I wrote this on 13 Mar 2016 before the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, which was on 23 June
Cameron Risks The Prosperity Of Britain
The parties to the drama:
David Cameron – prime minister
George Osborne – chancellor of the exchequer
Andrew Marr – television current affairs host
I watched part of Andrew Marr’s interview with George Osborne this morning. I was struck with how similar Osborne’s statements on the dangers of leaving the EU were to statements that David Cameron has been making over the past week or so.
I was waiting for Andrew Marr to follow up with the obvious question, but he didn’t. He kept pushing the same point, namely that the EU is a basket case and would we really be better off by staying in.
The obvious question that he didn’t ask is this.
In the lead up to the last election, Cameron promised a referendum on staying in the EU.
He promised he would go to the leaders of the EU and negotiate better terms.
He claims he has secured better terms, but no one agrees.
Now he and Osborne are trying to convince the British people to vote to stay in the EU in the upcoming referendum.
They talk about the shock to the economy and the terrible dangers and consequences if we leave.
But, and here’s the thing, whether or not Cameron had negotiated better terms we would still be facing what he says are terrible consequences if we leave.
So how could he ever have said what he did before he went to Brussels – which is that he would recommend leaving if he didn’t get the deal he wanted?
So, let’s see how Cameron might answer this.
He might say that he needed to convince the Europeans that he was serious about leaving, and a referendum was the only way to show that.
In fact he did say that before he went. He said he wanted the Europeans to understand he wasn’t just a politician playing political games.
What that means is that by his own assessment of the realities, he has put the future prosperity of Britain on the line and gambled that it would all work out OK in the end.
He has gambled that the British people will vote to stay within the EU, and that is not in his gift to decide.