|"A referendum not today, not tomorrow, but in 2018, but...."|
So the gist of all this is that the Coalition government (with carping LibDems) will beaver away at getting enabling legislation passed so that, if the Conservatives are elected on a landslide, Dave can have his referendum laws in place in order to press the voting button and we all decide. On the basis, of course, that we have a renegotiated deal with a new treaty that gives us a new relationship with or without other partners in the existing European Union. Phew! Can't wait.
It does not make much sense to me. Unless he knows something we don't, the EU bosses are going to tell him to take a jump. They do not want to renegotiate. They cannot stand the idea that their political union is errant in any way. So what is he going to get changed? Surely we need to know his shopping list? Can't vote for Dave in 2015 without knowing that. Also do we believe him in this sort of high wire talk he is doing. He gives the impression he is blackmailing the EU by saying we want to stay in but with changes. So if they don't do the changes, he then suggests we negotiate our way out. Or that is what I think he is saying.
Boris Johnson has jumped up to say, "David Cameron is bang on. What most sensible people want is to belong to the single market but to lop off the irritating excrescences of the European Union. We now have a chance to get a great new deal for Britain - that will put the UK at the heart of European trade but that will also allow us to think globally." What sort of chance, Boris? Not one coming from Herman van Rumpuy. He doesn't do chances. And he's very frustrated (Dave's own word today) with Britain.
So the thing is we are going to have five years of haggling and harassing. Cameron believes a referendum today is a false choice. I believe he is offering us a false dawn and possibly a false sunset.