29 Oct 2015

Vote Leave's Dominic Cummings now caught in his own web

In rushing forth to disown and discredit the Norway Option yesterday, Vote Leave's campaign director, Dominic Cummings (salary of no more than £99,000) leaves himself open to an obvious question, if not the Norway Option as the first step in a planned, staged withdrawal that protects British business interests, then what?

The problem for Cummings is that he has no plan. So he is left flapping like a gaffed fish and tweeting comments that reinforce the point that, i) his campaign is using the referendum only as leverage for a reform deal, not in order to leave the EU, and ii) that he has no grasp of EU politics because his undefined wishlist is unobtainable. Here's what Cummings said:
1/ DC is talking Britain down - we could negotiate a free trade deal with EU & access to SM without accepting supremacy of EU law.

2/ Lots of countries trade with EU without accepting supremacy of EU law. Why does DC think UK is too weak/useless to do this?

3/ UK future shd be based on sci/education/global cooperation/new institutions - not the failed 1950s experiment in bureaucratic centralism.

4/ Wrong to think Single Market all good. Eg. The disastrous Clinical Trials Directive was a SM measure. So are the awful procurement rules

5/ After we #VoteLeave we'll do what DC shd have done - have proper roadmap & serious negotiation > better deal for us AND Europe AND R.O.W.

6/ Now the PM is inviting ideas about what to do after he's failed, we will be v happy to set out a roadmap of how UK future cd be brighter.

7/ UK is better & stronger than DC realises. His low ambition negotiation is holding us back & undermining our influence in EU & world

On point 5, where is the roadmap and what exactly does he want negotiated? He doesn't say 'when we give notice we are leaving the EU' that negotiation should take place. Once again it is evident that his vision is a vote to leave triggering a more serious version of what Cameron claims to be doing now, which is getting crumbs from the table. Vote leave, but to what end? No plan, no roadmap, no commitment to permanent Brexit. Warning bells should be going off in the head of every person genuinely in favour of Britain leaving the EU.

Instead of a leave vote being an expression of the British people's wish to leave the EU, Cummings wants it to be a negotiating hand to secure a reform deal that gives Britain back some powers, but keeps this country in the EU in some form or other. This is clear in point 7, which begs the question, if the idea is to leave the EU, why does having influence in the EU matter? Outed by his own words, Cummings is caught up in his own web.

Cummings' wish for a new negotiated deal which removes the supremacy of EU law but without leaving the EU, is not achievable. He's paddling in a puddle of delusion. That much is made clear by Andrew Duff, who made this observation about David Cameron yesterday:
He has also discovered that he cannot demand a unilateral derogation from EU primary law, which consists mainly of the EU’s founding treaties. And he now seems to realize that to try to change ordinary EU legislation is too risky and lengthy a process because of the mandatory involvement of the European Commission and European Parliament.
That leaves Cummings' negotiated deal dead in the water. But perhaps that is by design, because the reform agenda he really wants pursued is the one that results in some form of associate membership of the EU. Matthew Elliott has called for a 'two tier Europe', Daniel Hannan has called for 'associate status'. They are two of the leading lights in Vote Leave, so they know what's really going on behind closed doors in that counterfeit campaign. 

It is an outcome the blogs have been talking about since the principal architect of associate membership status, Andrew Duff, began talking about it in 2013. Interestingly, it is only in recent weeks, since the notion was picked up by the media, that Duff has censored the term from his own articles. He has made reference recently to 'a new form of affiliate membership' and in yesterday's piece spoke about Tory failures to articulate 'a serious alternative to full EU membership' (emphasis mine).

The destination is obvious to all but the most die-hard Vote Leave supporters. So the question now has to be, when will Cummings come clean, be honest, and tell people his campaign isn't about leaving the EU at all? When will Cummings' role as the Tories' useful idiot, helping Cameron to keep Britain in the EU, be recognised for what it is and treated accordingly?