Cameron sleepwalking into a 2013 Federalist trap
Mr. Cameron has been offered a 'third way' in Europe, and it's not too appealing
With Eurosceptics in his own party pulling him towards the Euro-Exit (or ‘brexit’) and his coalition partners pulling him towards a closer alliance with Brussels, the Prime Minister is probably very apprehensive about 2013.
In the next few weeks he is scheduled to make his long awaited ‘big’ speech on Europe, which has allegedly been kicked into the long grass more than once.
With perfect timing, today he has been offered a tentative ‘third way’.
As reported in the Times and the Mail Online a group called the Union of European Federalists has suggested plans for the UK to have “second-class” or “associate member” EU status which would allow it to have access to the single market without joining the Eurozone or being a “full” EU member.
Although we do not yet have the full proposals, it seems obvious that Cameron risks being outmanoeuvred by these Euro Federalists.
The proposals would remove Britain’s MEPs and its EU Commissioner, meaning we would have little say in how the EU is run.
Without our MEPs, the British people would not have gifted representatives like Daniel Hannan, Nigel Farage or Roger Helmer speaking truth to power to the Euro-elites.
Without our Commissioner, we would wield little influence in Brussels over new laws and regulations affecting our lives.
Worst possible situation. British Europhiles would like us to be more closely integrated with the EU, taking a driving seat on how it is run and the direction it takes. Many Eurosceptics would like to see a sovereign UK outside of the EU making its own deals with the EU and rest of the world.
This ‘offer’ however would seem to leave us in the worst possible situation – stuck inside the EU but without any say in how it is run. Eurosceptics and Europhiles alike should unite to oppose these plans in the most vociferous way imaginable.
UKIP. The only reason I can see for Cameron to accept such a proposal would be to negate the growing influence of UKIP. The majority of UKIP’s spokespeople (including leader Nigel Farage) are MEPs. With currently no MPs and only three members of the House of Lords, UKIP could find it difficult to maintain its current position as the unofficial fourth party of British politics, despite its recent 15 percent poll rating.
No taxation without representation. One thing conspicuously absent from these proposals is the issue of contributions. Would we be able to contribute less to the EU as a consequence of diminished involvement?
Although it is difficult to get precise figures about how much the UK pays for EU membership, the Mail reported last year that we pay “£50 million a day” and that “UK’s net contribution to Brussels was £10.3 billion”.
If Mr Cameron could somehow get our contributions cut by a huge amount, there is the smallest possibility that he could be seen by the British public as the winner in all this, especially if he could somehow plough this saving into some kind of tax cut.
However, given my knowledge of the European Union, I doubt a contribution cut would even be on the table.
Politicians and activists of all UK parties must reject these proposals firmly and quickly. Lest the old revolutionary slogan once again fill the air: “No Taxation without representation!”
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