It has been six weeks since I placed my initial stake in the ground by talking about the EU Referendum, which could be as early as June according to whether or not the government feels it can secure a “yes” vote for staying in the EU, albeit under renegotiated terms. It seems we have reached a significant milestone along the way insofar the negotiations have now taken place and we now know what those terms are. The Prime Minister seems to be quite happy that the concessions he wanted have been granted but there are many who don’t feel the same, led by many of the main newspapers declaring a skeptical disdain for what has happened.
One euroskeptic friend, echoing the sentiments of many, posted these thoughts on Facebook: “Today’s publication of the draft UK/EU deal confirms that the Prime Minister’s renegotiation will not address the problems which people see in the EU. The British public want to take back control and end the supremacy of EU law over our borders, economy and democracy. Nothing in today’s announcement even comes close to the fundamental, full on Treaty change Mr. Cameron once promised the public. The only way to get a new UK/EU relationship based on free trade and friendly cooperation is to Vote Leave.”.
Perhaps one the most eloquent newspaper objections came from the Sun, with its front page headline: “Our deal turns to farce: who do EU think you are kidding Mr. Cameron”. Besides giving significant coverage as to why this is a bad deal, it devotes its editorial to full on attack covering unusually a full page of objections: “Your Brussels deal has done nothing to halt migrants, nothing to win powers back for Britain. Sorry Prime Minister, but it stinks”. It is concerned the deal that has been struck is so inconsequential that we are in the same position as we have been all along, and now with Europe crumbling. As for the political gamble the government is about to take, the Sun is quite philosophical and surprisingly non- committal as to how it feels people should vote, while concerned the “No” campaign has not got its act together.
Sadly, I have to concur that the Leave campaign has not been too convincing to date, as I see it. More convincing has been the Stay campaign. As I generally say in all matters political, I would love to see well thought out arguments from either side before deciding how I am to vote. While I have long been a euro-skeptic and not a supporter of political union in something I feel leans toward being corrupt, I am also open to counter arguments such as the projected damage to the UK if it did decide to leave. As for weighing the various arguments and coming down on which one wins the day, for me that will have to wait for a future blog post.