tory fold. But then the Cameroonians do a good line in contempt towards true conservatives, don’t they!

            • HooksLaw

              No – you lied. As do your fellow travellers.
              And you carefully refrain from arguing that you did not, since the evidence is staring you in the face. Clearly you did not read the tory manifesto – yet you gob off as if you know everything.

              You are no true conservative, stop pretending, in order to sustain your own prejudice and bigotry, that Cameron is not. Cameron is no different to any conservative leader. The present conservative party is the same broad church it has always been. Making it less so merely presents a gift to Labour.

              You are the pompous delusional one. You deserve contempt not least for your ignorance.

              • Amyntas

                Well done! Needed saying. Far too many people on here saying they are ‘true Conservatives’ and claiming to talk for the majority.

                • HooksLaw

                  You are all UKIP loons. This is loonyville central. This is a fact I well agree.
                  But you are not true conservatives and never have been.

              • EJ

                You have got your panties in a twist.

                The die is cast I’m afraid, my pompous pal. Brand Cameron (“let me be perfectly clear…”) is irreparably damaged. His fault. And the fault of the gullible idiots who thought the party needed a Blair rather than a Maggie. When the Conservatives go down in 2015, the blame will be laid squarely on the Cameroonians, not on the legions of ex-Tory voters whom they so badly let down. Now shout at me some more.

                • HooksLaw

                  Again you pointedly refuse to apologise for your lie. The facts are before you and you can only bluster. Maggie signed us up into the single market.
                  Now you try to avoid responsibility for your actions.

                • Wessex Man

                  What a pompous waste of time you are! I don’t think you would be the life and soul of the party would you?

          • Colonel Mustard

            So please explain what steps Cameron has taken to “reverse Britain’s ratification”? In theory it could have been quite simple and radical by his citing of the supremacy of the 1689 Act (“And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God.”)
            and declaring Brown’s ratification as therefore illegal and treasonous. Cameron also failed to exploit the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty which also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation, so that it is not bound by written law (in some cases, even a constitution) or by precedent.

            Then afterwards please explain how he has “not let matters rest there”? To the layman this implies specific action in respect of the Treaty ratification rather than just attempting to influence reform of the Eu from within.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Because, let’s face it, whilst Cameron might not have technically lied, he accepted Brown’s status quo rather meekly and pretended to be bound by the ratification in ways which in law and parliamentary sovereignty he was not. There are two conclusions that may be drawn from this. The first is that, despite his assurances, he was happy with the status quo and therefore his pledge was disingenuous. The second is that he is weak and was not prepared to put his integrity before rocking the EU gravy boat.

              • HooksLaw

                Nothing technical about it. But othe rUKIP bozos regularly tell lies about it. Your comments following are plain invention.
                Cameron and then Boris have pointed out what their proposed policy is going to be. Its not the status quo. The results are as yet pure speculation. The EU is changing and we have to get the best deal we can. It presents an opportunity.

                The tories made a plain promise and sadly were in opposition not the government. You and your ilk plot to see a return to a labour govt headed by Browns bag carrier.

                Explain the logic in that?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I don’t plot anything! I’m not in a position to. My comments are not invention because the law of supremacy is plain and has not been repealed (only disregarded). You have not answered my questions and instead of persuading me by a convincing argument you resort to abuse.

                • HooksLaw

                  UKIP are campaigning against the tories. They are campaigning based on a lie – ie that there would be a significant difference if we were out of the EU. Not true.
                  This would if successful see a return to a labour govt. You know the logic but refuse to admit it.
                  Start living in the real world. The biggest clear and present danger to this country is a return of a labour govt.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  In 2010 I would have agreed with you that “the biggest clear and present danger to this country is a return of a labour govt”. But my disappointment in Cameron and the “de-toxifed” Tories is such that I no longer believe that. I no longer believe that Cameron will be able to prevent a Labour government or that he represents a viable conservative counterpoint to one.

                  I do not wish to live in a country whose parliament is subordinate to a gang of aggrandising and self-serving bureaucrats in Brussels. It is as simple as that – all practicalities aside.

                • HooksLaw

                  leaving aside the wrong-headedness of your assertioin…
                  So act to create a situation where labour would take us deeper into Europe?

              • telemachus

                Mattereth not, the countries interests prevailed

            • HooksLaw

              You too have a problem with English comprehension.
              Cameron said he would reverse ratification if the treaty had not come into force before the election.

              Read the manifesto commitment.

              It DID come into force before the election. Brown signed the treaty before the election, Thats the same treaty that labour (Labour! geddit? LABOUR) promised a referendum on but renaged)
              Conservatives (conservatives – geddit? CONSERVATIVES) voted against the treaty)
              Clearly you have problems relating to the world around you. Why am I not surprised?

              Quite some time ago now (Aprilish 2011?) Cameron set out his aim and policy of using the inevitable EU/ Eurozone fiscal union treaty to repatriate powers. Things have moved on since June 2009 and the Euro crisis is leading to the formation of a different EU. Our relationship with the EU is going to change as well. Boris said the same thing a few weeks ago.

              • Colonel Mustard

                No, I’m afraid it is you who lack English comprehension. Please re-read your own quotation of what Cameron said. It is quite specific and unambiguous and my questions address it directly. You have not answered them and I’m afraid abuse is no substitute. Let’s go through it again.

                1. Yes, the Treaty had already been signed and therefore Cameron was released from his pledge to hold a referendum. However, he might still legitimately have held a referendum on whether retrospectively the British people gave their consent to the signing on the grounds I have explained. This would have been more in the spirit of his pledge however impractical implementation might have been. In fact he made no attempt whatsoever to cite the 1689 Act or parliamentary sovereignty.

                2. And he was not released from his more ambiguous pledge “not to let matters rest” and I have suggested ways in which he might have legitimately reversed Britain’s ratification. If he has done anything at all about these “matters” it is certainly not radical or convincing.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The reality is, I fear, that Cameron was relieved the Treaty had already been signed and could therefore avoid the difficulty of having to hold a referendum in the face of controversy and opposition. He is undoubtedly weak, as has been demonstrated in other areas, except where he has a personal bee in his bonnet about relatively trivial but “soft” matters – e.g. gay marriage and internet nannying. If he had a strong position on the Treaty and on the repatriation of powers we would all know about it because he would have been in the pulpit declaring it. He is a weak Prime Minister and he has failed the sovereign British people. Nothing you can write in his defence can change that. Actions speak louder than words.

                • HooksLaw

                  The treaty was signed. We were signed up to the treaty. Signed up. Where would the point of a referendum have been. In those circumstances if I were labour or LD leader I would have told supporters to stay at home.
                  And for what its worth you can leave everything aside – there is no majority in parliament for coming out of the Treaty. Thanks to UKIP we have a hung parliament.

                  Matters have moved on since June 2009. Cameron has said they want to repatriate powers, but also the Eurozone is in crisis and a new treaty is inevitable. We will not be part of it, certainly under a conservative govt – can you promise the same under a labour one?

                  Your arguments are as feeble as a lamb’s bleatings. The UKIP lies about broken pledges are just that – lies. the facts are plain.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You have still not addressed the points I raised and you still resort to abuse rather than reasoned argument.

                  The point, sir, is a matter of integrity and will. Both qualities of which Cameron appears to sadly lack.

                  Once again I remind you that I am not a member of or supporter of UKIP. By inclination I am conservative but if you are an example of the thinking and direction of that party I am disinclined to vote for it.

                • HooksLaw

                  I point out why a referendum would be meaningless. The treaty was signed.

                  Cameron has said they want to repatriate what powers they can. Quite rightly in my opinion they do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water – not least when a new treaty is on the horizon.

                  Cameron has done nothing in relation to the EU to be ashamed of. Your claims about integrity are just self serving waffle. Simply not true.
                  The endless point I make, as a simple member of the public, albeit a conservative voter for over 50 years, is that being OUT is not materially different from being IN and the argument is one of fine niceties and not worth the return of a labour govt.

                  I am glad you are not a member of UKIP, but I repeat my assertion, and I have no qualms about it because it needs to be said – only a fool would vote for UKIP. they are a bunch of bozos and would facilitate the return of a labour govt.

                • foxoles

                  A referendum would most certainly not have been “meaningless” – it would have strengthened Cameron’s negotiating position immeasurably.
                  Interestingly, he didn’t want that to happen.

                • Andy

                  Yes, yes we know all of this. The problem is the blasted Treaty was signed and brought into force before the General Election. Cameron has paid a high price for not following through on the referendum promise, even though the reasons are perfectly understandable.

                  I read Collins’ piece and it was mere Labour twaddle. Cut it anyway you like but our relationship with the EU is changing and we are gradually moving from the centre of the EU to its fringe.

                  Personally I loath the EU and I wish we could leave it. The more you look at the EU and the more you see the damage and destruction that many of the silly policies and ideas have wrought, the more I come to the conclusion we should leave. In former years the Labour Party were very hostile to the EU and yet now the tables are turned and it is the Conservatives who are more and more hostile to the EU. And now it seems that the public are equally hostile to this silly project.

                • Wessex Man

                  What a pompous piece of work, the Conservatives will be out in the wilderness after the next election because they cater to you and yours and not the vast majority of voters. Their only hope is Scotland becoming Independent and Cameron breaking his neck whilst out with the Hunt. Then again some other completely out of touch Eton old boy will carry on the “Mission.”

    • Open_Palm

      Don’t be surprise if he does. A desperate politician will do anything to get votes. Just look at the same sex marriage debacle.

      • telemachus

        Just what did Collins-a first class commentator say.
        He spoke in allegory
        “Writers have the perfect excuse when they get stuck. Inaction is dignified not by the name of laziness but by writer’s block, a term that sounds like a medical condition. No builder ever refused to knock a wall down citing builder’s block. Plumbers don’t give you a pained look and say they don’t know when the muse will strike to allow them to fix the shower. But if you sit in front of a screen you have an acceptable get out….”
        He was trying to speak the truth
        He is fed up of the shower he leads and cannot put any effort into either moulding them or the country.
        This is code for it is getting time for us to move over and let us return to competent rule

        • Wessex Man

          Now listen here telemachus, you are a complete zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          • telemachus

            Thanks Wessex
            The good thing about your post is that it is visually compelling and draws attention to the truth written above and below
            It reminds everyone of the truth that the Tories cannot be trusted to pursue the legitimate interests economic or otherwise of our citizens, particularly on Europe

            • mikewaller

              You cannot really believe in what you lot SAY they plan to do?

    • mikewaller

      I assume that by “eurosceptic public” you mean the great majority of the British public not just the minority whose feeling on this topic are best described as visceral. If so, you would do well to read the brilliant contribution Mathew Parris made to this debate, in Spectator, a few weeks ago, His point was although Joe Avreage was more than happy to puff out his chest along with the best of them in response to questions like “Would Britain be better on its own? Should our parliament be sovereign, Should foreign courts be able to dictate to ours? etc.etc., in their heart.of hearts Mr and Mrs Average know that they are in no real position judge whether it would be better or worse for us where we to leave the EC.

      In my view, most visceral eurosceptics know this but are hoping to pull the same stunt as was pulled in the recent voting referendum; i.e successfully circulate a series of lies and personal attacks (details on application) and bounce the electorate into voting the way they want. [In case there is any doubt, I must say again I am someone who favours “first by the post”].

      What Cameron should therefor be doing is taking Churchill’s approach to thorny problems: set up a well balance committee under clear instruction to produce a pros and cons report on the UK’s EU membership, the fruit’s of whose labours will be summarised in plain English on a single sheet of paper and circulated across the Nation. That, in my view, is the only way in which a useful referendum can be held, I believe that anybody opposing this suggestion will simply be revealing the disgraceful extent to which they are prepared to privilege their own political objectives over intelligent political debate and democracy

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