Sunday, 28 February 2016

Cameron: Interview with a traitor

"After the Leave campaign successfully lead the nation out of the control of the EU and back in to the wider world of global collaboration, we secured an interview with the ex-Prime Minister, David Cameron. but in order to get the truth, we sat him down and gave him a good shot of Sodium Pentathol first."
During this referendum, you may have heard the sound of a demented parrot

When the Prime Minister stood up and said "I'm a Europsceptic" .. nobody really believed him. When he said he was "battling for Britain", people replied "charade". And when he came back from the Council of Ministers saying he had a "good deal for Britain", anyone who had wanted reform stood there and said out loud "Is that it?"

It's a ridiculous spectacle, so predictable in its execution - and it's also a huge let down for the British people. When the referendum was called, I briefly let myself believe that we could be in for a 'win win' situation where we either left or we got proper reform, propelled by the need to settle the situation combined with a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity. It quickly became evident that Cameron was only interested in window dressing, perhaps aware of the EUs complete intransigence and inability to consider proper reform.

The horror we face is that we'll end up in the EU twilight zone. The Eurozone will condense in to a single country, with us sitting on the fringes, neither part of the zone nor able to strike it out on the global stage under our own steam. And as the Eurozone struggles to remain buoyant, will it not make a power grab and look to seize the crown jewels of financial services, bringing them to Frankfurt?

Regardless, Cameron is campaigning for the EU (although he repeatedly conflates this with Europe for all the reasons we've said before) and has seen fit to position himself as the lead campaigner for Remain. He's spoken to the house and promoted his so called deal; he's launched 'Conservatives In' (styled remarkably on the Stronger In campaign) and surrounded himself in a bubble of careerist kiss-arse MPs who would probably put their own chopper in a dead pig's mouth if it meant pleasing him; he's given passionate speeches at the 'Stronger In' HQ and other safe abodes where his paper thin logic is unlikely be challenged.

Alarmingly, many of his allies want us to remain in the EU for reasons that run directly against the interests of the PM and the Conservative party. Twice this week I've heard people (Nicola Sturgeon and also some Labour MPs) suggest that they need the EU in order to circumvent the actions of the Tory governments. To paraphrase: They are not prepared to settle for the will of the people being exercised through parliamentary democracy and hence, want to perpetuate the undemocratic EU in order to undermine the process.

The one thing that is clear here is that on all fronts of the Remain campaign, democracy is the enemy.

Through the luxury combination of both hope and imagination, let's roll forward to a brighter, more global, less dystopian future. One in which the Leave campaign won the referendum and discovered that the apocalyptic catastrophe promised by the Remain campaign failed to materialise - just as the doom laden assertions about not joining the Euro also failed to come true.

In this future, we struggle to come to terms with the damage done to democracy over the preceding forty years, bringing prominent players together in an act of truth and reconciliation. However, the former Prime Minister has become so enmeshed in his fabric of deceit that he's unable to deliver the necessary 'truth' element. Lucky for the population then that he 'accidentally' sat, sharp end first, on a full syringe of Sodium Pentathol that someone happened to have left on his seat at the committee. After a decade of toady sycophants tempering his backside with their puckered lips, he doesn't feel the little prick that he should - and none the wiser, the truth finally flows out.


David Cameron sits at the desk, head swimming as the truth serum courses through his veins, slowly unbuttoning the defences that separate truth from deceit.

Members of the Truth and Reconciliation committee sit in silence, waiting for the former Prime Minister to settle himself. He's muttering something and the Chair motions to the man in the corner running the audio desk to turn up the microphone.

"Safer .. stronger ... better off. Safer .. stronger ... better off. Safer .. stronger ... better off."

The Chair tries to gently gain his attention. "Mr Cameron?"

"Safer .. stronger .. better off."

More firmly now .. "MR CAMERON!" cries the Chair.

Suddenly, realising that his mouth is running away with itself, he tries to regain composure, but all that manages to spill from his lips are the words "leap in the dark .... leap in the dark" like some tortured parrot.

The committee members look at one another, both concerned and amused.

"Sorry ... sorry" he says as he finally snaps out of it.

The Chair begins. "What we're trying to understand here today is
just how successive Prime Ministers, having been given the responsibility of care for national sovereignty, continually managed to hand it over to what is now widely recognised as an altogether undemocratic body. At the time, it all happened so slowly but now we've stepped back, so to speak and retaken the political reigns for the UK, it's strikingly obvious."

Cameron, now fully under the influence, pipes up "Well yes. The EU positions the idea that Winston Churchill conceived of a United States of Europe in 1946, but the idea of the EU was conceived well in advance of World War 2. This has been a long standing project cooked up by a man called Jean Monnet. In many respects, he saw democracy as a danger."

The committee Chair looks over the top of her spectacles. "The free will of the people ... a danger?"

Charged with truth serum and unable to restrain his ramblings, Cameron continues with his fess up. "Yes, and that accounts for the fact that we, as Prime Ministers, looked to implement the plan without consent or consultation."

"I'd put it to you that you actually went further than that Mr Cameron. Would you accept a charge of deceit?"

Cameron searches his soul for a moment, a look of resignation spreading across his face. "Monnet realised in the 50's that it wouldn't work like a light switch, so he conceived the idea that the changes would be made gradually over time. Effectively, when we joined the project in the 70's we recognised there and then that sovereignty would be whittled away in order to create a federal supranational entity, so the deceit in many ways was that the people of Britain were left believing that the Prime Minister was in charge of the nation. We had, in fact, given it up long ago - so our role was just to facilitate the merger over time, ensuring that the move was carefully managed so the people didn't rebel. We were just caretaker managers."

The sound of chattering amongst the committee breaks out as they confer over the latest revelation. The Chair leans in to her mic, "Does this mean that the document recovered from the Foreign and Commonwealth under the Freedom of Information act, document FCO 30/1048 from the 70's, is actually correct? In that it illustrates pernicious hoodwinking of the British electorate by the civil service in order to achieve outcomes which would never have been acceptable had they been explained up front? The known loss of sovereignty; monetary and military union; rule by bureaucracy; active disinformation campaigns?"

"I'm not entirely familiar with this document but it does sound like the strategy we've all taken, up until the referendum that is."

The Chair rustles her papers, perusing more text from her list of points to cover. "This has been quite revealing Mr Cameron. A few more questions if I may, about your own activities around the referendum. Can you explain to us the remarkable difference between your position at the Bloomberg speech and your massively pro EU stance throughout the referendum campaign?"

Completely lost in a sea of chemical honestly, Cameron has an eruption of hubris, spilling the beans around his cunning and guile as if it were a badge of honour. "Yes, it's the Conservative way. We position a Europhile as a sceptic in order to win over the grass roots, geeing them up with a jingoistic rant that we never intend to fulfil. Once in power, we then move to the second pillar of Tory leadership, the one where we take the role of statesman where we have to make 'tough decisions' which roughly translated means 'continue handing over power to the EU'. It's this strategy which allowed me to repeatedly say black was white. For instance, over the matter of sovereignty, I rather cunningly redefined it in a new way, not to mean the right of self governance but the need to hand over power in order to work with other people. I thought I had gotten away with it as well, but the British people managed to see through it."

"And on that point Mr Cameron, you insisted that handing over sovereignty was the only way to get things done; but you were wrong weren't you!" The Chair now working to press home a point which all other committee members seem keen to get the answer to.

David Cameron clutches his chin and slides down in to his chair, momentarily battered by a tide of painful thoughts. "I guess I have to admit. I thought that if I said there was only one way, as the Prime Minister, people would accept just that. But the argument was lost, not just because Boris Johnson pointed it out but because instinctually they knew that there was another way. Ultimately I was undone by the inter-governmental vision that allowed nations to fully cooperate yet retain sovereignty. I mean, I actually had to revert to inter-governmental agreements in order to get 'the deal'", Cameron puts the words in quotes with his fingers as he says them, "so in a way I undermined my case for supranationalism. No matter how many times I said it, people didn't buy the fact that by diluting the nation in a pool of 28 actually did anything other than diminish their voice on the world stage."

"And talking of the deal, do you now accept that it wouldn't have been legally binding?"

Cameron breaks out in to bellowing laughter. "Of course not. I was desperate though. In hindsight, I should have listened to Lynton Crosby and pushed the whole thing back until 2017. The EU, who I was answerable to at the time, had other ideas though so I had to press for the ridiculous 2016 date."

The committee confer amongst themselves for a moment and then break, allowing the Chair, with a delighted look upon her face, to ask one final question: "Now Mr Cameron, as you're prepared to be so honest in these discussions, we'd like to ask you ..... what about that pig?"

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Emperor's New Clothes

"After the theatrics of reform negotiation are over and the dust has settled, we're presented with 'the deal'. Thin on both substance and treaty change, we're left with the echoes of on-message careerists to tell us about how wonderful the emperor looks in his new clothes"

You may not want to look too closely at what Cameron has to offer. It's not a big deal.

This weekend, we appear to have been lied to by our own Prime Minister. No matter how he positions it, his deal is impotent and largely irrelevant and in spite of what he's insisting, it doesn't appear to be legally binding. Some great analysis is being done on and I'd urge you to read it:

Dave's dodgy deal - part 1


Dave's dodgy deal - part 2

Reinforced by a wall of careerist sycophants, a million miles away from the nationalistic Bloomberg rhetoric warbled to the party faithful just a few years ago, Cameron is pretending that he has substantive reform. Even without analysis, his face says it all. Parents learn 'that' look - you know, the one where you ask your kids if they've done their homework and they swear that they have when you know darn well that they have not.

It's no small irony that the only solid thing about these reforms is that they could be used as a foundation stone for a competent Leave campaign to launch an effective counter (although I'm not holding my breath). Yet at all levels, there appears to have been a shameful abandonment of the principals at play here; we must address the issue at hand - the health of our relationship with the EU - and not muddy the waters with other tribal indulgences. Time and time again political parties and their members have failed to rise above their own self interest, failing to recognise that the referendum is something entirely separate altogether.

Ukip antics

I'm at odds with Ukip over the central issue. I see the referendum for what it is, a question about our membership of the EU. The vast majority of Ukip members I've spoken to believe that freedom of movement and EU membership are one and the same, supported by the constant rhetoric about immigration on TV by Nigel Farage.

Whilst I'm not going to belittle their concerns, it is indeed a very odd world where a nation cannot control who flows in and out of the country, FoM and EU membership are not the same thing. Trying to pretend they are is a perversion of the referendum question which then subsequently dramatically scales up the complexity and generates an awful lot of wishful thinking about our next steps.

Pointing this out has lead on many an occasion to gross hostility, accusations of Remain collusion and hysterics about hijacking the Leave campaign, as if the matter were one solely of Ukip party possession. Trust me, it's not.

Labour contempt

Equally frustrating to watch has been former sceptic Jeremy Corbyn. On the matter of the EU, Hilary Benn has worn him like a glove puppet. In spite of his known previous position, Corbyn has failed to engage at all in any capacity with the core arguments in the referendum debate. Instead, he's more content with trying to frame the whole issue as a matter of Tory in-fighting and xenophobia in order to score points. If that's all he has to say on the biggest political issue of our time, then I question his relevance to UK politics. He seems incapable of recognising that he needs to be part of the conversation in order to make the party credible again. Apparently not - and perhaps that's what he means by 'the new politics'.

Considering the party's record over the Lisbon treaty, perhaps this contempt for the whole issue is to be expected.

Liberal Democrats

No only joking.

Conservative duplicity

This is a party that have for years played the Eurosceptic card to keep the grass roots in check, yet have acted as Europhiles at every opportunity in parliament. That members were prepared to wait and see the results of Cameron's negotiation strategy shows what a continually deluded bunch these people really are. After the antics of Heath and Major, just what did they expect?

Funnier still, the likes of once sceptical Nick Herbert rolling over and forming 'Conservatives for Reform in Europe'. This delightful 'bunch' recently issued a letter praising the reforms attained by the Prime Minister, whilst snootily pouring scorn on those who would inevitably disparage the deal regardless.

The important and deliciously ironic point is that the letter was accidentally issued prior to the reforms being achieved so they can't have seen the deal themselves. You can't condemn people on the one hand for insincerity yet heap praise on a deal which has yet to be done - if you do, you end up looking like a right Herbert.

Kuenssberg points out what a bunch of twits Nick Herbert and friends are.

It must be revealing for many of the core party members, to see the elected abandon representation of their interests and cling to the PMs ankles wherever he decides to go. No wonder conservative blogger and columnist Tim Montgomerie has become an ex-conservative. The effects could well tear the party apart for a decade. In the same way that an elite and out of touch Labour party suffered a seismic anti Blairite shift after the grass roots were ignored for so long, we can only expect the same to happen to the Tory party.

The PM must surely know this but feel that the future of the EU is really worth the sacrifice.

The Project

If the quotes from Jean Monnet are to be believed, then the imposition of a supranational entity on the citizens of Europe for their own good was a pre planned event, crafted with guile and implemented with deceit. After a series of harrowing wars across the continent, the enemy was perceived to be nationalism and it had to go. The people couldn't be trusted with democracy, it had to be replaced with a system that enforced arms length guidance that could not be influenced by the dangerous wants of petulant men.

When we look at the EU, that is exactly what we have. A distant body which takes its mandate from an elite political class who have reinforced its being by handing over national powers piece by piece. At the time of the treaties in question, little if any consultation has been made with the people who's democratic rights have been continually eroded, with the meaning of the treatise not spelt out in language understood by the average person but in disorientating legalese.

Cameron demeans sovereignty

Historically, debate on the matter has been largely avoided, yet when it has been engaged, it's been demeaned or misdirected. Looking at our current situation, we have the Prime Minister 'battling for Britain' (hold back the laughter please) over a series of faux 'reforms' which under scrutiny will not hold legal sway and will very obviously fail to make the changes that people really want. Everyone knows it, even he knows it, yet he continues to suggest that he's obtained a good deal. His over-riding desire is not for reform but to say just enough to keep us part of 'the project'. I sense a small amount of desperate panic in his tone as the middle ground he's been walking begins to crumble beneath his feet.

Most alarmingly, on the Marr show today, Cameron was prepared to say that black was white on the matter of sovereignty, suggesting that to become sovereign somehow meant less control rather than more. The fact he was allowed to get away with it by Andrew Marr is just as bewildering. Ever focussing on 'Europe' as if it were some magical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow rather than the ailing economic wilderness we can all see it to be, he repeatedly pointed to our wedded future as some safety blanket or panacea for any of the well drilled fear points he could remember. Strikingly, there was no sense of acknowledgement from the man that there's a world beyond the EU. A world where, as a significant global power, we could rightly take our place as equals rather than behind the isolating curtain of the EU.

I've said it many a time but it's worth repeating. Our relationship with the EU has an air of business takeover about it. It's as if the majority of the current political class are caretaker managers in a company that has been snapped up. They see their role as keeping the existing staff at UK plc placated in order to maintain functional viability, whilst simultaneously facilitating the gradual cherry picking and asset stripping for the new owner. It simply doesn't occur to many of these MPs that we want them to run the country on our behalf, shouldering the burden of democratic accountability. In this analogy Cameron, discussing it on the Marr show, would be telling us that redundancy was welcome freedom and that the reduced competition brought about by the merger was some kind of strength that consumers would benefit from. It will never cease to amaze me just how much that man is prepared to lie in order to perpetuate the EU relationship.

You can probably guess, this blog post has been therapeutic for me. Lambasting the PM for his unprincipled weakness, his failure to secure any meaningful reform and the manner in which he continually bends the truth is one of the few ways I can actively vent my frustrations about the man. It's with much heavier heart that I find myself criticising ordinary people for demonstrating herd like mentalities at a moment where for once, power is equal. A referendum is not an every day event though and the legacy media have done all they can to contain the matter to their familiar boundaries of 'big beasts', Westminster bubble and sock puppet institutions like the CBI.

We will never get another chance to do this again. No other party leader will make the 'mistake' of allowing us a democratic say on the direction of the UK and the project. If we remain, we will become a marginalised ghost in the nether regions of the EU outer ring. Core Eurozone members will tighten up to protect their failing prospects and that will come at the expense of our country. I don't believe for one moment that the wealth and power of London's financial centre won't be in their sights. Let us not forget the economic powerhouse that we've become and have confidence in our future as an independent, globally focussed nation.

The leap question

Let's take a leap - a leap away from party centric attitudes and mindless herd-like group think. Yes, let's take a leap. Not in to the dark as David Cameron suggests, but off this sinking ship called the EU. Once more, let's take a leap - a quantum leap in to the global world of tomorrow, where we re-take our seat at the top tables and collaborate in an intergovernmental manner.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Brexit - Hocus POTUS

"Across the atlantic, POTUS turns his gaze to the UK to have yet another say over Brexit. When is a matter for the British people, not just a matter for the British people?"

Cameron's incompetent handling of the renegotiations draws international attention.

Forgive me for my naivety, but I thought that the forthcoming referendum on UK EU membership was a matter for the people of the UK. That's how democratic nations work when a referendum takes place isn't it? A question of great 'national' interest is put forward to the people, at which point 'they' are consulted and 'they' directly steer the country in the chosen direction. After all, it is 'they' who have to live with the results. A matter of national democracy.

Yes, under Brexit there will be a wider impact to EU members, but that's the risk you take when you precariously construct a supranational entity like a Jenga stack using nations which wish to retain a semblance of sovereignty. Should a country want to extract itself, then it's going to have to be handled carefully in order to minimise the subsequent tremors. They knew that when they got involved in the first place, right?

The way the media are playing it, it's as if both the Leave and Remain camps have set out their stalls, independent of the mechanics of the state - and are making their case to the people as part of some even handed battle. It's painfully obvious though that this couldn't be further from the truth.

A balanced and fair referendum?

In reality, this referendum is a wholly one sided affair, with the Remain camp being gifted a number of distinct implicit and explicit advantages. In spite of his craven attempt at 'reform' and fickle assertions that he would campaign for brexit if needed, David Cameron is overtly campaigning for the Remain side whilst leaving skeptic cabinet ministers in the 'dungeon of collective responsibility'. In effect, he is the Remain campaign leader and is throwing his weight behind them at all levels. Raheem Kassam (he of Breitbart fame) suggesting the other day on Twitter that representatives from Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) grace the doors of Tory HQ on a daily basis.

I spy - with Raheem's little eye, something beginning with BSE

Whether it's in front of the nation's cameras in a carefully staged talk at a factory in Chippenham - or standing up in Hamburg suggesting that he doesn't want to retreat from the world, Cameron's made it plain for all to see where he stands. Yet at the same time, he suggests that he's campaigning for Britain and working hard to negotiate a deal. This guy has some serious work to do on his poker face. The pretence is paper thin and only perpetuated by some elements of mainstream media that find it impossible to state the obvious, doing us no service as a result.

In addition, there's another angle to look at here. That's the 'life after' scenarios for the Leave and Remain vote outcomes. With 'Dave' busy creating a snake oil cocktail of half measures to peddle on behalf of the Remainians, it's left to the Leave camp, not the Prime Minister, to propose what would happen in the event of a Leave vote.

Am I the only one that finds this just a little bit lop sided? By their very nature, the Leave camp will bring together a variety of people from disparate backgrounds who want the same outcome, yet will want to go about it different ways because of different priorities. And until the Electoral Commission designate a lead campaign, public perception will not recognise what's suggested as authoritative anyway; point being here that in many ways David Cameron controls the timing of this designation and so will be happy to string out the Leave campaigns disarray for as long as possible, muddying the message.

Yet it is the governments responsibility to implement a post Brexit world. In spite of all the plans and suggestions that we as Leavers make, the Government will have to take the wheel and guide us through to the destination. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly given their form) the legacy media is only looking to the Leave camp for answers. Surely some questions should be being asked here of the government?

The best that Leavers can do is organise themselves. That means taking a collective and collaborative look at the options available and making strategic and well informed decisions about the paths we can take. Failure to consult those with the technical experience on the matter will be to our detriment. I'm up for open debate on this and think the more options we can bring to the table, the better - yet my money is still firmly on Flexcit as the soup to nuts, end to end solution. This debate is sadly lacking, although I'm assured seminars are in the pipeline by at least one of the campaigns gunning for designation.

It will take strong characters to pull this together and resolve the matter. Acrimony generated in the meantime is just a gift to David Cameron.

Uncle Sam at your doorstep again .. and again

It seems that everybody wants to have their say about the future of the UK - and none more prominent that the President of the United States of America.

We have seen him intervene on a number of occasions now, keen to steer thinking towards continued integration of the UK with the EU. As revealed in recent press articles (The Guardian and The Sun ), more interventions are planned in the near future.

In some ways, nothing underlines the trembling weakness of the EU more than this act. If the EU were such a valuable proposition to the UK people (and let's face it - it's had a free ride for the last 40+ years to demonstrate its value to the UK), then it wouldn't need presidential intervention from the USA. Yet the risk of Brexit is so great that in order to preserve self interest, Obama has repeatedly involved himself.

The latest planned act?

In these reports, we're advised by the Chair of the Senate foreign relations committee Bob Corker that - Obama will make “a big, public reach-out” to British voters to stay in the EU. Washington perceive the vote situation as risky and feel compelled to drive the result away from Brexit. This doesn't appear to be as a result of any collusion with Cameron, but more out of fear from his handling of the situation. Referring to the negotiations, Corker is quoted to have said “It is hard to discern whether they are real from the standpoint of substance or whether he is just looking for something, if you will, to say he got something or whether it is being totally driven by internal politics.

I'm glad they find the man as vague and lacking as the rest of us.

And today, we've seen failed presidential candidate and Herman Munster look a like (I know, this sort of language should be beneath this blog but it's more gratifying right now to hurl abuse than take the high ground) John Kerry stand up and further try to persuade the British people in to Remain territory. Speaking in Germany, he advised "Now obviously, the United States has a profound interest in your success as we do in very strong United Kingdom staying in a strong EU."

This indulgence is a matter of complete hypocrisy from a nation that would never, ever agree to hand over the powers of Capitol Hill and the White House to a supranational entity, simultaneously disenfranchising its people. They'd be lynched by them for such an unpatriotic act.

These 'stately' interventions are not for our benefit and I think few will be fooled. Ultimately, the US looks after the US. When senior figures are motivated to intercede on the matter of Brexit, they will be motivated by:

  • the need for one throat to choke. It is not in their interests - and more importantly, the interests of the vast corporations that lobby both them and the EU so heavily, for nations to peel away and take control of their own destinies again. Brexit is a threat to their control of matters, whereas remaining is a risk to our democracy and ability to control our own destiny.
  • the UK is a significant economy and hence, it's also a competitor to the USA. It is wholly in their interests to see us performing 'averagely' rather than becoming agile and setting the bar. Certainly, remaining in the EU will only serve to kerb our ambitions and international profile.

Two fingered salute

The UK population have a huge chance to effect real change to the order of things and to take the lead in turning the nation away from the inward facing EU and towards an exciting global forum. This act could transform our place in the world and cause ructions at a multitude of levels, especially if other nations choose to follow suit and release the yolk of supranationalism in favour of inter-governmentalism. There are only so many blocks you can pull from the Jenga stack before it collapses in a heap.

That Obama and associated cronies believe they have the right to assert any direction in this matter at all shows how little they understand the British people. We are belligerent lot sitting on a matter that has been boiling away for decades. Cameron may have taken the lid off the kettle, but it's too late for this not to boil over. We have a belief that our nation is a world beater that has perpetually kept us punching well above our perceived weight. Regardless as to whether you can trace your lineage back to King Henry the 8th or whether you're a 2nd generation immigrant, the spirit of Britannia (see Roman heritage) compels us to go on and do great things. The USA is a mere newcomer with a comparatively shallow history. When it was founded, Britain already had pubs that has been around for more than five centuries. Forgive us if we keep our own council on the matter of our destiny.

Those in established positions of power will fear the changes that Brexit would bring. Without even our own Prime Minister standing up for us, this truly is a case of the people of the UK versus the establishment. Just think of the power of the vote that you have in your hand on referendum day. It's enough to make the most powerful man in the world turn his head.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Drama-geddon. The Art of the 3 Act Renegotiation.

"Do we actually have any leadership - or have our parliamentarians already deferred to the EU as masters absolute? Dave stands on stage and plays to the script - and you have to wonder just who is directing this black comedy."

Dave jabs his fingers in the air - encountering the same substance as found in his EU reforms.

As a Brexiteer, it was hard not to feel an electric wave of revulsion at the sight of David Cameron strutting around in Chippenham making his 'hand on heart' speech. The look on his face as he suggests that if we were out, he would 'opt in' on these terms gave it all away for me. The eyes simply couldn't hide the desperation.

Considering the press response and more detailed analysis from the blogosphere, (see - The EU Question / & The Boiling Frog) there's simply no need to further criticise the paucity of this deal. The real issue that needs to be examined is whether David Cameron has actually reached the final act in this piece of theatre or not.

Staying with this analogy and considering this as a drama which is being carefully orchestrated to maximise the emotional impact of David Cameron's renegotiations - let's view this through the lens of the three act structure.


It's in the first act that we see the basic premise of the drama established, along with the cast characters integral to the plot. An incident will happen which will leave a question to be answered, resulting in the beginnings of an epic quest.



In the midst of the party faithful, David Cameron stands on a raised platform addressing the crowd with visceral passion.

... and I remember, casting a vote in 87 and that was a great victory. I remember working, just as you've been working - in 92, where it was an amazing victory. And I remember 2010, achieving that dream of getting Labour out and the Tories back in, and that was amazing - but I think 'this' is the sweetest victory of all.

At the end of his speech, the PM, grinning from ear to ear, steps down and crosses the room to the sound of thundering applause. He strides out of the room and in to ..


No sooner has he crossed the threshold than the smile has fallen from his face. His aides rush to flock with him. One thrusts out his hand, pushing a mobile phone towards the PM.

It's Mandelson.
(eyes rolling)
It's about the referendum. He says it can't wait.

Dave takes the phone and motions his aides away then moves in to a darkened corner. He steels himself, painfully contorting a wretched smile on his weary face before pressing the phone to his ear.

Peter. How good to hear from you. I wasn't expecting a call so ...
(V.O Filtered)
You've put the project at risk David. We need to make this right. It's time to put the plan in to action.


On the face of it, the plot would seem quite simple. Prime Minister makes manifesto pledge to give an 'In  / Out' referendum. Party wins election. Referendum gets declared. PM sets out to negotiate better terms for the UK.

Here's the sub-plot:

The Prime Minister, gripped with the fear that he'll lose his grasp on power, makes a promise that we can have a referendum in a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo in parliament. On the basis that nobody has ever moved from coalition to increased full majority in the house, he never dreams that the promise will ever need to be honoured as their coalition partners will surely insist on removing the promise from the shared commitment.

It's the best of both worlds. He thinks he can mop up the pesky eurosceptic voters and stem the flow started by Reckless and Carswell without ever having to give the people the voice they've been demanding these past thirty years.

The sweet victory soon leaves a sour taste of promises that need to be honoured. He'll need to work fast with his colleagues in the EU in order to protect 'the project' from the people.



Typically in drama, it's here that the journey begins for real. Our 'hero' takes on a seemingly daunting quest to right wrongs. yet, encumbered by his own innocence, he falls short of the mark.


The PM announces that he's off to Europe in order to fight for the people. He issues his letter to Tusk with his four 'baskets' of talking points (so often referred to as demands) and then begins a series of meaningful negotiations to right wrongs and bring balance to the EU force.

In spite of all the miles that he's trekked and the endless hours thrashing out detailed solutions to the core issues that matter to the British people, the UK press denounce them as derisory, cruelly ridiculing the PM on their front pages.

Our wounded 'hero' is still convinced that he's done right by the people and pledges to find the energy within him to turn this around and get the people the change that they deserve.

Sub Plot:

In a carefully orchestrated exercise, Dave has presented us a deal so poor that nobody will ever take it seriously. It's simply so bad that the eurosceptics are no longer the loony fruitcakes of the UK - that title is now well and truly owned by those who suggest that the reforms are in any way substantial.

This is perfect for Dave because the only way is up from here. Now the mediocre will look substantial and with the right spin, victory will appear significant.

Knowing that this was ever to be the case, Dave moves on to the next pre planned stage.


In the final act, against all the odds and through a series of transformational trials, our hero throws his all at the mission in hand. In a feat of do or die, he pulls victory from the flaming and grizzly jaws of defeat.


Dave returns to 'Europe' to battle for the soul of the nation. In a series of all night highs and lows, he negotiates like a statesman and returns with something 'substantial'. A worthy prize that the people of Britain, so wearied now by the fluctuations of this euro-drama, are grateful to accept.


From the now subterranean depths of our collective expectation, Dave will present the jewel of his renegotiation. Something that  will strike a real chord with the people of the UK - at last, something that will be central to the debate. For it to be meaningful, it will have something to say about our relationship with the EU and it will have to negate the arguments that are the mainstays of the Leave camp.

What could that possibly be? We may have seen a game of volleyball going on in parliament the other day during PMQs where Johnson set up the PM to spike the ball over the opponents net. A move that, to my mind, has been widely misread as an act of Euro-scepticism from Johnson when, in fact, it's a team play in action.




Members of parliament pack the gothic chamber in the house of commons. From the benches, we see the blonde cropped mop of Boris Johnson rising amid his peers as he stands up.

Since you have been so kind as to call me, Mr Speaker, perhaps I may ask the Prime Minister how the changes resulting from the negotiation will restrict the volume of legislation coming from Brussels and change the treaties so as to assert the sovereignty of this House of Commons and these Houses of Parliament.

The Prime Minister, leaning heavily with one elbow on the dispatch box and jabbing the air with the remaining spear like hand, answers with relish.           

Let me take those issues in turn, because my hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise them. First, asserting the sovereignty of this House is something that we did by introducing the European Union Act 2011. I am keen to do even more to put it beyond doubt that this House of Commons is sovereign. We will look to do that at the same time as concluding the negotiations.


As the ministers begin to spill from the chamber, the natural flow of moving bodies brings Johnson and Cameron together. Almost in unison, each raises a single arm high in the air and they high five before each pats the other on the back.

You did me proud bro.

Think nothing of it homey.


Final thoughts on the matter

I find it difficult to believe what we've seen to date actually represents a package of reforms that David Cameron believes will be enough to win the referendum. If that really is it .. then Cameron has made a monumental error of judgement.

I'm expecting another play to be made over sovereignty, as telegraphed by Johnson and Cameron in the HoC. Some par-baked bait wrapped in legalese to be trumpeted and heralded as game changing - when in effect, it will be nothing more than a pacifier presented by venal and self serving project careerists.

The only thing that's made me doubt that the latter scenario is a foregone conclusion is David Cameron's recent assertions that Brexit could trigger the abandonment of the Le Touquet agreement by the French, resulting in the free flow if Calais migrants to the south coast of the UK. It smacked of sheer desperation to me, unless - of course, it's a classic piece of distraction.

(nb - for a sober take on the Calais issue - look here at the White Wednesday blog )