Coffee House

Merkel visit: now it’s time for David Cameron to tell us want he wants

28 February 2014

10:23 AM

28 February 2014

10:23 AM

David Cameron pulled out all the ceremonial stops for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to London and the way in which she played along is testament to her desire for the UK to remain within the EU. The lengthy passage of her speech dedicated to British sacrifices during both world wars was a polished diplomatic gesture that played well with Britain’s ideas about itself and its own historical role in Europe. It was a gesture that she did not have to make.

However, as she said herself, Merkel’s address could never live up to the hype. This speech was never going to give us all of the answers to the EU’s future, or the viability of David Cameron’s reform and referendum strategy. With over a year to go until the UK general election, three from a possible EU referendum and few specifics to respond to, this should not have been a surprise.

The speech’s rhetoric reflected Germany’s deep historical and cultural attachment to the European project. However, Merkel was very clear about the need for the EU to change in order to compete in the 21st Century global economy. ‘We must renew Europe in keeping with the times’ was the overriding message. She called for a cut to EU red tape and warned that, with 90 per cent of global growth over next five years taking place outside the EU, Europe needs to up its game.

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In another potentially encouraging sign for the Prime Minister, Merkel was clear that in order to strengthen the eurozone the EU treaties will have to be adapted in a ‘limited, targeted and swift’ manner. Cameron knows this is his best opportunity to secure treaty changes of his own, but Merkel’s desire to alter the treaties is not one shared by all other EU leaders and whether it can be secured before Cameron’s self-imposed 2017 deadline therefore remains unknown. It should also be noted that many reforms can be achieved without treaty change – for example the Dutch proposal for ‘red’ and ‘green’ cards to allow national parliaments to block or repeal EU laws.

An Open Europe/YouGov poll in the run up to Merkel’s visit found that a majority in both Britain and Germany want decisions over issues such as EU migrants’ access to benefits – highlighted by Merkel today – employment laws, regional development subsidies, and police and criminal justice laws to be taken at the national rather than the EU level. Merkel did say that subsidiarity – the principle that decisions should be taken as close to citizens as possible – ‘must be respected more in Europe’, but Cameron might have hoped for more about how to reconnect the EU with national electorates.

But the German Chancellor was never going to set out a specific, detailed offer to Britain yesterday. What Merkel’s visit underlined is that she is prepared to hear the UK’s case for reform and thinks that German and European interests are best served by the UK remaining in the EU. There’s still all to play for but the onus is now on David Cameron to articulate a clear plan of action to take to the EU negotiating table.

Stephen Booth is Research Director of Open Europe

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Show comments
  • drydamol1

    BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – POVERTY SECONDARY TO EU HELP

    The EU was formed initially by integration of National Economies and
    Political Institutions necessary to ensure that War would become unthinkable .
    There are 41 Wars going on at this present time in the World ,there are Riots
    in many EU Member States .

    Why when the EU is supposedly in Financial Turmoil should it affect our
    Economy to such a degree of Austerity Measures and Cuts when we are not in the
    Euro .

    London is the Biggest Backdoor Financial Hub in the World
    is it because it is ‘dirty money’ that we the Public do not benefit from it .

    Surely our Economy should be one of the Strongest as
    opposed to those Countries attached to the Euro .Our input into the EU is £54
    Billion per year and when Blair was Temp President he gave back £7 Billion
    Agricultural Rebate – something is not quite adding up .

    Are the Deceitful Lying Tories using the EU as an excuse for
    our Cuts and Merkel playing ball in exchange for support in backing proposed
    Constitutional changes within the EU including a permanent President .

    Anything a Politician does or says is so shielded in
    innuendo we are always left in the dark so we should go by our instincts –
    nothing they ever do is for our Benefit .Bear that in mind there is always a
    hidden agenda .

    http://brokenbritishpolitics.simplesite.com

  • Whizjet

    It would be amusing if it were not quasi-tragic.
    A vote for an EU Separatist UKIP = a Europhile Labour Government that will tie us ever closer to Brussels, bankrupt us again, increase non-EU immigration and perpetuate the client state and individual dependency.
    A vote for Nigel borne of petty frustrations is indeed a vote for Ed Miliband.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Wouldn’t that rather depend on whose vote it was, and what they would otherwise do with it?

      If it was Ed Miliband’s vote, and he decided to vote for the UKIP candidate, would that still be a vote for a europhile Labour government?

      • Whizjet

        Absolutely yes, in de facto terms.
        However I think you obfuscate.
        If you are a Kipper, I can understand why – the self delusion of voting for a candidate that cannot possibly win, that cannot possibly even attract enough votes to make a difference………these things must gnaw at whatever common sense reality occasionally glimmers your way.

        • Denis_Cooper

          I suggest that the self delusion is more likely to be yours, the delusion that all those who vote for a UKIP candidate would otherwise be flocking to vote for your party.

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Well I have to say that happily I took a completely different view of Angela Merkel’s speech – which is available, in English , on the German federal govt. web-site.

    i suppose any ‘limited, targeted and swift’ point that is so hard to comprehend for many is something to do with the principle of subsidiarity, together with our largely unwritten constitution and the fact that the EU treaty is an agreement – not a written constitution. Let’s remember she also said eg the transatlantic thing must take into account our position in the EU as a nation of data controllers, which to my mind is very important in the face of executive type employment effects that may otherwise deleteriously affect ( even) one’s rights to privacy.

    Of course Europe should be regularly renewed and refreshed.. but I think that can only come from the bottom up on a voluntary basis on the part of individuals without fear or favour – given properly working IT devices and the like.

  • global city

    All those politicians with their headphones on looked for all the world like the Nazis in the dock at Neurenberg…. as perhaps they all should be!

  • Ricky Strong

    Once again all the talk is of growth. There is much of this world that is finite, I feel a discussion about this matter really needs to be had.

    • Makroon

      I think you are looking for the 1960s, try the “Club of Rome”.

  • Conway

    … the way in which she played along is testament to her desire for the UK to remain within the EU” Admittedly, Germany wants our money, but not to the extent of letting us have the sort of relationship we, the people, want. She ruled that out completely. As Nigel Farage said, the atmosphere wasn’t quite so cordial when she left as when she arrived (because she’d just spelled out what everybody has known, but what Cameron has been trying to pretend wasn’t true, which is that there WILL BE NO RENEGOTIATION). The EU is bound for the United States of Europe as surely as a runaway train heading for the buffers. If you don’t like the idea, then you only have one choice and it isn’t voting Labour, Conservative or LibDem.

  • D Whiggery

    Was is not possible to crop John Bercow out of the picture? What does his presence add to the composition exactly?

    • Conway

      It’s to remind you of the Peter Principle.

  • Noa

    As you are not prepared to withdraw your accusation that I am a liar or to withdraw it I conclude that like Harriet Harmon you are unable or unwilling either to recognise the consequences of your actions or to apologise for them.
    As you behave like a poltroon I will treat you accordingly and request that your posts be removed.

  • CharlietheChump

    Of course Angie wants us in, otherwise she’s going to have to pick up our share of the funding for the “project”.

  • OriginalChris

    I think Der Spiegel sums up the situation accurately when it says:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/will-straw-essay-on-the-role-of-britain-in-the-european-union-a-956230.html
    “..It is therefore a puzzle that the current British government has diverted its attention from winning the next round of key policy debates in Brussels and, instead, focused on a pointless exercise of seeking treaty change to repatriate powers. Britain should stop wasting its time with this futile endeavour and concentrate on aligning the EU’s institutions with an agenda of growth and democracy…”

    Yes, indeed, it is a pointless exercise seeking treaty change to repatriate powers, and a futile endeavour. What do our Conservative MPs not understand about this?

    • James Allen

      Well done. Good to see this quote; Miliband should bring it up at PMQs.

      • OriginalChris

        Very interesting to see that the author was Will Straw!

  • Kitty MLB

    I think it speaks volumes that out of all the articles here today,
    this one has had the largest amount of posts, as did the articles yesterday
    regarding Farage.
    Bashing Cameron now ( and usually deservedly so) has become a national hobby,
    I am not a Cameroon, deplore the way Cameron has treated his own party.
    I deplore even more the fact he went into coalition with the Lib Dums,
    he forgot principles and integrity when doing that, and do not appreciate the fig
    leaf of a referendum promise We must leave the EU and the cloned egotistical and self obsessed politicians who are clueless are try to avoid that happening.The media also deliberately cut out the ending
    to Merkel’s speech to show Cameron in a even more negative light ( if that is possible)
    I am just saying, we have become somewhat feral and need to be very afraid
    of a government led by Balls and Cable ( and it will be those two as Milipede
    is history, we can always get rid of Cameron after the election ( I would prefer
    before but never mind) and replace him with a Conservative leader- without
    the danger of a imminent Labour Government.

    • HookesLaw

      Miliband will not be history until after an election defeat. Balls is bad but Miliband is an outright paint it by numbers lefty who will destroy our country just like all previous Labour govts have done.

      • Kitty MLB

        Labour’s country wrecking agenda was immoral,
        but Cameron does not get let off for being so weak and self obsessed that
        he climbed into bed with the atrocious Lib Dems,
        a pathetic tree hugging sorry Leftie Party who
        purposely try and avoid progress ( let them get away with not agreeing with the boundary changes)
        Cameron has betrayed the party of Thatcher and the electorate
        by allowing such a manipulative and dangerous party as Labour
        another chance.

        • HookesLaw

          Madam – the Tories were 20 votes short of a majority – despite winning nearly 100 seats. They also had an economic crisis to get through.
          Cameron has not betrayed the party of Thatcher. Its just as pathetic you invoking an invented Thatcher as it is the loony lefties.

    • Conway

      You cannot make people vote for a charlatan. Cameron has shown repeatedly he is not to be trusted. How could anybody vote for him with a clear conscience? If the price is a Labour government, then that’s the price that has to be paid – not that we shall see much difference, to be honest. Fortunately, the markets will control how much Labour can borrow.

  • James Allen

    Er… so Cameron invokes a renegotiation without giving any details of what he wants to renegotiate; Merkel rules out treaty changes; Hollande says no to ‘a la carte’ European Union; and you expect us to believe Cameron will have something to offer in 2017????

    Get real. It is this kind of BS that is (permanently) alienating the public from the political elite and YOU the supine, sycophantic, bed-sharing media class. Do you really expect us to believe this rubbish???? Get f*cking real! There is NO chance of a substantial renegotiation of Britain’s position within the EU. We have to leave…. and leave NOW!!!

    • OriginalChris

      Jesse Norman MP said in recent radio interview that the tens of thousands pledge/commitment was only an “aspiration”, as if that should satisfy us. His attitude seemed very arrogant and dismissive of concerns.

    • HookesLaw

      Non EU immigration is down over 150,000. people leaving the country is down also.
      Funnily enough – although I imagine you are too thick to work it out – difficuilties in reducing EU movement of labour is down to economic success. We have a govt that is economically successful and creating jobs.

      • Tony_E

        Economic success – partly. But mainly it’s because if you come to Britain you cannot fail. The state won’t let you – and then it will look after you for ever.

        It’s a one way bet.

        • HookesLaw

          No – the rules are clear about benefits and the statistics are pretty clear as well.

          Only kippers lie about them and stir up hatred over it since the economic anti EU argument does not stack up. We get a good share of inward investment for instance.

          • Tony_E

            Again you miss the point. It’s a one way bet.

            Most immigrants work, but if they find themselves out of work here they don’t have to go home. In other less generous systems immigrants get less favourable treatment.

            Come to Britain, you can get work, and if you can’t you’ll still be ok.

      • James Allen

        What a stupid, obnoxious reply.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        It’s creating jobs for a low skilled immigrant underclass, which they’re importing. You can check the numbers. Thanks for making conservatives’ point here.

  • Daniel Maris

    Mr Booth seems to have left planet Earth and taken up residence on one of Jupiter’s moons, judging by the connection between his article and reality.

    There is no way Mrs Merkel – fine politician though she is in my view – wants to or is capable of granting the sorts of concessions that Cameron is pretending may be possible. There will be a few bits of tinsel as window dressing and that’s all. End of story. We all know it and Mrs Merkel as good as said it.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Why bother? Merkel made it pretty clear it doesn’t matter what Dave wants. Europe is going to do what it wants. We’d be better off sidelining Cameron and asking Merkel and Brussels what they expect of the UK.

    Cameron is now just a worthless bystander in all this because he has made it very clear that he will not do what is necessary in the best interest of the country to serve the British people. On Europe and on immigration the Tories are now a waste of space!

    The Telegraph cartoon today is right Cameron is Merkel’s pet poodle (just as Wet Willy Eunuch is Barroso’s). They are Brussels representatives in London.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Once again we have Tory loyalists desperately trying to defend the shyster who leads their party by denying that he ever gave a pledge that if he became Prime Minister he would hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty even if it had already come into force, and accusing those who accurately recall the truth of the matter of telling a lie.

    Well, the sequence of events was as follows:

    1. Cameron freely gave an unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” that he would put the treaty to a referendum, and there was no caveat that the guarantee would expire if the treaty came into force.

    2. Under pressure from the europhile wing of the Tory party, he retreated from that pledge and the official Tory position became that if the treaty had already come into force “we would not let matters rest there.”

    3. That remained the Tory position for about two years, and it was included in the Tory manifesto for the 2009 elections for the EU Parliament, until November 4th 2009 when Cameron announced that as far as the Lisbon Treaty was concerned he would let matters rest there after all.

    4. However in the future when the eurozone states wanted EU treaty changes, as they would, that would create a “golden opportunity” for the UK to demand a quid pro quo and get powers repatriated.

    5. Then in the middle of 2010 Merkel said that she wanted an EU treaty change to provide a legal base in the treaties for eurozone bailouts, and Cameron agreed to just give her that EU treaty change without asking for any other treaty changes as a quid pro quo.

    So it’s been a sorry tale of Cameron and his colleagues trying to string along party members and supporters, but step by step reneging on every one of their “jam tomorrow” promises; yet amazingly there are still those who believe him.

    • HookesLaw

      Sorry to see you have to lie.
      Cameron and the tory party made its position quite clear – it was set out in the manifesto for the European elections. If the treaty was not ratified and signed by the time of the next general election then the tories if in power would put it to a referendum first.

      Camerons words were – ‘ If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations. No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum’

      It was ratified and signed before the election. Cameron and the Tories voted against it in Parliament.
      There is only one shyster here and it is you. You are just peddling lying party political propaganda.’

      • Denis_Cooper

        Those were indeed the words that appeared over Cameron’s signature in his Sun article of September 26th 2007; and as Andrew Neil pointed out to David Lidington, see my comment further down the thread, there was no caveat that the guarantee would expire if the treaty came into force.

        And nor can the last sentence, actually a separate paragraph in the original article, be construed as any such caveat: how could a general statement of principle that “No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum” be read as meaning that he would not hold a referendum on this particular treaty if it had already been ratified? It doesn’t make sense.

        Unfortunately the article is no longer on the Sun website, but fortunately I took a copy and here it is:

        “Cameron: I’ll give EU a vote

        By DAVID CAMERON

        Published: 26 Sep 2007

        ON Monday The Sun’s image of Gordon Brown sticking two fingers up to the British public was provocative. But it was right.

        What a difference to Churchill. When he made that salute, it inspired this country to wipe the scourge of fascism from Europe.

        But for Gordon Brown, it’s a gesture to the British people saying: “I know best. Your views are irrelevant. Get used to it.”

        Make no mistake, that’s the reason he refuses to give the British people a referendum on the EU constitutional treaty — he simply doesn’t trust them. It’s the arrogant belief that he — and only he — has the right to decide what’s best for Britain’s future.

        Well, Prime Minister, I’ve news for you. The old politics that you grew up in no longer reflect the new world we live in. It’s a world where people are demanding — and getting — more power and more control over their lives.

        Take America. Over there, twice as many people get health information online than from their doctor. And in some towns, you can look at online crime maps before deciding where to buy a property.

        And in the UK, the internet has transformed lives. At the click of a button we buy insurance, holidays and access information on just about anything. Gordon Brown just doesn’t get this. With him, freedom and control is fine — but only if he has the freedom to control your life.

        Take Citizens Juries. He says he wants to listen to people. But they are just glorified focus-groups, hand-picked and cloaked in secrecy. Believe me, if they really reflected the will of Britons the message would be loud and clear — we want a referendum.

        It doesn’t have to be like this. Giving people freedom and control over their lives is one of the things that makes me a Conservative.

        And it is why from the moment the EU Constitution was dreamt up by elites in Brussels, the Conservative Party’s squadron was first in the air, demanding a referendum in this battle for our country’s future.

        Since then, we have been keeping up the fight, looking out for the interests of Britain.

        There is a second reason why I want a referendum on the treaty.

        One of the great challenges we face is rolling back the tide of bureaucracy that is drowning our country in regulations and forms.

        And you can’t do that without targeting one of the main sources of this bureaucracy — Brussels.

        Because it is Europe that ties our businesses up in red tape.

        And it is Europe that ties the hands of our courts. We won’t be able to deal with any of this unless we have a referendum.

        The final reason we must have a vote is trust. Gordon Brown talks about “new” politics.

        But there’s nothing “new” about breaking your promises to the British public.

        It’s classic Labour.

        And it is the cancer that is eating away at trust in politics. Small wonder that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.

        If you really want to signal you’re a break from the past, Prime Minister, do the right thing — give the people the referendum you promised.

        Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.

        No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.”

        • HookesLaw

          What is your point in repeating something which destroys your argument? The treaty was ratified before the election.
          The 2009 manifesto said —- ‘We pledge that if the Lisbon Treaty is not in force in the event of the election of a Conservative Government this year or next, we will hold areferendum on it, urge its rejection, and – if successful – reverse Britain’s ratification.’

          The treaty was in fiorce – all 28 countries had signed it.
          In that manifesto the tories also said what they are saying now – that they want reform of the EU.
          Cameron has made a speech saying that he wanted to see changes in the EU and to follow that with a referendum. He also passed legislation which made a referendum a requirement following any new treaty.

          • Denis_Cooper

            That was what the 2009 manifesto said, not what Cameron said in his Sun article.

            Look: suppose Cameron owed you money and he wrote you a letter saying:

            “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: I will pay all my debts to you by May 1st.”

            but then adding a final paragraph:

            “All debts should be paid on time.”

            what would you think?

            That the statement of a general principle in his last paragraph somehow qualified his specific “cast-iron guarantee” that he would pay you by May 1st, and could provide an acceptable excuse for him to renege on that?

            Of course not.

            • HookesLaw

              You are now reduced to inventing and reinventing a misinterpretation.

              • Denis_Cooper

                Tell me what you would think when Cameron failed to pay his debts to you by May 1st and offered you the utterly specious excuse that obviously his “cast-iron guarantee” was qualified by the last paragraph in his letter.

                • Noa

                  Denis
                  Your arguments, comprehensively and convincingly suppported as the are by the facts, are wasted upon the poor, deluded Millbank apologist.

      • OriginalChris

        I believe the cast iron promise, no qualifications, was also on the Cons Party website at one stage.

        • HookesLaw

          Believe whatb you like, the quote is clear and the manifesto was clear.

      • James Allen

        You are a good little toady, aren’t you?

        • HookesLaw

          No one toads like you. Your intervention was its usual load of ignorant bile filled guff.

          • James Allen

            Spoken like a true gentleman. Thank you for your enlightenment, as always,.

        • Lady Magdalene

          No. He’s just a little toady.

          • HookesLaw

            You are an ignorant idiot.. yah boo sucks. Listen dear – I will not be voting to let in a Labour govt in 2015. Period.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …so you’ve decided not to split the UKIP vote, then?

  • Denis_Cooper

    The author seems to have forgotten that Merkel has already achieved major reforms of the EU, but not in the direction the majority of the British people might want.
    Remember the EU Constitution, how it was rejected by referendums in France and the Netherlands?
    Remember how Merkel then had almost all the legal contents of the EU Constitution decanted into an amending treaty?
    Remember what she called that amending treaty, before it was finally named as the Lisbon Treaty?
    Yes, she called it her “Reform Treaty”.

  • colliemum

    These are ivory tower arguments.
    The reality is that the EU is getting ever deeper into financial trouble, especially thanks to the ongoing situation in the Ukraine.
    The latest news, from a German online paper, is that Olli Rehn, the ‘Finance’ Minister of the EU, has now promised a financial package of 4 billion Euros to the Ukraine, and aims to push this even without agreement by the EU Parliament.
    Has Cameron agreed to this, behind closed doors in his talks with Madame Merkel?

    Are we, as some suggested, going to have to pay even more to the EU – so that the state bankruptcy of the Ukraine can be averted, i.e. so that international hedge funds who have been buying millions in Ukraine state bonds don’t have to make losses?
    The Greeks want again more money than previously agreed – Italian banks hold lots of Ukrainian bonds – and we pay and pay and pay …

    This will end in the proverbial tears, and sooner rather than later.

    • HookesLaw

      Asistance for Ukraine ‘once a political solution,
      on the basis of democratic principles, a commitment to reform and a
      legitimate government, is in place,’

      The EU will be working with the IMF as we must assume will be the USA.

      • colliemum

        And who, do you think, is contributing to the EU and the IMF, to pay for this?
        Perhaps you think there’s a lovely tree in the Treasury garden, on which all our £££ grow …

  • allymax bruce

    Stephen, look for the ‘Rutte proposal’ to gain strength & popularity in the EU. David Cameron is moving his EU strategy along nicely with the ‘Rutte proposal’; when the UK populace is confronted with David Cameron’s EU change policy change agenda in 1 year, the opposition Party’s will have no, or little recourse to argue policy against. David Cameron’s Conservative Party are paving-the-way to stealing popular voting ground from Lib-Lab-UKIP Party’s right now, and should have it shored-up come UK General Election in 2015. As for Angela Merkel’s eurozone ‘EU treaties will have to be adapted in a ‘limited, targeted and swift’ manner’, the UK, or even rUK, is not in the eurozone; thus, has little effect to immediate UK/rUK negotiated proposals with/between EU member states. What Angela Merkel is talking about in EU treaties, is different to what David Cameron is doing in UK; although both are concomitant to moving the ‘Rutte proposal’ forward to enactment. We are seeing a definite move toward change in EU; Germany, UK/rUK, and the ‘Scandis’ are all moving toward changing the ‘EU treaties’; as said by Angela Merkel herself!

  • WatTylersGhost

    “to articulate a clear plan of action to take to the EU negotiating table”

    This “negotiating table” where? when? attended by who?

    Stephen, you are as deluded as Cameron.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘‘We must renew Europe in keeping with the times’ was the overriding
      message. She called for a cut to EU red tape and warned that, with 90
      per cent of global growth over next five years taking place outside the
      EU, Europe needs to up its game.’

      Its clear from Merkels words that there will be some changes in Europe.
      You are deluded and you are deluded in thinking that we would be any way seriously different if we left the EU for the EEA. UKIPs activities are aimed at ensuring that those changes are negotiated by the Labour party and without a promise of a referendum at the end of it.

      • Smithersjones2013

        You Tories need to make up your mind? Are you dancing to Brussels tune, dancing to Labour’s tune or both?

        Either way its about time we dealt with the organ grinder and not the trivial entertainment……

        • Kitty MLB

          They are not Tories but cameroons.
          A utterly different species to the honourable party of Thatcher,
          and you should probably be grateful for that because it allows
          UKIP a voice and a nice new tune to dance to.

          • HookesLaw

            All you are doing is living in a fantasy world to make your beliefs stick.
            Thatcher took us into the EU single market. Under Thatcher we lost numerous seats in Scotland. We can see you have no argument because like the bereft labour party you have to bring Thatcher into it and misrepresent her..
            This is the same Thatcher of course who was more than happy to have Willie Whitelaw as her deputy.

      • Conway

        I agree there will be changes in the EU (I don’t see the continent being changed much unless UKIP’s political earthquake becomes a literal one), but it will be in the direction of ever closer union.

  • Bluesman_1

    EU apologist drivel. There will be no renegotiation – especially not in a German election year.

    Article 50.

  • Noa

    Chancellor Merkel was merciless in exposing the malign deceit practised upon the electorate that David Cameron can obtain any meaningful change from the EU.

    As Simon Heffer points out in today’s Daily Mail, his only option is to hold a referendum before the General Election.

    However does anyone seriously expect him to do so? After all, his referendum promise, as empty as his Lisbon Treaty repeal promise, has served its purpose, keeping his backbencers and eurosceptics quiescent until his period in office is nearly over.

    • AndyL

      Cameron never promised to repeal the Lisbon Treaty.
      I reckon you know that, which makes your statement a lie.

      • Noa

        Thank you for noting that I had written ‘repeal’ and not ‘referendum’ as I had intended. I have corrected my post accordingly.

        I trust you will now do the same with yours.

        • AndyL

          You have changed ‘Lisbon Treaty repeal promise’ to ‘Lisbon Treaty referendum promise’. However Cameron only promised a referendum on ratification of the treaty, and the treaty was ratified before he came to power. Your statement is still a lie.

          • Noa

            Not so, but continue to lie to yourself by all means.

            • AndyL

              Cameron wrote this
              “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a
              Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that
              emerges from these negotiations. No treaty should be ratified without
              consulting the British people in a referendum.”
              As I pointed out, it had already been ratified, so he did not break any promise. The idea that there should have been referendum after the treaty had come into effect is completely meaningless.

              • Noa

                “No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.”

                You, together with David Cameron’s other apologists, choose to interpret these words as an escape clause from his ‘cast iron guarantee’.

                The general public took them in good faith and as a binding obligation.

                • AndyL

                  The co-head of the Bruges group is hardly an un-biased observer.
                  As I said before, a referendum on a treaty that has already come into force in more than twenty countries would be meaningless. Once the treaty is in force a referendum would have to be an in/out referendum on the EU, which he clearly never promised.
                  The only reasonable interpretation of Cameron’s words is that he promised a treaty on ratification

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Nope, it is a complete fallacy that a referendum on an EU amending treaty would be meaningless if it was already in force.

                  And as for Cameron’s “cast-iron guarantee”, here is Andrew Neil ripping David Lidington to shreds over the lie that it was always conditional upon the treaty not having come into force:

                  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/01/28/camerons-public-plot-to-stay-in-the-eu/

                  “DL: No what David Cameron had said on Lisbon was that if it had not come into legal force by the General Election we would hold a referendum to decide whether the British people –

                  AN: Actually his famous Sun articles where he said this he did not put that caveat in.

                  DL: He had said very consistently –

                  AN: He had not put the caveat in.

                  DL: He and William Hague as Shadow Foreign Secretary had said very consistently that the referendum was linked to whether Lisbon has come into force or not, and when it did, when every country had ratified it and it came into force he and William Hague made very public statements to say that that matter was now closed and we would take things forwards on different –

                  AN: No, we’ve been through the cuttings and nowhere did Mr Cameron make it clear that he was only talking about a situation where Lisbon hadn’t become law.”

                • AndyL

                  I quoted the Sun article, which quite clearly links the referendum to ratification.
                  If it is a “fallacy” that the referendum on the amending treaty would be meaningless, please explain what question would be asked, and what would be the legal position if Britain tried to unilaterally withdraw from the amending treaty? It would be impossible to withdraw from Lisbon and be the only country recognising the previous version.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  No, it quite clearly did not link the referendum to ratification, and nor did anyone suggest that it did until he had retreated from his unqualified guarantee and Tory loyalists had to cast round for some excuse to cover his retreat.

                  If Cameron had meant what he had said, either as in the Sun article or as in the subsequent diluted promise that if the treaty came into force without a UK referendum then “we would not let matters rest there”, as Prime Minister he could have got Parliament to pass a Lisbon Treaty (Disapplication) Act to repeal the Act approving the Lisbon Treaty, on condition that the disapplication would only take effect if it was approved in a referendum.

                  If the British people had voted for the treaty to be disapplied the government would have withdrawn the instrument of ratification through which the UK had previously consented to be bound by that treaty.

                  You say “it would be impossible … to be the only country recognising the previous version” but that is exactly what that would have meant, and the other EU member state governments could react as they saw fit.

                  Instead Cameron took the coward’s way by pretending that it would be impossible to hold a retrospective referendum on the treaty because it no longer existed, a piece of total nonsense.

                • AndyL

                  A country cannot withdraw from part of a treaty without the agreement of the other parties.
                  UK could seek to negotiate changes and get approval to move back to the original text, or it could withdraw from the entire treaty and hence leave the EU. However it could simply say that it no longer recognises some of the terms of the treaty

                • Denis_Cooper

                  See above, Parliament is sovereign.

                • HookesLaw

                  Yoiu started with a lie and you continue with it.

                • HookesLaw

                  The statement from the Sun is as we have seen quite clear. As was the 2009 Euro manifesto. At every stage the public have voted clearly knowing the tory position.

                • Conway

                  I hate to bring this up, but the Tories have not always stuck to their manifesto, as in the case of the redefinition of marriage. That appeared neither in the manifesto nor in the Queen’s Speech, so the public cannot have “voted clearly knowing the tory (sic) position” at every stage.

                • Noa

                  Why should he not be biased? That does not mean that his analysis is incorrect. and, unlike yours, as an ex Conservative party chairman, his opinion has veracity and carries real weight.
                  If you consider David Cameron’s ‘cast iron guarantee’ was invalidated by the treaty ratification then you must acknowledge the logical corollary: that due to the known timescale for ratification he already it was a meaningless undertaking he would never have to deliver.
                  Either the treaty would have been ratified before he had to deliver a referendum post general election, or it would have been ratified and he could claim, as he did, that he was bound by it.,

                  More fool those who believed him then and still persist in doing so now.

                • HookesLaw

                  No there was ample likelihood that the treaty would not have been ratified or in force by the time of any general election. Cerainly in 2007 when Cameron made his original statement and also in 200i9 during the Euro elections.

                • HookesLaw

                  And Labour and LDs could simply abstain from the process and claim it was illegitimate and meaningless. As it is in 2010 thanks to UKIP intervention we had a cooalition and no majority in Parliament for a referendum.

                • Noa

                  UKIP intervention? Don’t make me laugh!

                  Still, as ever any excuse for the Dave’s inadequacies will suffice.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Obviously it wasn’t an escape clause and nor would the Sun readers have taken it to be an escape clause; it was a general statement of principle which in no way qualified the specific guarantee he was giving.

                  If he had wanted to qualify his guarantee then he could easily have done so by adding words such as “provided it has not already come into force”, so that it became:

                  “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations, provided that it has not already come into force.”

                  But he chose not to add those words and so his guarantee was not qualified in that way.

                • AndyL

                  Sure he could ahve made the statement in some legally correct way, but I think his meaning was clear enough.
                  As for Noa’s latet comments, I agree that it was likely the treaty would be in force before he came to power, though there was doubt that sufficient countires would ratify before the date of the election which obviously had not been fixed in advance.

                  However the anti-EU side were being disengenuous then (and now) in trying to place the maximim possible meaning into Cameron’s statement. No-one has yet explained how it would be possible to withdraw from half a treaty. A country can withdraw from the whole treaty, or seek to negotiate the terms back an earlier version, but it cannot simply walk away from some clauses without permission of the other parties. Knowing this, Cameron’s words can only have one possible meaning.

                • Noa

                  There is no more room for weasel wording or excuses.
                  The treaty was either ratified or not.

                  If the former it was in effect, if not, it was void.
                  In either event, by your interpretation, Cameron did not have to honour his ‘guarantee’.

                  Now apologise.

                • AndyL

                  Now you’ve lost me.
                  It was not ratified and not in force when he made the commitment.
                  By the time of the election, it was both ratified and in force. Had the treaty not been in force, Cameron could have called a referendum on whether or not to ratify the treaty (or potentially to withdraw ratification).

                • global city

                  You believe that Cameron is a sceptic and would hold an honest referendum?

                • AndyL

                  I think Cameron would prefer to stay in a modified EU.
                  I have no idea what you mean by an “honest referendum”. What is a “dishonest referendum”?

                • Conway

                  One where the question is one expecting the answer in or in.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  His meaning was perfectly clear at the time, that he was giving an unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” that as Prime Minister of a Conservative government he would put the treaty to a referendum in the UK, but Tory loyalists have since attempted to obfuscate it. For me those attempts to deceive people about what he had originally promised is in a way more annoying than the fact that he quickly retreated from his original pledge, which I might otherwise have been prepared to pass over.
                  You are wrong, as wrong as those who recently claimed that a proposed amendment to a Bill before Parliament was “illegal”. Our national Parliament is sovereign and if it chooses to disapply certain parts of a treaty or a whole treaty then it does not need permission from anyone domestic or foreign to do that.
                  Of course there would have been a major row if Cameron had held a retrospective referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and the answer had been that the British electorate was not prepared to accept it, so that the government would then have had to tell the other governments that Britain no longer consented to be bound by it.
                  But if a British Prime Minister is not prepared to have that kind of row when a foreign politician has connived to impose a new treaty on the British people, a treaty which he himself has said would lack democratic legitimacy in this country without a referendum, and which would give the EU too much power over national policies, when will he ever be prepared to make a stand?

                • AndyL

                  Yes of course our parliament is soveriegn, but so are the parliaments of the other countries.
                  A treaty is a contract between sovereign countries. It is basic law that one party to a contract cannot unilaterally change the contract, but can only request changes or (under agreed conditions) withdraw from the contract.
                  Edit: reference to pre-war treaties removed to try to keep this converesation on track

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Cameron should have stuck with his original pledge, which was not qualified as Tory loyalists have since attempted to pretend, and which would have given clear advance notice to politicians in the other EU countries, and especially to Merkel, that he was determined that the treaty would not be imposed on the British people without their consent in a referendum, that if necessary he would put it to them in a retrospective referendum and if they rejected it then he would rescind the British ratification.

                  Then he should have reiterated that position when Brown had got the treaty approved by Parliament and was about to put in the instrument of ratification. And then again shortly afterwards when the Irish voted against it he should have said that there must be no question of making them vote again, but in any case if the treaty had not been pronounced dead by the time he became Prime Minister then he would put it to a referendum in Britain and abide by the wishes of the British people, and he would do that irrespective of what happened in Ireland or any other country.

                  Where is the logic in saying that without approval in a referendum in Britain the treaty would lack democratic legitimacy in this country, as the Tory party repeatedly said right up November 4th 2009, but then agreeing that the decision for Britain could in effect be made not by the British people but by the Irish?

                • AndyL

                  Firstly, the original pledge was qualified. I quoted it earlier.
                  More importantly though, you have still not explained what you mean by “rescind the ratification”. It is not legally possible for one party to change a treaty (or any contract) without the consent of the other parties. It does not matter that “parliament is sovereign” as all that enables
                  parliament to do is to withdraw from the treaty, not to modify it. Having a referendum on something that is not legally possible would be absurd.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Firstly, the original pledge in the Sun was NOT qualified, as Andrew Neil pointed out to David Lidington, and indeed nobody suggested that it was qualified until the europhile wing of the Tory had started to agitate about it.

                  Here is a Telegraph editorial from October 22nd 2007:

                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/3643499/We-must-have-a-say-on-the-EU-treaty.html

                  “But even those who couldn’t give a bent banana about the EU will be receptive to the charge that Labour is lying. Having taken their stand on honesty, though, the Conservatives need to be on their guard against anything that smacks of playing games of their own with the voters.

                  A month ago, Mr Cameron wrote: “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM, a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.” That sounds pretty unequivocal.

                  Now, though, Mr Hague seems to be tiptoeing away from that promise, refusing to confirm that an incoming Tory administration would hold a retrospective poll if Labour had already pushed the constitution through.

                  Why? No Parliament can bind its successor, and the Tories have been prepared, on the issue of ID cards, to commit themselves to undoing what Labour has done.

                  If the constitution is as bad as they say it is, the Conservatives must commit themselves to giving the people a say whenever they take power. Anything else, to borrow Mr Cameron’s phrase, would be to treat people like fools.”

                  NB – “That sounds pretty unequivocal”, and of course it was.

                • AndyL

                  Well we are going to disagree about whether the statement was qualified. I believe the sentence following was part of the statement. Of course absolutely no-one was misled into voting for Cameron by this because by the time of the election the situation had changed.
                  .
                  Meanwhile you have once again avoided explaining how the UK could withdraw from an amending treaty that is already in force. It is totally different to the ID Card situation, which would be a UK law and could be changed like any other. What would be the point of a referendum on something that was legally impossible?

                • HookesLaw

                  Correct; its absurd to suggest anyone was misled into voting irrespective what a statement in 2007 said – the election and tory manifesto was in 2009.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  In the original article the sentence following was a separate paragraph, it did not run straight on from the sentence with the “cast-iron guarantee”.
                  I’ve just explained about how we could rescind the ratification in another comment.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Secondly, an instrument of ratification is a formal notification that the state consents to be bound by the treaty. In some cases it may be accompanied by a statement of reservations or declarations on how the state understands the treaty will be interpreted and will operate. The instruments of ratification for EU treaties have always been deposited with the government of Italy as the agreed depository state.

                  Therefore to rescind the UK’s instrument of ratification for the Treaty of Lisbon the Foreign Office would send a letter to the Italian government saying that the UK no longer consented to be bound by that treaty.

                  Note that despite Cameron’s later pretence that the Treaty of Lisbon no longer existed it does still exist as a separate legal document listed in the collection of treaties on the EU’s own website, and it had its own instrument of ratification separate from the instruments of ratification of all the previous treaties.

                • AndyL

                  10 out of 10 for understanding the mechanics.
                  Still at the end of that, all the EU countries would be in one treaty and we would be in a treaty with nobody. We would have left the EU.
                  Put another way, we would be in the same position as an independent Scotland wanting to officially use the Pound – it would be impossible without RUK agreeing.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  I explained the mechanics in some detail because it seemed that you didn’t understand them, and it seems that you still don’t understand that rescinding the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty would only be rescinding the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty not rescinding the ratifications of all the previous EU treaties.

                  If the EU Constitution had come into force then that would have been different, because under one of its articles that would have entirely repealed all the previous treaties.

                  But of course that was rejected in the French and Dutch referendums, whereupon after an interval Merkel had almost all its legal contents decanted into her “Reform Treaty”; and the main ground upon which she claimed that this was not the same as the EU Constitution and did not need to be put to any referendums was its character as an amending treaty, a treaty which merely amended the provisions of the existing treaties; she even got Brown to ring up the Spanish Prime Minister to dissuade him from putting it to a referendum, and of course when a referendum could not be avoided in the Irish Republic and the Irish voted against it she insisted that they must vote again and get the answer she wanted.

                  It amazes and disgusts me how supine and how submissive to this woman our politicians have become; as I have said Cameron should have stuck with his original unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” of a referendum and made it plain that he would not allow a foreign politician to arrange for a new treaty to be imposed on the British people against their will; instead he is now grovelling around her and trying to dupe the British people into believing that she is really on their side when she clearly holds them in utter contempt.

                • AndyL

                  Oh dear.
                  There is one treaty in place, which is the Treaty of Rome as modified by subsequent treaties including the Treaty of Lisbon. You are suggesting that UK selectively break that treaty, and that other countries should be told to like it or lump it.

                  Unfortunately you still haven’t described the legal basis by which we can break a treaty, and yet still be part of it and insist that others countries comply with the terms that we like.

                  You also haven’t considered the effect on international law if treaties between governments are no more than ‘pick-n-mix’ documents under which any party can opt out any terms they don’t like at any time.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  The EU doesn’t agree with you that there is only one treaty in place; it has a collection of treaties on its website:

                  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/index.htm

                  and, oh look, one of them is the amending Treaty of Lisbon which Cameron pretended no longer existed as a treaty.
                  The legal basis on which we can break a treaty is that we are dualist state with a sovereign Parliament, and other countries could either like it or lump it. Like Cameron you seem to think that what Merkel wants is what must happen and what the British people may want is irrelevant.
                  As the EU and many of its other member states have no scruples about bending and breaking the EU treaties when that suits them, I would have no scruples about the UK doing the same if that was necessary, provided that breach of the treaties was approved by Parliament.

                • AndyL

                  Actually there are two fundamental treaties, which have been modified several times. Lisbon modified both.

                  Your suggestion is in pure la la land. Are you suggesting that we pretend that the president of the council doesn’t exist? Do we ignore any financial settlements from the treaty? Do we refuse to accept double majority voting? What about the changed powers of the European Parliament? Do you really want to claim that the new exit clause doesn’t actually exist?

                  As I said before, our position woudl be exactly the same as a newly independent Scotland claiming they could carry on using the Pound and thinking the RUK would just go along with it.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Ah, the old “you can’t wish the president of the council out of existence” argument.

                  Maybe you couldn’t, but on other hand you could say that you wouldn’t necessarily accept as binding on you anything that relied for its legal base on the treaty amendments made by the Lisbon Treaty.

                  As I said before:

                  “No, it would not have meant leaving the EU, it would have meant that the UK no longer consented to be bound by the latest amendments to the EU treaties which Merkel had connived to impose on the British people and would not necessarily accept anything that sprang from them.

                  Then the other EU governments could have decided how they would respond to the British government saying that it would not accept a certain decision made by majority voting against its opposition in one of the 68 areas where national vetoes had been abolished by the Lisbon Treaty.”

                  And as I also said before, if Cameron had stuck with the unqualified “cast-iron guarantee” that he’d freely given in September 2007 then in June 2008 he could have stopped the Lisbon Treaty dead in its tracks by saying that the Irish should not be made to vote again, but in any case unless the treaty had been declared dead he would put it to a referendum in the UK. He would have got a lot of public support for that stand, not only in the UK but elsewhere across the EU.

                  Instead Merkel knew that Cameron was weak, and she knew that Hague’s blusterings about “we would not let matters rest there” were empty threats, and so she knew that all she had to do was make sure that the Irish were bullied into submission in good time before the latest date for the UK general election, and then even if the Tories did win the election they would accept her treaty as a fait accompli, “too late now, nothing we can do about it”.

                  Although I doubt that even she could have envisaged the stupid excuse that Cameron offered, that the Lisbon Treaty would cease to exist the instant it came into force …

                  But then there were always doubts about whether Cameron was really opposed to the Lisbon Treaty; that time in the Commons when Blair accused him of just “going through the motions” of opposing it that accusation had a certain ring of truth about it.

                • AndyL

                  I agree with you about the blustering.
                  Regarding the treaties, we are signed up to two treaties – basically the descendants of Rome and Maastricht. On 1st December 2009 the Treaty of Lisbon came into force and modified the two earlier treaties. In that sense Cameron is right, the Treaty of Lisbon has completed its job and the un-modified treaties no longer exist.

                  You are now suggesting that we tell the other countries that we no longer wish to be bound by all the terms of the two treaties, but that we still want to stay in the treaties and selectively conform to some other text. It happens that the other text you want us to follow is that of two treaties prior to the Treaty of Lisbon, but as described earlier that text no longer legally exists (though as you spotted the words are still on a web site).
                  It is logically impossible to break a treaty yet still claim to be bound by it and hold other countries to their obligations, and there is no legal mechanism by which we can do so. If we try this two things will follow:
                  1) The other countries will tell us that we have to decide whether we are part of the two treaties or not. If we are not then we should follow the negotiated exit path and leave the EU. We cannot be partially in a treaty any more than someone can be partially pregnant.
                  2) We will have announced to the world that all treaties signed with UK are meaningless, because we reserve the right to unilaterally change them at any time.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  No, Cameron was not right and nor are you. He said that the Treaty of Lisbon would cease to exist, when clearly that was not true; that amending treaty still exists as a separate legal document and we are still signed up to it, just as all the previous treaties still exist and we are still signed up to them, apart that is from a number of early treaties which have been entirely repealed.

                  As I mentioned before if the EU constitutional treaty had come into force that would have entirely repealed the existing treaties, but after its rejection by the French and the Dutch Merkel had almost all its legal contents decanted into an amending treaty, what she called her “Reform Treaty”, and indeed Labour and the LibDems did as she wanted and used that difference as one excuse to wriggle out of their referendum pledges.

                  I will offer an analogy with Acts of Parliament, and as specific examples the Acts relating to the Lisbon Treaty and to our original accession to the EEC.

                  Parliament passes an Act, then later it decides that the Act it passed is not what it now wants to be law and so passes another Act. That later Act may entirely repeal the previous Act, or it may just amend parts of it.

                  In the latter case both the new Act and the original Act as amended are on the statute book; it is not the case that the new Act ceases to exist when it has “completed its job” of amending the earlier Act, and nor does the original
                  Act cease to exist when it has been amended.

                  So in 2008 Parliament passed a European Union (Amendment) Act:

                  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/7/contents

                  and its Section 2 added the Treaty of Lisbon to the list of treaties in Section 1(2) of the original European Communities Act 1972:

                  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1972/68/contents

                  As with other amendments to Acts nowadays, that amendment to the 1972 Act was made to the Act in its on-line version and explained in a footnote, in this case F16.

                  It should hardly need to be said that if Cameron was right then the 2008 Act would have been rendered meaningless at the same instant that the Treaty of Lisbon came into force and ceased to exist as a treaty, as it would then have been approving a treaty which no longer existed, and likewise in the 1972 Act as amended the reference to that treaty would also have been rendered meaningless, and yet the 2008 Act is still on the statute book and so is the amendment it made to the 1972 Act.

                  And as the Treaty of Lisbon still exists, and the 2008 Act approving it still exists, the latter could still be amended to disapply the treaty by removing it from the list of treaties in the 1972 Act, and to make provision for dealing with cases where the EU was relying upon the treaty amendments contained in the Treaty of Lisbon to provide a legal base for decisions and policies – what I referred to as a Lisbon Treaty (Disapplication) Act.

                  You say: “We will have announced to the world that all treaties signed with UK are meaningless, because we reserve the right to unilaterally change them at any time.”

                  I see that differently, as at least one British politician having the spine to announce to the world that he was not going to allow a German politician to walk all over the British people and impose a treaty she wanted against their will; and now we have the Spectator and others even trying to present Merkel as an ally, for God’s sake.

                • AndyL

                  Well at least it is good to remember that the people who got us into this were Labour and the Lib Dems. They were the ones who, as you put it, allowed the treaty to be imposed, not Cameron.

                  However once the treaty was in place, your analogy with an Act of Parliament does not apply because a treaty is totally different to an Act. Parliament is sovereign (within limits, but that is another discussion) and can pass, amend and repeal Acts without approval of anyone else. A treaty is not like an Act, it is equivalent to a contract. Just as one party to a contract cannot change it without the other side agreeing, UK cannot break parts of a treaty without all the other countries approval, unless we totally withdraw.

                  The treaties as they were before December 2009 no longer exist because there are no countries signed up to them. Of course the words and bits of paper are still there and they form part of the current treaties, but Lisbon changed the treaties and UK has no right or power unilaterally to go back to the earlier text. We might say that we will conform to the earlier treaty, but that would have no more basis in law than Salmond saying he is going to keep the pound.

                  Lastly, your lack of concern about treaty obligations is astonishing. 100 years ago this year we went to war because of our treaty obligations, and of course we have done so again since. If we are attacked we still expect other countries to go to war to protect us because of their obligations under the Nato treaty. We have many other treaties which overall are hugely to our benefit. I don’t understand how anyone could wish to throw away that legal framework.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  The analogy to Acts of Parliament is closer than you may think, because the EU often refers to the treaties as being its “primary legislation” while Directives, Regulations and Decisions springing from the treaties are its “secondary legislation”.

                  That alone should be enough to make you wonder whether we can regard the EU treaties in the same light as other treaties; the EU is supposedly “sui generis”, and the treaties have supposedly established a new legal order, which is supposedly superior to the national legal orders of its member states, not a characteristic of the treaties we have entered into in the past; in the drive to “ever closer union”, the construction of a new country, the treaties are routinely bent and broken; democratic rejection of a new treaty in a national referendum is simply not accepted, and can lead to threats of illegal expulsion, and a small nation will made to vote again, as we have seen repeatedly; we simply cannot afford to deal with those leading some other EU countries in strict good faith to our great disadvantage, because we have learnt that there is little or no good faith on their part; they will twist and turn and connive to impose what they want on the British people against their will, and we have a right to expect our politicians to stand up to that on our behalf, not to meekly surrender.

                • Conway

                  So how come, in 1975, Harold Wilson managed to hold a referendum on the Common Market (effectively on the Treaty of Rome, despite the fact that said Treaty had been signed)?

                • AndyL

                  Because in 1975, voting no would have meant leaving the EEC.

                  In the same way, voting no to the Lisbon Treaty in 2010 after it was in force would have meant leaving the EU.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  No, it would not have meant leaving the EU, it would have meant that the UK no longer consented to be bound by the latest amendments to the EU treaties which Merkel had connived to impose on the British people and would not necessarily accept anything that sprang from them.

                  Then the other EU governments could have decided how they would respond to the British government saying that it would not accept a certain decision made by majority voting against its opposition in one of the 68 areas where national vetoes had been abolished by the Lisbon Treaty.

                • AndyL

                  See above. We cannot selectively break a treaty and expect other governments to be bound by our choices of which terms are valid and which are not.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Then they would have to object, and there would be a scene – oh, I forgot, we’re British and so we try to avoid scenes even when a foreign politician has connived to subject us to a treaty which lacks democratic legitimacy in this country and gives the EU too much power over our national policies, as Hague and the Tory party repeatedly said.

                • HookesLaw

                  You are right Camerons promise and the tory manifesto statement are indseed perfectly clear – and you are misrepresenting them.

                • HookesLaw

                  I think that there was both a lot of doubt about when the treaty would be ratified and also a lot of doubt about the election date – Brown in the end funked an early election.

                • HookesLaw

                  The tory manifesto in 2009 was quite clear. As too was Camerons earlier statement. You lie and twist facts to suit your warped fantasy world.

                • Noa

                  As you choose to call a fellow poster a liar without reason or apology I consider you to be a poltroon and have flagged your post as inappropriate. I will do so again if, unable to conduct a debate without resorting to low abuse, and unsubstantiated accusations you exhibit the same unacceptable behaviour.

          • Noa

            Not so, but continue to lie to yourself by all means.

            In 2009 Barry Legg, Co-Chairman of the Bruges Group and former Chief Executive of the Conservative Party wrote:-

            “David Cameron needs to come clean with the British people: why is he breaking his pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?
            There was absolutely no wriggle room in the unambiguous pledge he made in September 2007. He offered a “cast iron guarantee” to put any treaty in front of the voters. Why has he changed his mind now? What has changed his mind now?
            It cannot be good enough for a man who wants to be
            British Prime Minister to hide behind the leader of any other European state… David Cameron seemingly can’t even stand up for his own past promises….”

            Yesterday again demonstrated the truth of those remarks.

            http://www.brugesgroup.com/eu/

            • the viceroy’s gin

              It was censored further up, as well.

          • David Lindsay.

            Noa’s response was moderated.

            Why?

            “Not so, but continue to l*e to yourself by all means.

            In 2009 Barry Legg, Co-Chairman of the Bruges Group and former Chief Executive of the Conservative Party wrote:-

            “David Cameron needs to come clean with the British people: why is he breaking his pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?
            There was absolutely no wriggle room in the unambiguous pledge he made in September 2007. He offered a “cast iron guarantee” to put any treaty in front of the voters. Why has he changed his mind now? What has changed his mind now?
            It cannot be good enough for a man who wants to be British Prime Minister to hide behind the leader of any other European state… David Cameron seemingly can’t even stand up for his own past promises….”

            Yesterday again demonstrated the truth of those remarks.”

      • global city

        I agree. The ‘cast iron’ meme is stupid and easily disproved. The more important one is to highlight to stupid people who think that Cameron is a sceptic, or even serious about ‘reform’ that they are being stupid.

        Even stupider of them is their belief that the Tory party, and especially the grandees are anything other than fully subscribed to the supranational project, where only the elites (i.e. THEM) will determine life and law.

        • HookesLaw

          No I think Cameron is pretty sceptical. As am I. But unless you are a nutjob you also have to be realistic and behave in a way which is in Britain’s best interests. The first way to do that is to negotiate and put a proposal on the table. But at the same time what we need is an alternative. Its this which both sides do not want to talk about. I think its because the reality of the most plausible alternative is being in the EEA and is not much different to being in the EU.

          All the howling ignores the reality of the referendum that lies at the end of this process.

          • Conway

            If Cameron is sceptical, please answer these questions: how did Cameron vote in 2011 regarding giving us a referendum? How did Cameron vote on affirming the sovereignty of Parliament?

    • Tony_E

      I have lost some respect for Heffer because he also repeats the lie that Cameron promised a repeal of the Lisbon treaty. He clearly did not.

      You repeat it here, but you must also know that it is simply not true. What was offered was a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty had it not been ratified. There is no constitutional arrangement that allows for a country to withdraw from individual parts of the Treaty of Rome without specific derogations.

      • Alexsandr

        parliament could pass an act. A parliament cannot bind a future parliament.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          No but would you like to be the party which said “no we do not think the British people have a right to vote on this issue because we know better and are going to repeal this legislation or ignore it”?

        • Tony_E

          No it couldn’t. It would either have to comply with the treaty of Rome, or not. The Treaty is an international agreement – while Parliament cannot bind its successors, international treaties certainly can and have in practice always done so, unless the country in question has unilaterally withdrawn from it.

          So in theory we could pass a law, but that would be simply opening us up to being ejected from the EU, or being heavily fined, or having ourselves cut off by trade sanctions or other such powers the EU mainland countries could then use against us.

          If you want to leave, the best method is still article 50 process, achieved via a referendum on either a treaty change or the current treaty. But that’s unlikely to occur.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Tactically, it might be a good idea to try. A pre-election referendum would probably be voted down by the Lib Dems and the Fascist Labour Party which would find great disfavour with much of the electorate. It would demonstrate conviction ( a long lost trait in British politicians) and what does he really have to lose? That said, I will not be holding my breath.

      • HookesLaw

        So splitting the tory party before the election is a good idea?
        What would we hold a referendum on?
        Any such referendum would be an even worse con that Salmond’s current effort.
        Leave the EU? Then what where to? How can we have a vote without knowing the proper alternatives?
        And with a financial crisis still on our doorstep – you think the public are interested in creating even more financial uncertainty?
        And why hold a referendum now before any negotiations where we would have more leverage to our proposals with the prospect of a referendum at the end of it?
        Indeed – a referendum now which votes to stay in? Where does that leave our ability to exert any leverage. And given that a referendum before the election would expose tory splits and probably usher in a labour govt – where would that leave the UK?
        It would leave it with Labour free to do what it wants (ie closer ties) and do so knowing it would not have to put it to the nation as a referendum.

        • Smithersjones2013

          So splitting the tory party before the election is a good idea?

          Where have you been for the last 4 years. Cameron has already split the Tory party.

          • Alexsandr

            no he hasnt. he has driven half of it to UKIP.

          • HookesLaw

            I think you will find it was Mrs Thatcher that split the tory party and then Major after her. Cameron in fact went to great lengths to paper over the cracks. Again you expose your bigotry.

        • Kitty MLB

          It is already split! Conservatives in exile. You are a Cameroon Pavlov dog leaving
          little puddles around the Tory oak, yet you remain
          unique. Even the most devoted Cameroon, those who
          stare at photo’s of their beloved want to leave the EU,
          I assume you also approve of the ghastly Lib Dems,
          you may even be one.

          • HookesLaw

            Dummy – we know already there is a difference of opinion. There are differences in the labour Party on various things, big political mparties are compromises, but labour are not going out of their way to air them in public.

            The tories offer a referendum in 2017 – but you want to halp the election to Europhile labour because you are too thick to see beyound the end of your nose.

            • Kitty MLB

              I am not made of rubber thank you very much,
              I am also not thick, quite slim actually !
              They do not think I am helping them when
              I post on Labour List, it gets quite fearsome sometimes,
              and Telemachus as well as someone else needs to drag me out!

              • HookesLaw

                You and other loony kippers are thick min the head. Not only do you plan a labour victory – you throw away a chance of a referendum.

                • Conway

                  There is no chance of a referendum with Cameron. It seems that your insults should be applied to you!

            • Conway

              There is no need to be insulting. We all know that Cameron’s offer of a referendum in 2017 will never materialise.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          I was not advocating a referendum now I was positing the idea that if the Conservatives believe they are going to lose in 2015 and I think they will despite having my vote, then they might calculate that they have little to lose. I have spent a working lifetime negotiating contracts and success depends on constructing an argument which makes the other side want a negotiated settlement more than you do. Britain has no such position and the EU knows it. Our only effective card is the nuclear option of pulling out because the EU will simply not entertain the kind of reforms Britain wants. We can wait until 2017 but I think it unlikely that Cameron will be around to make good his promise and a europhile Marxist like Miliband who positively hates democracy and free speech will certainly not give us one.

          • global city

            A Labour government, especially one with a small majority would help the anti EU cause more than a lying Tory who has no interest in leaving the EU.

            We could have a referendum in 2020, when the full consequences of staying in become undeniably apparent.

            There are no reasons to vote Tory for anyone who wishes to regain democratic control.

          • HookesLaw

            You seemed to be suggesting a pre election referendum. The tories will be going into 2015 with the offer of a referendum in 2017. It will be the right and timely option.
            There is though no ‘nuclear option’ – unless you want to put Britain in to an economic nuclear winter.
            Assuming we stay in the Single Market then leaving the EU will make little difference to us being in. It may be that that is what happens in 2017. There is an argument to be made for it – provided we do not scare away inward investment in the process. But do not pretend that being in the EEA will be any real difference to being in the EU. We may not send MEPs or attend summits but we will be out of any decision making as well.
            Either way its all marginal and the antics of a bunch of ignorant hysterics will just hand seats to Labour. There is absolutely no point in frothing about it now.

            Who thinks that any referendum proposal that takes us out of the single market would succeed? Do you ?

            • Tony_E

              I don’t think it will help Conservatives much unless they go into the GE promising to campaign against Membership in 2017. They show little sense of realisation at the top that renegotiation is impossible (and I don’t belive they can be naive enough to believe that the ‘project’ would ever be compromised by releasing the ratchet). That seems to most people who understand the EU as fundamentally dishonest or just plain deluded.

              UKIP aren’t much of a party yet – they won’t win any seats I suspect, though they will cost the Cons a good few I suspect. But it makes no difference unless the Conservatives come out as the party of OUT, rather than the party of In, but with a sham arrangement that we’ll sell you later.

              • HookesLaw

                If the results of renegotiation are slim or zero then that is the result that the public will vote on.

                • Tony_E

                  You’re missing the point Hooky – if people don’t believe that there’s any chance of renegotiation, then the Conservative attitude now looks like subterfuge.

                  UKIP voters don’t believe that Cameron will ever campaign for an out, no matter what the renegotiation brings he will attempt to dress it up and sell it to the public as a significant victory. And with the BBC, Labour and Lib Dems all behind that, plus whatever NGOs the EU is funding (remember Ireland?), then the entire public debate will be about how wonderful the new deal is, and people will be conned like they were in ’75.

                  I understand that view and have some sympathy with it. But I think it will be immaterial in the end because Miliband will be in no10 and there will be no vote.

                • HookesLaw

                  Well there is a chance of some negotiations bearing fruit. But the results will be on the table to see.

                • Conway

                  UKIP voters don’t believe that Cameron will ever campaign for an out because he himself has said that a) he wants the UK to stay in and b) when asked by El Pais if, should the people vote out, he would take the UK out he said “No me gusteria” (I wouldn’t want to). The Conservative attitude looks like a subterfuge because that’s exactly what it is. I agree that all the forces of the Establishment will push for a stay in result, which is why it is so important for UKIP’s vote to be substantial. Treat the European Elections as the referendum we shall never be allowed to have.

            • Adam2014

              no-one wants this euroscum in this Country except EU dopes like You

          • Conway

            Nicholas, I’m sorry to hear you are going to give your vote to the Conservatives and split the UKIP vote. Such actions increase the likelihood of a Miliband victory.

          • Makroon

            Red would probably cook up an alliance with Hollande to try to pressure Merkel into “social concessions”, not realising that Hollande is in Merkel’s pocket.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Agreed and the mind boggles at what that idiot defines as “social concessions” and his naïveté in believing he could sell such vacuous rubbish to the British people as representing something worthwhile.

        • global city

          Leave the wife? Then where to?
          Meaningless, absolutely meaningless.

          • HookesLaw

            What has leaving the wife got to do with it?

            • global city

              Why does leaving the EU necessitate having to cleave onto someone else, rather than be friends with everyone who wants to be friends with us?

              Once you break free of the crazy notion that the UK depends on the EU for it’s safety and security, such claims become as lunatic as they actually are.

    • Kitty MLB

      Well hoping into bed with the Lib Dems whose spiritual home
      is a wind farm infested field Nr Brussels would have always put
      a stop to that, they delight in saying, we stopped the Tories ( shocked they
      could find any amongst Cameron’s bunch)
      Maybe that was the whole point of them being coalition partners.
      I have no idea of why we cannot have this referendum at the time
      of the general election, just tick another box.

  • an ex-tory voter

    Just more waffle from Merkel and Cameron, neither have mentioned any specifics, nor any timetable within which to implement them. The entire charade is merely intended to defuse, or diminish the Eurosceptic vote ahead of the forthcoming European elections.
    They cannot be trusted and will only give concessions when their backs are to the wall and then only the barest minimum and certainly nothing which slows or prevents “ever deeper integration”.
    There are only two choices regarding the EU, those are “in” or “out”. Voters should remain focused on what is actually occuring by way of regulation and the transfer of powers and ignore the Merkel – Cameron pantomime.

    • David Lindsay.

      Miliband on the otherhand was constructive and had a good meeting with Angela Merkel – discussed challenges for EU, crisis in Ukraine & need for action on climate change http://t.co/h4yZ3TlWwq

      • Tony_E

        And that should be the kicker for anyone who wants to leave the EU – Milliband is a fully paid up EUrophile – and will never allow the democratic will of the people in the UK to be heard.

        He knows, just as we all do, that the end game of European integration is the removal of full surferage in respect of all vital interests.

        • Lady Magdalene

          So are Cameron and The Clegglet.
          Lib Lab CON are all pro-EU. There is no substantial difference between them.
          The next GE is, to all intents and purposes, between
          The EU v UKIP.

          • Tony_E

            Don’t be fooled by the UKIP propaganda machine on the web. It’s the only place they have any strength.

            On the ground, they aren’t making any inroads. They have no infrastructure, and no core constituency geographically. That means they will have no seats. All they will achieve is a larger Labour government majority. Labour will win next time anyway, whatever the generally right of centre voters do – Labour has a poll lead of 6%, if that was repeated at the GE they would win a landslide.

            But they only need to be roughly level with the Conservatives for a working majority.

            • Lady Magdalene

              Actually, we’re making massive inroads on the ground. We’ve come second in the last 6 By-elections …. from Eastleigh in the south to Wythenshawe in the north.
              Membership has more than doubled since 2010 and is still rising and a lot of those new members are experienced activists.

              • Tony_E

                We’ll see, I suspect that the gains will be as they are now, a list of second places in seats where they are merely a protest against an unbeatable Left wing majority by voters with nothing to lose against the donkey with the red rosette.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  That’s how political parties start though. They don’t explode to prominence. Grassroots efforts push them through finally. And the establishment can squelch them, if it chooses, by changing course. It’s not, in this case, so UKIP is going to continue to wax.

            • Conway

              UKIP is picking up councillors in local government. The membership of my branch has more than doubled over the last year.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Laughable and ridiculous as always. Miliband is a joke and the country knows it and only an idiot like you would speak in favour of Fascist Labour. I suppose it makes a change from promising to control energy prices in a global market that is neither aware or cares about his existence.

        • David Lindsay.

          The issue was for Cameron to tell us what he wants on Europe.
          He did not.
          Miliband has said openly that he wants constructive engagement to our mutual benefit.
          For all the huffing and puffing that is what we all want.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            “Constructive engagement” what a lot of bland rubbish spoken by an idiot with no experience whatsoever of negotiation. The EU has no interest in engaging with Britain constructively or otherwise because they perceive, rightly, that we have nothing to negotiate with save the ‘nuclear option’ of withdrawal. Neither Miliband or Cameron has any hope of achieving a balanced negotiated settlement with these people because the EU has no interest in doing so. That is why a referendum is essential because we can then proceed on the basis of what the majority of the electorate want be it in or out. Few of us would be stupid enough to place our faith in the vacuous blandishments of an idiot Marxist like Miliband in the belief that such a sanctimonious, incompetent hypocrite would ever, for one moment, consider the best interests of the British electorate.

        • Conway

          Especially since it was his Climate Change Act that hiked up the prices in the first place.

  • Tony_E

    There won’t be a major renegotiation, just as there won’t be any return to nation states any of the competencies that the EU currently enjoys.

    And there is a very straightforward reason for this, and form a certain perspective (though not one I share), it is perfectly logical.

    This is simply the rationale that the democratic experiment in Europe is drawing to a close. The lessons of history are all around us regarding the failure of democracy in Europe. It has always been fragile. Those at the centre of the EU project are moving to a position of elite, benign dictatorship. Government by the wisest, not the most electable (in their view).

    They answer this specific challenge with a prospect of a post democratic Europe: How do we remove populism from political discourse so that governments are no longer trapped into ‘retail offers’ which are always unaffordable in the long run?

    • Lady Magdalene

      The obvious problem with “elite, benign” dictatorship is that if the wrong person/people become the dictators it is no longer benign.
      The British people in particular don’t take kindly to dictatorships …. which is why we are kicking off now. A sizeable minority have woken up and understand that what Farage and UKIP have been going on about for 2 decades is our Democracy and who governs us.
      The British Establishment is going to get a collective kicking in May 2014 and another one a year later.

      • Tony_E

        I agree with your general sentiment – but where I depart is that I don’t think that the General Election will herald the result you want, or any chance of Brexit.

        It will bury Brexit for a decade at least, by which stage it might be even harder to achieve due to the further erosion of sovereignty guaranteed by a Miliband government.

        • Lady Magdalene

          You seem to be ignoring the further erosion of Sovereignty which Cameron is planning in July – timed to coincide with the last day of Parliament – when he intends signing us up to the EU Arrest Warrant and a host of other powers which will be transferred to the EU.
          The European Arrest Warrant destroys the principle of Habeas Corpus and the right to trial by a Jury of your peers which the British people have had for 3+ centuries. British citizens can be demanded by a foreign police force and banged up for months whilst a case is built against them.
          We are supposed to accept that the judicial systems of 28 nations (including Bulgaria, Romania, Italy – remember Amanda Knox – are equal to our own).

          • Tony_E

            I’m with you Lady M, but I don’t see how voting UKIP will make any difference. Not unless you can convince the recipients of Labour’s largesse to vote with you. And turkeys don’t generally vote for Christmas.

            It’s way too late, you missed the boat by nearly 30 years. It was Thatcher you needed to convince before Maastrict. After that, its all been a one way street. That’s what a ratchet does, and the entire civil service machine is now standing behind that ratchet, the BBC, the Universities, the Schools. I think we already lost the war.

            • Lady Magdalene

              Thatcher woke up to the danger before Maastrict, which is why the LibCon Elite got rid of her.
              I wonder if Churchill thought he lost the war when the little ships were bringing back our soldiers from the beaches of Normandy?
              It’s not over until its over ……
              All the time they have no mandate for our membership, there’s hope.

              • Tony_E

                Yeah, Single European Act is more correct – Maastrict just cemented the ratchet in place. I’d like to think you are right about the war not being over, but I’m not hopeful.

                I tend towards the view that the entire EU will tear itself apart, the real game is to be the best placed country to take advantage of the vacuum left when it implodes under its own contradictions.

            • Conway

              It was Major who signed Maastricht. If you don’t vote UKIP, then you are voting for more of the same.

    • Barakzai

      ‘Those at the centre of the EU project are moving to a position of elite, benign dictatorship. Government by the wisest, not the most electable (in their view).’

      Just so, and the movement – which is increasingly undisguised – goes beyond the unelected Brussels politicos to the pan-European judiciary, whose irksome opinions on British national issues is also growing.

      And as you imply, the leadership of all 3 main parties at Westminster embrace this course of events as desirable.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Government by the wisest, not the most electable (in their view).’

        No Government by the self annointed, not by any means the wisest (Ashton for example – give me a break)

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron’s told us what he wants.
    He wants to keep the UK in the EU at all costs. He will never countenance leaving.
    You’re deluding yourself if you really think he’s going to try and deliver a significant change in our relationship.
    His only objective is to get a mandate to keep us IN.

    • ChuckieStane

      Of course it is and always has been.
      In the unlikely event that there is an in/out referendum Cameron wiill be campaigning to stay in. He has never said anything contrary to this.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        He might want to consider delivering his campaign from the secure surroundings of a velodrome or indeed go and meet the huge masses of genuine support… on an oil rig.

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      Good.
      UKIP climate deniers, take note.

      • Lady Magdalene

        We have.
        That’s why many of us have abandoned the Conservative Party and all of us are going to see Cameron kicked out of No.10 in 2015.

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          Perhaps not so good.
          Cameron kicked out in 2015 will mean what exactly?
          No referendum for a starters, Miliband in as dessert, and an independent Scotland as main course to complement your world class ‘strategy’.

          You don’t care? Well, that would make you a Tea Party fruitcake then wouldn’t it? Yum.

          the answer is of course so simple: we will support Merkel in the creation of and eqaul partnership within a United States of Europe as recent history has taught us beyond doubt that being the Blairite Hague poodle of the US of A just will no longer resonate with the British people. Problem solved (!)

          • Lady Magdalene

            Hahah.

          • MirthaTidville

            Barking…..how appropriate

          • Kitty MLB

            How delicious, a main course of smoked salmond,
            with sturgeon eggs on a chunk plen brid,
            can I order some in advance.
            Also Milipede as Wallace is partial to a nice piece of cheese,
            so therefore he is the final course after dessert, had with some
            vintage port.

          • Raddiy

            Is there a particular technique to waxing lyrical and saying bu**er all, or is it just too hard to form a cogent argument worth posting?

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              You devote the first comment in the history of your ‘character’ to me? I am honoured, pal.

              • Raddiy

                So you should be, it is a fine achievement to be so noticeable when saying so little.

          • Pip

            Cameron is part of the problem not the solution and the EU as a Political Construct is operating on borrowed time, only fools and liars wont or cant admit it. The EU will either evolve into a FTA with free movement of Citizens without access to benefits or it will die a slow and painful death, either way it will never evolve into what its supporters desire it to be, an Autocratic Political and Fiscal Union.

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              Oh, with a privately (Fed) backed or Monarchy (BoE) backed banking system? Wow, didn’t know that…

            • HookesLaw

              Borrowed time…? Not long ago everyone was saying the Euo was finished. I only wish it was so… but its still here and looking like its going to stay here. The closer fiscal rules it needs is why the next few years is a good time to renegotiate our position.

          • Rillian

            If you don’t vote for UKIP you deserve everything that Labour will give you.

    • Hello

      I don’t see how it’s relevant what Cameron wants. He has promised a referendum. You are perfectly at liberty to campaign to get us out.

      I sometimes wonder if Ukip is getting slightly scared of the prospect of an Out vote, and the loss of their cushy positions in the European parliament, so they’ve decided to make sure the Conservatives don’t win in 2015. Ukip don’t want a referendum until they have the security of seats, salaries and benefits from Westminster.

      If they were really Eurosceptic they wouldn’t really care how the referendum was brought about, but they’ve decided to take the line that they don’t like the person delivering it. It’s a little weak.

      • Alexsandr

        but he is not delivering it. If he really wanted one he could have one soon. delaying till 2017 hoping that events will derail it is a naff strategy.

      • Pip

        I wonder how many times certain people need to be lied to before they stop believing!

      • Lady Magdalene

        Any campaign run by Cameron will be as massively rigged as the 1975 one was, in order to get the “right” result. And once The British Establishment has the mandate it currently lacks, we will never be asked again.
        Far better to get rid of Cameron and delay having a Referendum whilst UKIP grows stronger and the EU demonstrates still further what an anti-democratic, dictatorial monster it is.
        In some circumstances, playing a long game is better….

      • HookesLaw

        UKIP are scared on an IN vote which is quite the most likely result. An IN vote will settle the matter. Thats why UKIP have latched on to immigration and hatred of foreigners.

        The fact that the referendum, if labour are kept out and we get one, would settle matters is why it needs to be based around proper issues and alternatives. Not like the pig in a poke offered by Salmond.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          “…it needs to be based around proper issues and alternatives.”

          .

          You Camerluvvies will block any public knowledge of that, as we all know. Afterall, what business is it of the plebs what their bubble betters have in mind for them?

          Now you know why it is your boy Dave’s head is headed for that spike, 14.25 months from now. .

      • Conway

        Cameron may have promised a referendum, but he will not deliver one. He has hedged it about with too many ifs and buts. The timescale is too tight to deliver any meaningful renegotiation, even should such a thing be possible (which so many Commissioners and other EU officers have said is impossible, backed up by Merkel’s speech).

      • Whizjet

        Hear hear – it’s a bit tiresome to hear the classic Labour ‘big lie’ technique being deployed by deluded and immature kippers.

    • Pip

      Those who opine in the MSM on behalf of the Establishment and whoever pays them or controls them are not deluded they are just dishonest. As for Cameron he is an EU Placeman, a secret Blairite, a Liberal, a liar and a fraud.

      • allymax bruce

        Everybody is ‘a secret placeman’ when it comes to Western politics. The Republican Party, (functional Zionist Bilderbergs), thought they had the EU ‘sewn-up’, but now it’s reverting to 17th century politics. Watch & see; I’m right.
        allymax

    • Whizjet

      Perhaps you could share with us precisely what, when and where Cameron actually said these things?

  • Michael Mckeown

    David does not want anything except the major EU players to say, as they have, that ‘treaty changes take a very, very, long time’ and now that France and Germany have done so Cameron will not be the last British prime mister with Scotland in the UK as Alex Salmond’s claims that Scotland will get in the EU in rapid time with treaty changes have been blown out the water.

    • ChuckieStane

      The EU is an expansionist organisation. It has no intention of fragmenting or reducing its territory. Scotland would probably find it difficult to leave even if it wanted to.
      If Scotland votes yes, there would require to be a renegotiation for EWNI. This gives immediate grounds for Cameron’s mythical in/out referendum. Can you hear Mr. Cameron proposing such a referendum?
      Greenland is not even in Europe and it had to fight for years to get out of the EU.

      • Michael Mckeown

        The EU is an organization of soverign states it is not an organization designed to be used to dissolve member states.

        Greenland never fought to leave the EU it was Denmark that negotiated its territory to be outside the EU just as the UK negotiated its territory of Gibraltar to be in the EU.

        • Lady Magdalene

          The EU’s stated aim is to reduce the power of member nations and result in a Europe of the regions.
          It claims that Nation State Democracy is the root of the worst evil.

          • Michael Mckeown

            I’m not sure that can be proved but nevertheless Cameron is aware and would have been fully aware of the positions of France and Germany yet he still invites them over so they can tell him ‘change takes ages if at all’ and I can only think f one reason for that.

            • Lady Magdalene

              The EU’s regional policy is available on its own website.

              In the EU’s Visitor Centre the following is displayed
              “National sovereignty is the root cause of the most crying evils of our time,” –
              hardly sounds like an organisation which respect Sovereign Nations.

              • Michael Mckeown

                It is an organization of soverign nations, everything the EU is now is because the soverign states made it that way.

                • Lady Magdalene

                  They may be classed as Sovereign nations now …. although so much power has been transferred to the EU, that that claim is debatable.
                  But they won’t be for much longer. The aim – as it always has been – is to create Federal Superstate, a United States of Europe.
                  And creation of the EU as it is now has been done without the consent of the peoples. As Cameron himself said in Jan 13 “the democratic mandate for the EU is wafer thin.”
                  The PEOPLE rejected the EU Constitution. The EU rammed it through anyway by changing the name to Treaty and avoiding Referenda.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Your confusing the aim of the EU with the aim of its members, the EU has no aim it is its members that do but I really can’t see any of the members having the aim of dissolving themselves as thats political suicide.

                  A treaty can be set aside at any time by the head of state.

                • Lady Magdalene

                  That’s funny ….. Cameron’s excuse for reneging on the Lisbon Treaty referendum that he promised (no caveats at the time) was that because it had been ratified there was nothing he could do about it.
                  See ….. he was lying again, wasn’t he.

                • Conway

                  So when the members (the electorates of Denmark, France and the Netherlands) rejected policies when they were consulted, that was the end of it, was it? Or were they ignored (or in the case of Ireland, made to vote twice) and what they’d rejected put in place? You are correct that the members do not want to be dissolved, but they won’t have the choice.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Ireland was not made to vote twice it was Ireland’s parliament that made its people vote twice, I’m not an EU fan but it is not the monster it is made out to be but a monster it is still.

                • Conway

                  Are you saying there was no pressure from the EU on Ireland’s Parliament? There was certainly a lot of EU money that went into getting the right result.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Indeed but ultimately the EU can’t call a referendum in Ireland as only the Irish parliament can.

                • Conway

                  I think you’ll find they are referred to as ‘member states’. Sovereignty is something seen as to be given up for the greater good (of the Project).

                • Michael Mckeown

                  The UK is a state as is the USA, its just terminology.

                • Conway

                  He who controls the terminology controls the narrative.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  The EU does not control the terminology though, ‘state’ is globally recognized as ‘soverign country’.

  • William Haworth

    There’s no point if he isn’t prepared to walk away from a bad deal. It’s so basic, and so obvious to those he’s negotiating with. “When push comes to shove, I’ll do what you want” is not a successful bargaining position.

    • Makroon

      That is an accurate Anglo-Saxon take on the situation, but the EU is quite alien to the the Anglo-Saxon way of doing things.
      I can imagine a long list of agreed “reforms” which are self-evidently in the interests of Germany and France (as well as Britain), but the French demanding as a quid pro quo, that the remains of the rebate be surrendered.

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