Cameron's messages to Britian and Europe

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Jason, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    Conservative leader David Cameron has made an important speech on how the Conservatives would not let matters rest now Lisbon has been ratified. He talked of messages for the British people and for EU partners. There was a lot in quite a short speech.

    MESSAGE FOR PEOPLE OF BRITAIN
    • a REFERENDUM LOCK where legislation will be passed through the UK parliament to ensure that all changes (including the Euro) must be subject to a referendum.
    • a UK SOVREIGNTY BILL where legislation will be passed through the UK parliament to ensure that ultimate authority remains within Britain (as we have an unwritten constitution there is a risk of inroads from the written EU constitution)
    • a STOP ON RACHET CLAUSES by which EU power can further intrude, where legislation will be passed through the UK parliament to ensure that.
    • Negotiation with our EU partners of opt outs for social, employment, fundamental rights and criminal law, to made as a protocol to the next accession treaty.
    The opt outs as a protocol are subject to agreement. Cameron spoke of a tough financial settlement (it sounded like we won't pay up, though he didn't say this). He would not rule out a referendum in the parliament after next on a "wider package".

    MESSAGE TO EU PARTNERS
    • This is not a Euro bust up
    • He will not frustrate or sabbotage
    • He wants expansion in the Western Balkans abd Turkey
    • Britain will advance British Interests
    • EU integration is not a one way street - powers can and will be returned to member states.
    • We want an association of nations, not a federation.
    This is a complicated message and you can make what you like of it. But let me have a go:

    This IS a Euro bust up - Britain will frustrate and sabbotage in any way it can. Britain will advance Britain's interests. Britain will get its opt outs because if Britain doesn't, Britain will not agree a budget and won't allow funds to flow into Europe. The Conservatives are preparing the way for a referendum on EU membership between 2015 and 2020. This gives time to detach ourselves from the EU in a managed way.
     
  2. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    Hmmm, sounds very interesting...
     
  3. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    Just spotted this rant from the French Euro minister reported in tomorrow's Guardian:

    France: 'Autistic Tories have castrated UK in Europe' | Politics | The Guardian

    This is exactly the sort of response from Europe that is going to help the Tories, and make Britain more convinced than ever that Britain is not part of Europe.

    What is also interesting is that it suggests the Eurocrats are ruffled.
     
  4. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    LOL - the fact that they're ruffled by a speech which in Britain is seen as a climb down is quite interesting.

    I'm warming to Cameron's ideas actually - maybe it is sensible to strengthen our hand over the next 5 years quite discreetly with the hope of a referendum on wider issues in the 2nd term (assuming they win one lol). Do things gradually and plan semi-withdrawal properly so all the plans are in place before we act. If they can use the Monnet method to get what they want, so can we. ;)

    Would still like a referendum now, but maybe not worth it immediately if it would end in a hastily planned botch-up?

    Thanks for the analysis btw Jase - I kinda got a bit flustered when Klaus signed the Treaty. Perhaps a good thing I'm not in Cameron's job, lol.
     
  5. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    Yes I think Cameron is probably being level-headed and sensible and in the end right. The argument he makes seems coherent and it should stand up. Unfortunately it is complicated (in a way "referendum on Lisbon") was not. I think it is going to be hard work to make people understand it.

    Caught a few minutes of the editor of "The Sun" speaking - I can't remember his name. He said that the French criticism will get Cameron an extra 2-3% points in the polls, and that Cameron is plugged into the British psyche. He also said that if we had had a referendum on Lisbon it would have been rejected 70%/30%. Makes me want to run out and buy "The Sun".

    I think the French EU Minister showed a complete failure to understand the British view on the EU. The British view (the presumed 70% that would reject Lisbon, the barometer voters who read "The Sun", Cameron) is that we just don't perceive the EU as being all that important. We want our independence, and we want to do our own thing. And when some French EUminister decides to be offensive - and use as a term of abuse the name of a disorder from which many suffer - he just makes the decision easier for us - we want out.

    Cameron has set out a series of measures which many in the EU have today said are impossible. Yet the basic idea of no accession or any other treaties without a British protocol tagged on the end is unanswerable. The demand for a tough financial settlement advancing the UK national interest may not be popular in the EU, but the UK parliament is sovereign in the UK and the money only flows out of the UK if the UK government releases it.
     
  6. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Rugby, England
    I agree with that french dude tbh.

    I reckon the Tories are being so predictable. They stand a very good chance of winning the next election maybe even favorites by garnering support off the back of an issue which has public apprehension.

    The EU is fundamentally a good thing for all member nations, life as we know it cannot get worse by being a part of the EU to any length, in fact the more we are involved the better position we are in to secure our own interests.
    Things like the Euro make me itch, i don't want to have to learn a new currency but on the other hand it is going to make understanding the value of the Euro easy and its not going to result in me losing sleep. It is a change not short-change. We are no worse off than any other member nation.

    It was the tories that took us into the EU in the first place, there was a good reason for it, we benefit. Public apprehension was perhaps responsible for a labour victory the year afterwards. 1973 was much less liberal than now obviously and the idea of having our sovereignty put 'at risk' must have been very influential in swinging the polls.

    This is all the tories are doing now, they are kicking up a fuss to garner support and to lock away the idea that they have 'given in' and accepted the ratification knowing that there will not be a referendum on anything. The ratification has been done, if the UK don't like it then tough, pull out of Europe in that case and see what happens then in relation to trade and how we will suffer from having an economic powerhouse on our doorstep that we stupidly pull out of. No, the conservatives are not stupid and this french guy is right, we will continue to be a part of the EU because it is a great thing for everyone and the tories know that once they have got power they will slowly simmer down their so called promises until they become a 'yesterday's news' issue.

    I am as apprehensive as the next person about EU integration to the newest lengths but it is the best way to go for the UK and for Europe as a whole. Labour know this, Lib Dem's know this AND Conservatives know this. The problem is, the public don't. The public see just the same as other EU citizens, a relinquishing of power that may one day lead to a USE which cultivates insecurity but there is really nothing to be insecure about because it exists for OUR benefit and theirs.

    Having said all this, it is pretty obvious that i am pro-european integration so maybe i could'nt sway anyone's opinions but i would like to think that maybe what i have said could give at least pause for thought.
    There, that's my opinion on the subject! :smile:
     
  7. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    I understand what you're saying Mitchy, but think we're probably coming into it with completely different viewpoints. :p

    I think everyone knows what I think by know - so there's probably not much point in reiterating it all, hehe. ;)
     
  8. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Rugby, England
    OK

    But can we have a row? I would look forward to the 'make up'! :tongue::rolleyes::redface::biggrin1:
     
  9. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    Hi Mitchymo, it's not long ago I thought pretty much as you do. I've really changed through working on projects funded by the European Commission. There is an approach to money management which is so careless it could almost be comical. Want an extra E100,000? Drop the right Eurocrat an email, make sure the request is set out in terms of developing an integrationist aim, and hey presto the money appears. It is real money from EU taxpayers being used on projects which often have intangible outcomes as part of building the EU framework - basically it is burning cash. As a bureaucracy the EU only stays afloat because of these massive sums of money it uses as ways of building the European state. And of course as well as being careless it is corrupt, so corrupt most of the commission's budget hasn't been signed off for years. There are very many people - thousands - who are creaming off very large sums of money. It is this sort of level of corruption among Eurocrats which makes it all stink.

    The EU and the Euro will fail - I think this is as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow. I think the Euro is looking very rickety. The EU might last a generation. I would like to see it dismantled in a managed way to minimise the pain and suffering that will be felt by the half billion people of the EU states as it collapses. I would like the UK out asap. And if that means in the short term we are poorer, then so be it.
     
  10. D_Relentless Original

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Messages:
    16,839
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Jason and Joll thanks for this interesting insight to this problem and it will be for us all, however; you guys are so interesting and fair in the way this is bbeing discussed, thanks guys.
     
  11. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Rugby, England
    Well you see, i find this pesimistic (bad spell?)

    I studied European Studies back in school and learnt the basics. Economically we benefit no doubt about it. Jitterbugs are creeping in now that the next phase of a united Europe is moving in and becoming ever more political.

    I am poor as it is, i cannot afford to be poorer short term or long and logic would suggest that if we pull out of the EU then ALL of our nearest neighbours bar Norway are going to be getting a better deal from within, they will have less reason to trade with the UK and the only way we could secure jobs is by offering cheaper, a difficult thing to do for a small nation with large population competing with already cheap burgeoning economies. I would rather ride the storm than try turning around. It would'nt be a short term poverty in my opinion, we would be poorer than our EU neighbours permanently.

    I fail to see i'm sorry where the risk lies in moving towards a greater democracy that would be a European superstate whereas the risks of pulling out are so foreseeable.
     
  12. dong20

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,130
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    The grey country
    Cameron has shown himself the spineless wimp to Brown's duplicitious philistine.

    His mooted 'Sovereignty Bill' is a joke.

    Add in the ceaseless whining about how undemocratic it all is, as if Britain was the epitome of democracy - it's not, and it never has been.

    As if to illustrate that very point, Britain was denied a referendum and that is a disgrace and a massive affront to UK democracy. But oddly many other EU nations were not and those that did vote - voted, democratically, for the Lisbon treaty - unless someone has proof (and I mean proof, not wishful extrapolation of personal sentiment) to the contrary.

    Did these folk fully understand what they were doing ... many probably didn't, but that's hardly unusual. Did many feel it was a hobson's choice ... equally likely. Does either render the outcome unreflective of their hearts desire - yes ... but undemocratic, not really.

    Merely because one (even if one feels one is in a majority) doesn't like a result, that doesn't render it undemocratic - outside a purely national perspective - and (as stated above) I entirely agree that the UK should have had the vote it was promised. But it didn't, and it is where it is. Stomping of feet, gnashing of teeth, ludicrous nationalist bills and insulting the French won't change that. As rewarding as each of these may be, in its own way.

    Had Ireland (or any other nation, including the UK) voted no, would those same people be complaining how a comparatively insignificant number of people in one nation could potentially override the already expressed wish of millions in others (in a broader EU context) was 'undemocratic' ... somehow I doubt it.

    Jason stated in another thread that this treaty would be ratified against the wishes of most EU citizens ... Well, that's his personal view, I'd argue there is evidence to the contary. Besides, how does he define 'most', and where is his evidence for that claim?

    He is right about the obsence financial incompetence and mismanagement though, but since that's just as applicable to the UK as it is other EU nations, in itself isn't a tremendously persuasive argument for much, other than tighter fiscal control.

    Britain will 'seek to frustrate and sabotage [the EU] in every way'. This sounds more like infantile, petulant toy throwing than a viable long term political strategy for change. Thatcher tried something similar, with limited success. She got away with far more than the likes of Cameron could ever hope to. Those days are over.

    IMO, Britain should now engage ever more fully and forcefully, it should work to redress some of the many deficiencies within the EU. It should not behave like a child with a smacked arse, sulking on the sidelines because it didn't get its own way. The Tory's attitude to Europe, frankly quite often embarrassing reached a new low today.

    Cameron is a joke, a lightweight - no less than PM Brown of course, and equally unfit for office. He has already taken the easy tack of attacking the French, to score a few cheap polling points. He is playing right into the hands of the lunatic right by tacitly legitimising their stance. In other words, pretty much what I expected of him.

    I respect Jason's (and Joll's etc) right to their views, I just don't share many of them, and I do think they are in no small way rooted in misplaced sentimentality. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. I think Jason especially sees intrinsic value in nationhood, whereas I tend to see intrinsic value in people.

    To me, nationality is merely a label, it is our actions that define us, not our passport. Like it or not in most respects, (national identfications aside) Britains are European - ethnically, politically and geographically. The sooner Britains accept that, and make it work for them, the better off (and likely happier) they will likely be - well maybe not all. That said, in today's increasingly homogenised world, such things mean less and less.

    I do believe that clinging to the increasingly shredded coattails of the US (which would hang the UK out to dry in a hearbeat were it to become conducive to US objectives) while simultaneously pining after some whimsical notion of 'independence' and 'we can go it alone' are not viable strategies, in my opinion of course.

    I'm not seeking to defend the EU, it has plenty to attack, but neither will I allow sentimentality or quasi nationalistic sentiment cloud my judgement about the relative merits of exclusion.

    I suppose having travelled or worked in around 70 nations, including working in many EU nations and one or two EU institutions, I am somewhat more pragmatic about the issues that face the EU (and the UK's relationship with it) than the average Sun reader. And, I'd hope, considerably more informed.

    I don't believe the UK should merely be in the EU, it should use the EU to further it's own national objectives whenever and wherever these coincide, with EU objectives - and seek to work around the worst cases of those that don't.

    It may fail, but it's likely to be more successful than pouting.
     
  13. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    Hey dong - long time no see, dude! :smile:

    Not sure about those that voted democratically for Lisbon - who d'you mean? I know Spain narrowly voted in favour of the original constitution, but most others ratified by Parliament.

    France, Netherlands and Ireland all voted no to the Constitution/Lisbon (which contain the same measures however you look at it) - umm, that kinda leaves Ireland, who voted for it under pressure, second time around. :redface:
     
  14. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    Well, that would be the other option.

    I personally think the Brits should be given a chance to voice their opinion on EU membership (since we've been denied one over Lisbon), and personally I would prefer a Norway-style arrangement. We trade with them (which is beneficial to both sides) and remain friendly and supportive, especially on projects of mutual benefit - but, crucially, be self-governing. It hasn't gone terribly wrong for Norway, so I don't see why it would for us. Even Tony Blair commented that of course we could manange outside the EU (as Switzerland and Norway do), but it's not what he would prefer.

    Throwing ourselves into the EU would be another possibility - but when it comes down to it, I don't think the British people have the stomach for the political integration that this would eventually involve. I think - and I could be wrong - that the British will always balk at the idea of being a small region in an EU Superstate ruled from Brussels, so our involvement would always, ultimately, be reluctant and resentful.

    We could make a choice one way or the other, or sit on the fence as usual and get the worst of both worlds. :/

    (There's a bit of info on me blog of what possibilities have been bandied about for future EU political integration). *Shameless blog plug* ;)
     
    #14 Joll, Nov 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2009
  15. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    Fixed it for ya (unless I've spelt it wrong too, hehe). :tongue:

    Hmmm, I'm kind've dubious about European Studies...a lot of them being directly or indirectly funded by the EU themselves. A lot of courses and info leaflets, plus certain TV and radio progs are funded by the EU if they fulfil certain pro-European criteria. I'm not convinced what they teach is necessarily an objective, open critique of the true pros and cons of EU membership - more a biased history of some of the EU's supposed benefits.

    They do tend to turn out the usual load of pro-EU cliches. How do you mean we benefit economically, 'no doubt about it'? Were you shown conclusive statistics and reasons for this, or not? Most of the info I've come across from either side has been very subjective.

    We do have a lot of trade with the EU - but a lot of stuff we buy from them is heavily subsidised by ourselves already, either by our EU membership payments or via CAP. Also, we had to ditch preferential tariffs with our former Empire and Commonwealth partners in favour of the EU, which I'm not sure turned out cheaper for us.

    Also, we've all but lost our fishing waters thanks to our membership of the EU. Firstly, when we joined, our waters were considered a 'shared resource' and parcelled out between different member states who were then allowed to overfish them (Spanish in particular). The result of this on both fishing stocks and the industry itself has been catastrophic - so the economic impact of this and the CAP would both have to be offset against any claimed 'economic benefits' of our membership.

    Also *bangs on...* the Objective 1 EU funding is misleading. As far as I'm aware, we must directly contribute half of the cost for any EU funded projects - which we may well be able to afford to fund ourselves anyway, if we didn't have a huge net contribution to pay to the EU each year... Then, these same projects proudly display the EU flag, as if they've done us a favour - when in fact it basically amounts to free advertising. :mad:
    (It's known as 'porous sovereignty' - and was designed as such. Give the EU a large pot of money - they decide how it will be spent and handed out between the nations - and they therefore get control over a not-insignificant amount of national spending, and get credit for it too. Ingenious.)
     
    #15 Joll, Nov 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2009
  16. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    Theres a lot in posts above.

    Figures from polls about support for the EU are available from the EU's "Eurobarometer". It is not all that quick to find things or to use it, but they are there. There's also plenty of material in national papers (often easier to read) which google can track down.

    On the issue of support for the Lisbon Treaty the polls show a negative response from a majority (more than half) of the EU's citizens, as well as a negative response from most individual countries . Had the Lisbon Treaty been put to a referendum in all 27 EU countries it seems most likely that most countries would have rejected it. Of course we didn't have a vote. Sarkozy back in Sep 2007 made the statement that votes are dangerous. Of course this is now ancient history. The ruling class in Europe has ratified the Lisbon Treaty against the presumed wish of the people of Europe. Whether this ratification is good or bad we could discuss all night, but that it has been made against the presumed will of the people cannot be in doubt. This is a pretty big breach of the concept of democracy.

    Then we are left with Cameron's response. His speech was about 20 minutes long, and he said a lot in those 20 minutes, much of which hasn't had all that much media coverage as the news is full of other stories. We are now in a complicated situation and his response to the ratification of Lisbon was complicated. This is a hard message to get across politically and I think he is going to have trouble with it - but that doesn't mean it is not the right message. What is I think clear is that he has so far merely set out a broad brush response and there is a lot of room for developing the details, which must happen before the next election. Much as I would have liked him to announce a referendum on EU membership I think he would have been a prat to do so now. There's about 6mths left before an election and 6mths of the EU nasty tricks department attacking him would be a problem. I think he is going to monitor public views on this one and potentially announce just this in the election manifesto.

    The financial case for and against EU membership is unclear. The benefits of being in are set out in some posts above. The benefits of being outside include freeing up trade with the rest of the world (without necessarily losing our EU trade - we represent something like 18% of the EU's internal trade and they are not going to just let that go), getting rid of the high labour costs the EU imposes so we can compete better, taking back control of our borders, rebuilding our fishing industry. There is also a moral case to be made - CAP is abhorrent because it causes famine. There is something fundamentally nasty about a political structure which year after year defends CAP - African deaths are considered less important than EU subsidy to inefficient farming practices.

    I want out. I don't know whether the grass outside the Eu fold is greener, but its our grass. I think Cameron is the best hope.
     
  17. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,510
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    That was my understanding too. I remember polls when Germany first started the ratification process, that suggested their citizens would reject the treaty had they been given a vote.

    Me too.

    I'm also not happy about putting my trust in an organisation that's construction has been so grounded in deceit (eg: disguising integration as a series of economic measures - when they're really designed for political ends...and building Europe without the people realising it, only to unveil it later).

    I am concerned though, that without a serious amount of planning and activity by the Tories during the next 5 years - in terms of setting the boundaries for our relationship with Europe - we might find ourselves in a position where we've gone off the boil, and not actually achieved much. I guess it's a risk we're gonna have to take, though.
     
    #17 Joll, Nov 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2009
  18. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Messages:
    4,706
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Rugby, England
    Evidently you are more aware of the intricate workings of the EU than i am, i even actually had to pause for a moment to remember what CAP stood for :redface:. Common Agricultural Policy, phew and without google help.:rolleyes:

    In the EU or out of it our closest trading partners are with other EU nations but we have no string pulling ability if we are not included. And subsidy works both ways surely. I know that currently the UK has the biggest projected economy over the next 25yrs of all EU nations so it can't be a bad thing right?.
    And then i have to wonder why it is that apart from the BNP and UKIP, no other party is suggesting we pull out.
     
  19. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    639
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    I don't think there's any prospect of us getting a subsidy from the EU. A UK pull out would hurt the other EU countries because they would be paying more. They don't want us to leave.

    I think the Conservatives are not advocating withdrawal because a calm assessment (which I probably struggle with:redface:) says it needs a long preparation period. In theory we could have a Conservative victory say next May followed by a referendum in as little as 3 months. We could be out by Christmas next. But to do it that quickly would cause chaos for us (and the EU). What we need is a long lead period where we work towards a managed withdrawal. A politically practical scenario makes a withdrawal referendum early in the parliament after next seem sensible. If we do it right we withdraw in an environment of business confidence with investment flowing into the UK as the European country outside the strangle-hold of EU regulations. Get it right and it could lead to prosperity.

    Labour want to stay in Europe because it is soft socialism not so far from the new Labour project. SNP, PC, SDLP want to stay in and see Scotland/Wales/NI as nations within the European super-state. The only one that definitely wants out that has Westminster seats is Sinn Fein (BNP and UKIP have no seats). Conservatives basically want out. The Lib Dems want to stay in - I just don't get it. They seem to have a moral compass yet they can stomach CAP and institutionalised corruption.
     
  20. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,933
    Likes Received:
    3
    ill post a more serious postnwhen im more sober but is no one offended that he called the plans autistic?
     
Draft saved Draft deleted