It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that for some time Dick Barton has been fighting dragons all over Europe and against overwhelming odds to save the nation from the clutches of the Euro emperor. Oh, it has been so difficult, the problem being that nobody seemed to want what Dick wanted, hardly surprising, bearing in mind that they are all recipients of the English gold that Dick really wanted to take away but, as the competition intensified Dick’s plot became fuddled and diluted so there was a time when nobody really knew what was being sought or what would be achieved.
They battled through, night after night with seemingly insurmountable differences when, all of a sudden (or right on cue) everybody agreed with Dick. Was it something in the soup perhaps? So now we have it, complete success, everything Dick battled for has been magnificently achieved as he triumphantly outlined, bleary eyed, from his (last?) great conquest.
Dick’s promise to stop paying benefits to these horrible immigrants has been fully met by, er, still paying them. The inappropriate and somewhat bemusing practice of paying child care benefits to children living in another country has been dramatically met by, er, still paying it. Though what the, already creaking, welfare administration will make of 27 different and changing payments is anyone’s guess. Cue massive balls up for everyone’s child benefit.
At last, the fundamental change that everyone has been waiting for, The EU will formally recognise that we use the pound and not the Euro; amazing. Who would have thought it, though they never seemed to have a problem recognising it when we bung £20bn their way every year? The rest of the package is as woolly as it is irrelevant, I almost find myself surprised that Dick didn’t achieve legally binding commitment to our need for the sun to come up every morning and for the sea to remain wet (subject to revision in 7 years).
What about not being dictated to by a bunch lovely group of unelected bureaucrats? Or, kowtowing to a European court that regards the right of criminals above those of their victims? When was the permanence of our rebate discussed, or was that the bribe that swung it Dick’s way, (be ready for our rebate to be coshed if we vote in)? What about our fishing waters, stolen in 1973 as an entry fee with nothing in return, at least that would have been something substantial. As it is, we are still playing the charade. How Dick must now regret his premature resignation because, otherwise his influence over those cabinet ministers that still regard principle over self pragmatism would most certainly be stronger but, as it is Dick’s off to greener pastures, perhaps president of the EU commission?
In the formal (opposition?) camp things aren’t much better. Comrade Corbyn managed, as is his custom, to present diametrically opposing views in the same interview. Speaking with Adam Boulton and being asked if his shadow cabinet would be given the same freedom to oppose the shadow cabinet line as the government has allowed, he confirmed that, only to retract it in the next breath by saying that everyone must adhere to the party conference decision to remain in. In a sense this does represent some consistency of approach, as with Trident renewal he supports his party line on spending all the money to renew the submarines but would never actually use them and making that information believable and available to our enemies. If you want to know where Labour stands on anything, it’s looking like a long and confusing wait. Though it seems that co-operation, even in an agreed cause isn’t going to be the Labour party strategy to remain in (or leave depending upon the soup). Apparently, Labour aren’t going to work with anyone on whatever their campaign might eventually be and will go it alone so the distinctly unenthusiastic Corbyn will probably continue to undermine the EU remain case as he did today but, then also readily support it.
Perhaps; and from the very beginning it was the unspoken, ignored factor of the money that eventually broke through. I’ve always held the view that as nobody was talking about the money there was a very strong consensus that whatever happened, the UK could be relied upon to stick with the status quo so nobody was seriously concerned that our contribution to the EU coffers might suddenly disappear. Just to put this in perspective the UK is one of only three sometimes four net contributors to the EU budget, everyone else are takers of the silver penny. The EU increases its demands upon our purse every year regardless of various ‘austerity’ measures in place all over Europe. The single state project knows no limit and always wants more and more. If we consider for just a moment how this organisation, so out of control financially, so bureaucratically committed to an ideological outcome, could survive with such a massive cut in its revenue we might just see what it was that eventually (or from the beginning) extracted agreement. One national leader, perhaps unwittingly, remarked when questioned about the remarkable ‘last minute’ agreement: ‘if the UK leaves we get nothing’, which leaves a sour taste behind because it simply means that Dick could have achieved far greater reform had he only approached the negotiations with the Ace he surely had.
Well, perhaps entertaining political theatre anyway?