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Monday, December 17, 2012

David Cameron says he can imagine the unimaginable: Brixit

Cameron pondering life outside the EU?
In his statement on last week's European Council summit, David Cameron was asked if he could imagine Britain leaving the EU. In the past he has usually batted away at these sorts of questions - but not this time. He said it was not an outcome he wanted, and that he does not spend much time thinking about it, but that:
"All futures for Britain are imaginable. We are in charge of own destiny, we can make our own choices." 
He added that:
"I believe the choice we should make is to stay in the European Union, to be members of the single market, to maximise our impact in Europe, but where we are unhappy with parts of the relationship we shouldn't be frightened of standing up and saying so." 
Significant? Well yes. This is the first time that David Cameron has publicly hinted at the possibility of a Brixit - the UK leaving the EU. This follows several interventions from Tory Bigwigs who've said that leaving the EU would not be a disaster, or should at least be the back-up option in case renegotiation fails. With Cameron's 'Big Europe Speech' now set for mid-January, it'll be hard for him not to frame the issue as "renegotiation or bust".

The debate is certainly heating up.


DeeDee99 said...

"The risk of a Brixit."

Thus does Open Europe indicate where it's loyalties lie ..... and it's not with the British people.

Unknown said...

Significant? Yes. David Cameron has just included everyone in to the debate. He's not lecturing on his position, he's being very open whilst emphasising his belief. Fair play

Rik said...

Have to say he does this nicely. Getting an Brixit on the table but not together with a knife, but more in an elegant way.
Preparation goes well as far I can see it. Decisionmakers are clearly aware of it now. Brixit as fall back position.
Probably now time to see how the other side reacts and adjust if necessary. Plus make clear that the UK is a huge nett payer, that basically let France and Germany play with their nett payment and the EU has much to lose from a Brixit.

Has to speed up things. Very doubtful if the voters let him get away with 2015 or so. He has a large credibility issue on the EU, with competition from UKIP imho a gamble he cannot take.
Not only he would most likley not be reelected he would also put UKIP on the map. Which would make Labour almost per automatically the largest party unless they completely mess up. A lot of work done, has to be shown to the voter before 2015 to have a realistic chance of winning. Speed up the inventory.

ABTC said...

nice article

Rollo said...

Cameron is an unprincipled twerp who will say whatever it is he thinks his audience wants to hear. The risk is staying shackled to the sinking ship of Europe, instead of sailing off to the real expanding world. He should enter the Highland games, where tossers are prized.

Anonymous said...

Why does OpeEurope describe a Brixit as a "risk"?

Seems more like an escape or a relief ...

There is something fundamentally untrustworthy about OpenEurope.


christina speight said...

On OE's Daily Press Summary today " On his Telegraph blog, Mats [Persson] argues that the UK’s victory in securing safeguards from eurozone ‘caucusing’ in the area of EU banking regulation shows that there is “a model…between more EU integration and ‘isolation’.”"

This puts him and OE with him squarely in the euphile camp. This means that we must expect right in the middle of any Referendum campaign that OE will headline its opposotion to any movement for total withdrawal EVEN THOUGH such a decision is a legal necessary precursor to ANY negotiations at all.

You've sold out already. Pity because your largely anti-EU research is great!

Rik said...

I donot think you are really fair to OE.
Their position looks to be:
- a full exit is economical suicide and very risky (unless clearly proven otherwise) and they give good reasons for that;
- nevertheless something has to happen (EU red tape costs unnecessarily 10-20 Bn annually plus 'membership fees'), the people in the UK have simply enough of the EU (at least in the present set up).

They clearly go along these lines (which is imho a very rational approach, not that other views are irrational btw).

OE have clearly indicated why they think that an exit is too risky and painful. So I would say it is up to the '100%-out crowd', people like yourself to show that getting out is not doing all the harm OE and a lot of others think it will do.
I really believe that if you could show not by oneliners but with a thorough analysis that a direct exit will not do the UK especially economically more harm than a reneg that you will have created a 'gamechanger'. In the way that main stream politics will put that option as well on the agenda as a realistic third alternative.

The same way if Cameron might fail in getting sufficient concessions. That as well will be a game changer as far as the UK is concerned. More in the way that the people will be considerably more likley to vote Out. And politics hopefully realises that you can not go on for a large number of years with EU membership on the top of the agenda and a substantial majority of the population simply not wanting it. Simply highly unsustainable if that would happen.

But it looks like Cameron, if he plays his cards right has a proper chance to come home with a good reneg result. Anyway most people seem to think that and it fits well in the present picture of EU events (requiring treaty change and the UK agreeing with that).

So I would say there is a very big chance that when you can come up with an inventory that shows that an outright Brixit will not be very harmful or even is economically better than a reneg, you will have a lot more straight-Out supporters than there are now.
problem clearly that making a proper inventory is a huge work. Necessary because indirectly the UK has signed up to all kind of stuff and nobody even remotely has a good oversight on that and of alternatives for it. Not that it needs to 2015 as now proposed. It should be speeded up considerably.
The issue has all the dynamics that it might (not will but might) run out of control. On the UK side by voter demands but also on EU side by having the Euro mismanagement run out of control. Both things Cameron can hardly influence.
But as things go now it will be Cameron trying to get a good reneg result and subsequently my guess 2014-2015 asking the population what they want: Out or Reneg.

christina speight said...

Rik - You miss the salient point in what I wrote, namely that under Article 50 of The Treaty "any movement for total withdrawal EVEN THOUGH such a decision is a legal necessary precursor to ANY negotiations at all. "

So if we want to make anything better we have first to say wse are leaving an THEN and PNLY then - can we negotiate a new relationship. Anything else will get vetoed AS MAT ANY SUBSEQUENT DEAL. One thing is certain we, we cannot go on as vassals of a corrupt bureaucracy in Brussels who haven't an ounce/gramme of denoicracy in their bones.

I was the second translator of the just published booklet "European Economic Community (EEC) published in Germany during the war (1942) and partly from an Economic adviser to the Nazi Party (NSDAP) as well as a letter from the Telegraph recounting the disclosures of a German POW General that there would be a single currency after the war (whoever won) and that France and Germany would jointly rule Europe.

Itn has been planned for years and "reform" is just not possible. We must get out while we can - and perhaps once again - save Europe

Rollo said...

Rik: you say a full exit is suicide. Nonsense. We have a 4 Billion Pound Per Month Trade Deficit with the EU. So you can rest assured, the EU will want to carry on this trade. And much of what we buy we could get cheaper on the world market, when free to do so. And we will increase trade with the growing world outside the EU while the EU sinks. The EU is not suicide, just a sad decline like an old people's home full of Alzheimer sufferers.

Average Englishman said...

Well said Christina

First it must be demonstrated that the UK has the will to leave the EU whatever the cost. Then we will have a chance to negotiate a sensible programme for disentanglement.

I believe these matters work as per chaos theory. That is, there is not likely to be any way for the UK to withdraw easily from the stranglehold of the EU over a period of time (or partially withdraw depending upon one's preferences) by way of sensible negotiations with Brussels, the pro EU fanatics in charge would not have any of that. A crisis is required to generate a tipping point where it is seen by the Eurocrats in Brussels that negotiating a smooth and rational withdrawal of the UK from the EU is the best alternative available to the traumatic break that would happen otherwise. They have to believe that letting the UK go free is a price that they must pay for holding the rest of the crumbling EU edifice together.

Having said this, I agree with Rik that the more information that can be placed in the public domain to show how the UK could sensibly withdraw from the EU the better; to help demonstrate that a fully independent UK is there if we want it. This is not required for the likes of Christina and I but would help reassure those who do not believe it can be done or at least, not at a bearable price.

Anonymous said...

Get on with it and do something then. If you miss the boat and nothing gets done before the next election the tories are out and we will never get the problems resolved. Imagine labour doing anything about this???

David said...

I must admit that I thought would 0E was not pro-Europe. Now I am wondering if they are a Trojan horse for the EU. There do seem to be a large number of non-UK members on staff, and I feel they must be naturally biased towards the EU. Why would they want the UK to leave? After all we are a net contributor, and our funds would be sorely missed no doubt. Unfortunately the larger an organisation becomes, the more money is involved, and the greater the corruption. EU officials are paid far too much money; there are too many bureaucrats with made up jobs, making up more and more rules and regulations as the days go by.

There is the ridiculous travelling from Strasbourg to Brussels, with its enormous costs. Everybody involved is on a gravy train. Neil Kinnock for one and his wife Glenys have a job for life it seems and no doubt healthy pensions at the end of their careers. We don't need the whole of Europe telling us what we can and can't do with our own assets.

If we do a large amount of trade with Europe, is any reason why this would stop? If they put up restrictions out of pique, that would show them up for what they are. We could turn our trade to the rest of the world.

I think we want the ultimate question in the Referendum: In or Out. No half-hearted questions or woolly alternatives. There is plenty of time for pro-and anti-to make their case.

un said...

Discussion about David Cameron's ability to negotiate an improved settlement with the EU is only relevant if you assume that after the 2015 election there will a majority Conservative government. At the moment this looks extremely unlikely. Moreover, any alternative government will try hard to keep EU matters off the agenda so I expect to see us continuing in the EU for a long time to come.

un said...

Discussion about David Cameron's renegotiation with the EU is only relevant if you assume that after the next general election there will be a majority Conservative government. Given that is very unlikely it would-be more fruitful to consider UK-EU relations under alternative governments, Labour majority,minority or coalition. I suspect that all such governments would try hard to keep the EU off the agenda.We may be in the EU for a long time to come.