Whoopee, they are saying, we have a truly eurosceptic Prime Minister who has shown the way out of the European Union; and, whoopeee, they are saying with more justification, we have just outmanoeuvred UKIP. Others seem to think that he might have destroyed the Conservative Party or as good as won the next election. Blah-blah-blah!
Thank goodness for Mary Ellen Synon who points out in the Spectator
What the Commission won’t come out and say – because it would hand another weapon to eurosceptics – is that it is legally impossible for any EU institution or EU member states to hand back powers to Britain, even if they want to.Or, in other words, the talk about handing back powers or negotiating them back or whatever one wants to call it is fudge. I am not sure that admitting it would hand another weapon to eurosceptics since, as far as I can tell, many eurosceptics or people who call themselves that have not understood this.
Legal mechanisms for handing back powers – ‘competences,’ in the jargon – do not exist. A whole new treaty would have to be created, re-jigging the legal basis of the EU. Is that going to happen? No. Anyway, it would be the work of a generation, not of the few years between now and the middle of the next Government.
We are, however, being given a slight indication as to how the forthcoming campaign to keep Britain away from negotiating her way out will be run. The Telegraph has an article on the front page, entitled Merkel hints at deal for Cameron after EU referendum promise. Actually, I had already seen a gleeful comment about this by the highly esteemed Matthew d'Ancona who suggested that the other side had blinked. I responded by suggesting in turn that this is the projected campaign: there will be hints of compromise, faux vetoes and cosmetic changes (as real ones are not possible), all to convince us to vote to stay in. So far, I have had no response.
Meanwhile, what of UKIP? Well, they seem to be stuck in two modes, both unhealthy and unhelpful. Nigel Farage is telling all and sundry that the promise of a referendum, maybe, in 2017 is a victory for UKIP. This is being repeated ecstatically by his acolytes. Others are snarling that one cannot believe anything "Dave" says. The second one may be true but since he said nothing much of substance it matters little. The first one is rubbish. By focusing on a campaign for a referendum instead of an exit strategy UKIP has been comprehensively outwitted by the Boy-King (and what a sorry state of affairs that is).
In the past, the argument "vote UKIP - get Labour" could be answered with "and so what?". No longer. Vote UKIP - get Labour and no referendum has changed the game. It is entirely possible that for the first time in its twenty year existence UKIP will actually lose votes in the next general election.
That leaves the one or more organizations who were set up to campaign for a referendum and in that name have muddied the waters, fudged the issue and siphoned off resources. They should now declare victory and retire from the field. I see a squadron of pigs taking off in the distance. The main purpose of every organization is to prolong its existence beyond any need for it. We shall hear many and excuse from the likes of the People's Pledge (or the East European Furniture Polish, as I like to call them) why they should carry on "with their work".
I find that having written all that, there is no need for me to quote from the speech at all. Well, really everyone knows what he said.