Listening to David Cameron’s speech on the EU, I was reminded of that scene in “Blazing Saddles” where sheriff Bart threatens to shoot himself to avoid being shot by the townsfolk. The problem he faces is that the threat Cameron is making is not greater than the threat major concessions would cause for other leaders of other EU countries. Imagine anyone of them coming home to tell their home parliament that they had agreed to letting Britain undercut their home businesses by freeing the UK from EU employment legislation?
There is also an issue which has been raised by über blogger Jon Worth: if there is a referendum between leaving the EU or signing up to a Tory negotiated right wing version of British membership, what will progressive pro-Europeans in the the UK do? At least in every Irish referendum there is the option of voting for the status quo, a choice that Cameron will deny the British people. Labour and the Lib Dems could always promise that if they were returned to power they will just opt Britain back into social rights, I suppose.
But what of the nightmare scenario? What’s that, you ask? The ultimate nightmare, that Cameron loses the 2015 general election and so the referendum is called off, and we spend another ten years listening to British Eurosceptics banging on about the evils of the EU? Oh lordy. I think I’d prefer if they left.