Having returned from being out all morning, I have now settled in to have a sandwich for lunch and catch-up with what’s going on via watching Sky News … simply because, for reasons best known to itself, my favourite current affairs/political show of all (BBC2’s Daily Politics) has decided to take the week off whilst Mr Cameron fights his corner at the EU summit in one of the most important political events of the year, which probably says more about the BBC than it does about anything else …
I’ve just been sitting here watching Adam Boulton interview Will Straw (spokesman for, or leader, of the Britain Stronger In Europe organisation) in growing exasperation.
If Will Straw is not the son of Jack Straw, formerly of this political parish and most recently on the back foot because of the Daily Telegraph’s exposure of him and the Tory grandee Malcolm Rifkind allegedly offering their services for cash to lobby Government using their wonderful personal contacts, then he ought to be because he has an archetypal politician’s way of giving interviews to the media.
I say that because, in answer to a straight question, he sets off spouting a whole load of guff about how Mr Cameron is battling away for a new deal for Britain (“Let’s see what the final deal is first …”), parrying all Mr Boulton’s “Yes, but [these countries] are saying they’ll veto this …. [those countries] are saying they’re not happy with that …” interjections with a bland blustering about how Britain will be better off in Europe in every way anyway.
The inescapable fact – and logic – cam came and hit me on the head with the force of an anvil flying across the room just now was this:
The supposed ‘this is it, we’re saved!’ deal that Cameron is hoping to get somehow today or soon is totally irrelevant.
BECAUSE THE WHOLE REFERENDUM ISSUE IS ABOUT ONE THING, AND ONE THING ONLY, VIZ. ‘DOES THE POPULATION OF THE UK WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU OR NOT ….?’
The ‘Establishment’ group who want to stay in the EU would be voting to do so, and trying to persuade everyone else to do likewise, whatever deal Mr Cameron does (or doesn’t) get.
Or even if he’d never embarked on trying to get one in the first place.
Ditto – the opposite way around – the vast bulk of those inclined to vote to the UK to quit the EU want out, come what may.
To them, whatever deal Cameron ends with (good or bad, by whatever yardstick anyone wishes to apply) is irrelevant.
The idea that Mr Cameron’s current display of brinkmanship at this week’s EU summit – and any deal he manages to bring home – is going to clinch the argument EITHER to stay in, OR if it isn’t good enough, to quit the EU, is absurd and indeed lunacy of the first order.
Why are we bothering with all this tosh?
Even if this week’s EU summit fails to end with any agreed new deal for the UK – and let’s leave aside whether at some point sooner or later the EU parliament and/or specific EU countries can unpick it (after we’ve all voted in the Referendum, presumably) – we’ll then face the prospect of Mr Cameron then embarking upon a further – completely pointless – round of lobbying of the EU … trying to get them to agree a deal in two or three weeks’ time at yet another summit.
…. and meanwhile, of course, the countdown to the Referendum date continues, with Mr Cameron, the Government and the pro-EU lobby all continuing to peddle the line that nobody in the Tory party should be allowed to campaign for Brexit … er … because … well, ‘let’s wait and see what the final deal is first …’.
It’s so blindingly obvious, so ridiculous, a tactic that, frankly, I wouldn’t put it past Mr Cameron, the ‘Establishment’ and indeed those at the highest levels of the EU at all to have concocted this whole ‘Cameron bats for a new deal for the UK’ charade as a deliberate way of trying to emasculate the UK’s Better Off OUT Of Europe campaign.