I have serious difficulty understanding the perspective of some of those involved in the EU “renegotiation” debate. I am not sure what they are even trying to say, much of the time, although, to be fair, based upon the persistence with which I make certain points—without any perceptible sign of recognition—I do not doubt that the feeling is mutual.
For instance, the inconsistent Iain Martin, who in May wrote about the Chancellor’s desire to “go long” on the EU “renegotiation” so as to allow more time to secure a deal that would keep Britain in a “reformed EU”, but who now writes that the “moment of opportunity” to agree that “new relationship” is gone. Mr Martin offers no explanation why what he describes in his earlier article as the “historic prize” of a two-tier European Union is no longer on offer. Indeed, his assertion is particularly perplexing in the sense that Mr Cameron’s proposals for “reform” mesh almost exactly with a pre-existing EU plan to create a two-tier EU in which Britain is a second-class member.
Far more important, however, is Dominic Cummings’ scatter-gun campaigning. As Campaign Manager for Vote Leave Ltd., Mr Cummings should be helping to direct legacy journos who have so far struggled to comprehend Mr Cameron’s strategy towards a clear understanding of what has been labelled The Cameron Deception.
There are many things to be said about Mr Cummings’ performance to date—some of which I have said already; others of which I shall leave for future posts. For the sake of brevity, this post will focus on just one small point: is the man that several in the tame Tory media have garlanded as a “genius” just a little bit dim?
I have shied away from this assessment in the past, thinking that one who has worked within the machine of government—whatever else one may think of them—cannot be short a few brain cells. However, the following is causing me to reassess:
It is because I do read Vote Leave’s stuff that I am in a position to criticise. Based upon the above comment, one wonders: Does Mr Cumming’s read Vote Leave’s stuff?
On Monday, Vote Leave’s “Campaign News” posting said: “David Cameron’s demands are trivial. All the spin is to lower expectations so Downing Street can claim the final deal is ‘a triumph for the Prime Minister’.”
Perhaps I am the one who is missing something—if that is the case, I should like someone to point it out—but does describing the Prime Minister’s proposals (not “demands”) as “trivial” not contribute towards “lower expectations”?
I may be wrong, but I do not believe that the “expectations game”, as Mr Cummings describes it, is best served by describing the PM’s proposals as “trivial”. Not only do I think that such comments are strategically mistaken, from a campaign perspective, I think that there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that such assertions are factually mistaken, from a… factual perspective.
For the sake of clarity, I shall say again, as plainly as I know how: David Cameron’s proposals for “reform” are not “trivial”. Not to say that the “renegotiation” is something that I support. Far from it. I think that in many ways David Cameron is doing less to protect the British national interest than Edward Heath, who negotiated Britain’s entry into the then European Economic Community (EEC).
The entire “renegotiation” (not just part of it) is an exercise in getting people looking the other way, “debating” anything other than leaving the EU. It is past time that the “reforms” became a matter for the “remainers”. Brexiteers are not interested in a few more crumbs from the EU table, we want to take our seat at the global top table and enjoy a full cake.