The EU – Mr Cameron’s greatest (phoney) acting role

All the world’s a stage, ..And one man in his time plays many parts (As you like it. Shakespeare)

As the ruling élite, particularly our Prime Minister, continue to strut around on the world stage, stage-managing artificial disputes and triumphs, how much is genuine and how much is just acting a part, perhaps many parts or ‘going through the motions’, to deceive us of their real intentions about the European Union (EU)? How can we reliably tell the difference?

We could start with integrity, for example. Does our PM actually believe in anything? Does he have (conservative) values and principles? His track record of destruction, for example, decimating the armed forces, closing working power stations, his railroading of HS2, does not appear consistent with a conservative ethos or compassion. Then there is the obsession with remaining in the European Union (EU) at any price and handing increasing control of our destiny as individuals and a country to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. Hardly evidence of high principles, but then for great acting, principles could be a handicap rather than a help.

So, leaving aside principles, does our PM have a track record and skills in deception (or acting)? A reasonable place to start looking for an anwer could be to consider his relationship with the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, whose trust in the integrity of the Prime Minister appears to have been betrayed. Having worked closely with Mr Cameron as coalition government partners for nearly five years, Mr Clegg found the Conservative Party pouring resources into Lib Dem held constituencies in the last General Election rather than Labour held ones. The result was a wipe-out of his party. With political friends like Mr Cameron, who needs enemies? And how much of it was a deceitful act to keep Mr Clegg and his colleagues off their guard and for how long did it go on?

Election strategies are not planned or implemented overnight. Based upon this and other examples of somewhat disreputable behaviour, (such as the use of induced fear to manipulate us in the General Election) it would be prudent to treat all mainstream politicians, their acolytes and fellow travellers with at least some caution, and the PM with more than most.

Our PM did not have a normal job before going into politics. His early career could be summed up by Rudyard Kipling (in Epitaph to a Dead Statesman) ‘I could not dig: I dared not rob: Therefore I lied to please the mob.’ His time out from politics (as Director of Corporate Affairs) appears to have been in public relations – handling the Press and facilitating make-believe corporate images of Carlton Communications whose main business was in make-believe (film and TV media) products. In such an environment, fiction and fact are somewhat interchangeable, as was said succinctly in the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: ‘This is the West, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.’ Such a background would be eminently suited to a young, ambitious career politician, as Winston Churchill observed of a PPC (prospective Parliamentary Candidate) ‘He’s asked to stand, he wants to sit and he is expected to lie’.

Mr Cameron certainly appears to be a consummate politician; at ease with power and at home  in the company of the international ruling élite;. He possesses the accoutrements of the modern successful career politician – namely,  being able to outmanoeuvre others, work alliances, use people and the weapon of fear to gain advantages and to use spin and undeliverable ‘promises’ to manipulate and conceal the true situation.

There are naturally various downsides to this political acumen, not least a worsening of actual governing competence, changing priorities to the spurious (spin, sound bites and appearances etc.), undermining democratic transparency and accountability, and a general deterioration in ethical standards and integrity. Some effects are subtle yet potentially significant.

Spin negates the need to deliver actual results and restricts the ability to analyse and to think outside the ‘spin-box’; sloppy, vague and confusing language undermines clear, logical thought and rational ideas. George Orwell in Politics and the English Language wrote about political language being used to deceive, to conceal the true horror and give substance to pure wind. He also pointed out its limiting or negative effect on ideas ‘English …… becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.’ This is readily apparent in the superficiality of supposedly important parliamentary debates and policy documents where high standards of observation and analysis are largely absent.

The consequence is self-evidently poorer performance by the government and a failure to assess properly any negative impacts of policies and thus to introduce timely mitigations. Less obviously, a modern advanced society, especially in the Internet age, needs a high level of trust in order to function efficiently and create future per capita wealth. Consequently, setting a poor example at the top must filter through negatively into the performance of the economy and society’s mores.

Yet, fortunately, there are pointers in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership which will enable us to distinguish between the phoney and acting from the real thing.  For example: over-acting the part and being too in earnest or emphatic; making unbelievable claims (for example, about EU ‘renegotiations’) or statements that defy logic or available evidence about the EU; endless repetition of known falsehoods about the EU, our relationship with it and life as a free and independent country; telling different stories to different audiences or at different times; all presentation and soundbites, without any actual substance or thoughtful analysis. Although this play-acting sounds impressive at the time, it is almost instantly forgettable.

The greatest triumph in acting is to convince the audience at the time to the extent that they accept the persona of the part, rather than that of the actor; and some actors appear to believe their roles are real. The greatest accomplishment of Mr Cameron in deception (and acting), and PR triumph would be to convince us, the electorate, and win the EU referendum, without his having a genuine belief in the cause, but just through acting or over-acting the part of the ‘statesman’.

And so to paraphrase Shakespeare’s tale of power politics and betrayal, Julius Caesar:
‘Friends, Britons, EU leaders, lend me your ears;
I come to bury UK, not to praise her.
The evil that I do lives after me as PM;
UK’s goodness will be interred with her bones;
So let the end be with the former GB.’

Why the ‘Out’ Campaign Lost the EU Referendum – a New Year horror story

It is now increasingly common for magazines and websites to publish a ghost story in the pre- Christmas period. Here at CIB, we are doing something a bit different. Here is a horror story for the new year.  It does have a serious point, however, attempting to provide some conjectural ‘hindsight’ well before the event as a pre-emptive warning which may be helpful today.

It is late 2017 and the initial tumultuous celebrations of Mr Cameron’s triumph are dying down. Slowly the truth is sinking in as the emboldened European Union (EU) hierarchy now boasts openly about their next steps in the former United Kingdom’s integration into their bureaucratic superstate. Our Prime Minister, leading the Remain (in the European Union) Campaign, has won a decisive referendum victory, using techniques trialled in the General Election (2015) and Scottish Referendum.

On his side was the political and ruling Establishment, the apparatus of government, the media, the EU’s PR machine, the BBC, big business and various opinion-setting celebs. Together they were able to deploy a combination of big spending, fear-mongering, repetitious ‘on-message’ soundbites and subduing political dissent through threats and bribes. But this is not the full story; the Leave Campaign made Mr Cameron’s task much easier than it should have been.

The Leave Campaign was full of ordinary non-political people who were ‘too nice to win’. They did not realise how ruthless and underhand (‘dirty’) their more politically astute opponents could be. The deceit, the propaganda (especially aimed at the younger generation), the vilification, the denials of the truth and cover-ups, the threats and the fictitious fears came as a surprise, but should not have been.

After all anyone betraying his or her country to domination, exploitation and taxation by a foreign power and cultural destruction is not going to play by some sort of Queensberry rules. The Leave campaign also didn’t quite realise that this was a ‘fight to the death’ for their country’s identity, sovereignty, democracy and dignity, not an exercise in leaving a gentleman’s club for nations.

Counter-strategies to the ‘dirty play’ of the Establishment – including by the media – were not developed and, therefore, not deployed. The Remain Campaign and the media effectively shut down meaningful discussion of major issues not following their agenda.

Ignored were: the political issues, the loss of sovereignty, open borders and uncontrolled mass migration, emasculation of democracy, replacement of the rule of just law with political law, the rising tide of regulation undermining personal liberty and free enterprise prosperity, the increasing EU taxation and waste; the expanding opportunities outside the EU and the changing needs of the future.

Instead there was increasing diversionary sneering and ridicule directed at the supposedly chaotic and deeply divided Leave Campaign, which was not recognised as such by the Public. Rapid rebuttals by the Leave Campaign of deception by their opponents, using comprehensive facts, did not occur. The fifth columnists or pseudo-Leavers helped repeatedly to undermine the Leave Campaign, kept everyone guessing until at the eleventh hour, then changed sides and urged all Leavers to do the same.

Then there were the ‘Leave egotists’ who thought they could win the Referendum singlehandedly and made the most basic mistakes. They failed to work as a team and support the common effort at national or local levels. They caused publicity-seeking distractions that were exploited by the Remain Campaign. When in front of an audience or giving interviews they could go off on tangents or ‘hobby horses’ rather than present an array of strong reasons for leaving the failing EU.

An insular centralising ‘Leave’ leadership (just like the EU and Mr Cameron’s government) was unable to devolve power, make full use of the potential resources and inventiveness available or to value individual contributions. The Leave Campaign did not illustrate what people can achieve as individuals when not hamstrung by the EU’s bureaucracy. The top-down management wanted to be seen to be in control and direct everyone rather than play a supporting and co-ordinating role to maximise the enthusiasm and resourcefulness available. Square pegs were fitted into round holes, if they were fitted at all. Internal communications were slow and one way (downwards), if they existed at all. Being seen to be doing something became more important than thinking and planning first, or rapidly improving professionalism throughout.

Referendum fatigue and tedium with the ‘same old politics’ and endless commentary in the media set in early amongst the Public as the extended campaign and EU ‘negotiations’ dragged on. Meanwhile real knowledge of the important issues remained at low levels amongst many. Independence from the EU and the exciting opportunities it offered in the modern world failed to be presented in a way that would to capture the popular imagination of the Electorate.

The Leavers thought they could run a visibly ‘me too’ Anne Oakley style campaign, (‘anything you can do, I can do better’, with much more limited resources and access to the generally hostile media). Mostly it didn’t work and resources were wasted, instead of being concentrated where they could achieve most ‘bang for the buck’. And rather than be innovative, adaptive and build upon success, they just copied.

The Leave Campaign failed to develop its clear modern USP (unique selling proposition) and therefore show how different and in tune with the liberating, democratic, egalitarian, Internet and global international future it is, in contrast to the failing, obsolete, hierarchical, control-freak EU. Without the modern, optimistic change and progress USP the Leave Campaign could not align its objectives, modus operandi, and symbolism with the emerging future world leaving it open to being portrayed as living in ‘Little England’. Yet the future is the world of value-adding collaborations between empowered individuals who work together to bring participative democracy, social justice, better and more efficient government, innovation and per capita wealth creating prosperity into an increasingly competitive world. The EU cannot deliver results in the modern world, only costly failure. A free United Kingdom, could. Indeed, it could have inspired the rest of the world, but it missed its chance.

Dr Who took this report and analysis, and raced to the Tardis. ‘Back to the start of 2016 quickly. The Out Campaign must read this before it is too late and the United Kingdom is destroyed.’

William Hague’s political schizophrenia

William Hague stated at the end of last year that he is minded to vote for Britain to remain in the European Union partly because he fears “Brexit” could lead to the breakup of the UK and partly because “Brexit” would weaken the EU. This has hardly been a case of coming off the fence. Hague’s euroscpticism has always been suspect. The general public saw through its shallowness in the 2001 General Election when they returned Labour to power and ignored the Tories’ half-hearted campaign under Hague’s leadership. His current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. He has failed to grasp that it is not possible to believe in democracy as well as EU membership.


William Hague may have been in the forefront of politics for many years and is much respected. However this does not confer any automatic right for his confused views on the EU to be takne seriously.  On the other hand, it is useful for those of us who support withdrawal to listen to such a Europhile ally of the PM as it will help us to sharpen our attacks on supporters of “”remain”.

In this piece, where I comment respectfully upon his words in a Daily Telegraph article dated 22nd December, I will be using the excellent rebuttal of the Europhiles’ arguments by Robert Oulds on this website, which also contains a rebuttal by CIB of 7 major Europhile issues.


The security of Europe rests not with the EU; indeed the EU does much to unsettle it. Most certainly security depends not upon the forces of Luxemburg or even of the other smaller 25 EU members nor even with the might of the UK with France and Germany but upon NATO, where we work with the USA. It is NATO that provides security for Europe and the wider world. [Please see footnote A].

The EU has endangered that security with interference in the internal affairs of states from the Balkans, the Ukraine, Iraq, and North Africa as well as by its trade negotiations, as in Ghana for example. The EU provides no safety for anyone through its sclerotic involvement in foreign affairs. Yet Mr Hague says “We still need the EU to provide the safe harbour for the docking of fragile democracies, and it would be strange to champion that idea but abandon it ourselves.”

I need hardly remind Mr Hague that there is not an ounce of UK-style Democracy in the EU.  The EU “parliament” has only limited powers [Please see footnote B] and Mr Hague has acknowldged its limitations: “As to the European parliament, it does not remotely provide democratic accountability for the simple reason that most voters across Europe do not take elections to it seriously and are not usually aware of the identity of their MEPs. It is not possible to be accountable and anonymous at the same time.” He misses the point of course. It is just because the EU parliament is without a strong set of democratic teeth that no one can take it seriously. Ask the MEP’s in the UK.

Accordingly the idea of there being a democratic dock within the EU for “fragile democracies” is nonsense. The EU actually destroys national democracy. It was designed to do so and will not change its course.


“And I am often asked whether the years I spent in EU meetings and negotiations made me less Eurosceptic than when I toured the country 15 years ago with my ‘Save the Pound’ campaign” said Mr Hague. “The answer to that is “no”, since close acquaintance with central bodies of the European Union does nothing to create enthusiasm for them. The Commission itself, generally the best-performing of the EU institutions, could benefit from the spending cuts and rigour to which most national governments have been subjected. The European Court of Justice has pushed the boundaries of treaties and is capable of imposing burdens on businesses which suggest a detachment from reality.”

“Even more worryingly, some of the most cherished projects of European unity are in deep trouble – the Schengen zone buckling under the weight of new migration, and the euro bedevilled by flaws which were obvious at the start. There is a legitimate question as to whether the EU can survive in its current form two or three decades from now.”

These statements are unquestionably true. The totalitarian Commission maintains its fundamental straight course onwards towards an united non-democratic federal auperstate, as it alwasy has done. Mr Hague knows this full well.

“It is high time for a vigorous debate to get going. So far, what I have written above would be cheered on by my old friend Liam Fox, who has advocated withdrawal, by old Cabinet colleagues tempted to campaign to leave in the forthcoming referendum, and even by Nigel Farage as he reels from the discovery that a rebel who joins you from another party simply becomes a rebel in your own.” Correct in part only!


“Yet here I part company with these fellow critics of the EU, distinguishing between deploring the state of an organisation and deciding it is best to leave it. I wait, first of all, for the outcome of the negotiations the Prime Minister has launched, the importance of which should not be underestimated in continental capitals.”

Mr Hague forgets that how many issues which desperately need addressing are not on the PM’s little list of four items which he is discussing. There is no reference to the ECJ and its control over the UK Supreme Court, Fisheries, the Free Movement of Peoples, the UK’s right to represent itself on global bodies (The Top Tables), the cost of our membership, the red tape suffered by the 80% of UK GDP involved only with internal UK trade, reform of the CAP and so on.

In conclusion there is no substance to the PM’s negotiations or “thin gruel” as Mr Rees Mogg called them. Their conclusion will be trumpeted as a success but in reality, the fanfare will merely be a repeat of Chamberlain’s “Heston moment” in 1938 as John Petley refers in his January 2016 Article on the CIB web site.


“The arguments about what is best for our economy will rage back and forth. Those who say we have to be in the single market to shape it and benefit from it have the edge and that will be a vital edge as the public weighs the implications of their choice for their jobs and businesses” says Mr Hague.

Many businessmen and economists would disagree. We can access the Single Market from outside the EU, by joining Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who have plenty of say in the formation of EEA- relevant regulation, even if they do not take part in the final vote. People like Lord Bamford and Sir James Dyson may not have made detailed analyses of the best exit strategy, but thier confidnece that we can not only survive but prosper outside the EU is well founded. With only 20% of UK GDP linked to total global exports and of that only a diminishing 7% of UK GDP comprising trade with the EU, it makes little sense for that tiny dwindling tail of 7% to wag the growing dog of 93%!


It is clear that Mr Hague is politically and economically generalising and being economical with the actuality. There is no attempt by Mr Hague to support his line of argument with facts and reasoning. Mr Hague’s current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. It is not possible to believe in national democracy and at the same time support our bondage to the EU?

Furthermore, how can Mr Hague think that the UK has any possible useful influence inside this total disaster?

Why a tariff union, Mr Hague? It is entirely counterproductive to the UK trade outside the EU which comprises 64% of UK exports.

Why must the UK guarantee the obligations and debts of the Euro and its failed experiments to the ECB and the IMF? This weakens the UK and makes it vulnerable as it borrows ever more to do this and then borrows more to pay interest on the borrowed sums! Hence Mr Osborne imposes more and more taxes on those who can least afford it!

Why has the UK lost so many of its seats on important world bodies just to be represented by one member acting for 28 with conflicting and confused objectives? Why support our membership of a political union if all we are talking about is a free trade area, Mr Hague?

In short, Mr Hague, who seemed to show such promise when he made that memorable speech at the 1977 Conservative Party Conference when he was only sixteen years old,  has proved one of the great political disappointments of recent years.  His schizophrenia over the EU suggests that for all the hype of his early years, he possibly never was a suitable person to lead our country after all.


A) NATO: Since 1999 NATO changed from being a highly successful defensive alliance into an aggressive, go anywhere- bash anyone organisation with unlimited ambitions to “humanitarian interventions” anywhere in the world which suit US/EU policy. The first such adventure was Yugoslavia (1999),an unprovoked attack, admitted to be illegal but thought, as in “1066 & All That”, to be a “Good Thing”- also completely contrary to the then existing NATO charter but Blair & Clinton just did it. And the Bundeswehr used the opportunity to cease being “citizens in uniform” and become a force able to operate overseas. As General Naumann (whose title would have been Chief of the Great General Staff in palmier days) put it “German forces will be engaged for the protection of the market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. NATO is up to its neck and beyond in the operations in the Ukraine and elsewhere, targeted against Russia. Victoria Nuland, US Under Secretary of State, boasted of spending 5 billion dollars destabilising Ukraine and the EU itself, plus sundry intelligence agencies (like the Bundesnachrichtendienst and state funded NGOs like the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung) are not far behind). The EU has a slightly different terminology for these operations and calls them “The Export of Stability”.

B) The Powers of the EU parliament: – Actually the parliament (so-called) has acquired some powers, like confirming or rejecting the proposed President and members of the EU Commission. Whilst its function is mainly “advise and Consent”, it can withhold consent in committee and sometimes does. The Commission with the vital and perpetual sole power of initiative then has to come back with a modified proposal. What the parliament (so-called) does not have is any democratic legitimacy, as Mr Hague rightly points out. There is not much demos but quite a lot of kratos in it. It is by no means powerless and is asserting more power and influence than ever. If the parliament’s majority opinion (taken from the large central groups that control the EU parliament) coincides with that of the Commission, it is very likely to prevail. The European Council (of prime ministers and presidents) would have difficulty in resisting determined, long-sustained, combined pressure by the Commission and Parliament singing from the same hymn sheet. The EU institutions do have a life and power of their own – just as Dr. Hallstein (see Edward Spalton’s CIB earlier paper) intended.

Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

A letter from our President to the Leicester Mercury

Come the New Year we will be steeped in preparations for the EU referendum requiring evidence based facts and not EU biased wool pulled over eyes, especially by Little Europeans who would have us believe that we are too small and cannot stand on our own feet. The pages of Mailbox were filled at one time by letters from local European Movement members who predicted that it would be a disaster to stay out of the euro. They have been proven hopelessly wrong but no doubt they will again try to strike fear where and when they can. What they cannot do is silence the growing awareness of the damage done to Britain and its industries over the past forty years. A vote to stay in the EU will commit our children and generations to come to ever closer political control no matter how much our present Prime Minister tries to convince us otherwise.

I would like to mention two quotations that remain in my mind, one from the Conservative party:-
In my lifetime all our problems have come from Mainland Europe and all our solutions have come from the English speaking nations of the world” (Margaret Thatcher)

and one from the Labour party:- “This island is made mainly from coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organising genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.” (Aneurin Bevan)

The national organisation financed only by public donations founded in 1969 for a free UK that I am elected to head, will continue to campaign to inform and restore pride in Britain as a self governing nation engaging in friendly relationships with nations of the whole world, especially the Commonwealth. We have put up with our unelected European Union masters long enough. It is time to leave and more usefully spend the £33,000,000 net we give away to the EU every day. They might not miss us but will desperately try to hang on to our money whilst pretending they might change their ways

John Redwood’s New Year Message

We want a new beginning. We want to restore our democracy, and to change it for the better.

It is fitting that many of us have boundless ambition for our country. We know that independent the UK can be richer, freer, and more of a force for good.

Restored to our rightful place at the top tables and councils of the world, the UK will have more capacity to help shape the future.

Able to make our own decisions about who to welcome here, we can be fair to people from all round the world and no longer have to discriminate against the non Europeans.

Lets make 2016 a great year to rank alongside 1660 and 1688 when our freedoms were increased by political actions.

Bruised and battered the old year goes out amidst war, floods and the usual political recriminations about the role and cost of the state.

All was not lost, as 2015 at least broached some of the big issues that we need to confront to restore our democracy and find justice for England.

It is true that on offering England her voice, it was muffled badly by the  Hague reforms. Our devolution settlement remains too lop-sided as well as under continuous pressure from the SNP.

2015 has usefully highlighted some of the ways the British people and their Parliament have lost control. The inability to change our VAT on tampons exploded the  myth that we can still choose our taxes. The failure to restrict benefits to economic migrants show how one  of Labour’s red lines with the EU has been wiped out. The powerlessness to achieve the very popular government target for net  inward migration stands as a prime example of our lack of power and authority as a country.

These matters roll into this year in search of a solution. 2015 will not have been in vain if we decide to leave the EU, the cause of so much damage to our democracy.

Cam’s great sham will need some pretty wrapping paper

With December’s European Council meeting now behind us, the political world is now winding down for the Christmas break. What are we to make of the situation as 2015 draws to a close?

Firstly, things have moved on dramatically in the last year following the victory of the Conservative Party in May’s General Election. David Cameron’s commitment to hold an in/out (or rather, remain/leave) referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU has concentrated minds in the withdrawalist movement. The goal for which some of us have been striving for 40 years or longer could finally be within our grasp in the next two years.

Furthermore, the battle lines have already been drawn. We know what David Cameron is going to try to sell to the electorate. Forget all the discussions about opt-outs from closer political union and curbs on migrant benefits. There has not been and will not be any real renegotiations of any substance. Cameron has basically capitulated to the EU. “We need a British model of membership that works for Britain and for any other non-euro countries”, he said. What this really means, in the words of the former Environment Minister Owen Patterson is that “he is bumping around the back, towed along in the dinghy and this is all froth and bubble “

Associate membership – re-packaged as “The British Model” – will nonetheless be marketed by Mr Cameron as a major triumph – the result of “battling for Britain” in hard negotiation. Having downplayed expectations, Cameron will in reality be attempting to sell us a very shoddy deal – and not one for which he can even claim any credit. The original plans to turn discussion of a “two-speed Europe” into something concrete go back to a proposals by Andrew Duff, the arch federalist former Lib Dem MEP in 2006. It then moved up to consideration by the Bertelsmann-Spinelli group and the Five Presidents’ group. Carefully orchestrated press releases indicate that Mr Cameron has been going down this route for some months, with full support from leading figures in the Brussels establishment.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, stated to a meeting in Brussels on 18th November that the EU “is a family. Over time, one needs to give them (we the children!) the possibility to find their place on an orbit that better suits their sense of temperature. But Brexit will not happen”. Give Mr Juncker’s words, we can take it that the plan has been agreed. There is going to be a great deal of theatre. The script and choreography are mostly written already.

It will be Cam’s great sham. At the heart of this new arrangement, nothing of substance will have changed:-

  1. We will still be subject to the European Court of Justice
  2. Our ministers will still be overruled by qualified majority voting at the Council of Ministers
  3. Our Parliament will have to implement legislation with no power of unilateral veto.
  4. The European Commission will continue to churn out new laws and if the European Parliament and Council approve them, we will have to put them on the statute books.
  5. We will have an opt-out from the Euro, but this basically means relegation to the EU’s second division – indeed, Mr Duff has actually used the word “relegation” to describe his associate membership proposal.
  6. We will be still liable for any future eurozone bail-outs, even though outside the Single Currency
  7. We will still be tied in to Europol
  8. We will not be on the EU’s “top table” in spite of that being one of Mr Cameron’s stated objectives.

That Cameron is working hand-in-glove with the EU élite is more than apparent from his refusal to consider the far better alternative of the Norway Model – i.e., retaining our access to the Single Market from outside the EU by re-joining EFTA and thus availing ourselves of the European Economic Area agreement.

  1. Unlike the UK, which is represented by someone from the European Commission, Norway represents itself at the real “top tables” like the WTO and the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE).
  2. It can refuse to put EU legislation onto its statute books – for instance, it refused to implement the Third Postal Directive, even though it was labelled “EEA Relevant”.
  3. If the Euro goes belly up, Norway will not be liable for its debts.
  4. EEA countries like Norway are widely consulted when EEA-relevant legislation is being framed and the lack of a final vote is not seen by most Norwegians as a problem.
  5. Liechtenstein, whose relationship to the EU is likewise via EEA/EFTA, used a clause in the EEA agreement to apply an “emergency brake” on immigration from the EU 20 years ago and the “emergency” is still in force!
  6.  Norway does not participate in Europol and the Eurpean military police (EUGENDFOR) will not have any rights to operate in the country.

In short, the “Norway Option”, while not an ideal long-term arrangement, would get us through the escape hatch and is far nearer to achieving Cameron’s stated objectives than his crummy “British Model.” One of his former constituents, Dave Phipps, who was the author of the now-defunct Witterings from Witney blog when he lived in the area, met with him and explained the obvious benefits of the Norway Model, but it has not made any difference. Unless Mr Cameron is a bear of exceedingly little brain or suffering from severe amnesia, one can only surmise that his mind is not open to any possibility of leaving the EU, in spite of his utterances that nothing is off the table. While Steve Baker, the MP for High Wycombe, claims that, “the only logical and consistent position the Prime Minister can take is to lead our country out of the European Union”, that just isn’t going to happen.

Mr Cameron may already have his “British Model” neatly under wraps, but there isn’t very much actually to wrap it in. The mainstream press is preoccupied with benefit restrictions on EU migrants and the opposition Cameron faced from Poland when he raised the subject of a four-year residency period, but this is a sideshow. The opt-out from “ever-closer union” is meaningless and recognition of the UK’s right to keep the pound is hardly a great concession. An agreement to cut red tape – in other words, addressing the lack of competitiveness within the EU – is hardly a big deal. True, Cameron complained in February 2014 that the Commission “is so obsessed with red tape that it believes that removing regulations which damage businesses is an act of self-harm”, but in reality, as new regulations are handed down from global standards-setting agencies, the EU does actually ditch obsolete regulations and will continue to do so.

Furthermore, the treaty changes which would be required to formalise a two-tier EU won’t be ready for signing until after the UK referendum, so all he can do is offer us a promise. Thinking back to his “cast iron” guarantee of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, this doesn’t really inspire any confidence.

Admittedly, opinion polling doesn’t inspire much confidence either, but last week’s YouGov poll, suggesting that perception of the success of Cameron’s supposed renegotiations hold the key to securing a “leave” vote is consistent with a number of other studies. If he can find some suitably pretty wrapping paper, selling the British Model as the middle way, the safe option that resolves our long-standing frustrations with Brussels, he may win. As it’s his only hope of winning, we can be assured that the spin machine will be revved up to full speed. Our task is not to be distracted by side issues like benefits for migrants. If we can show the public – and in particular, the undecided – that underneath the wrapping paper, Cam’s great sham is a non-solution meaning more Europe and even less say in how it is run, we can pull off a great victory.

On that note, a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year from all of us in the Campaign for an independent Britain. Let us hope that 2016 will be the year when the tide finally turns irrevocably in our direction