By Adam Muspratt
David Cameron has immersed himself within a struggle of titanic proportions. On Thursday he held a summit with EU leaders to schmooze out an updated EU deal, in which he hopes Eurosceptic MP’s and the British public will get behind.
Thus far, negotiations have been painted as a triumph by Cameron and his ilk, but fortunately the British public has cast away the wool from its eyes in recognition of the farce that it currently is. As opposed to a fundamental restructuring of Britain’s relationship with the EU, all he has managed to negotiate for is a rather inconsequential ruling on child benefits, meaning that they will be withheld from new migrants for four years, and a red card system which is essentially a whistle to let the EU parliament know that you have found grievance with an impending law or bill. It’s hardly a breakthrough as it’s an extension of the already in-place yellow card system, the only notable difference being that national parliaments will have 12 weeks instead 8 to formulate an opinion on why the impending draft should be changed. It should be renamed “red-herring” in all honesty.
The BBC have reported that there was a growing consensus among top EU leaders that they would back the deal, but it remains a fairy tale situation because many countries have strong conflicting positions on key aspects of the deal such as immigration – these concerns most notably stem from Poland’s PM Beata Szydło and Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, both stated that they had outstanding issues with the welfare benefit restrictions as they fear it discriminates against certain peoples.
It will be interesting to see what Cameron now announces with his return to the UK. If the EU won’t even spring for these paltry proposals, I fear we won’t be getting a modern-day Magna Carter but more like a modern day Chamberlain-like white paper with nothing on it. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the PM is undergoing these ‘negotiations’ in some ill-sighted attempt to placate Eurosceptic’s in the hope that they will give him a pat on the back for trying his best. To gather more support, he surely needs his political heavy hitters, but the likes of Boris Johnson and Theresa May remain on the fence about Brexit. Ostensibly, he has the mild-mannered Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on his side who provided a very strange case for the UK staying. On the Andrew Marr show he suggested that without the United Kingdom’s financial backing, the EU would undoubtedly fall apart. A “contagion” would spread to other countries and they would similarly want to leave, he determined. I didn’t realise that other countries detest EU membership and were just waiting for one of the big-boys to leave before they could go on their merry way. Furthermore, why would the British public want to be responsible to prop up an entire economic bloc? Unless the Foreign Secretary is a closet Brexit campaigner, it would not be amiss to suggest that this interviewer was quite the snafu.
On the other side of the camp, capitalisation on the David Cameron’s lacklustre deal has been somewhat subdued, no-doubt a result of the infighting between the various anti-EU campaigns most notably between Leave.EU and Vote leave. To make the issue even murkier another group called Go Movement have thrown their hat into the ring, ostensibly giving the electoral commission another headache. I suppose you have to shake the tree to see what falls out, but there is the argument to be made that the out campaign is running out of time. At the moment the polls show a slight lead for the leave campaign, but this is a fact that Cameron is no-doubt be aware of, meaning that he will want to get the referendum out of the way ASAP, lest the gap widen. As such, the fact that there is yet a coherent and obvious banner for the Brexit crowd to rally behind is worrying for the out group.
It seems that each side is trying its best not to win the argument, the situation may shift decisively depending on the PM’s ability to bring home the bacon.