Friday, 29 May 2015

The Uncomfortable Truth About EU Negotiations

As I pointed out the other day David Cameron's reform negotiations have got off to a bizarre start, in so far as he isn't actually asking for anything that would require a single change in any of the treaties of European Union. This makes his curious posturing with Juncker, Merkel and others even more baffling. There are two possible explanations for why Cameron would proceed in this way, and neither is especially flattering for Mr Cameron or the EU project. Or indeed the state of modern Britain.
First is the simplest and most obvious explanation, and for me the most attractive because it relies on nothing more than the duplicity and arrogance of our Prime Minister. Ties which Occam's razor can not sever. That explanation is that Cameron is making domestic policy announcements and presenting them as renegotiation of our relationship with the EU. This will allow him to make the "negotiations" seem as difficult as he likes, because he isn't actually negotiating anything. Everything he is seeking is already in the power of the British government to implement.

This amounts to duplicity of such epic proportions that it's hard to think of a parallel, and should make any thinking person suspicious of the project itself. Why would such duplicity be needed for something which most of our political establishment apparently believe is beneficial to the country?

The only mystery this explanation leaves is why other European leaders would even entertain or collude in such a transparent fraud. What do they have to gain by putting their names to this?

The second explanation however is even more depressing, but only a little bit less plausible. That is, that somewhere in the tangled mess of our membership of the European Union, it is already a requirement that even such thoroughly domestic matters as a significant reform of our welfare system must be approved by Brussels.

This would explain why other leaders are indeed taking some interest in Cameron's charade. However it would also, ironically, shine a very unkind light on the extent to which our own elected government is utterly impotent to actually govern our country. So much so that a simple change such as requiring contributions before claiming benefits must be approved by politicians and bureaucrats from another country, who have never been elected for anything by the British people, and whose stake in the matter if any gives them interests which are not aligned with, and in some cases quite contrary to the British people.

There simply are no other options beyond this unattractive dichotomy. Cameron's negotiations are either an elaborate fraud designed to hoodwink the electorate into voting for the status quo, or they are proof that we are governed by the EU to an greater extent than we had previously thought.