Cameron posturing on ‘Brexit’ to woo Euroskeptics
The annual Conservative Party conference opened in Manchester on Sunday. British Prime Minister David Cameron has again refused to rule out leaving the EU if certain reforms aren't made, but added that “in the end it is going to be for the British public to decide.” Meanwhile, the EU is adamant one country cannot dictate to the whole Union.
RT: What do you make of the latest David Cameron statements, and their timing?
Neil Clark: I think the timing of these latest statements by David Cameron is very important, because it is the start this week of the Conservative Party conference.And what David Cameron has got to do is to convince the Euroskeptics in his party - and probably the majority of the Conservatives gathering this week for the conference are Euroskeptics, the MPs - he’s got to convince them that he is going to get some serious concessions, and he is going to be talking tough. So that is why he has come up with this speech now. It is more aimed at his own party to convince them that he means business. I think it’s basically posturing what he is doing; it is all very vague.
We’re told that he is trying to get these very important concessions from Brussels, but we don’t know what they are. Peter Oborne, a leading political writer this week said that he had a reliable source who is saying that George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is in charge of renegotiations has been going around European capitals and he has surprised European leaders and European figures by not having very strong demands at all, not demanding much from the EU. So this is surprising people in Europe that they don’t seem to know what the British government actually wants. And that backs up the case for saying that in fact this is all cosmetic. Cameron’s strategy appears to be: talk tough at home, say he is going to go into Europe, get lots of concessions, get some cosmetic changes, which aren’t really that important, try and sell them to his party and then say: ‘Look, I’ve got some concessions from Brussels, back me in the campaign to stay in.’ So I think he is posturing when he says that he can still pull out; I think this is more to do with trying to keep his Euroskeptic Conservative MPs and Conservative members on board.
RT: You said that Cameron wants to get some concessions from Brussels. So what are they about? Will it be easy for him to achieve that?
NC: Cameron said at the beginning he wanted to have fundamental changes, fundamental concessions, and that would mean of course a fundamental change in Britain’s position with Europe, and would mean we’re claiming sovereign powers back to Westminster, renegotiating treaties, but that is not any of that at all. The EU made it clear that they are not going to do that. Cameron has been talking tough, and he is not going to get those concessions, and he’s not even asking for them. On the one hand, he is saying one thing to Euroskeptics at home, because of course you have also have to factor in not just his Euroskeptic Conservative MPs; there is UKIP which of course wants Britain to leave the EU.
He’s got to kind of talk tough, because he is still worried about the UKIP factor, and the threat of UKIP. On the other hand, it is clear that the EU is not going to give these kinds of radical concessions. So what we are going to get – we’re getting a bit of a game here, a bit of a PR exercise – Cameron will get some minor concessions which he will then sell as major concessions... I don’t think that the strategy of Cameron is going to work, because the Euroskeptics are not going to be satisfied with modest concessions.
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