7 Jan 2016

Spiegel underlines the great EU referendum stitch up that is coming

Generally the media coverage of anything to do with the referendum and supposed effects of Brexit can be ignored. However there are occasions where reporting can help us make important points that help people understand the game that is afoot.

An example of that can be found in the German news magazine, Spiegel, which tells its readers that, "This summer, Britain will vote on whether to remain in the European Union. The skeptic camp appears to be gaining ground -- and EU leaders are growing concerned. They have developed a plan to give in to most of Cameron's EU reform demands." It goes on to say that:
The victor in this game has already been determined. On Feb. 19 in Brussels, David Cameron will prevail with all of his most important demands. The British prime minister, to be sure, will be standing alone at the summit, faced with opposition from his 27 EU counterparts. But in the end, following tough negotiations, he will get his way.

Such is the result envisioned by EU leaders and in fact European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have already written the script for their own defeat. "We want Cameron to return to London victorious," say EU officials in Brussels, in an uncommon display of unity. In Berlin, a Chancellery official says: "We will be extremely helpful." Anything that isn't a complete betrayal of European values is negotiable, the Berlin official says.

Their goal is that of providing Cameron with the political tailwind he needs to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union. This summer, Cameron is planning to hold a referendum on Britain's future in the EU. Only if he returns from Brussels in February with a better deal for Britain does he stand a chance of reversing the widespread EU-skepticism that characterizes the country.
So what does this mean? This apparent British victory, with Cameron securing agreement to his own personal wish list of things he has never consulted British voters about, will not be the end game. Later in the campaign, Cameron will take this supposed victory and declare that he has actually managed to triumph, and present a deal that gives Britain the option of adopting a form of Associate of Affiliate Membership of the EU, called for by Vote Leave's Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, who said:

Thus Cameron will have slithered through the middle of the leave side and 'Eurosceptic' ministers on one hand and the resolutely Europhile and federalist grouping on the other, in order to appear moderate and reasonable, before saying he has secured something even better than he hoped for.

The reality is that even with a reformed EU providing for the very two-tier Europe sought by Vote Leave's CEO Matthew Elliott, in which our non-Eurozone country would occupy a back seat so the Eurozone countries can address deliberately self inflicted economic problems with further integration that delivers ever closer union, very little will change for Britain:
  • Britain would remain part of the EU and our supreme government will continue to be the EU
  • foreign courts such as the ECJ will still have primacy over our own, subverting our domestic wishes
  • the Commission will still generate and hand down laws we cannot reject from being enacted here
  • our terms of trade, tariffs and customs rules will continue to be decided for us by the EU, preventing us from making new trade agreements with other countries
  • we will have no direct involvement in deciding the global rules, regulations and standards made at the top tables such as UNECE, Codex Alimentarius, IPPC, OIE, ILO, WTO etc.
  • Britain would not return to being an independent nation, responsible for governing itself. We will remain an overseas-ruled province of the EU, with one-twenty-eighth of a say in EU matters
What the Spiegel piece does is underline that the EU and Cameron have planned and agreed a stitch up that is designed to con British voters into thinking we will loosen ties with the EU. They accept Cameron must be seen to have a 'victory' but Britain must be kept in the EU to serve EU interests rather than those of the British people.

Everything that goes on before that is just theatre to make it look like Cameron has taken something the EU wasn't willing to give. The EU needs reform delivering a two-tier Europe because anything else holds back the economic integration of those countries using the Euro currency. They don't mind letting it appear to be a British victory, because they know little will change and British net contributions will continue to flow into Brussels' coffers.