David Cameron’s determination to put Europe’s interests first means he is finished if this country goes it alone
Photo: GEOFF PUGH FOR THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
What a great irony that the Prime Minister has gone to make the case for the European Union in Reykjavik, the capital of a country that has benefited so immensely from being outside of the EU. Indeed, earlier this year Iceland formally dropped any ambition to join the EU bloc in future. They couldn’t be clearer: “Iceland’s interests are better served outside the EU,” says its foreign minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinnsson.
You need only look at the evidence: outside of the EU, Iceland has been able to maintain control of its territorial waters, resulting in a thriving fishing industry (rather than the death of our own industry thanks to the surrender of our territorial waters). Iceland has also been able to move forward economically, on a global level. With the freedom to manage its own affairs it has become the first European country to negotiate its own trade deal with China. David Cameron, meanwhile, welcomes the Chinese president to our country, but is forbidden from negotiating a bilateral trade deal in the British national interest.
Of course, the forthcoming referendum isn’t about Iceland. Nor is it about Norway or Switzerland, as the Prime Minister would have you believe. Those countries have their own deals, their own settlements outside of the EU in order to maintain the type of trading relationship they want. The people of Norway, Switzerland and Iceland are happy.
Where I do agree with Mr Cameron is that there should be a single, straightforward, referendum. In Ukip we have no desire to see multiple votes, which are only for the Euro fanatics who are obsessed with making people vote again when they get the wrong result first time round – as happened after the Irish voted against the Lisbon Treaty. If the Leave side is to win, our vision must be clear, positive and unequivocal: a vote to leave would not be an endorsement of any form of renegotiation but a crystal clear call for an EU exit.
With his interventions this week, it is now clear that David Cameron is utterly committed to EU membership – come what may. Even he isn’t waiting for his own renegotiation to conclude – though the charade has served one genuine purpose. The process has made it clearer today than ever that those in the EU have no interest in what is best for Britain, only in further EU harmonisation, centralisation and power. There is no grand deal on offer for Britain to remain in the EU. The Euro project is a steamroller, and if we remain in, we will be flattened by it.
Instead of standing up for the national interest, Mr Cameron has staked his premiership on supporting EU open borders; European commissioners and courts that can overrule the British legislature and judiciary; and a spiralling EU budget, which he recently boosted by handing over another £1.7 billion when Brussels came calling.
If the British people demand to be set free from the calamitous European Union in the forthcoming referendum, as I believe they will, then the ultimate “In” man cannot be trusted to lead this country on its journey to independent nationhood. A Leave vote will spell the merciful end of the UK’s EU membership – and the end of a Prime Minister obsessed with putting the EU’s interests ahead of our own.