David Cameron as British Hero?

At age 45 one might expect that David Cameron looks forward to many more years in politics, and especially to winning the next General Election (the latest date being May 2015) as Conservative leader unbeholden to the Liberal Democrats. 

What would guarantee this outcome and at the same time give the United Kingdom the greatest possible boost to its self confidence and economic success? 

Answer – accepting the logic of the deepest wish of the French and Germans to forge a genuine euro-based state by saying that Britain would not attempt to block the inevitable EU Treaty changes.  Instead Britain would leave the EU on amicable terms and forge a new way forward with the countries of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), an organisation which Britain set up way back in 1961, before under the dominating will of Edward Heath, it forsook the reality of Britain’s huge long-term financial, military and cultural links with the overseas world for the fantasy of “influence” on the closed world of Continental Europe. 

What would protect the City of London from more Euro-regulation and the transaction tax which the euro-zone countries, led by France, are determined to impose on the rest of the EU?  Why, leaving the EU altogether and keeping the City on a level playing field with its main competitors – Hong Kong, Singapore and New York – none of which are in the EU and exposed to its taxes and regulations. 

What would give British ports the biggest single boost to their economies and job levels that could be devised, at virtually zero cost – why, leaving the EU and recovering control of our fishing grounds out to the 200 mile limit or median lines in the North Sea and English Channel. 

What would be the single biggest step we could take towards a better relationship with Argentina without affecting British sovereignty over the Falklands and its dependencies?  Why, an Anglo-Argentine trade agreement which would embrace oil and fishing interests in the South Atlantic, which at present Britain is not free to make because all commercial agreements are the exclusive province of the European Commission. 

What would pull the rug out from under Alex Salmond’s bid to break up the United Kingdom more effectively than any other single thing?  Why, Britain’s leaving the EU and depriving the Scottish Nationalists of their claim that the EU would provide a better shelter for Scotland than a Britain hobbled by its membership of the EU. 

What would save more Government and Civil Service effort and expense than any other thing the government itself could do?  Why, leaving the European Union with all those journeys to interminable and repetitive meetings in Brussels and the non-parliament at Strasbourg no longer required, along with the huge amount of staff time required to prepare for these meetings, especially in the Treasury, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, the Transport and Justice Departments. 

What would make the single biggest contribution to debt reduction and the current account deficit?  Why, not having to pay £9 billion net to the EU budget. 

As noted in Horatio’s post of 25 November “Going, Going . . .” EFTA currently employs 84 members of staff for 4 member countries, i.e. 21 per country, while the EU employs more than 25,000 for 27 countries, i.e. 926 per country.  For Britain to shed its involvement with this vast intrusive bureaucracy would be a veritable liberation.  It would be like VE and VJ days combined. 

What greater gift could Cameron bring before Queen Elizabeth II in her Diamond Jubilee year than a Referendum Bill on Britain’s future?  “Leave or Stay in the EU” – in effect an offer to the British people to take back their fundamental freedoms as expressed by the untrammelled sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament. 

Just as the Falklands victory guaranteed Mrs Thatcher, its undoubted heroine, a second term with a huge majority, so removing Britain from the clutches of the EU would give David Cameron hero status and guarantee him a second term as British Prime Minister.  As the head of a purely Conservative government, there would be no need to propitiate Ken Clarke and expensive Liberal Democrat fantasies about being “at the heart of Europe”.   

Freed from the EU, all immigration could be controlled and enable Cameron to fulfil his 2010 General Election pledge to reduce it to “tens rather than hundreds of thousands” per year.  Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson’s remark (December 7th) and a similar sentiment by Tory leadership aspirant Boris Johnson, that a referendum on any new EU treaty embodying the (massive) changes which Germany and France require is “inevitable” is indeed true.  But the reality is that it would be a referendum on Britain’s EU membership – so why not frame the question that way and be done with it.  There really is No Middle Way.

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