Samuel Marshall writes from London: Here’s my forecast on the future place of Britain in Europe: it will stay in the European Union and there will be no referendum this side of the general election. And the reason for it being that PM David Cameron simply doesn’t have the guts to let the British people decide their own fate. He is a weak leader who does not see further than his pension pot. And that pot is growing by the day, as he follows the advice of his mentor, Tony Blair, who is probably worth half a billion by now. (The joke is that he tells everyone that selling his soul to the devil was his best move ever.)
Mr Cameron is expected to deliver a speech on Europe soon, outlining where he stands on Europe and how he is going to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership in the EU. The speech is billed by his people as his most important one yet. But in reality it would contain empty promises, as he continues to play his games with Europe, trying to convince the Tory grassroots that he is listening to them while giving a wink to Brussels that all is fine. This will continue all the way up to 2015, with Mr Cameron saying one thing one day and then saying another thing the next. It’s all rubbish that he might be buried by the Eurosceptics in his own party. There are no proper Eurosceptics left on the Tory backbenches. These people don’t care anymore what happens to Britain. They want to hold on to their seats in the Commons – whatever it takes. They are about as Tory as New Labour was Labour.
The game that we see played out at Westminster surrounding Britain’s membership of the EU is just a smokescreen for the inability of politicians to sort out the economy. No one is prepared to say that the only way out of the current mess is to stop cuddling the banks and let some of them fall, investing the money for a change into the real economy. But like any government that is in the pockets of the money men, the ConLibDem coalition is introducing austerity for the millions while letting the banks run riot. And to distract the people from this shameless exercise politicians invent ‘principled stand-offs’ between each other knowing perfectly well that they would end in nothing. (It’s a bit like ministers saying that they welcome a debate on this or that but you know the bastards have already made up their minds and are just pretending they want to hear other people’s opinions.)
As for the Eurocrats in Brussels, they of course watch the so-called debate in Britain on its future in the EU with a smirk. They know perfectly well that Mr Cameron wouldn’t dare announce a referendum and even if he did it would only happen after 2015. By then Labour would be back in power and it would find a way to either cancel the vote or complicate it to such an extent that no one would know what to do. It’s a win-win situation for the EU and they know it in Brussels. Just as they know that they can blow as many trillions as they want on propping up the euro and no one would be able to stop them.
So will Britain join the euro at some point, you may be asking. I suspect it will, especially after Labour comes to power. Once the referendum is out of the way, producing the ‘yes’ result – yes, as in we stay in the EU – the journey to Euroland will start in earnest. And don’t think that the voters could do anything about it. Labour will have a five year fixed parliament term, just as the current lot has, and with its huge majority it would not be bothered by popular discontent. (They will thank us for this later, Ed Balls, the Chancellor, would be telling his comrades.)
By 2020 the pound sterling would be no more and Britain would join the Eurozone. By then Mr Blair would probably become President of Europe and Mr Cameron might even become his sidekick of sorts, having earned a fortune on his lectures and memoirs and by sharing his wisdom as consultant with some pretty big names in banking.
Nasty forecast, I know. But hey, at least it’s much closer to the real thing than all those academics and pundits who talk bollocks about Cameron’s troubles over Europe.