The phrase “Where’s the beef?” became associated with the 1984 U.S. presidential election when Democratic candidate and former Vice President Walter Mondale used the phrase to suggest that the policies of his rival, Senator Gary Hart, were insubstantial.
On the eve of a summit of EU leaders, a report suggested that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted he wants Britain to remain in the EU (Mais bien sûr!) but added that “to tango, it takes two. So we have to dance, and our British friends have to dance.”
The two reports below, one in the Daily Mail and the other in the Daily Telegraph reflect the difficulties that are already brewing in the member states because of this.
The Daily Mail article report details the fact that the EU leaders want Cameron to lance this particular boil – fast. Why? Because of what the Daily Telegraph reports – EU leaders do not want their populations demanding a say on how their countries are run! Were that to come about, the whole EU project would unravel! And wouldn’t that be a shame!
The problem here – as is so common with many things in life – is the problem of conflicting demands.
Cameron wants to play a waiting game. The Tories strategy is clear and unfortunately UKIP and the Leave.EU campaign (https://leave.eu/) and the Get Britain Out campaign (http://getbritainout.org/) are playing right into his hands by starting too soon. This is because Cameron is planning on the public becoming totally bored out of their skulls by the time of the poll.
This strategy of course illustrates Cameron’s dilemma – the paucity of his arguments to stay in the EU! A competent General will always seek to secure the time, the place and the weapons with which he will choose to fight a particular battle. Be in no doubt Dear Reader that Cameron is anything other than a competent General in this regard – the Conservative Party is a long established party with enormous resources to draw on. Cameron knows that his three principal weapons are:
1. Fear and doubt.
2. the BBC aka the Brussels Brainwashing Commissariat.
The Tory/Stay In side will be pinning ALL their hopes on the popular wisdom; “If in doubt, don’t.”
How many times have we heard, used and applied that wisdom in our lives?
Cameron’s problem is his promised “re-negotiation” can only ever be a fig leaf to cover his embarrassment. Cameron knows that this fig leaf will be shown for what it is by both campaigns and this will seriously hinder the Stay In campaign because they will only have FEAR (of leaving) to rely on. Plus the resources of the licence fee funded BBC!It is also to be hoped that the Get Britain Out is selected as the official campaign in receipt of public funds. This is because excellent fellow that Nigel Farage is – he was, is and ever will be the classic “Marmite politician” – people either love him or loath him.
The only people who have no opinion about Nigel Farage are those who have never heard of him!
The sad fact is that Nigel may well cause large numbers of ethnic minority and Scottish voters to vote, “Stay In” because Nigel wants them to vote to leave.
Cameron’s playing of the waiting game however is causing great consternation with his colleagues on the continent. They are wanting the British referendum over and done with because the longer Cameron drags things out the more problems are caused with their own voters.
The problem the EU has is that they cannot afford to hand Cameron anything more than a fig leaf because if they cede significant sovereignty back to the UK then the populations in all other member states will ask “Why not us too?”
A significant report is here: http://www.theweek.co.uk/eu-referendum/63710/lloyds-boss-boosts-brexit-campaign
The solution the EU leaders will be hoping for is to offer the UK “associate membership” of the EU. This will be that the EU implements the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty – that have already been ratified into law of all EU member states and become a fully federal union after 2020 with the Euro as the currency. The BEST CASE SCENARIO is for the UK to be excluded (from the Union) and be placed with Norway: in EFTA, in the Single Market but Outside the EU. However, “Associate Membership” may well mean a lot less than this.
This of course DOES NOT address the issue of the free movement of peoples as this is a requirement for membership of the single market – whether or not the state in question is a member of the EU.
Associate Membership will get Cameron off the hook. It will get whoever has authority in the Labour Party off the hook and it will get the rest of the EU members off the hook.
The only person left on the hook will be the Unfortunate Timothy James Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats! British Gazette readers should take some pity on the Unfortunate Farron for it is wrong to mock the afflicted.