ONTD Political

David Cameron speech: UK and the EU

8:33 am - 01/23/2013
David Cameron will promise an in/out referendum if the Conservatives win the next election when he makes his long-awaited speech on the EU later.

The Prime Minister wants to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU, before asking people to vote.

The British people can vote either to accept the result of the talks, or to leave the EU, Mr Cameron will say.

Labour's Ed Miliband said the speech showed the PM was "weak" and "driven by his party", not the national interest.

The referendum is thought likely to take place during the early part of the next parliament if the Conservatives win the election.

The speech had been scheduled for last Friday in the Netherlands, but was postponed because of the Algerian hostage crisis.

'Very simple choice'
The Conservative leader has been under pressure from many of his MPs to give a binding commitment to a vote on Europe.

Setting out the conditions for a future referendum, Mr Cameron will say: "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.

"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.

But he will say that holding an in/out referendum now would be a "false choice" because Europe is set to change following the eurozone crisis.

“Everyone knows that the priority for Britain is the jobs and growth that we need.”
Ed Miliband MP
Labour leader


The speech, taking place in central London, is expected to be watched closely by other European leaders, the business community and supporters and critics within his own party.

Several Conservative MPs - who want a looser relationship with the EU focused around trade and who have been briefed about the speech - say they are "satisfied" with the thrust of what Mr Cameron is going to say.

But some europhile Conservatives, including Lord Heseltine, have warned that committing to a referendum at some point in the future on the outcome of an uncertain negotiating process is an "unnecessary gamble".

'Years of uncertainty'
The Lib Dems say pursuing a wholesale renegotiation of the UK's membership will cause uncertainty and deter foreign investment while Labour claim Mr Cameron's approach is being driven by party calculations rather than the national interest.

Fmr Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt: 'Individual re-negotiation of the British position is impossible'

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the speech would define Mr Cameron "as a weak Prime Minister, being driven by his party, not by the national economic interest".

"In October 2011, he opposed committing to an in/out referendum because of the uncertainty it would create for the country. The only thing that has changed since then is he has lost control of his party and is too weak to do what is right for the country," he said.

"Everyone knows that the priority for Britain is the jobs and growth that we need. We have had warning after warning from British business about the dangers of creating years of uncertainty for Britain.

"Britain needs a prime minister who is making change happen now in Europe, ensuring that we put jobs and growth ahead of austerity and unemployment."

Sauce (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21148282

OP: There seems to be a fairly big anti-EU sentiment in the UK, which I personally think is a knee-jerk reaction. I feel that the UK pulling out of the EU will do us more harm than good. We do not have oil like Norway, we do not have an impressive banking system like Switzerland (countries that are in the EEA, but not the EU). I don't think we can economically stand on one leg, at least not for a good long while if that's our intention. The reasons anti-EU Brits tend to give for pulling out of the EU seem to relate to a misguided belief that EU citizens migrate to the UK just to claim benefits and general racism/xenophobia (think: UKIP). I think Cameron, and those before him, sense this which is why they keep putting off a referendum (big key point here: the referendum is promised IF the Tories win the next election). Interested in other people's thoughts on this. I like the EU, damnit.
hinoema 23rd-Jan-2013 08:02 am (UTC)
I think it would be interesting if the UK pulled out of the EU and Scotland left the UK for the EU.

(Wait, that sounded awfully Hetalia. That or Scandinavia and the World.)
ljtaylor 23rd-Jan-2013 08:09 am (UTC)
Heh, there was a strip on SATW about Scotland thinking of becoming part of the Nordic countries. .. apparently because they share culture and linguistic origins, but I think the North Sea maaaay have something to do with it too
mentalguru 23rd-Jan-2013 09:03 am (UTC)
Yeaaah. Personally I'll be voting to stay myself unless someone can come up with a coherent argument for me not to.

I mean there are difficulties associated with the EU, especially in recent times but overall, in the long term? Being in the EU seems better than being out of it.

Also even if I was very anti-EU, the EU will STILL BE THERE- it's not dissolving after all, whether we leave it or not. It will still affect us in a very real way if we leave and 'escaping' its influence on us is pretty much impossible at this stage. The EU will affect us economically, and other decisions made there such as environmentally will still affect us too. So wouldn't it be better to still have some say in such matters and remain a part of it?

You know, it's a bit more constructive than complaining about the fact we have to abide by certain laws as a benefit for the whole- guess what? France and Germany and the rest have to technically follow things for OUR benefit too. Funnily enough, each country has its own stakes and wants what's best for them (or.. at least what they perceive as best for them).
ljtaylor 23rd-Jan-2013 09:25 am (UTC)
yep. & as for the idea that the EU is the one setting our laws - well it's whitehall who are deciding how we follow them. take for example the ban on smoking indoors in public places. we enforced this immediately whilst other member states waited 18 months. Austria have used a loophole so it is still possible to smoke indoors there.
lonely_hour 23rd-Jan-2013 09:07 am (UTC)
I'm worried about the referendum...the EU needs deep reform, not countries pulling out.
ljtaylor 23rd-Jan-2013 09:28 am (UTC)
exactly this. I think at this point we are "too far gone", as it were, to just up and leave (not that we really can). but things need a shake up, for sure.
spinnigold 23rd-Jan-2013 09:25 am (UTC)
I do think the EU system is fairly broken; ultimately with that large a group of countries to cover, you cannot possibly be working in everyone's best interests and lots of things go wrong.

Fix the general system first, tbh, and that'll help (and stop giving agency to UKIP and their ilk in its failures).
But the Tories just need to leave. Can we have a referendum to stop the Tories from existing? I'd vote for that :T</p>

Actually, a lot of my 'anti' European sentiment is tied more to me being really fed up of Americans using the term 'Europe' as if we're one-big-lumpistan. If the EU not existing would stop that I would genuinely be up for dismantling it, it bothers me that much, ha ha.

rebness 23rd-Jan-2013 12:38 pm (UTC)
Actually, a lot of my 'anti' European sentiment is tied more to me being really fed up of Americans using the term 'Europe' as if we're one-big-lumpistan. If the EU not existing would stop that I would genuinely be up for dismantling it, it bothers me that much, ha ha.

Why? Culturally and geographically, we're European. I can't stand the Little Englander mentality, I really can't. (I am not saying you are one of those; I just don't understand why something which is factually true - your living in Europe - is so awful.)

If it's simply that you don't like us being treated as the homogenous mass, I understand, but surely very few Americans think a Romanian, a Swede, an Irish person and a French person are all the same?



Edited at 2013-01-23 12:38 pm (UTC)
spinnigold 23rd-Jan-2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
I would hope they wouldn't, but I've had too much "oh I'm going to Europe" nonsense and it drives me potty. In the same way people saying 'Africa' as if it's one country bothers me. I may live in the European Continent but I dislike people referring to me as 'European' as if it's a cultural catch all. It's less geography more 'one-big-lumpistan', as I said.
mustikas 23rd-Jan-2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
To be fair, most people go "to Europe" when they travel here. I mean it's all fairly close and a transatlantic flight ist not really cheap. "I'm going to England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and Spain on a two week trip" ist not exactly a short holiday description.

As a teenager I always loved to say "I'm European" because it had a so much more positive connotation than "I'm German". I kind of got over that but I'm still really proud to be European.
rebness 23rd-Jan-2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
That's my thinking, too. Any time I have a US or Australian visitor, they combine the UK with another European country. I don't get angry when they just say 'Europe' because, well, that's where they're visiting. :D
ljtaylor 23rd-Jan-2013 01:05 pm (UTC)
yeeeah but people tend to do the lumping thing with Asia too. "she's Asian" oh...like, Chinese? Indian? Thai? mind you, I think it irritates me more if people refer to an ethnic group by continent rather than a group of countries.

and I think the whole American thing of conceiving of Europe as a unified whole has been going on for some time. hey, it's not wrong. we are continentally (is that a word?) European!
spinnigold 23rd-Jan-2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, lumping everyone together in one continent drives me mad, I can't stand it ha ha

I tend to use 'on the European Continent' or something similar JUST to avoid saying Europe because of the 'lumping' connotations, pfft. Sad maybe, but it emphasises that it's a CONTINENT and not a country so it makes me feel better at least hdhdjffj
teenageriot16 23rd-Jan-2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
I am not here for Nigel Farage's smug face to be on every news channel rn, vile man.
thevelvetsun 23rd-Jan-2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
Pretty sure people have been referring to "Europe" as "Europe" since LONG before the EU existed. It's been a continent for hundreds of thousands of years, after all...
spinnigold 23rd-Jan-2013 08:37 pm (UTC)
Pretty sure I didn't suggest the EU was the reason people used the word 'Europe'.
thevelvetsun 23rd-Jan-2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
Well, you said it bothered you when Americans did it, even though Americans have only existed for just over 200 years, and the entire rest of the world calls it Europe, not just Americans.
spinnigold 23rd-Jan-2013 08:43 pm (UTC)
Because Americans are the worst offenders in my experience. It bothers me when anybody 'continent clumps', regardless of where they're from or where they're talking about.
anjak_j 24th-Jan-2013 04:25 am (UTC)
Actually, a lot of my 'anti' European sentiment is tied more to me being really fed up of Americans using the term 'Europe' as if we're one-big-lumpistan.

Better that - given it is actually accurate - than hearing groups of US-ians talking about how they're enjoying England... whilst standing outside Cardiff Castle.

I actually lost count of how many times I heard that in the five years I lived in Wales.

(Whilst I was living in Wales, one of my US friends sent me a parcel on which they'd put 'England' instead of 'Wales', 'United Kingdom' or 'Great Britain'. The scowl on the postie's face when he handed it over was epic.)
perrie 23rd-Jan-2013 12:06 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of the anti-EU sentiment boils down to us thinking of ourselves as An Island Standing Alone Against the Continentals. France and Germany etc are cooler with it because they share borders, but as Brits we seem to have this rather stand-offish We Can Do It Ourselves kind of mentatality.

Personally, I want us to stay. I like the trade benefits, I like the TRAVEL benefits (seriously, how much would the price of holidays go up if we had to get visas to travel again?), I like the work benefits and I like that it puts us on a level business playing field with the rest of the Continent.
ljtaylor 23rd-Jan-2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
those are pretty much the benefits I like too. plus I went on an erasmus exchange and I really enjoyed it, but I think they are going to drop the scheme now :/
xxgoddessevexx 23rd-Jan-2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
They're not but they might have to make it smaller for this year, they've already gone through the budget. It's so hugely popular though they won't get rid of it!
rebness 23rd-Jan-2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
All of this.
sobota 23rd-Jan-2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
This this this. Perfect comment is perfect, also, icon twin!
perrie 23rd-Jan-2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
Yay icon twin! Arthur approves ;)
maclyn 23rd-Jan-2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
I think that's a pretty sweeping statement to make about us 'Brits' - tbh I'm quite stunned by how many articles and folk are just ignoring how our referendum in Scotland affects this and vice versa and talking as if English eurosceptic outlooks are sort of the default.
maclyn 23rd-Jan-2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
Also - The Auld Alliance.
perrie 23rd-Jan-2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
Well, of course sweeping general statements are always going to be sweeping and general, but when I lived in Edinburgh I remember a healthy dose of Euroscepticism there, too. I know the Auld Alliance gives you a slightly more fuzzy feeling towards the French, but can the same be said for other topics like Polish immigrants and all the Brussels Human Rights legislation the Mail keeps whinging about?

Also, I get the feeling people are just ignoring the whole Scottish-referendum-EU-debate for the sake of keeping discussions simple.
maclyn 23rd-Jan-2013 06:11 pm (UTC)
My point wasn't that it gives us warm fuzzies, it was that folk are getting pretty tired of people talking as if specifically English history is British history.

"Also, I get the feeling people are just ignoring the whole Scottish-referendum-EU-debate for the sake of keeping discussions simple."

Well, that's crap. And the other reason is probably the Westminster has spent ages banging on about how if we go independent we'll totally never be able to get into the EU, and now this happens. It's ridiculous!

Plus a lot of folk up here, aye, they have xenophobic pishy thoughts about Europe but there are reasons to oppose the EU from the left, and a lot of people do.
papasha_mueller Who is mista Cameron?23rd-Jan-2013 12:08 pm (UTC)
In few years he'll be gone and after few more years nobody knows his name...

anjak_j Re: Who is mista Cameron?24th-Jan-2013 04:26 am (UTC)
We can only hope...
rebness 23rd-Jan-2013 12:41 pm (UTC)
The entire thing is inherently stupid. Even with a referendum, the House will still decide. He's using it to blind us to the issue of what is happening now to our citizens, never mind that him being in power in 2017 is something I wouldn't gamble on.

As a working-class northerner in a city which the EU has pumped a lot of money into, I have benefited hugely from the European Union. This idiotic mentality that we'll somehow be able to dictate to Europe or America when we are standing alone is the stuff of fantasy. We don't have an empire anymore.
octoberstarlite 23rd-Jan-2013 01:14 pm (UTC)
I actually don't think most people really understand what the EU is all about and what it's for/does us. For me personally, I admit I don't really truly understand what it does for us because both sides present such opposing 'facts' that I have no idea what the truth is. I suspect somewhere in the middle. It'd be nice if the newspapers could stop scaremongering and just bloody tell us in cold hard (real) stats, but that'll never happen.
madwitch 23rd-Jan-2013 01:56 pm (UTC)
I'd have to be convinced that Cameron is going to win the election before I started being hugely concerned about this ridiculous idea, and I'm not. There is worse to come for the UK economy, I think, and Tory plans aren't helping it. If that doesn't change before 2015, then I think his chances of an overall majority in the general election are very slim.
perrie 23rd-Jan-2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah. This. Anyway, even if the Tories DO win again, who thinks they are actually genuinely going to keep that promise? All this article is saying is that they're going to put a referendum in the manifesto. :/
maclyn 23rd-Jan-2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
He'll have or his party will have his head - he's trapped himself now.
perrie 23rd-Jan-2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
I kind of doubt it. Sure, he's promised it publicly, but in two years time who is going to remember and hold him to it Or Else? Cameron might not even be the Conservative leader after the next election.
xxgoddessevexx 23rd-Jan-2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
His promise of a referendum if the treaty was to be changed is a pretty big part of what did get him elected though imo. So I do think his backbenchers, and the (gutter) press will hold him to account.
madwitch 23rd-Jan-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
He'll find a reason to get round it, like every PM that's ever made a promise.
the_gabih 23rd-Jan-2013 05:03 pm (UTC)
Well, my career plans kinda hinge on Britain staying in the EU so, uh... yeah. This could be interesting.

But yeah, so sick of Eurosceptics you have no idea.
maclyn 23rd-Jan-2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
"we don't have oil"

uhhh
ljtaylor 23rd-Jan-2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
oh sure, we've got some oil. but not enough on our own turf.
xxgoddessevexx 23rd-Jan-2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
The problem is that the average European citizen has very little to no clue as to how the EU works. Couple that with the British island & empire mentality (they still think in terms of Britannia ruling the waves even though that was over 100 years ago), as well as an incredibly biased tabloid press (seriously I've never seen these EU scaremongering stories in other countries)and you have complete and utter distrust of the EU. People don't see direct benefits of membership (although they have no idea how quickly they will be in the shit if they do leave) so htey wonder why they should stay. They also compare themselves to Norway and Switzerland, but like OP said: the Swiss have black money and the Norwegians have black gold (oil). Multinationals will be leaving, and it will cost the British economy a fortune. Also what people don't realise, is that Norway contributes a lot financially to Europe, and they don't even have a voice at the table.

Cameron is right when he says that there is a lack of democratic accountability, but throwing a strop the way the is doing right now is not it.

/rant ex-EU intern
anjak_j 24th-Jan-2013 04:53 am (UTC)
Agreed, though while I do agree that there is a [large] degree of "Small Island Syndrome" in the UK, I'm not sure the average Brit on the street in 2013 has "empire mentality".

Camshaft and his cronies form a very weak government that is pandering to EU scaremongering by the press. I do agree that there are issues with the EU that need addressing, including the lack of accountability, but we're far better off in the EU that out of it; many of the UK's most impoverished areas are dependent on EU funding.
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