24 Dec 2015

Cameron's 'negotiation' destination is clear, associate EU membership

While catching up from my recent blogging break, I spotted recent article penned by the arch EU federalist, Andrew Duff.

In a previous post I described Duff as the best ally Brexiteers have in the fight against David Cameron, and with good reason. On 10th December he reinforced that description with an open letter to Cameron on his Blogactiv page.

There are a few things worthy of coverage, but in this post we'll focus only on one, Associate Membership.

On the topic of 'ever closer union', Duff helpfully reminds us previous British governments have not only accepted the commitment to ever closer union but have elevated it in terms of primary law.

As Duff points out, the Tories Edward Heath and John Major have been two of the most zealous Prime Ministers in their determination to advance along the path of ever reduced democratic control and accountability. But what Duff then does is again raise his brainchild of a formalised two-speed Europe, exactly of the type demanded by the Westminster insider, establishment figure and Vote Leave chief executive, Matthew Elliott...
A more elegant way of settling your European dilemma would be to craft a new form of affiliate membership, short of full membership. Some are surprised that you have rejected that option. You are criticised for not spelling out your own concept of Britain’s ultimate destination. But you can justly demand of your EU partners that they also make more of an effort to specify their own concept of fiscal and eventual political union.

Whether you call it associate membership, the 'British option', two-speed Europe, or affiliate membership, the outcome is the same...
  • Britain would remain part of the EU and our supreme government will continue to be the EU
  • foreign courts will still have primacy over our own
  • the Commission will still generate laws we cannot reject to be enacted here
  • our terms of trade, tariffs and customs rules will continue to be decided for us
  • we will have no direct involvement in deciding the global rules made at the top tables 
  • Britain would not return to being an independent nation, responsible for governing itself

What Duff is doing is preparing the way for a reform destination that has already been decided in the corridors of real power, in Brussels.

The EU needs this solution to enable the push for ever closer union among Eurozone countries. Cameron needs it so it can be passed off as British-forced reform that supposedly resolves all the concerns of  eurosceptics and other British voters. The drama played out in the media is all part of the theatre.

Duff is merely playing along in pretending Cameron has rejected the very two-speed construct he will eventually present as a hard won deal, wrested from what will be painted as a kicking, screaming and defeated Eurocracy.

The media will plant the flag as usual, fawn and lap it up as a glorious victory over the EU. But the only change will be that Eurozone countries will have the freedom to push further integration without having to navigate approval from non-Eurozone countries. It's important to recognise and understand this plan, because when it comes to pass it will be possible to be ready to counter the arguments and claims that it represents a solid solution to British discontent with the EU.

The only outcome of David Cameron's faux negotiation will be a form of associate membership. The destination is illuminated with halogen floodlights, if only people choose to look up and see what is in front of them.