Cameron’s ‘Eurovision’ is a fundamental misreading of the mood of the nation (sic). While concerns about democratic deficiency are shared across the continent, there are quite different attitudes north and south of the border. All the talk, all the commentary has been about ‘Britain’ and ‘British attitudes’ as if such a place still exists. Not only this but the Prime Ministers position suffers from some dazzling dissonance. Follow this if you can: The EU status quo is acceptable (otherwise he’d want out). But unless it’s “fundamentally renegotiated” it will become unacceptable. If Scotland votes Yes then No it will stay in. If it votes No, then Yes, it will come out. Confused?
It’s not just us Scots who find the latest Cameroonian European positioning baffling. Writing in the Huff Post, Leanne Wood, the new (ish) leader of Plaid Cymru writes:
There are times when history seems to speed up. We are living through just such a period. By the end of the decade Wales may be outside not just the British Union of 1707, if Scotland votes Yes, but also outside the European Union of 1973, if England votes no. The prospect of being a semi-autonomous province of a rump successor State is hardly one to generate enthusiasm. But the new prospect created by David Cameron’s announcement this week of a parochial Anglo-centric future – for Wales, see Little England – should fill us all in Wales, Unionist and Nationalist alike, with horror.
Cameron’s European gamble has changed the tone of the debate in Scotland, despite frantic Unionist spinning over the last few days. Reality leaked out with former Labour FM Henry McLeish arguing in Holyrood Magazine:
The current government at Westminster is actually frightening the lives out of many Scots with their crazy, dated right-wing approach. And it’s quite clear that if – it’s not going to be before this [independence] referendum – but if the Tories are successful and Britain comes out of the EU, this I believe will shock enough people in Scotland to consider voting for independence post-2014. I would be very strongly inclined to want to be in Europe and to want to have nothing to do with a Union or United Kingdom that was not in the European Union. I would be reconsidering my position if that eventuality happened after 2014.
But there’s no guarantee other European nations will have any of this. Cameron acts as if we are in some pre-Copernican age, where the entire universe revolves around Westminster. The commentator Ruth Wishart writes: “Let’s be clear. There is not a four deep queue in Brussels anxious to indulge the fantasy life of the most semi detached of its membership. Why would there be ? They have one or two more important things on their minds right now at the heart of Europe. And little appetite for going down a route which might have another two dozen plus states demanding a fresh deal on the grounds of national self interest.”
And it’s true. Despite the extraordinary vision that the entire EU rulebook should or could be re-written according to the narrative of the swivel-eyed Faragista, there’s evidence that mainstream continental Europe will look askance at such a move.
According to a poll by Figaro 71/.4% of French voters want us out of the EU. Le Figaro – International : Souhaitez-vous que la Grande-Bretagne sorte de l’Union européenne ?
By hooking ourselves to the Europhobic south we may become ostracised and isolated. That’s not what a new country needs as it steps out into the world.