Sunday, 11 May 2008

What Cameron actually said to the Yorkshire Post

The Devil's Kitchen, Tim Worstall and others comment on words spoken by Cameron as reported by Richard Corbett, a Labour MEP.

Corbett quotes Cameron as saying:
I don’t want to leave the European Union and I'll tell you why. This is a trading nation. Yorkshire relies on traded goods and on businesses which can trade all over the world and particularly in Europe. We export more per head of the population than America, Japan or other countries. We are a trading nation and Europe is a very important market for us. If we are not in the European Union, we would not be able to have a say over what the rules of the single market are. That is the primary reason for being a member of the European Union.
Cameron was responding to a question from a Sales Rep called David Quarrie during an open access session published on 18th April. The question was "What I and millions of other English people cannot understand is why you would rather be in Europe than in power? Eighty per cent of the people want to vote on the Lisbon Treaty and 75 per cent of British people want out of the European Union. Do you want a landslide victory and to come into power and do things which you've been talking about for the past hour? If you make that central Conservative policy number one and get Britain out of Europe, you will win a landslide.". Cameron responded:

"On the Lisbon Treaty and the European Constitution, we have led calls for a referendum on it and we have voted on it in the House of Commons again and again. I've raised it with the Prime Minister again and again because I don't think it's right for the British Government to take away powers from Parliament and invest them somewhere else without asking the British people first. As I've said, and as William Hague has said, with any future treaty, where any power is being passed from Westminster to Brussels, there should be a referendum as there should be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

"I don't want to leave the European Union though and I'll tell you why. This is a trading nation. Yorkshire relies on traded goods and on businesses which can trade all over the world and particularly in Europe. We export more per head of the population than America, Japan or other countries. We are a trading nation and Europe is a very important market for us. The single market is very important for us and if we are not in the European Union, we would not be able to have a say over what the rules of the single market are. That is the primary reason for being a member of the European Union.

"I used to work in the television and video business. If you wanted to set up television stations around Europe and if you wanted to sell television programmes around Europe, the rules were written in Brussels but at least we had a seat at the table and we could knock down some of the nonsense which the French, the Germans and the others wanted to put in the rules. Leave the European Union and you still have to meet all the rules if you want to sell your programmes but you've got no say in what they are.

"It might make you feel good for five minutes to say to cut ourselves off from the bureaucracy but it would be bad for Britain. We have to stay in there and we have to fight for the sort of Europe we want which is a Europe that doesn't just stop when you hit the old countries of Eastern Europe but goes right the way up to Turkey and is in association with like-minded nation states which believe in democracy.

"It is a Europe which stops passing so many rules and regulations but focuses on a big single market so it will be prosperous and wealthy and one where we will co-operate on things that we care about like a good environment, like helping the poorest countries in Africa and like making sure we are a competitive part of the world. That's the responsible thing to do and that is what I will fight for. It's not always easy but it is the right thing to do.

"Pulling out wouldn't stop us trading but we'd have no say over the rules. If we want to be a country that trades on the level we do, we've got to have a say. We do have an influence. If you look at the rules of the single market - if we weren't there, then they could bend them against us and there'd be absolutely nothing we could do about it. We'd be sitting here and there'd be people from different businesses and industries asking why we were completely powerless and not able to negotiate a good agreement so they could sell their goods and services in Europe.

"If you look at what is happening in Europe, the French and the protectionists are losing the argument. Britain has always been a trading nation. We have fought for trade over centuries and always believed in free trade. Other countries are actually moving in our direction on the free trade issue and it would be mad for us to leave and cut ourselves off at this moment."
The full answer is a bit more balanced. The referendum commitment is still there. He seems to open the door to a fundamental re-negotiation of the UK's membership following a referendum that rejects the terms of the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty. And that, I think, will be as good as it gets with either Labour or the Tories.

Or is it? Just read Cameron's first paragraph again. Is he now saying that there won't be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but there will be on any future treaty? Are these weasel words or am I reading it wrong?

2 comments:

yokel said...

No, you are right. Weasel words, no referendum. Too many uses of "should".

Falco said...

They are most certainly weasel words because due to the self ammending nature of the Lisbon Constitution/Treaty there will be no need for any further treaties.

It's like promising a refurendum on any treaty allowing man to fly unaided, pointless and the work of one obfuriscating the truth.