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Cameron's ransom note

by eurogreen Fri Nov 13th, 2015 at 03:36:03 PM EST

This week, David Cameron sent a letter to Donald Tusk, outlining his proposals for changes that he seeks in the EU and in the UK's relationship with it.

For years, Cameron's posturing has been a running joke in Europe. It was purely for internal consumption within the UK political scene, and completely nonsensical when seen from the continent. But now, with the EU seriously weakened on several fronts, it could be a catalyst for intensifying the unravelling of Europe.

In all four chapters : Economic governance, deregulation, sovereignty, and immigration: Cameron's proposals suck, but it is generally agreed that the EU will cave on the first three, because they are in line with the general consensus of letting the EU go to hell, little by little, in the proverbial handbasket.

The immigration question is the sticking point. So what's it about?

The fact is that the UK has become an immigration magnet for EU citizens, in particular since 2008. Net migration is currently of the order of 300 000 per year.

One aspect of this is that, having its own currency and a non-insane central bank, it was able to attenuate the economic downturn suffered by the Eurozone. But more importantly, the UK mercantilist model relies on low wages, fullish employment, and massive government subsidies (housing, tax credits, family benefits) to allow working people to actually survive on starvation wages.

So the proposed reform boils down to this : the UK wishes to establish national preference for these benefits. UK employers, who are the real beneficiaries of the subsidies to the working poor, would still be able to hire foreigners, but would probably have to build sheds to house them in.

This, on balance, is probably too much for the other EU countries to stomach. An end to free movement of labour, i.e. people, within the EU would be a hard sell. Any remaining advantages of the supranational organisation would concern mostly corporations and the elites.

Cameron has the bad habit for a politician of making rash promises without thinking through the implications.

So, when his electoral prospects were being pressed hard by ukip and needing to appease the europhobic wing of his own party, he promised he'd demand changes to the EU or there'd be an in or out referendum on membership of the EU before 2020.

Then gradually, the hard reality began to confront him. He personally is on the business wing of the party and wants to stay in the EU, but he has created a timetable that means it is impossible to get any meaningful changes before a referendum.

And now this mess of proposals and barely thought through aspirations.

The public mood is hostile to the EU, conditioned by years of hostility and scare stories from the right leaning tabloids. The migrant crisis in the EU may well be the final nail in the coffin of the UK's membership. The imminent collapse of the single currency and Schengen certainly doesn't help. The treatment of Greece has alienated many who were sympathetic to membership.

Cameron lost control of this process the moment he made his rash promise, because his function was to prevent giving the public a referendum when the result was already locked in by tabloid conditioning.

All the politicking in the world will not change that

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 30th, 2015 at 02:17:30 AM EST
Sounds like Cameron thinks the UK has moved far enough along the US Emulation Curve that he can play his hand, namely 1) sufficiently destabilizing, disenfranchising, and marginalizing the domestic labor force that employers can treat it any way they like and no longer need to import cheap labor, and 2) to the extent employers need cheaper labor than is available domestically, send production to China and buy the product back by gaming the currency in ways China can't.
by rifek on Wed Dec 2nd, 2015 at 11:47:26 AM EST
Telegraph - Matthew Holehouse - Anger and frustration as Britain's EU breakthrough remains elusive

After a day of meetings with EU officials, Philip Hammond was upbeat as he sat in the opulent mirrored garden room of Britain's embassy in Brussels. It was mid-September, and he said the migration crisis tearing through Europe had focused the minds of leaders on Britain's own problem with immigration. Once the forthcoming Polish elections, which were expected to unseat the difficult left-wing government, were over he foresaw a "flurry of activity" to address the UK's demands.

"When I've had a few glasses of champagne, I think there might be agreement at the December European Council, a package and we can move forward," the Foreign Secretary disclosed, adding that when he wakes with a hangover, things look a little worse.

Other government figures said the referendum, if all went smoothly, could even be as soon as April.

But this week David Cameron was forced to admit such optimism was misplaced. A do-or-die attempt to force Europe to accept a deal before Christmas by threatening to lead the campaign to leave if he did not get his demands has unravelled. He now accepts there will be no deal before February - and the prospect of Brexit appears closer than ever.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 6th, 2015 at 02:07:23 PM EST
Wow! According to the Torygraph, Poland had a "difficult left-wing government" until the recent elections... who knew?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Dec 6th, 2015 at 04:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Telegraph probably considers Cameron to be dangerously left wing

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 7th, 2015 at 01:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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