Coffee House

Cameron doesn’t want Britain to stay in the EU come what may

23 January 2013

One of the more intriguing lines in David Cameron’s speech this morning was his declaration that ‘when the referendum comes let me say now that if we can negotiate such an arrangement, I will campaign for it with all my heart and soul.’ This begs the question of what Cameron will do if we can’t negotiate such an arrangement.

Now, Cameron made clear earlier in the speech that his strong preference and inclination is for Britain to stay in the EU. This seems to apply even if he can’t get everything he asks for in the renegotiation. As he put it: ‘You will not always get what you want. But that does not mean we should leave – not if the benefits of staying and working together are greater.’


But I’m informed by those familiar with Cameron’s thinking on the issue that he is not saying that Britain will stay in come what may. It was explained to me that if the rest of the EU refused to reasonably address the concerns that Cameron outlined, then the Conservative leadership would take this as a sign that Britain’s position in the EU is not sustainable.

This position also has the benefit of uniting the Conservative party, for now. All but the most ardent Better Off Outers will accept that the party should wait until the renegotiation is complete before deciding on whether or not Britain should stay in. The real argument will come, though, when this negotiation is complete. For I suspect that Cameron will be more easily satisfied than many of his Cabinet colleagues and a substantial chunk of his party.

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  • Herbert Thornton

    “Cameron doesn’t want Britain to stay in the EU come what may.”

    Oh yes he does. The brazen untruth of that assertion is worthy of Dr Goebels himself.

  • cyllan2

    yes he does……..

  • Patricia

    “”Jam tomorow” will not deal with hordes of Rumanians and Bulgarians coming here to trough in our already, acutely difficult to afford, welfare system.””
    My fears too. The whole world and his wife could be living here before the Referendum comes into being.

    • ButcombeMan

      So difficult are these hordes going to be to deal with, that many commentators have not spotted that the landscape will have changed should Camerton ever get in a position to have a referendum (unlikely).

      Most polls seem to suggest an in/out could not YET be certainly won by the outs.

      After the Eastern europeans hit us, the figures will surely change in favour of out. Those most hurt by the new arrivals will be traditional Labour voters.

      Red Ed has missed this point and will need to rethink. While he is scoring cheap points off the Tories, his electorate will have left him behind.

  • Douglas O

    Just went over the bizarre final section of the speech. Cameron essentially says that leaving the EU is a very bad idea, but I’ve got no choice but to go along with the rest of my party.

  • Augustus

    This is bound to end in a lengthy political process with Merkel calling the shots regarding a set of rather vague compromises with Brussels. Frankly I had expected a less consoling speech considering the sheer arrogance of these Brussels bureaucrats: Elitist behaviour, nepotism, wining and dining at expensive hotels, expensive offices, chauffeur driven cars, gigantic salaries and expense accounts etc.etc. At least Farage knows how to wipe the nasty smiles off their faces.

  • sceptic3

    Jam tomorrow; maybe.

  • Fergus Pickering

    It doesn’t beg any question atall, Mr Forsyth. You really must stop saying that. @raises the question’ would do very well. Don’t let me have to speak to you again, boy..

  • ButcombeMan

    Am I alone in being totally unconvinced by Cameron’s twists & turns?

    It looks very much to me as though this “jam tomorrow” position, is just designed ,to head off at the pass, the mass move to UKIP. No doubt those around Cameron think it enormously clever and it has certainly caught out Red Ed.

    It should not have caught Labour, they should have made a sound referendum offer earlier and beaten Cameron to it but they are incredibly stupid people incapable of decisive action.

    “Jam tomorow” will not deal with hordes of Rumanians and Bulgarians coming here to trough in our already, acutely difficult to afford, welfare system.

    Too much rejoicing, far too early. We MUST all vote UKIP in 2014, regardless.

    Mrs Bone, poor dear, is very easily satisfied.

  • Rhoda Klapp2

    I find myself in agreement with Cameron then. I don’t want us to stay in the EU, come what may.

    That is what he meant, isn’t it?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Yes it is. ho is Rhoda Klapp2, by the way? What was wrong with plain old Rhoda Klapp?

      • Rhoda Klapp2

        Disqus. Need I say more?

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Cameron will have already agreed with Merkel what concessions will be acceptable. SHE will get her fiscal union … Cameron will get a few scraps to wave at his Party so he can claim a fundamental change in our relationship.
    It will mean diddly-squat. The EU will still control the UK. Sovereignty, which should never have been transferred, will still lie with the EU. We will be subject to laws imposed by a foreign Kommissariat.
    OUT … competely OUT is the only option worth fighting for.

    • Charles

      Then the best strategy for you:

      1. Vote UKIP in the European elections in 2014 to highlight the issue

      2. Vote Tory (while holding your nose) in 2015 to get a party in government that is commited to a referendum. There is always a risk, of course, that Cameron will welch on his deal – but I think unlikely given the downside if he did
      3. Assuming the renegotiation yields insufficient results then campaign hard for a ‘no vote’ in the referendum
      4. Realistically the most likely outcome is further concessions and a re-vote rather than a straight ‘out’ (based on the EU’s track record) but even so you are better off than with a ‘yes’ vote in step 3.

      Work for you?

      The alternative is vote UKIP in step 2 and increase the chance that Miliband will be in no.10, no referendum and probably a wholesale further transfer of power

  • Noa

    Negotiate? When? On what basis? And with whom?
    Cameron may have pleased his Eurosceptics with this strawman, but its flawed logic and indeterminacy will not deceive the electorate beyond this year, never mind 2015.

  • David Lindsay

    Yes, he does.

    He has said so today.

    Over and over again.

  • RKing

    James – Don’t fall for the con trick!
    Cameron has proven that he will tell you anything to get re elected.
    If he really means what he says then why doesn’t he start the renegotiatons NOW?


  • Colonel Mustard

    Quite a dilemma.

    Vote UKIP and get a Labour government determined to stay in Europe (and all their other thinly veiled authoritarian communist tripe).

    Vote Tory and take a risk Cameron will renege rather than renegotiate (and risk more Blue Tory socialism).

    Do I think that a Tory defeat will lead to a proper Conservative party with a sound leader rising from the ashes? Er, no. I think it will take us towards New Labour’s hoped for single party state and further state sponsored repression of political diversity and opinion.

    • The Laughing Cavalier

      Sadly, I am inclined to agree with you.

    • David Lindsay

      UKIP, Colonel? UKIP, underneath Owen Jones’s article calling for a new left-wing party, Ken Bell, who formerly blogged as The Exile, writes:

      “Another set of initials, that’s what’s needed! I don’t think so, and that is why I joined UKIP last October. Opposition to the EU is hardly a rightist position. It was the Tories who took us in and the CBI who are now screaming that we should remain in. If something is good for the bosses then it is bad for the workers which is as good a reason as any to join UKIP, the only game in town at the moment. Most of my old mates from Oldham Labour days are now in the party as are quite a few old Communists. Come and join us.”

      Riven between the Old Right and the New Right, each of which thinks of the party as its own and no one else’s, UKIP was unstable enough without this. But now Ken informs me that, “UKIP is a strange bird at the moment. With only 20,000 members it has attracted a weird libertarian wing who will probably be brushed to one side as the party grows. As things stand they have left the party with some cracked policies that I just ignore. To my mind UKIP is the new party of protest and I reckon that this year will see it begin to increase its membership and, hopefully, move to the left on economic matters.”

      Ken is as Old Left as you could possibly imagine; I had vaguely assumed that he was in Arthur Scargill’s SLP, about which it says a great deal, and not in a good way, that he and many of his long-time associates are in UKIP instead. “Identity politics”, as if there could ever really be any other other kind, have been, will be, should be, and are being appropriated, deployed, transformed and transcended by heterosexual males, by Christians, by the White British ethnic group, by those who identify specifically as English, and by people of mixed ethnic heritage. Perhaps an expression of the first, third and fourth of these, at least, is the accession of Ken and his comrades to UKIP? And what does that mean for UKIP?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Well, yes, I mentioned UKIP. But not really in the context of which disaffected most populate its heartland! It doesn’t surprise me that within it are a core of old socialists or old communists because since the fall of the Wall they have made it their business to be represented in every party, including the Tories. How strategic this is I leave to others to ponder but I have my suspicions.

        The problem with assigning significance to the travels of fellow travellers is that very rarely (if ever?) is their imperative more than opportunism or self-serving, whatever they might say publicly on the matter. And in that I include the opportunism of gaining power for the ideologies they claim to have abandoned or modified and self-serving to their cloaked cause which is essentially the Comintern writ anew.

        I respect your deep analysis of Labour heritage and the true pedigree of much of what goes on about us but I’m not convinced of its relevance post-1997. What you see these days most definitely appears not to be what you get and there are a lot of false flag ruses in operation, especially online. Besides it is hard to see any vestiges of the “old” Labour party within the current party despite what is said. 1989 changed everything. The need to covertly support and promote the Soviet Union was replaced by the freedom to re-invent themselves within a “new” ideology, Blair’s “New” Labour of which was just the first tangible formulation on the road to Utopia, little different from the cynical embrace of capitalism by the Chinese Communist Party – also for exploitative, opportunistic and self-serving objectives.

        It was a grand ploy, because it made the ideology, once suitably re-written and cloaked in terms such as equality and fairness, not just acceptable to the centre ground but actually attractive to them, especially the young. Combined with a long grasp on education, working tirelessly to undermine rather than build (much more subtle and easily contrived) we end up here, where the tectonic plates of politics have been shifted leftwards (but not in a good way) and the old divisions confuse and are confused.

        My apologies for the length of my reply, which is more a consideration than an assertion.

        • David Lindsay

          And very welcome it is, too.

          The Old Socialists and Old Communists have of course been the consistent opponents of the Eurofederalist project. Are they really satisfied with whatever can secure the approval of every Government represented in the Council of Ministers at the given time?

          Manifestly not: in Britain alone, there exist the Socialist Labour Party, No2EU – Yes to Democracy, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, the Campaign Against European Federalism, the Labour Euro Safeguards Campaign, and many more besides. Never heard of them? Oh, they are not allowed on the radio or the television. Obviously.

          What (little) the EU gives, the EU can take away. The place for these
          debates and for these decisions is the Parliament of the United Kingdom. After 2015, it once again will be.

          Blairism was definitely defeated at the last Labour Leadership Election, and that party has gone from strength to strength ever since. Whereas Blairism continues to be the guiding light of the Coalition, with Blair himself referred to as “The Great Man” and “Our Real Leader”.

          And as was set out on Radio Four only last Monday, Blairism (in all parties) is not only the intellectual heir of Eurocommunism, but also the actual, monetary heir of the Moscow Gold: the Communist Party became Democratic Left, which became the New Politics Network, which became and remains Unlock Democracy. Legally and financially.

          Directed by a Lib Dem, Unlock Democracy is still occupying the same
          premises, which were bought with money from the sale of property that had in turn been bought with money given by Lenin. Tony Blair wrote
          for Marxism Today, setting out his whole agenda in black and white as
          early as 1991. Yes, you read aright. Before the 1992 Election.

          Paul Corrigan, husband of Hilary Armstrong and architect of Blair’s
          marketisation of the NHS which is now being completed by Cameron, spoke frankly of having been a Communist Party parliamentary candidate in a Labour seat in 1979, and of the Eurocommunist roots of the whole idea of foundation hospitals among other aspects of the Blairite doctrinaire anti-statism that is still in power and which Charles Leadbeater defined as the Communism to which he has always adhered, right up to the present day.

          Corrigan confirmed that “I am still a Marxist” who understands the world in terms of dialectical materialism. Thus speaks the man who designed Blair’s health policy, and whose wife was Blair’s Chief Whip, including at the time of the vote on the Iraq War.

          The whole idea that there was even any need for a New Labour was
          essentially dreamt up by Eric Hobsbawm. Demos was founded out of the ruins of the Communist Party and of Marxism Today, with Tony Blair as the only politician at its first meeting.

          Even I did not know that last one. Keep reading it over until it has properly sunk in. That is, in the Coalition’s argot, “The Great Man”. That is the man whom they call “Our Real Leader”.

          • Tom Tom

            I was aware of much of this, the role of Marxism Today in BBC and Labour Politics is extraordinary in view of its minimal circulation as a periodical but the cast is quite widespread as they market their middle aged selves in a more sinuous way than their youthful selves. That New Labour was a Marxist Front was self-evident and the former Communists have all enriched themselves as the Opportunists they always were – Mandelson,. Reid, Straw, Clarke, and Brown getting his seat courtesy of the Communists in the Union movement before being suckered by the banks into giving them the keys to the Treasury

            • David Lindsay

              That is true, but is only half the story. Gramscian Eurocommunism and its reception in Britain through Marxism Today had made those figures ideologically convinced of the merits of liberal capitalism and of its global propagation by military force, coalescing with similar tendencies among their Trotskyist contemporaries.

              It is very telling that the first victim of that military force was the lived reality of workers’ self-management and profit-sharing within a multinational state. That state included both culturally Christian and culturally Muslim places and peoples. It enjoyed vast global influence while resolutely pursuing peace and eschewing transnational military power blocs. And its destruction was vigorously opposed by those who had remained on the traditional Left, the same people who have always been most consistently opposed to the Eurofederalist project. Signing up to that is the infallible sign that a given section of the Left has sold out.

              During the Cold War, so many Labour MPs owed their safe seats to Communist or fellow-travelling trade union figures, so many British intelligence agents were also Soviet or Eastern Bloc agents (and there was and is no shortage of spooks on the Conservative benches – exactly as many Conservative and Labour Ministers have been found ever to have been Eastern Bloc agents), and the Daily Worker and then the Morning Star of that period enjoyed full Parliamentary Lobby access, that it all rather gives the lie to the notion that there was ever a Soviet military threat, which it has since been established that there never was, just as Enoch Powell always said that there never was. The real threat came from elsewhere. It still does.

              But hope is at hand. The indispensable role of the State in protecting against the market everything that conservatives seek to conserve is emphasised by the traditions deriving from disaffection with the events of 1688, 1776 and 1789. Those offer perennial critiques of individualism, capitalism, imperialism, militarism, bourgeois triumphalism, and the fallacy of inevitable historical progress. That was the soil in which were planted the trade union, the co-operative and mutual, the Radical Liberal, the Tory populist, the Guild Socialist, the Christian Socialist, the Social Catholic and Distributist, and the many other non-Marxist roots of the British, Irish and Commonwealth Labour Movements.

              Variously, those roots have been embedded in, have been fed and watered by, and have grown into economic and wider patriotism locally and nationally, proud provincialism, worker-intellectualism, and the maintenance of rural communities. Our British critique of Whiggery
              predates any Counterrevolutionary movement on the Continent, because itpredates any Revolution there or in North America. Our British non-Marxist Left is itself deeply rooted in the anti-Whig subcultures. Predating Marx, it long predates Gramsci in meeting and transcending numerous of his aspirations.

          • Tom Tom

            oh and to add that Brown’s wife was the business partner of Julia Hobsbawm whose main aim in life is networking…..

          • CharlieleChump

            On and on and on and on. And on,

            • David Lindsay

              Are you sure that you are on the right site, luv?

      • Vulture

        OH do go away, you boring little fart of a vicar’s son.

    • wrinkledweasel

      Colonel Mustard, in the Coffee House, with the Revolver..
      Depressingly, I think you are right.

    • Magnolia

      Colonel, I’ve given Dave a deserved ticking off many a time but today he showed us shades of Mrs T. The speech was lovely and well written with only a few irksome mistakes such as confusing the formation of the EU with the end of the cold war rather than its beginning, together with the world wars. I have wondered myself about UKIP but have always thought that the way to get a true Conservative Party was to fight for it. The speech seemed to me to be a vindication of the glorious 81 who laid down their ministerial careers for their country at its time of need. They should be supported.
      As a leader of victims Ed Miliband has shot himself in the foot and it’s a lovely sight. He thinks the EU is the victim here! He has ruled out a referendem and yet I have just heard his foreign spokesman say that Labour would never rule out a referendem (on the radio4 News at One). Douglas Alexander is sensible which will make EM look even more of a twerp and also ran, which he is really in every sense. Labour MPs looked uncomfortable today.

      We will have plenty to moan about later but today is for celebration.

    • Fergus Pickering

      So what’s to do, Colonel. Which way will you lead the charge?

      • Colonel Mustard

        The Colonel admits he is stumped but his charge leading days are long over. And in this situation his enemy’s enemy might not be his friend.

    • CharlieleChump

      And now licensing and censorship of journalists.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Indeed. A worrying approach given their 1997-2010 record on civil liberties and freedom of expression.

    • xDemosthenesx

      To save the party it has become necessary to destroy it.

      There is no option. There is almost no difference between the two main parties. If it means having to suffer under a smug Ed then so be it, we need a conservative party to replace the compromised Conservative party.

      The country under five years of Labour will not look so different than under five more years of Dave. The difference will be that if UKIP can drive the nail into the coffin we might actually get a straight question.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I wish I could be sure of that. But bear in mind it took 13 long years before the Conservatives could displace New Labour and even then it was not a successful displacement, providing house room for another destructive socialist party from the “progressive”, rainbow (ha!) alliance. And look how the country was changed, look how established the authoritarian and censorship tendency became. I fear that if Labour get back we are in for the long haul, the East German experiment that will grind us down for decades until the spark of revolution ignites the people. That might never happen.

        So, sadly, I disagree with your prognosis that a proper Conservatism would emerge as a result.

        • xDemosthenesx

          I understand your fears, but I am more positive. The problem isn’t the electorate, the problem is the Conservatives and especially Cameron. He became so obsessed with his ‘detoxifiying’ strategy that he managed to turn the Conservatives into an identical twin of New Labour.

          Had the man just remained a conservative, or better, the Conservatives picked a conservative, he would probably have won an outright majority. The mood has changed but Cameron is fighting the last war and so fails to see it.

          With a purging of the pretend conservatives they might actually tap into the seething dissapointment and resentment amongst many and give some sort of clarity of message and purpose to the movement as a whole.

          But my point really is that your worst fears about being in the long haul with Labour is essentially true of this brand of Conservative party. Apart from Gove I can’t think of anything that they are doing that Labour wouldn’t be doing anyway.

  • williamblakesghost

    But I’m informed by those familiar with Cameron’s thinking on the issue
    that he is not saying that Britain will stay in come what may. It was
    explained to me that if the rest of the EU refused to reasonably address
    the concerns that Cameron outlined, then the Conservative leadership
    would take this as a sign that Britain’s position in the EU is not

    Hmmm hasn’t Cameron just contradicted that position in PMQ’s in response to Miliband’s questioning?

  • 2trueblue

    Renegotiate and then get an EU referendum. That is what Cameron has said to the House. I think I want a date on that promise.

    • awilliams66

      PM stated in this mornings speech that there would be a referendum on a renegoitated EU agreement by 2018. The question is will there be a referendum on the current agreement if the EU refuses to renegotiate a new agreement?

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Whatever concessions he is offered, no matter how small or cosmetic shall be declared a victory. Do please forgive my cynicism.

    • telemachus

      The concessions will be of little import to the 2015 election result

      • Chris lancashire

        That’s true as we’ll finalise them in 2016.

        • telemachus

          In what capacity?

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