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Simon Campion-Brown is overcome by self-loathing

Two posts in two days on Prime Minister David Cameron – I must be losing my marbles!

It just seems to me that our beloved, rudderless, Leader has boxed himself into a corner on the question of the UK’s membership of the EU.

Whether he’s doing this off his own bat, or being advised by juvenile and/or duff special policy specialists, or even possibly ‘controlled’ by this new species of alien lizards that are supposed to rule the world, is as yet unclear.

I’m an amateur observer of what goes on in British politics which, depending upon your viewpoint, could be a negative or positive thing.

On the one hand, it makes me a malleable, naïve, twat who undoubtedly has most of his opinions influenced by media coverage of the issues.

However, on the other, I’m probably therefore worth following on Twitter and in my occasional National Rust columns because I’m a perfect example of the sort of human pond life that should be ‘monitored’ by all Westminster party policy wonks, in order to gauge what the electorate are thinking and then (hopefully) identify which – if any – policy adjustments will appeal to the unwashed voting public.

[Even though I don’t actually vote, of course.]

As I see, from an empirical stance, there can be only three possible answers to the issue of UK membership of the EU – being in is better, being out is better, or it would make no difference at all.  However, we can discard the last of these, because (obviously), if it is true, it actually doesn’t matter whether we’re a member or not.

The big battalions in UK business and politics are divided on the issue, save perhaps on one point – that in these circumstances democracy is an inconvenience, because it is a given that you cannot trust the British electorate to make the ‘right’ decision.

ArmyWe Brits have a general distrust of untrustworthy Johnny Foreigner, which leads us to presume that any organisation in which the Frogs, Italians, Dagos and Greeks – or indeed any country from which Louis Suarez hails – have equal voting rights to us is obviously going to be a dog’s breakfast, inherently designed to make poor decisions – mostly to our detriment – before ending in ultimate failure.

In this context, it is hardly surprising that our political establishment has deep misgivings about allowing us to make key decisions regarding our EU membership.

Enter David Cameron.

As I understand it, he has positioned the Tory party as the only one in the country that, if returned as the party of government in 2015, promises to hold an ‘in-out’ referendum on our membership of the EU within two years.

But there is a catch or, if you like, complication.

In the meantime, Mr Cameron will mount a negotiation with the EU over both ‘EU reforms’ and powers that will be returned to the UK that – if successfully concluded – will allow him to go into said referendum either recommending continued membership of the EU, or indeed not. We don’t actually know which because, so far, neither Mr Cameron nor anyone else has been able to identify which reforms – and which ‘powers’ successfully returned to the UK – will constitute a big enough success to allow Mr Cameron to recommend continued UK membership.

The probable truth is that Mr Cameron himself doesn’t have a clue.

He has presumably, and deliberately, tried to put pressure upon the EU to concede suitably impressive tit-bits by means of a hinted blackmail that – if it doesn’t – he will have no option but to go into his promised UK referendum either adopting a neutral approach or (worse from an EU point of view?) one in which, however reluctantly, he’s officially in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

I say that because logically, if he should obtain no – or just laughably minor – concessions from the EU in his negotiations, he will have no other option.

Jean-Claude Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker

From this background, I assume, springs Mr Cameron’s current strident but doomed opposition – described in one newspaper today as ‘Quixotic’ – to the appointment of Luxemburger Jean-Claude Juncker as EU president.

The one thing that Cameron urgently needs, in the cause of persuading the UK that staying in the EU is worth the candle, is something … anything … that he can point to which undermines the British public’s perception that the EU not only pays scant attention to democracy but is simply an unaccountable EU federalist plutocrats’ freeloading jamboree at the uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) expense of the member countries’ hard-pressed taxpayers.

It seems to me that, in taking the Juncker issue on, David Cameron was either barking mad and ill-advised … or else, controlled by these alien lizards, inspired.

It reminds me of a proposition once put to my school VIth form history set by our master.

When Neville Chamberlain returned from his Munich negotiations with Hitler in 1938, standing on the steps of the aircraft brandishing a piece of paper and promising Britain ‘Peace in our time’, did he (a) genuinely believe it, or (b) was he simply and deliberately playing the patsy, so that when Hitler later initiated WW2, he would ensure that the world – particularly the USA – would see Britain and its allies as the duped ‘good guys’ and Hitler as the villain?

When Jean-Claude Juncker is finally appointed as EU president, as far as both the EU and the UK electorate are concerned, Mr Cameron will have proved himself to be a humiliated prat.

Which, of course, is a perfect gift for those politicians and others in the UK in favour of quitting EU membership. It will have provided considerable support for their view that the EU is an undemocratic federalist project quite beyond the control of any individual country – still let alone the UK – to contain and/or influence.

About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts