[Re: Cameron’s EU balancing act makes treaty renegotiation unavoidable, yesterday]
This article overwhelms with its lack of ambition. It argues that EU partners will let us reform the terms of our membership, but only if we stick to those reforms they already agree with. What of the membership requirements they want to keep or extend? Europe-wide justice policies are pursued with enthusiasm. Employment regulations are happily taken up by social democratic European governments. Europe won’t allow Britain to put these issues on the table because it considers them integral to a level playing field inside the Single Market.
As the author says, the whole referendum issue is fraught with uncertainty. First, Ed Miliband says he won’t hold a referendum. But will he risk the clear public support for a vote undermining his poll ratings? Secondly, will David Cameron manage to achieve a significant new deal? It’s possible that he won’t and, if he’s still Prime Minister after 2015, he may be unable to support either side of the vote. Finally, will the public have lost patience with the issue by the time a referendum is held? The experience of Britain’s last referendum – over the alternative vote – suggests enthusiasm is followed by lackluster turnout and fear of change. Will the decision be accepted if too few were involved in making it?
BEST OF TWITTER
From now, the EU question no longer hinges on what Tory MPs think. It’s about what the people decide in an in-out vote. Historic.
Labour MEPs have created a headache for Ed Miliband. Six months ago they blocked an EU vote in the Shadow Cabinet.
We’re back in the 1970s with a vengeance – reconsidering our relationship with Europe. The rock music was so much better then.
We voted to be part of a trade bloc and landed in a federal Europe – like going on a date and discovering an arranged marriage.