Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bullshit Bingo

"I believe that our renegotiation objectives have been substantially though not completely achieved, and that the government would recommend a vote in favour of continued membership".  Harold Wilson 11 March 1975
Having to listen to Cameron waffle on about the EU at eight in the morning, with nothing stronger than a cup of tea, is not the best way to start the day. Therefore a game of bullshit bingo was necessary to get me through. Yep there they were, phrases and imagery like; "peace in Europe since WW2", "isolation if we left", the lie about "Norway having no say" and so on. Interestingly he also tells another lie:
If we left the European Union, it would be a one-way ticket, not a return.
That's not true, we can rejoin under Article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The full transcript is here. The key promise (if you don't want to read through all the waffle) is:
The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament.

It will be a relationship with the Single Market at its heart.

And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice. To stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum.

Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.
It begs a number of questions:
If Cameron can't (which he won't) negotiate a new settlement, then do we still have a referendum or do we leave anyway?

What if he can't get all of his demands, do we still get a referendum on say for example only one power returned, of half of them or three-quarters?

What if there's no new EU Treaty for Cameron to threatened to veto within the next Parliament and so no opportunity arises for negotiation does that mean no referendum?
The whole thing is one damn fudge to keep us in.


  1. Thanks for the summary - I didn't have the stomach to put up with his speech, so a reasoned summary is most welcome!

    And just why, one wonders, should anybody believe his referendum promise anyway - I seem to recall one or two (or three) such promises in the past without any follow-through!

  2. Geoff
    Thank you so much for this - you have asked the questions I wanted to ask.
    If there is no new settlement is the referendum still on?
    Will a 'partial deal' get a referendum?
    No new treaty no negotiation, no referendum?

    PLEASE keep up the good work

  3. @Ian E No worries, thanks. I'm not really sure how I put up with the speech either, but I have a 'cast iron' constitution ;-)

    @Anon thanks for your very kind comment and quite agree.