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In Not Out

PM David Cameron has today pledged that, should his party win the next election outright, he will hold a referendum on Britain being in/out of the EU - if the EU does not agree to the UK's negotiating demands.  I've seen this sort of tactic with Quebec - it created economic uncertainty, and damaged the relationship there between provincial and federal levels of government.  Here, it is a worse proposition - for the UK is not an island that can, Reagan style, cowboy it alone.  The UK's natural home is in Europe, for reasons of a cultural, and financial reason.  Little Englandism aside, more is gained by the open borders and trade between Britain and the EU, than is ever lost - just ask the millions of Brits who travel to the continent each year, to holiday, work, or retire.  Tediously, the old cliche is true: relations are a two-way street, but Cameron is positing a dead end.  He must be voted out in 2015.


Matthew Paul said…
You're not wrong, Todd. Apart from all the economic ties with the rest of Europe, we've still got many cultural links that yer average politician seems wholly unaware of. Lord help us if we end up in not-so-splendid isolation.
Tom Phillips said…
Absolutely. The EU isn't a perfect institution (no institution is - if it were perfect, it wouldn't be an institution), but Cameron's clearly playing on a residual anti-continental feeling that's been lurking around for decades. With any luck, it will come round and bite him on the arse. And if there is a referendum, the UK's sensible (and pragmatic) Europeans will send him and that UKIP idiot Farage back into the imperialist 18th-century dustbin where they belong. Today Cameron had the audacity to refer to the UK as 'my country' - no, mate, I'd say, it's ours, you keep your delusions of neo-colonialist superiority to yourself, Eton boy.
T Martinez said…
As I understand it, Cameron's position is that he is pro-Europe, but against a creeping federalisation, which is surely the inevitable outcome of closer union - and, once achieved, irrevocable. Though it might not be fashionable to say it, it looks a sensible policy in theory, though practically it will be difficult to maintain. I can tell you that from where I live, in Spain, closer European Union has been a significant factor behind radically impoverishing large numbers of people and has caused huge amounts of very real human misery - and I see this every day, and sympathise deeply (though I find myself able to do little more) with the families I see struggling around me. It is very easy to maintain a neo-liberal softly pro-Europe position when its effects are not on your doorstep, and accuse anyone who holds a differing view of being some throwback neo-colonialist. But it's very silly, as is the insult 'Eton boy.' Why is it okay to insult someone for their background which, presumably, they didn't themselves choose? But that's the UK, I guess - wealth, power and success are generally looked down on and envied, as long as the illusion of a comfortable armchair socialism can be maintained.

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