Or, to paraphrase a song from a musical, what do you do with a problem like Cameron?*
From his recent interview in the Daily Telegraph we have Cameron proclaiming that if ones vision of Britain was that we should just withdraw and become a sort of greater Switzerland, he thinks that would be a complete denial of our national interests. Well, where trade is concerned, in 2010 the Swiss exported four times as much per head to the EU as the British did so perhaps becoming a ‘greater Switzerland’ is not such a bad move.
David Cameron is also on record as wishing to renegotiate and repatriate powers from the EU (a policy that has been shot so full of holes that it no longer leaks, it just doesn’t even begin hold water) yet seems prepared to display his hand to his opponents. Paul Goodman, writing on Conservative Home, argues that in so doing Cameron has removed from it a powerful card, namely the possibility of supporting a British exit if he doesn’t get what he wants. One has therefore to ask Goodman exactly when was that particular card ever in Cameron’s hand? Bear in mind that the Conservative Manifesto for the 2010 general election did not include anywhere a commitment under any circumstances to cease membership of the EU.
That we are to remain wedded to the EU is further illustrated by David Lidington who is quoted in the Mail as stating that an audit of EU powers announced last week by Foreign Secretary William Hague will not be a consultation about whether we should be in or out of the EU and adding that there is no question of the UK disengaging or withdrawing from the EU as a result of this exercise.
Elsewhere much has also been made of the myth that 3million jobs depend on our membership of the EU and that ‘Europe’ is our largest export market. Odd then that Britain’s trade with the EU, which was in surplus before we joined, has been in deficit in all but one of the subsequent years. In 2010, Britain ran a deficit of £52.4 billion with the EU, but a surplus of £15.7 billion with the rest of the world. Indeed, over the period of our membership as a whole, we have had a cumulative surplus with every continent on the planet except Europe.
On the subject of trade it appears the British media are beginning to ‘catch up’ that the future may well lie with the rest of the world – but when were the media at the forefront of actually being able to report that which has been under their noses for some time? It also seems to have escaped their attention that export figures are rigged by use of the Rotterdam/Antwerp Effect.
*Afterthought: In paraphrasing, I am wont to remember a film called: “They shoot Camerons, don’t they?” a film which focused on a disparate group of characters desperate to win an EU membership dance marathon and the opportunistic MC who urges them on to victory.