Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Laura Perrins: Dave is deluded if he thinks Merkel will save his skin


You have been a member of a golf club for forty years, and being sick of its pompous rules, you decide to ask the club if it could waive some of them for you but not for any other member.

You have now decided that jeans are so funky you are going to swan around the clubhouse wearing them, while everyone else must wear those ridiculous check numbers. Sounds ludicrous? That is because it is. And we are only talking about golf.

David Cameron would have us believe that he can ‘renegotiate’ key terms of the European Union for the UK. And we are not talking about the shape of bananas across the Union either.

For the renegotiation to matter it must include limiting the freedom of movement of people – something that John Major believes is possible. As uncontrolled European immigration is the main cause of the rise of Ukip, without it the renegotiation is meaningless.

There are four Fundamental Freedoms of the European Union; goods, services, capital and people. These make up the internal or single market of the 28 member states.

Now, they are called fundamental for a reason: they are what makes the Union a union. There are essential; in other words they are non-negotiable.

The Four Freedoms make the single market. It is not a market for some countries, and a different market for others, who don’t really fancy the free movement of people bit.

Previously, it was free movement of workers, but you do not have to be in work now to have the right to move, and families of workers can move, so it is free movement of people. Oh, and you are entitled to the same benefits as nationals are, should you exercise your right to free movement.

So having considered all this David Cameron is asking us to believe that he can go to the federalists in the Union and say to them the UK no longer wants to wear silly trousers in the clubhouse but quite fancies wearing jeans instead.

He is going to tell Angela Merkel that Germans can no longer come to the UK on equal terms as British nationals can go to Germany.

And Angela Merkel is going to say: “Sure Dave, that is fine. Anything else you would like to change? How about free movement of goods? Why don’t you guys just go ahead and tax all German beer and we will not add a euro cent to Newcastle Ale.” How realistic do you think this is?

Perhaps Austria will say we don’t really like the free movement of capital bit. We do not like all the capital leaving Austria so we have decided to tax any capital leaving the country. And again Merkel will say: “Oh, that is fine Austria, sure there is now a precedent because of Dave.”

Does this sound like a single market anymore – or does it sound like an ad hoc number of countries doing whatever they please? This is why the renegotiation will never happen. Ever.

We can see just how sympathetic Angela Merkel is to Britain with her backing of uber-federalist former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker to become the next EU Commission president.

Yes, I can just see Merkel jumping at the opportunity to watch herself go down in history as the German Chancellor who prompted the unravelling of the Union. That is why she has won all those elections.

Dave the Deluded is not really deluded: he is just a confidence trickster. He thinks the electorate is going to swallow this renegotiation nonsense. But every first year law student up and down the land knows it is not possible.

The Treaty of Rome calls for an “ever-closer union”, not a binning of the rules because some Prime Minister is in trouble with his electorate. The electorate should continue to mock and ridicule Dave and any other worthy who comes on our airwaves to tell us renegotiation possible. It is not.

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