A view from afar of Cameron’s negotiations with the EU.
I have seen my share of negotiations over 40 years and my judgement is that the current negotiations are far away from the crunch. They are just not serious. In fact they are a little naive. To think that the UK can get a “best deal” without first formally rejecting a proposal goes against everything I think I know about negotiations. The simple, fundamental reality is that the UK will get a better deal only after it has first rejected the “best deal” that the EU and Cameron can cobble together.
No party in a negotiation ever gives up some cherished position except when it perceives a real threat. There is just no real threat or incentive for the EU to pursue real reforms as long as Cameron has effectively promised that he will campaign in favour of whatever “deal” he brings to the referendum. The EU will not negotiate seriously with the UK until after a NO vote in the referendum.
The EU desperately needs to reform. The bureaucracy of the European Commission and the parasitic European Parliament need to be respectively, defanged and eliminated. The EU needs the UK to stay in and the UK would be better off in a reformed EU (but could be better off outside if the EU insists on setting up the Holy European Empire).
The current negotiations are not serious. They are primarily cosmetic and known – by both parties – to be cosmetic. The discussions will only get serious when a referendum has delivered a resounding NO and it is seen by the EU countries that a BREXIT is really possible. Right now they expect that some cosmetic changes – especially about high visibility issues like benefits and non-EU immigration, will be sufficient for placating Cameron and for allowing him to take a “good deal” into the referendum. But they are not even talking about the real issues of EC autocratic rule and the redundant layer of the EU parliament.
Of course Cameron would have to be sacrificed. The sequence would be:
- Cameron brings “best deal” to a referendum,
- the referendum would reject the deal and vote for BREXIT
- Cameron resigns,
- new PM would initiate formal move to request an exit from the EU,
- EU would come with a “better” deal,
- a new referendum would be called on the grounds that “substantial” improvements had been offered
- 2nd referendum votes YES and for BREXIN