David Cameron ‘key demands’ of Brussels have been leaked
With unfortunate timing, the campaign to keep Britain in the EU launches on the day details leak of the Government’s pathetically unambitious efforts to improve our membership terms.
Indeed, if David Cameron’s ‘four key demands’ of Brussels are truly as they are described, they amount to an abject surrender before the fight has begun.
Take the request for an ‘explicit statement’ that Britain will be exempt from ‘ever-closer union’. This is simply not enough. What this country needs is to roll back the EU’s existing powers.
Equally feeble is the demand for an acknowledgment that the euro is not the official currency of the EU and a guarantee of the pound’s future. Again, this takes us no further than we are today.
Then there’s point three, a ‘red card’ system to give groups of national parliaments power to stop unwanted directives and repeal existing laws.
Yes, this would be progress. But if a law proposed by Brussels is blatantly against Britain’s interests, why should we need other nations’ permission to block it?
As for the final demand – restructuring the EU to prevent the 19 eurozone nations from dominating decision-making – this is such an elementary requirement that it should go without saying that it must be a red line.
But striking by its absence is the top item on British voters’ wish-list – controlling immigration from EU states.
True, Mr Cameron is fighting for rule changes to discourage welfare tourists. But as it emerges that a third of the three million new arrivals from the EU came on his watch, he must surely realise it will take more than this to stem the tide.
Yet Mr Cameron is not even asking our partners to limit free movement within the Union – or for anything else that would require treaty changes.
Unless he adopts a tougher stance, the infant ‘in’ campaign will have its work cut out to convince voters we should remain in the club. (Nor does it help that its leader, former M&S boss Lord Rose, has said the public shouldn’t complain about migrants driving down wages).
All over Europe, nations shell-shocked by the currency and migration crises are questioning the way the EU is run. Nobody is saying it will be easy to persuade them all to agree to radical reform. But Mr Cameron should at least try.
A bit late, Lynton!
Waking up late in the day to the public’s most pressing concern, Mr Cameron’s Australian campaign strategist warns that the party risks losing the next election if it fails to tackle immigration.
Can this be the same Lynton Crosby who advised ministers to avoid mentioning the subject before polling day this May, leading frustrated Tories to vote Ukip?
Now he informs the Prime Minister that this is the issue voters most want him to address. Wouldn’t any strategist more attuned to the public mood have offered this guidance before the 2015 election?
Mr Crosby has been credited with securing the Tories’ victory. But did they win because of his advice, or in spite of it?