The Otium Post

The Otium Post


The EU has just called Cameron’s bluff – and won

The EU has just called Cameron’s bluff – and won

The Spectator - 19 February 2016

David Cameron seals the EU deal - but is it any good?

Isabel Hardman, James Forsyth and Fraser Nelson discuss.
So in the end, David Cameron’s attempt to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership served to remind us of the case for leaving: the EU is designed in such a way that almost no sensible proposal can be passed. Its negotiations start after dinner, and are designed to drag on until 5am – a formula designed to stifle debate, and to wear people down. The Prime Minister was kept waiting until 10pm to be told that he had agreement on a deal – but one perforated by the bullet holes of other member states. The resulting deal is a woeful substitute for the fundamental reform that he rightly set out to achieve. They called his bluff, which is bad in itself. But worse, he has now been sent back to London to try to call the bluff of his country.

It is typical of the EU that the summit should have been obsessed with finer points of detail without anyone being able to address the bigger picture. We have had hours and hours of debate over how much child benefit should be paid to the family of a Polish parent working in Britain whose children remain back home. And even on this, Cameron was defeated: the final deal only allows him to index such payments living standards in the country where the child resides from 2020. A deadline which remind the British that Brussels controls such issues. Meanwhile, a more fundamental issue has not been addressed: that western Europe’s generous welfare policies are simply never going to be compatible with mass migration, whether from outside or inside the EU.

David Cameron’s original proposal – to ban immigrants from receiving benefits for four years – was reasonable, and would not have been a threat to Britain’s many immigrant workers because so few of them claim welfare. It sent an important message: come to Britain to work, and don’t expect to be eligible for full social benefits until you have been contributing to the tax system for several years. It is a template which the EU should be adopting. This is the way to reconcile free movement of people with generous benefits: restrict their availability to newcomers. The EU’s failure to recognise this (and its decision to restrict this to a four-year period where the UK might implement some restrictions) demonstrates that it is structurally unable to respond to such upheavals as the migration crisis, the financial crisis and – now – the welfare crisis.

The UK has been a keen advocate of the ‘four freedoms’ that the EU purports to stand for: free movement of goods, services, workers and capital. The problem is that the EU itself actively opposes free trade, favouring a morally indefensible policy of overt protectionism. Nearly 60 years after it was founded from the European Coal and Steel Community, and more than 20 years after the foundation of the ‘single market’, the EU has made little progress in opening up cross-border trade in services such as banking and insurance. For an economy like Britain’s, which is heavily based on services, this is a serious failing.

Cameron was proposing to rescue Britain’s EU membership: the way he has been treated has been nothing short of shameful. He claimed that his deal offered Britain “the best of both worlds”:  that was his intention. But it has, alas, not been the outcome.

So yes, the EU has batted away his reform proposals and forced him to accept a humiliating simulacrum of his original demands. But Cameron’s reform plans  also represented the only way that the EU can survive. Regardless of the outcome of the UK referendum, the EU needs to reform – or perish. Tonight, the latter option has just started to look a lot more likely.



Comment from a true Brit prior to the forthcoming Brexit vote in June

Argue all you like about all these various economic points and advantages, the real question to be put to Gt Britain if indeed we are still Great Britain, is do you as a UK citizen>subject want to have a sovereign nation with a sovereign parliament?.You know like the one we had for the last 1000 years with which we created English common law , habous corpus , constitutional monarchy, magna carta the glorious revolution of 1689 and a free parliament ruling over free people in a national representative democracy .

We´ve also done a few other things too like invented 58% of the worlds modern inventions the first industrial revolution created three new large countries from scratch . oh yes an built the largest empire the world had ever seen ( but that last bit is not very popular these days is it) we also had the largest economy in the world up until the second world war.

Our system of government and our common law have been copied throughout the entire world even in the USA but not in Europe which still has Roman Law.

England indeed Britain had not had a war on its soil since the battle at Culloden.

Europe had constant wars in this time , never had a working democracy except (possible with France which had a bloody revolution which resulted in another despot Napoleon) the rest were all despotic regimes and absolute monarchies , after which came surprise surprise, a European war the first of which we saved France at the cost of all our young men and then surprise surprise again another despot, world war two in which we saved France again at the cost of all our cities, our young men and our world standing , our empire , our trade , and handed it all to America "our friend"?

Then we joined the EU like some sick dopey puppy who had lost his bone .

Its all a bit like the USA asking Britain to come over to new York and take over again as the whole independence thing they realized was a big mistake ,and they want to be a British colony again , be ruled from London without representation and have the tea tax reimposed.  

Its simple if you want to live in a free country and vote in your preferred party and MP to a parliament which will fight your corner and get your policies implemented then vote OUT.

If you want to elect a party and a MP and an MEP so that the MP can win your preferred change in parliament by a strong majority only to hand it to the MEP who will be out voted by 27 other foreign MEPs who will say stuff your preferred change Then vote IN 

Clear everybody ??



Is Britain really prepared to part with the jewellry in the crown, The London Stock Exchange, in return for a minority shareholding in a German company?

Are the English bankers trying to force a deal through before a certain Brexit?


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