Saturday, 10 December 2011

Has David Cameron rescued his Eurosceptic credentials?

David Cameron's decision to veto the proposed changes to the EU Treaty has been widely applauded, and rightly so.   The EU has become a bureaucratic monster that eats our money and our ideology to feed its own belief that it should take over the world.  The unwillingness of some of our EU partners to compromise meant that he had little choice but to stand up for our rights and walk away.

Where it gets interesting is in how we move on from here.  There is an argument that because this has isolated Britain, David Cameron should try and build bridges.   I hope that is not where we go. Isolation is not always a bad thing - especially when the thing you are isolating yourself from is going to damage you and your future.  If bridges are to be built, the first moves have to come from the likes of Sarkozy and Merkel - who need to recognise the monster the EU has become and accept the need to reinvent based on a less predatory ideology.

If that compromise doesn't happen, I hope and believe the writing is on the wall for our membership of the EU.  And,quite probably, for the coalition Government too.  What I see as something we need to be wary about is the potential for a Labour win, or a Lib-Lab coalition after General Election 2015 - which would see Britain leaping straight back into bed with the EU and giving up yet more powers.  That means we have to act now.  David Cameron should set the EU a timetable, outlining what it needs to do and by when to repatriate powers, tidy up its act and abandon its plans to create a Europe wide state. If they fail to meet that deadline, then he should call a referendum on Britain's membership.

I believe the EU knows it needs us more than we need it.  The stupid arguments that exports would be harmed as a result of us leaving the EU have never held weight.  Businesses will deal with whoever offers them the right product at the right price. If the ludicrous sums of money we invest in the EU were there for us to use on Britain we could cut the deficit, reduce taxes and/or invest in high quality innovative manufacturing - all of which would make us more competitive, not less.  It would enable us to trade better with EU member states and, more importantly, with the rest of the world.

I have always said that my preference is that I would prefer Britain to stay in the EU, but only on the basis that it reverted to the organisation which my parents signed up for, which was about trading co-operation, and was nothing to do with a bureaucratic superstate.  My view that a referendum is needed is because I don't think the EU is capable of reinventing itself.  I suspect we are about to find out.

So, would we harm the Euro by taking this step?  To be honest, the Euro is doomed anyway - it is not fixable because it was never viable within the huge mass of cultures and ideological differences that exist across Europe.  If there is a financial hit for Britain as a consequence of the Euro collapsing, then we are going to have to take it - whether we are in the EU, in the process of leaving, or have left.  Why not be in a better financial position when it happens through not paying out huge sums of money to the EU?

The next General Election is going to be fascinating.  I don't think the Labour Party, as it currently stands, is electable - but exploitation of the tough financia s ituation might lead to a Lib-Lab coalition.  I hope not - but I can see it happening, and it would be disastrous for Britain, not least because of the EU issue.  If David Cameron deals with the EU in this Parliament that issue is sorted.  In any case it would probably see him achieve a second term as Prime Minister - but this time with an overall majority.

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