So Chancellor Merkel believes that Britain is reaching the Point of No Return on EU renegotiations and would be prepared to see Britain leave? Oh happy day! Rainy Monday mornings aren’t famed for their ability to put a spring in one’s step, but I’ve been prancing like a spring lamb since being woken up to the joyous news by my alarm clock radio.
According to Der Spiegel, to whom Merkel gave a heavy briefing on the matter, this is the first time that the German Chancellor has conceded a Brexit may be possible.
The point of contention is over immigration. Cameron wants an end to freedom of movement, a sacred pillar of the EU construct, whereas Merkel, an ardent EU enthusiast, disagrees. Ukip has been saying all along that renegotiation of the basics of EU law were never going to be on the table, but Cameron thought he knew best and pressed ahead.
Now he’s having to scroll back, with the Times reporting that No. 10 is investigating the milder possibility of a benefits clampdown for new migrants, who would be unable to claim any benefit, including tax credits, until they had paid into the system for two to three years.
The shambles has prompted Tory faithful Tim Montgomery to comment that “David Cameron [has] briefly marched on to a battleground where he cannot win.”
Why? Because “No 10 worried that defeat in the Rochester & Strood by-election might lead to a vote of no confidence in Cameron. It gambled, one might say “recklessly”, that a strong stance on immigration might avoid such a challenge.”
Ukip’s critics have been laughing at our lack of MPs, claiming that it gave us no influence in British politics. I think we can claim to have had the last laugh, proving that we don’t need control of Westminster to change the direction that Britain is heading in. Indeed, it’s a testament to the power of that very British idea, representative democracy, that we have managed to do so.
A question to UkipDaily readers though. I have seen comments on here and other blogs suggesting that Cameron’s promised referendum is due to take place in 2017 because the Lisbon Treaty holds that from 2017 onwards, countries will no longer merely be able to signal their intention to leave and do so, but will have to get the agreement of all other member states as well. That would mean that, even if the British people did vote to leave the EU, we may not get our way regardless.
Does anyone have any information on this? A link to the relevant piece of the treaty would be fantastic.
Photo by The Prime Minister’s Office