Cameron - Chatham House 2
Democracy

Cameron's EU via media: a British Model of Associate Membership

 

We want neither to be absorbed by the infallible magisterium of catholicity (‘ever-closer union’), nor isolated by the nationalism of puritanical reformation (‘out’): we want, instead, a particular ‘British model’ of EU membership – let us call it ‘Associate Membership’ – and say that it is both catholic and reformed: a true via media perched tentatively between the two extremes; sensitive to the national psyche, offensive to no one, which suits the essential disposition of the people. And let us enshrine this ‘British model’ of Associate Membership in law: let us assert its sovereign supremacy by Act of Parliament, and detail its derogations from the precepts of the Treaty of Rome for the peace and security of the realm. For, as it has been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of the United Kingdom to be governed by the European Commission..

There is a feeling of déjà vu, of constitutional precognition, in David Cameron’s ‘demands’ for EU renegotiation. In his Chatham House speech, he talked about tinkering with welfare paid to EU migrants, but refuses to address the fundamental free movement of peoples. In his letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, he says he wants a ‘legally-binding’ opt-out from ‘ever-closer union’, but insists again and again that there is no need for a new treaty. How can there be a ‘legally-binding’ amendment to the Treaty of Rome without a new legally-binding treaty to amend the Treaty? If there is to be a new treaty, it will trigger referendums in many EU member states. What if one member gives the ‘wrong’ answer? How can there be a unique UK derogation from the preamble to the Treaty of Rome when the European Court of Justice looks to its clauses for all other member states?

“What is Associate Membership?” asks the Bruges Group, in a timely if not prescient booklet. “In short, the answer is: it’s not entirely clear as to what it is at this stage,” comes the response. It is nebulous: politically formless and legally foundationless. David Cameron hopes to secure a number of relatively modest ‘legally binding’ assurances while the ECJ will continue to look to the overarching treaties to which the UK is a legally-bound signatory. EU law remains supreme: sovereignty is still ‘pooled’. British citizens can still be arrested under the provisions of the European Arrest Warrant and carted off to languish in a Greek prison.

This isn’t about welfare benefits or economic competitiveness: it is about justice, sovereignty, uncontrollable immigration and democracy. For as long as the European Union remains oblivious to the voices of its peoples, it cannot fulfil its stated mission of the pursuit of peace and reconciliation. The EU is morally infallible, judicially immutable and politically unreformable. Make whatever ‘demands’ you like, Prime Minister. They can and will change nothing. We must leave.

  • Dreadnaught

    We as an island nation have existed for centuries while the rest of Europe was a complete jumble of petty states, continually at each others throats. Quite simply, modern European countries are verdantly jealous of our past success and longevity of peaceful domesticity and once powerful empire.
    The minds than drive the EU are against all forms nationalism, national pride or our individual national cultures. Most of all they are against the individual who’s ‘rights’ they insist on foisting on all and sundry whether or not time proven provision are often more realistic.
    I have nothing more than basic human instincts in common with Turks, Bulgarians or Romanians than I have with talking fish.
    The EU is an ugly monolithic dictatorship; run by careerist politicians and pen-pushers.
    Lets get out while we still can.

  • Jon Sorensen

    The UK is already somewhat an associate member not having Euro.

    • Inspector General

      Good point about the Euro, and one recommends Mr Farage et al make good hay from it. We are doomed to have the Euro thrust on us if we stay in. It cannot be any other way. The only question is whether we do it voluntarily which we now won’t, or be made to by some future EU Führer style Directive of which this country when it comes to these diktats, almost alone of the 27, cannot wait to implement in full, with the kind of slavish obedience an SS man would admire.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Euro is not working well as some governments can’t be trusted to handle money responsibly. Sad situation. At least UK hasn’t sent a lot of money to Greece.

        • Inspector General

          No government can be trusted to handle money responsibly. Not when there are voters to be bribed pre election.

          • Jon Sorensen

            hehehe… Good point. But some are worse than others. I told my mother to move to Greece. Her money has been sent there already. But then again Greece is so bad that even refugees don’t want to stay there…

  • alternative_perspective

    There is nothing from the European project that the British people want that necessitates the existence of a supranational body which the British state is subservient to and which could not be accomplished by the former EC.

    Maastricht truly was a defining moment yet the British people were deceived by their nefarious leaders into considering it a superficial treaty.

    My opinion:, let’s get out. The direction and form of the EU is clear, we even signed up for it. We either stick by our signatures and drive this thing forward to its logical conclusion or get out. Anything in between is childish games, moreover we are stopping our European friends from progressing their clearly elucidated plans.

    We are acting like that unpleasant child which is invited to a child’s birthday party only because the birthday boy was told to be nice. And now we are there we are spoling it for everyone else and making the whole thing about us, us, us. Which is pretty typical of we egotistical Brits.

    Our decline on the worl stage from global world power to a disliked mid sized member of the EU has nothing to do with ability or ambition but our stinking hubris.

  • Notforinfants

    “The package that Cameron will try to sell the public is little more than him blundering into a new sub-optimal relationship where we lose influence but have many of the obligations that we have at present.” Good point from the Bruges Group

    On reading their interesting paper on AM it struck me that in effect, as Dan Hannan affirms, it will “change nothing”. On first reading it looks extremely complicated, and once again would leave the UK a hostage to fortune as the usual arcane and tortuous ‘horse trading’ begins. Three further brief comments.

    1. AM and its ‘no change’ status does NOT return substantial powers of governance back to the UK where they belong.

    2. There are only two options in the referendum – stay or leave. No mention or allowance for a ‘leave the EU, but opt for EU lite in the form of AM. Thus, leave means leave the EU, completely and finally.

    3. I believe the last thing the British public want or expect from our political class is another weary round of complex negotiations, mostly behind closed doors, for an AM status that they will barely understand, have never asked for, and will not accept, as it entails continued subjugation to the EU in whatever form it may take in the future.

    YG you have got it right: “it is about justice, sovereignty, uncontrollable immigration and democracy.” Absolutely. Lets throw out this further worthless piece of chicanery from a Prime Minister who clearly does not understand what is in our national interest and so is unable to stand for it

  • Notforinfants

    Does anyone have an answer to this question?:

    Why should Great Britain – the worlds 5th largest economy and leader in culture, arts, literature, science, human rights, Nobel Prizes (pro-rata), and a respected and still strong military capability, and whose language is used world-wide, be held in submission by our political class to an incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy (EU) which is unelected and totally unaccountable to anybody?

    • alternative_perspective

      I think this the point. If we were willing participants in the European project we wouldn’t be thinking in term of ‘should’ and obligations or subservience.

      The fact we are tells me that the kind of Europe we are living in isn’t one people want.

      If it was, we’d be using very different language and thinking in different terms. We should recognise this fact and stop trying to squeeze round pegs into square holes.

      • big

        We have the kind of Europe banks and big business want. I think this is one of the problems with this referendum, nobody talks about how the thing (EU) has been shaped by big business/financial interests.

  • alternative_perspective

    Query: what do you see as the end goal of the EU project as defined by ‘ever closer union’?

    Is a single EU republic actually what you want ? If not how do you square this clear intention with your aspiration? I can only foresee continual horse games and arguments with our EU friends, perpetual rounds of acrimony and British MPs lining up to hide the truth from the public. Surely this isn’t the way to conduct politics and international relations?

    • William Lewis

      He’s French and probably won’t get anywhere near a referendum ballot paper.

      • Tutanekai

        If you’re referring to me, I’m British and my name is on the electoral roll. I can and will vote in the European referendum.

        Dreadnaught’s anti-European vote is canceled out by mine. I have plenty of family members and friends who’ll be canceling out yours.

        • William Lewis

          Assuming you know how I’m going to vote.

    • Tutanekai

      It depends on what you mean by “end game”. A single European republic is a step towards world government and the abolition of the outmoded concept of the nation state.

      Christians should support this. Whatever happened to the idea of the “seamless robe of Christ”?

      • Ivan M

        They all have to be Catholic first. The other type of world government is at best a simulacrum of Heaven, or at worst the work of the Beast marking everyone with a sign, be it a digital implant, or a tattoo, or an ID card.

      • Global government has been already outmoded by reality…and burried under the other broken curiosities over at the old dust heap of history.

        • Tutanekai

          Ah the navel-gazing of the religionist who believes, among other absurdities, that his own lifetime is somehow a pivotal period in world history.

          I have no illusions about seeing world government during my lifetime. But I do think we’re heading towards it at some unknown point in the future. The present day may present a temporary reversal of that process, but the long-term trend is clear enough to see.

          The homogenisation of societies across the world with the rise of English as a common language and the increasing dominance of global brands, even in cultures that were previously resistant to them like China, is gathering pace rather than slowing down. The politics of the moment are just a minor back-current in a mighty river that’s only flowing in one direction.

          • Hahahaha! You imagine yourself as a secular materialist and here you expose yourself as an addled two-bit mystic who doesn’t even realize that the sources of his grand visons of mighty historical currents are comics, pop sci-fi and Star Trek.

            Nothing in history and anthropology suggests the slightest tendency to unite, homogenize and surrender privacy and control to power-freak fantasists like you. On the contrary, even at the smallest social unit, the hunter-gatherer’s band society, with its kinship units, individual hearths and ever-present conflicts and alliances, humans viscerally resist the mystical fascism you’re drawn to.

            And religion is what saves the mind from this malady, Linus. It places God above and beyond everything, including egotism, slavery to nature and worship of Big Men. So, here, in this century, with satelites orbiting our world, you’ve reduced your Weltanschauung to the level of a primitive, superstitious peasant, Dude. You might as well use chicken guts to divine the future and worship rocks or your own toes!

          • Tutanekai

            Mystical schmystical…

            Don’t take your own cultish instincts and project them onto me.

            The overall trend worldwide is towards international cooperation and association. The current European talk of fragmentation is just talk – no countries have split, no regions have seceded.

            Fragmentation is just a theory until it actually happens. So we have a couple of hundred of years of ever greater union set against a couple of years of tabloid press talk of fragmentation. The trend is clear. Rumours do not make history.

            Quebec is still part of a united Canada. Scotland remains in the United Kingdom. Catalonia and the Basque Country remain in Spain. Flanders and Wallonia still make up Belgium. Europe is still united. Regional trade unions across the world are going strong. Further cooperation is inevitable. And cooperation leads to the blurring of cultural distinctions.

            World government will happen one day. You’ll be long dead though, so don’t lose any sleep over it.

          • See, you are a mystic, of the secular Paradise kind. Too lost in pseudo-messianic progressivism to notice that what holds units together for now is raw power and money. When those reach a certain level on their already noticable downward spiral…poof! And before you can say wha-wha happenin’, it’s back to the times of the Medicis and the Mongols at the gates. Long life and health to you; may you enjoy the entertainment.

          • Tutanekai

            The mystic is you. You’re a tabloid mystic – one who reads about marginal and populist nationalist groups in trashy newspapers and then spins great fantasies about their world-changing powers.

            Time will tell. And when it does, we’ll see how accurate your predictions of doom and destruction were. Nay-sayers have been heralding the break-up of the European Union since its very inception. But it’s still here. So much for their powers of prescience. So much for yours.

  • David

    What a splendid article. It is spot on the mark ! Many thanks Your Grace.
    The EU is no more reformable than Soviet Russia or Hitler’s Third Reich. It is on a mission for “ever closer union”, in order to create a Superstate governed by the unelected Commissioners in Brussels – it is that simple. A Via Media is not available. Treaty change is not available. Full stop !
    Beware of Cameron’s “smoke and mirrors”, for surely he loves the EU, he loves Big Brother, or Mrs Merkel, as it relieves him of making really well thought through policy decisions.
    Farage has been right all along. Reform is an illusion. Out now is the only way to protect our nation and regain control of our own laws, sovereignty and borders. If we risk becoming a few % of GDP poorer (which we shan’t) then so be it – my English soul is not for sale ! Out Now !

  • CliveM

    To give a counter view for a moment. We live in an increasingly dangerous word. The middles east is a frightening mess. China is flexing its muscles. North Korea is as wacky as ever and Putin is bent on telling everyone what a big, important country Russia is. Throw into the mix Pakistan and Afghanistan and we can see a truly frightening cocktail. At the same time we are witnessing increasing economic, political and military competition from various nations in the world; India, China, Russia, Brazil, various other Far Eastern and potentially some African nations. How long will we be the fifth largest economy (especially if Scotland breaks away).

    Meanwhile we see an increasingly disengaged USA, increasingly bored with Europe and turning more and more of its attention to the Pacific area. Can they be seen as a reliable ally? Especially as when they have been in the past, they got precious little thanks or support for it from its ‘allies’ in Europe.

    What of our own military capability? Well its barely independent. Completely dependent on the US for our nuclear deterrence, increasingly unable to afford the cost of the hardware systems needed to compete and due to Govt procurement policies losing local manufacturing and design capability by the day.

    So where is Britain’s place in this world? Increasingly small and irrelevant. With a voice that’s getting crowded out and ignored. We have held onto the US coattails since WW2, but now they show signs of wanting to shake us off. Can we therefore, for all its failings, afford to isolate ourselves from the EU? Will the world be safer for us? More secure? More prosperous?

    My heart says get out. Retreat into a modern splendid isolation. Not getting involved in other peoples wars or local politics, but trading with all and building up our wealth with no reference to anybody.

    My head says that’s a mirage.

    Problem is the current ‘negotiation’ highlights all Cameron’s weaknesses. Bombast, lack of ambition, the appearance at least of promising more than he has the courage to deliver. I think this is the right route, unfortunately we have the wrong guide.

    • big

      Clive the EU and the USA have this thing called TTIP its apparently the biggest free trade deal in history! TTP is much the same for the Pacific, I dont think thats what one would call ‘disengaged’ You are wrong about the US vis-a vis our relationship with the EU, they , the Americans, want us in, not out.You are entirely correct about the PM and our place in the world.

    • BigMach

      Our safety is not assured because of our membership of the EU. The EU has no military heart, other than possibly in Germany and we know where that leads. The EU is in economic decline and cannot even help itself, snared as it is in the Euro, much less provide protection for Britain from chill economic winds.

      We should seize the opportunity to set ourselves free from this moribund carcass with both hands.

      We are hardly small and irrelevant as the fifth largest economy in the world with one of its most effective military forces. If we are worried about the cost of military hardware, the £20 billion we pay to Brussels every year should help.

      • big

        Our feckless politicians would soon waste £20 billion.

    • Notforinfants

      an extraordinarily pessimistic, if not defeatist view. Britain’s global reach, leadership, and influence is still very strong. and is uniquely positioned globally in terms of economic, cultural and soft and hard power assets.
      The UK is home top the world’s global language, the world’s most global city, and many of the most global universities and research institutes. British legal ideas and the common law approach is admired the world over. It is the basis of our stability.
      These advantages would continue irrespective or our membership of the EU which is, as Mark Steyn rightly observes “a 1970s answer to a 1940s problem” – i.e. largely irrelevant to our national interest.

    • David

      Dear me ! Cheer up, it is not like that at all.
      We are the fifth largest economy in the world, our global influence via culture and our now international language continues to grow, and our military, although far from its might and splendour of past ages, still punches a pretty big hit as well.
      The future is not assured for any nation, but outside the EU, masters of our own destiny again, with sovereignty restored over lands and seas we can, with hard work, have a very good future.

      • Fifth largest economy in the world, for how long? We are sliding down the chart, it wasn’t that long ago we were the third then the fourth.

        We need to leave the EU for a chance to be number one, otherwise we will be subsumed by the US and their corporate fascistic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which they are pushing on the EU. Our government will really be superfluous to requirements if we stay in the EU. Not only will we be subservient to the EU masters, but to the US corporate giants as well. Cameron is a follower who is out of his depth as Prime Minister. He would make a good middle manager somewhere. His lack of nouse and leadership qualities especially those required to lead a country like the UK now is putting us in a dangerous and disadvantaged position. His renegotiation is mere tinkering around the edges.

        • David

          I agree exiting the EU is absolutely essential.
          However even with everything going well our limited size makes aiming for number one economy unrealistic. Personally I consider culture plus a good economy a better set of aims that just worshipping at the altar of GDP. Big is not always better.
          However I agree with all the rest of your statement.

          • Well how else are we going to maintain a population of 70 million and growing in a decent British lifestyle? We are well situated in the world, slap bang in the middle. We can trade with East and West.

    • Manfarang

      Throughout the world economic unions are being formed and trading with them as an isolated country will be difficult.

  • Manfarang

    We must leave? And become an Isle of Man writ large.Who can afford to live there?

    • Inspector General

      Manfarang. It’s too expensive in England as it is. One has a nephew, single, no dependants, living at home with his parents who plans to move out and buy in the next year or two when he turns 30. He’s saving hard, has been for years, but he’s inconvenienced by working for a living, and not reliant on the tax payer to pay his rent for him, assuming he could find somewhere. You see, you play it by the rules in this country, and you lose out to grasping Johnny Migrant every time. All Johnny needs to do is bring over the wife and children with him, and he knows he can put his feet up thereafter. Everything is laid on, gratis.

      • You are complaining about your honoured members of the “infrastructure,” Inspector! Look at it as “investment” in more numerous and less mobile and bothersome infrastructures. Can’t do much harm from the couch. And we’ll be catching up to your advanced ways on this side of the Puddle as well, finally. After eight years of good (but apparently deadly dull) economic growth and stability and even a balanced budget, if you remember what those mean, our new Liberals promised to end the days of boredom and spend, spend, spend, on infrastructure. That means more bird-chopping wind turbines and 30,000 migrants before Christmas…to start with. “Sunny days ahead, my friends, sunny days,” as our new PM promised on election night.

        • Inspector General

          Greetings Avi. Do you think Canada can cope with a few more refugeers than 30,000? Surely the country, now that it is in the hands of humane types, can take in a few more. Shall we start the bidding at 2 million? Don’t worry, the electorate wants it this way, apparently….

          • By all means, Inspector! Look at a map of our vast, beautiful country; we have room to spare, so as many as you can load. As much as I would like to have them near, I can’t be selfish; we need our North developed…Nunavut, Labrador, the Arctic circle.

          • Inspector General

            Halal Artic Circle. Yes! It has merit…

      • Manfarang

        A British citizen with a foreign spouse from outside the EU must have a well paying job before a visa is granted for his spouse to join him in the UK. Johnny migrant is treated likewise.
        I have seen some low priced housing in Strabane.

  • Inspector General

    So long as the German chancellor holds sway in these islands, as the present incumbent does now and as a certain previous incumbent tried to, we’ll never be free of the EU beast. So you can call the soon to be determined trade arrangement whatever you like. Because that is all that it will be. A trade arrangement – nothing more.

    We’ve been deluding ourselves for years that the United Kingdom is trusted to contribute to the EU’s aims and purpose. As Cranmer, and his erudite contributors have proved, without a shadow of reasonable doubt, the damn thing’s aims and purposes were worked out in permanent detail long before we had wind we’d been conned by Heath. Rather like Marxism then – there never was any chance whatsoever it was going to be anything but the blueprint in full.

    For those that still doubt, and one would expect many here would be in that position, in all the 44 long years we have bowed to this monster, the obscene fishing policy of throwing back dead perfectly edible fish still exists. One suspects that it is the same policy throughout those years. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. NOTHING WILL CHANGE. Let the blighters crash out as they will, with madcap strategies such as that disgrace to bring them down. Let the EU rot away on the continent, with us well removed.

    As for Cameron’s personal hopes, well we all know he isn’t the smartest PM we’ve ever had. So expect in due course something of the order of “I have in my hand, a piece of paper from Mrs Merkel, guaranteeing this great nation that if we stay in, we can spend the next 50 years suggesting reform of the EU, as if they are ever going to move on anything.”

    The time for talking is over, chaps, as we found out before on 3rd September, 1939

    Vote out. They obviously don’t do words, so give them action to consider. Let’s see Merkel get on her knees and beg us to stay…not so much for our contribution to the future direction of the EU, which patently was never wanted, but for the lost danegeld of 55 million pound sterling every single day it is and has been our sorry lot to wring out of our now overcrowded country to support the hegemony that is the German influence the EU allows.

  • carl jacobs

    There is a curious phenomenon going on in Europe. Population groups seek to subdivide into smaller and smaller nations even as they desire to integrate into the larger Europe. [Cough] Scotland [Cough]. It’s almost as if Security is becoming a tragedy of the commons among an increasing number of vanity states. Europe does not possess the collective mass to compensate for individual weakness in its constituent states.

    It is already true that Europe as a collective whole does not have a coherent functional military establishment absent the US. European militaries are essentially built as adjuncts to the US force structure. This is why the US had to lead the initial airstrikes into Libya for example. Europe could not have suppressed Libyan Air defenses on its own. As countries subdivide, the resulting individual nations become less capable of producing an independent capability and thus become even more dependent on the US. The secession of Scotland would for example weaken the UK while producing a new nation that is essentially worthless to the combined defense of Europe. Indeed, Scotland would have every incentive to say “We will be defended whether we contribute or not. Let’s spend the money on the welfare state.”

    An integrated European Defense Establishment could address this but that would require political unification beyond European ability. So even though Europe could as a collective build a military power sufficient for European needs, there seems to be no political way to achieve it. Meanwhile, the individuall states cut their defense spending on the assumption that “the collective” will compensate. Well, the collective means the US at the moment. If the US goes away, Europe is screwed.

    You can see why Europeans try to control conflict and war through International law and process and agreements. Europe is a militarily weak continent that doesn’t have the capacity to fight. Yet it still sees itself as the center of civilization. It wants to control the process of war and especially control the use of American forces. That way it can maintain its influence without spending the money on security or solving its problem of political fracture.

    But that is a very dangerous strategy.

    • bluedog

      Absolutely right, never were truer words spoken. The whole EU experiment is lurching towards a cataclysm in which a hegemon with real military force emerges within (Germany again?) or the benign oversight of the US is replaced by a hostile imperium from outside the EU. Russia, China, a coalition of Islamic powers with nuclear weapons are all possibilities. The point is completely lost on the EU statelets that any nation whose survival depends on an external guarantor will one day face mortal danger. Would Obama really sacrifice Chicago for Copenhagen? No way.

    • Manfarang

      There was during the cold war something called the Western European Union.

    • Phil R

      We don’t want a European Army.

      With your country’s history you can see the difficulty for States wanting to leave the Federation

      • carl jacobs

        Europe has basically outsourced its defense to the US. NATO works well only to the extent that the US military is capable and willing to fight in and for Europe. I can understand why Europe likes this arrangement. American defense spending is basically subsidizing the European welfare state. How much longer will that arrangement be sustainable?

        • Phil R

          I agree, but that was not my point.

          One can easily see a European Army being used against those member states that will not enforce the EU law, elect the “wrong” leaders or of course, wants to leave the club.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Here is the beginning of an essay by G.K.Chesterton entitled French and English, first published (I think) in 1908.

    It is obvious that there is a great deal of difference between being international and being cosmopolitan. All good men are international. Nearly all bad men are cosmopolitan. If we are to be international we must be national. And it is largely because those who call themselves the friends of peace have not dwelt sufficiently on this distinction that they do not impress the bulk of any of the nations to which they belong. International peace means a peace between nations, not a peace after the destruction of nations, like the Buddhist peace after the destruction of personality. The golden age of the good European is like the heaven of the Christian: it is a place where people will love each other; not like the heaven of the Hindu, a place where they will be each other.

    I thought of this piece when Mr Portillo, in one of his Continental railway journeys, visited the Peace Palace in the Hague, founded in 1913 by Mr. Carnegie and friends.

  • dannybhoy

    It is unrealistic to believe that a member of a political and economic union can change the rules that bind other nations in order to suit its own national interests. Because of course other member states will demand similar concessions, and the rules will then become meaningless.
    My problem is that that England as a nation has always been at odds or war with one or more of the European nations. Our history as Great Britain has been littered with acts of rivalry and dissension.
    We are different, Our outlook is different, and I doubt very very much that the EU will miss us as much as they would miss our contributions and markets.

    Our country used to build its own tvs and white goods. We had large chemical and manufacturing companies, heavy industries, large civil engineering companies, a vibrant fishing industry and our own fruit and vegetable production.

    Over the years our country has been stripped of the very economic activities that Germany, France and even Italy have retained and supported. We are dependent now on other European nations for ammunitions and certain kinds of weaponry, and only our banking and financial services have achieved success.

    There are so many nations out there that we could successfully trade with and even form alliances with; and thus regain our true independence, prosperity and industrial creativity.
    Yet it would not surprise me if Cameron plays it safe and binds this country even more tightly to this geriatric, bureaucracy obsessed European Union.

  • Dreadnaught

    And what happens to European culture when they bring Turkey into the fold. ‘Christians voting for Turkey’ – now that sounds a little familiar, where have I heard that or something like it before… now let me think …

    • Anna

      That will be the final nail in the coffin.

      Turkey will fast-track citizenship for people from all over the ‘Ummah’ currently taking up space there, facilitating their entry into Europe.

  • Owl

    “They can and will change nothing. We must leave”
    Agreed.
    It’s just that Dave doesn’t want to.
    Dave has never wanted to and what the people want is not important to Dave.
    He just does what he is told to.
    I am glad that more people, including HG, are starting to see Dave as he really is. A true Fabian.
    Now, we start by getting rid of Dave and his ilk……………

    • Sign the petition currently going round for a vote of no confidence in Cameron.>176,000 have already signed.

      https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104471

      • bluedog

        Careful, Marie. Remember when 600,000 petitioners against SSM were counted as one by Cameron? Maths is not Dave’s strong point.

      • dannybhoy

        You mean this one?
        “Vote no confidence in David Cameron:
        The current Tory government has caused devastation for the poorest in society for the last 5 years. We cannot afford another 5 years of Tory rule, with the recent welfare reform that will cause nothing but immense poverty in the UK.”

        Surely that would be an argument for staying in the EU??

        • No not necessarily, I don’t think the person who wrote this had our membership of the EU in mind.
          But of course if we didn’t have to pay such huge membership fees to the EU club that Cameron wants us to stay in, we might not have to make such drastic cuts.

    • chiefofsinners

      This Cameron chap looks more like a pig every time I see him. All jowelly and sweaty-through-the-nose. Perhaps Merkel, like a latter day Circe, is metamorphosing him, to bolster her bratwurst collection and eventually swallow him up in the new Germanic imperialism that they call the EU. Possibly he is mimicking Napoleon in Animal Farm, deserting all he first stood for as he feasts with the neighbouring farmers.
      Or maybe he should just be more careful about participating in initiation rites.

    • Phil R

      It seems they are all Fabians

      Hence our problems

  • chiefofsinners

    Out. Faster than a Russian athlete. Faster than you can drop a Sunday trading bill. Faster than Corbyn kissing the Queen’s hand. Faster than Boris out of the West Bank. Flee.

    • And I will be raising my first glass of scotch to your Mr Johnson, this Sabbath.

      • chiefofsinners

        Every dog has it’s day. That was Boris’s.

  • Ivan M

    Nasty.

    • Tutanekai

      Democracy is nasty?

      What would you prefer? A theocracy where priests get to call the shots?

      Lock up your children in that case.

      • Ivan M

        Democracy may or may not be nasty. It is nasty though democratic, to vote just to nullify the other man’s vote.

  • Anton

    “EU Via Media”

    Whether intentional or not, a nice double meaning, Your Grace.

  • CliveM

    It’s all very well looking at where we are today, you also have to look at where we will be globally 20 years down the line.

    As Manfrang has highlighted, we are moving into a world of large trading blocks. These blocks would dictate how you traded with them, Britain’s voice would be drowned out. We have no Empire and we effectively abandoned the Commonwealth long ago. Canada, Australia, New Zealand? They care little and we can’t look towards them for support. Our loss of influence will be accelerated and we will be frozen out at the top table.

    Our military capability is more imagined then real. As Carl points out, even in conjunction with France we were unable to do something as simple as bombing Libya without American support. The £22billion ‘saving’ by not being in the EU would not be spent on military expenditure. The politicians are greedy for money for their pet schemes and defence expenditure is not one of them. Our Army is pitifully small.

    Yes we have cultural capital, but let’s be frank, it will matter squat in for example, a trade war. Threatening not to send the latest episodes of Sherlock Holmes will influence nothing.

    Currently we are the 5th largest economy. But that is based on shaky foundations and many other countries are coming up fast and will overtake us. We manufacture little and are over reliant on our Services and Finance sectors. The second of which would certainly come under increasing pressure and regulatory attack from the EU if we left. France (and others) are after revenge for what they see as the Anglo Saxon failings.

    However one of the things that annoys me is the suggestion that we can’t survive outside the EU. Of course we can and would probably thrive. But we would be operating in a word that won’t listen to us and will not care what we think. We will be unable to protect our interests and will no longer have any allies to help us do so. This isn’t the 19th Century.

    Most of what I say is also true of other European nations. The old models no longer apply. The question is will things be better and more secure in or out of the EU. A lot of the issues I highlight may happen to us anyway. I’m actually not sure what the answer to the question is.

    • chiefofsinners

      If membership of a trading bloc is really necessary, I’d rather join the United States of America than a United States of Europe.

      • CliveM

        Well I wouldn’t disagree.

    • dannybhoy

      Good points Clive, but it seems to me that the EU is no longer fit for purpose. It is hidebound and inefficient and corrupt, without dynamic leadership. I think the old tensions remain and the United Kingdom has very little real clout within the EU. There are countries in Europe we do get on with quite well; the Dutch, the Norwegians, Italians, but we don’t have to be in a club to trade with them.
      My concern is that Europe is retreating into itself and I doubt very much that as a political union the EU would come to our aid should we need military assistance for example. Europe has been long content to shelter under the American military umbrella, paring their own defences to the bone whilst dissing the Yanks at every opportunity..
      So what do we do? I think we look abroad and forge alliances with countries with whom we have more in common, and that is the Commonwealth nations, India and Canada for example.

      • CliveM

        Sometimes I get the impression the world is retreating into itself (with the possible exceptions of China and Russia!).

        You say alliances with Canada and India? What sort of alliances do you mean and ask yourself the question, what can we offer them that it would make it attractive. Our relationship with India, for example, is a little fraught at times. They very much see themselves as a super power of the future, what would they need of us?

        • dannybhoy

          Granted all our problems political and societal, the self indulgent ‘soap operaish lowbrow culcha’, and the weaknesses of our economy, I think this country is still respected around the world for our stability, history, democracy and sense of justice.
          After ww2 it seems to me we lost our way and our confidence. Joining the Common Market seemed a very sensible move economically. The excesses of the Welfare State (imo) encouraged a further descent into comfort and complacency.
          But I think many now realise that the EU is not doing us a lot of good, and that we need to consider our options.

          • CliveM

            I think a lot of countries respect us, but are ambivalent about us as well. I think that is a hangover from the Empire. However I think most countries are hard headed, any sort of alliance or deals will be based on an assessment of what is in it for them.

            Britain outside the EU will have to find an answer to that.

            I say this not because I like the EU, I don’t. It’s because the vote will be the biggest in our lifetime and needs to be based on an equally hard headed assessment of what will be best.

          • dannybhoy

            It is economic and military strength which commands respect of course, but I see no indications that remaining in the EU will give us either.

      • CliveM

        I would be interested in Avi’s view for a Canadian perspective.

        • dannybhoy

          I’m always interested in Avi’s perspective!

        • Alright! Carl and I get to represent an e tire continent…me the bigger and better bit, of course.

          “We have no Empire and we effectively abandoned the Commonwealth long ago. Canada, Australia, New Zealand? They care little and we can’t look towards them for support.”

          Sadly true, although I’m still unclear about the forensics of who abandoned whom first. The Falklands was an eye-opener for me, with the indifference, public and institutional, never mind offer s of military or even symbolic assistance. With our Liberal government now, the old Inyernationalis (now “globalist”) elites are back and while seething during the seven years of neo-conservative Conservative rule, they have “evolved” towards even greater animosity towards a distinct, English, traditionalist Britain. Basically, in any confrontation between the UK and the EU, Canada will side with the EU which it wants to emulate just as surely as it will side with the Palestinians against Israel, while pretending to act as the “honest broker” in both cases. Old Britain represents the oppressive, stodgy, racist Imperialist and even comical past; Israel, a regressive, nationalist, religious anomaly, and both stand in the way of glorious Progress.

          “Sunny days ahead, my friends, sunny days,” as our ebulient new PM chortled his chilling words. Canada is not a world power, but it has an odd influence and standing …mostly inertia from the three decades of acting as the world’s Care Bear… so, for you guys this means finger-wagging and “not okay!” admonitions from us should you drift to the right, attempt a distancing from the EU and lag in your duties as a Global Partner. Sorry…wasn’t up to me.

          • CliveM

            Yes pretty much what I thought. Those looking towards the old Commonwealth need to look elsewhere, that ship has sailed.

            Not sure about Eastern Europe, we’ve annoyed them as well! Not happy with us complaining about all those Polish builders and Bulgarian plumbers ‘invading’ the country and ‘stealing’ our jobs. Besides they will also be tied down by EU rules.

            If we go it alone, it will literally be that.

          • dannybhoy

            “Sadly true, although I’m still unclear about the forensics of who abandoned whom first.”
            That’d be us Avi, and to many of my generation it’s to our shame that we abandoned those who stood by us in two world wars; and then got into bed with the countries (collective) we liberated at great cost and who resented being thus rescued by and from a nation they had long disliked…
            Shame on us!

          • CliveM

            True, but it was simply an abrupt acceleration of a trend that was happening anyway.

          • I can’t imagine what you could have done under a devolving, symbolic monarchy and surrender of the Empire. And we, like others, got walloped by the historically unprecedented speed of transformation and previously unimaginable wealth. Now, with the dust settling, we realize that the vines of our material and cultural connections have withered. It”s an uncomfortable feeling, but only to those of us old or knowledgeable enough to know what we lost.

          • dannybhoy

            I am grateful to be English Avi, but not proud. Perhaps living abroad gives you a different perspective -as you yourself will have experienced. I don’t know.
            But I do love my country,
            I just think that sometimes our class structure encourages an unhealthy smugness and arrogance that is unbecoming.
            I think it probably has its roots in that period of Empire; where people began to think the English really were superior.
            I don’t think Drake or Raleigh or even Nelson, or Wellington would have had it. I think it’s quite recent.
            If we look at the Germans, Czechs and others, we do see a degree of seriousness and education and dedication seriously lacking in Britain since ww2.
            Other English/British people here may disagree with me, but that’s how my thinking has developed over the years.

          • CliveM

            Wellington had it in spades!

            Actually I am proud to be British, althoug I understand your reluctance to say the same about being English ;0)

          • dannybhoy

            :0)!!

            The book I read about Wellington’s military campaigns in Spain didn’t contain any of that British arrogance Clive..

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsular_War

          • And so you should be. Shabbat shalom!

          • CliveM

            Shabbat Shalom to you as well.

          • CliveM

            Actually don’t dish the arrogance, without it we would have capitulated in WW2 and if we had lost it afterwards, we would now be compliant members of th EU, gagging for ever closer union.

          • dannybhoy

            No, that wan’t arrogance, it was really Churchill’s belief that we were fighting for the right and the freedom and democracy and morality that we stood for.
            Don’t forget Clive that there were plenty of folk in the Establishment and Intelligentsia who wanted us to ‘come to terms’ with Mr Hitler….

          • CliveM

            It took a smiggen of arrogance to believe we could still win. We were after all British!

          • dannybhoy

            We weren’t prepared for war Clive. Churchill had warned us, but we didn’t want to hear him.
            Those young Brits who did respond loved their country and believed they knew their duty lay in rallying to the flag.

          • CliveM

            Has to be said, narrow dividing line between self confidence and arrogance.

          • dannybhoy

            Exactly. I think we had self confidence because of our history. I don’t think it was arrogance. A lot of British young people were studying in Germany, and I think there was often an evident earnestness which we have lost and the Germans and others have retained.

          • Just a quick thought before running off to shabbat business.

            The classism you mention is a perfect example; it’s not the system, which when working can economically benefit all and give everyone a sense of belonging. The problem is the systemic breakdown which turned nobility…right up to members of the royalt into money-grubbing, perverted vapid fops without responsibilities and the lower classes into shallow, resentful wanna-be’s .

          • dannybhoy

            Yes,
            although I would say that what the ‘nobility’pretended to look down on.they had in common with any other person; but they managed to convince themselves (and the man in gutter), that success and privilege was their right.
            That Cockney guy who befriended you (and taught you proper English, ;0)), was just as much an authentic Englishman as those that looked down on him..
            Even in Judaism there are the rich Jews who give money to the synagogue or a good cause. They are regarded by some as blessed by God, or good at business, and therefore treated with deference. It’s slightly different to our class/privilege/old boy system, but the principle is the same. We can’t escape it.

            I don’t say it’s an exclusively English problem, all human hierarchies generate a ‘Higher and Lower’, a ‘Them and an Us’. Because we are still a stable civilised society, those differentiations remain. John Major was our last Prime Minister who tried to replace snobbery with a meritocracy, but it didn’t work.

        • carl jacobs

          American opinion is Canadian opinion. Canada is sort of like an American territory. One day in the future we’ll finish colonizing it and turn it into a state or two.

          • CliveM

            Well there is always the hope that it would civilise you!

          • carl jacobs

            We have to de-Liberalize them first so they’ll be fit for citizenship. We think of of it as virtuous nation building.

          • CliveM

            Says the man of a country with Obama as President and is going to have Clinton as the next one!

          • carl jacobs

            Avi isn’t really Canadian, ya know. He’s an Israeli pretending to be a Canadian. The Canadians are just too polite to mention it. Just think about this. Imagine someone painted a swastika on the side of Avi’s truck. A Canadian would handle this by saying “Now, Bob. We need to talk about this, and discover the underlying sources of your anger,”

            Somehow I don’t think Avi would handle that according to the traditional Canadian manner.

          • CliveM

            Well are Canadians really like that? All I know is the were the best allied soldiers in WW1, with the best General and good fighting soldiers again in WW2.

            I think you’ve been duped.

          • carl jacobs

            That was then. Back when they still had a Union Jack on their flag. Canadians have grown. Progressed. Become unenlightened. Just look at their flag now. An eco-friendly environmentally sensitive leaf in the bright colors of the Labour party.

            C’mon now. Where do you think they got the name for the “Red Green Show?”

            😉

          • CliveM

            So what you are saying is that they were a better nation under the Union flag?

            Is there a lesson there for the USA? Just think what you might have achieved?

            Certainly you would be able to spell properly :0)

          • carl jacobs

            Is there a lesson there for the USA?

            Yeah. It’s going to take a lot of deprogramming to make them fit to be American citizens. But we’re up to it.

            And it’s ultimately to their benefit.

          • carl jacobs

            the best General

            General Sir Arthur Currie?

          • CliveM

            Best allied General.

            Although that probably made him the best General on either side.

          • carl jacobs

            Waaaaay too early to make any statements like that.

          • CliveM

            Would you bet against it?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes.

          • CliveM

            If only I was a gambling man.

            But frankly I’m to tight with my cash!

          • dannybhoy

            Read ‘The Shadow Party’. read the backgrounds of the Clintons and Obama. Watch the recent vids examining Hilary Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi debacle..

            It’s not about the guilt; it’s about the deceit and duplicity.
            There is something rotten in the American political system.

          • Don’t worry, your man Bernie Sanders will get in when the FBI finally nabs the Butcher of Benghazi Hillary and her second daughter, Huma Abedin of the Muslim Brotherhood.

          • carl jacobs

            Sanders can’t be President. He’s Canadian.

          • dannybhoy

            Canada is a child of the Mother Country, and remains a good loyal friend of Great Britain. The USA is the black sheep amongst our colonial children….

          • Carl, you’re being colonized as we speak. But we will generously take you and few others as refugees from the coming Republic of Aztlán. Keep an updated cv handy and convert your greenbacks to precious metals.

      • As I opined to Clive below (or above, depending on your settings), forget about Canada, and while I admire India, it has too many types with cooky, anti-Western notions and is compelled to molly-coddle its threatening Muslim neighbours and citizens.

        Look to the Eastern European states as partners in conservatism, instead. They have tasted fascism and communism, see things more soberly than we do and have a love and passion for traditions and Western ways. And, they are not asking for much beyond economic survival at thus time.

        • dannybhoy

          The good:
          They work hard
          They tend to be well educated and motivated
          They don’t have quite the same negative history with us as our nearer neighbours. Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland for example, have positive connections with us.

          But there is a lot of cyber crime originating in these countries, people trafficking and prostitution. They are nearer to unpredictable/bullying Russia, and would come under political/military pressure from the Bear, who would want them in their sphere of influence.
          But yes, it could be a positive move in terms of trade and innovation.
          Like (ahem!) I said, we need to explore the options and there most definitely are options…
          To stay in the EU is the easy option. It’s like going into a care home isn’t it? You’re past taking responsibility for your own affairs, you can’t manage the garden any more, and the local louts frighten you. Why not let it all go and become a fully paid up resident? It has the added benefit that when it all falls apart (which I think it will), you can blame them…

          • You are right, of course, and as someone who has lived in Eastern Europe as a child and gone for visits and research trips as a young adult, I can add volumes to your negatives. But there is a variety of substantial differences on the spectrum stretching between, say, the primitive Russian psyche and the Central European depth and sophistication of Bohemia. Keep in mind the maladies you are listing are maladies of poverty, mis-government and the last remnants of dysfunctional peasant cultures. You can see that under favourable political and economic conditions the Eastern European adapts rapidly and capably and most importantly maintains a sense of self, a pride and a preference for small “l” libertarianism.

      • Ivan M

        You are back to living on your island as Douglas Hurd said long ago. What do you think you can offer India or India to you, separated by two oceans, that they cannot obtain or offer in exchange, from China or Japan or South-East Asia or Africa or the Middle-East or Australia. The Empire as far as India is concerned is long gone. About the only partial advantage that the British had was in heavy industry and defence, but that has been overhauled through the years. With the success of Russian arms in Syria, they would be the only seller that the Indian defence forces will finally consider, no matter what Modi tells Cameron. Sad to say without access to a trading bloc such as the EU, industry and business will suffer from tariffs, hidden tariffs, and tax disadvantages.

        • dannybhoy

          A Christian can never be a “little Englander” Ivan, but we should want what is best for our nation and work for what approximates most closely for our Christian values in society.
          I am not arguing for a resurgence of British jingoistic glory. We are a small country with a long history of innovation and talent. We had an Empire but that was a blip and (thank Goodness) it’s gone. That doesn’t mean that we couldn’t regain our own independence and control of our seas our borders and enforce our own laws instead of letting Europe do it all for us.

          • Ivan M

            I think the current business environment requires that UK be part of a trading bloc. Cameron is just facing reality. Everyone else is scrambling to join one. My impression is that the EU is a convenient cover for those who reengineered the UK society. I believe that you would have got SSM whether in or out of the EU since the general population is indifferent to it. Best to work with like minded Europeans to turn things around.

    • Ivan M

      we were unable to do something as simple as bombing Libya without American support…

      You have to thank God for little mercies. Had you the ability to bomb Libya by yourself, as say when Mrs Thatcher was around, you would not have committed such criminal and insane deeds.

      • carl jacobs

        Something is missing in this post.

        • Ivan M

          Please supply the missing item.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t know what it is. You say it was merciful that Britain couldn’t bomb Libya, because if Britain could have bombed Libya, then it would not have committed “such criminal and insane deeds” – which I suspect is a reference to bombing Libya.

            It reads to me as “It was merciful that Britain couldn’t bomb Libya because if it could have bombed Libya, then it wouldn’t have bombed Libya.”

            That didn’t make any sense to me. But I also didn’t think that was what you were trying to say. So I thought you might have assumed something in the post that didn’t get written down.

          • Ivan M

            Yes you are right. It doesn’t make much sense. I was aiming for the idea that Mrs Thatcher, though strong, would not have gotten herself involved in killing an old enemy rendered harmless through the years, but I didn’t make it.

  • Mike Stallard

    ” It is nebulous: politically formless and legally foundation less. ”
    Of course it is – they have not decided it for us yet!