Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Already past its sell-by date?

The big news of the last couple of days in Britain was that Lord Lawson, the man who as Chancellor of the Exchequer insisted on shadowing the DM thus taking Britain towards the disastrous ERM and the Conservative Party towards a number of disastrous decisions, has had a Damascene conversion. Not only is he now against the single currency, he now thinks Britain would be considerably better off outside the EU.

We then had a great deal of entertainment as we always do when the Deputy Prime Minister (how did that come about?) enters into the fray. Nick Clegg produced the usual canard about 3 million jobs depending on our membership of the EU. (It is true, that some jobs do depend on that, in particular the sort of jobs Mr Clegg had before his meteoric rise in the Lib-Dim party.)

Lord Lawson made short shrift of that. Nick Clegg, he said accurately enough, talks "poppycock". Robert Peston has been stirred into looking at both sides of the question from the point of view of business and admitting that
maybe Lord Lawson can be seen as kicking off an important debate, which is whether the UK will find it easier to start paying its way in the world on the inside - or the outside - of the EU.
As it happens, the debate has been going on for some time and very vociferously, too, but one cannot expect important hacks to notice that. If Lord Lawson's statement made the BBC notice the debate, that is all to the good.

However, nobody is asking the obvious question: has this development pushed Business for Britain with its plan to "renegotiate our terms of membership" past its sell-by date already?


  1. As I understood it, Business for Britain was only going along with the idea of "renegotiation" for the time being as a tactic in the sure and certain hope that it would fail. When it did, they would then be able to persuade business donors to support an "out" vote in the referendum campaign.

    The approach seemed to assume an almost god-like foreknowledge that attitudes would remain static in an increasingly volatile situation.
    Of course, when you listen to the CBI et al, you can understand why!

  2. You may be right, Edward. In my opinion that is too clever by half. If I were conducting the "in" campaign I would now be putting together a number of telling points that would destroy Business for Britain. In fact, I suspect that is exactly what they are doing. Why not try to persuade business donors to look at an "out" vote now. The situation has changed a lot since 1975.