Pienaar: Would you still want an In/Out referendum?Well quelle surprise. Boris no longer thinks Britain’s relationship ‘does boil down to such a simple question’.
Johnson: Well, I’ve always said… I think we’ve been now, what is it? 75 was the last referendum on the European Union: I certainly think that if there were to be a new treaty, for instance, on a fiscal union, a banking union, whatever, then it would be absolutely right to put that to the people.’
Pienaar: What about In/Out though?
Johnson: Whether you have In/Out referendum now, you know, in the run-up to 2015, I can’t, I have to say I can’t quite see why it would be necessary. What is happening, though, John, is that… the thing that worries me, and I’m going to be making a speech about this pretty soon, the thing that worries me is basically the European Union is changing from what it was initially constituted to be: it is becoming the eurozone de facto, and the eurozone is not something we participate in, and I think it’s becoming a little unfair on us that we are endlessly belaboured and criticised for being the back marker, when actually this project is not one that we think is well-founded or well-thought through. It is proving to be extremely painful and difficult, and so I think, if the and when the eurozone goes forward into a fiscal, banking union, into a full-scale political union, then I think it is inevitable, given the changes that will entail to the EU constitution, that you will have to consult with the British people about what kind of arrangements they want, and in those circumstances, yes, you should jolly well have a referendum.
Pienaar: A yes/no, In/Out, that’s got to be part of the deal?
Johnson: Well, certainly, whatever arrangements we strike with our partners, I mean, you see, I don’t think it’s as simple as yes/no, In/Out, suppose Britain voted tomorrow to come out: what would actually happen? In real terms, what would happen is that the Foreign Office would immediately build a huge, the entire delegation would remain in Brussels, UKrep would remain there, we’d still have huge numbers of staff trying to monitor what was going on in the community, only we wouldn’t be able to sit in the council of ministers, we wouldn’t have any vote at all. Now I don’t think that’s a prospect that’s likely to appeal. What you could do is think of a new arrangement, new areas of the treaty that we decided we didn’t want to participate in… that is where people are thinking, now, so I don’t think it is, I mean, with great respect to the sort of In/Outers, I don’t think it does boil down to such a simple question.
'Wait 'till Boris gets in', is suspiciously like 'wait 'till Dave gets in'. Worried about the increasing clamour for a straight in/out (which will produce the wrong result) with an impending EU treaty, Tory after Tory after Tory are lining up for a strategy of staying put in the disguise of renegotiation, which as Christopher Booker today rightly points out can't happen unless we exit first.
This strategy has even led to Dan Hannan arguing for exit on November 21st:
Our presence in the EU is the single most common cause of conflict with our neighbours. British withdrawal would make everyone get on better.Followed by a u-turn a day later, when he argues for renegotiation instead as pointed out by Richard North:
Considering that the [Dan Hannan] is supposed to be a life member of the "Better Off Out" tendency, it is entertaining to see his latest volte face which offers us a complex package of powers to put on the repatriation list, amounting to a partial withdrawal from the EU – which actually means that we remain members.Boris Johnson is a fraud, Dan Hannan is a fraud, the whole Tory party is a fraud. No wonder they have never won an election since the passing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
So complete is the conversion that the [he] dares not spell it out openly, relying on puzzled readers to work out the thrust of his ideas which put him firmly in the "fairies-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden" camp, headed towards never-never land.