All hail Dave the supreme leader for giving us the Iin/out referendum the majority of the voting public want. Thank you Ukip for making it happen. Now Ukip's job has only just begun.
Ukip, and other groups campaigning for an 'out' result need to nail their messages very tightly and come together as one cohesive voice. The left, right and centre, the think tanks, pressure groups, campaign groups must unite under one banner, as they did in the AV referendum. Divided the message will fail.
We must nail the lies about three million job losses and that our trade is inextricably linked to the EU and to leave would see massive unemployment and business lost. Take a look the excellent papers published by the Bruges Group which have academics, economists and politicians saying that we are better off out.
This will be a long and drawn out process, the vote only coming after the next election. And then only if Dave wins the 2015 vote. That is looking increasingly unlikely as the coalition will fail and fight over this issue; the Lib Dems blocked the boundary changes which would have seen a fairer and more equal balance of voting numbers not skewed in favour of Labour, and Dave is just so unpopular.
Cameron is wrong to leave the referendum to after the next election, kicking it into the long grass. Europe is sinking under its own currency with bankrupt countries and we are being dragged down with them (see my recent The Huffington Post UK piece on trading figures with the EU). The coalition had a referendum on our voting system without too much worry over constitutional issues. We should have a referendum in 2014 to coincide with the Euro elections. Our political parties can then set out their stalls.
In the meantime, Dave will try to negotiate with our EU partners. No chance. Germany's centre-right coalition is teetering with every likelihood that Merkel will lose the election. France has a socialist government, committed to a more federalist EU. Those countries are in the driving seat for any renegotiation. You can't have an EU with an a la carte menu.
Cameron calls those looking to trade outside of the EU "Little Englanders" and his new term, "isolationist" gives us some indication where he will stand. In business I have headed up many new business and sales and marketing teams and the temptation is to stay in your comfort zone rather than pushing the boundaries and re-kindling old markets (Commonwealth) and new relationships (China, India, South America) is strong. That, unfortunately, is the message for staying in. that we are isolationist rather than looking for new trading partners.
Rather than my views, listen to the man who has fought against the creeping powers of the EU for years, the man who has forced this debate, Nigel Farage:
"The very fact that we are talking about the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union is Ukip's biggest victory to date.
"Even fiver years ago the thought of this issue being even discussed was an anathema and it is a great triumph for the tens of thousands of Ukip members and supporters that they have, through calm and passionate arguments, put it on the nation's agenda.
"Today we heard the skeleton of the Yes side's argument, how the prime minister will lead a Yes vote. We saw how he refuses to answer the question as to whether, given he will fail in his proposed negotiations, if he will support an out.
"It is clear the prime minister has been forced by public opinion to offer a referendum but it is also clear that the options he offers are no options at all.
"Our friends on the continent have no intention of giving anything more than lip service to the repatriation of powers. They might let us catch herrings in the Solent but not much more.
"The PM has made clear his commitment to the EU Single Market, which will now become the rallying point for the old establishment in this country. Our job will be to point out that argument for the Single Market, is just the same as one used for the Common Market years ago.
"We will campaign for a trade deal with Europe, to cooperate and to be good neighbours but we do not want membership of a political union.
"The genie is out of the bottle: the fight for our country's liberty starts today."
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