Get the big picture

Eurosceptic campaigners were up very early this morning, rubbishing Cameron’s draft EU deal as pointless and inconsequential before it was even published. But of course: if you want to stick to the hackneyed old line that the EU is unreformable, then you have to find some way to dismiss every single reform, and this is no exception.

In reality, there are few surprises in the draft. It’s a mixture of reasonable improvements, trivial tweaks and irrelevant details. But we mustn’t miss the big picture. The upcoming referendum is not on Cameron’s reforms — it’s on the much bigger question of our European Union membership.

And on that much more important issue, there is no room for negotiation. For jobs and trade, for workers and consumers, for our country’s security and much more besides, we must keep Britain at the heart of Europe.

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One Comment

  1. Richard, can you explain why reasonable commentators like Michael Portillo think the risks to the UK are from staying in?
    From what I’ve read so far, Cameron’s reforms are likely to be inconsequential, and in a way we know that because much or all of it doesn’t require treaty change. As you say, the bigger picture is the UK’s view of the EU. I think in the end we’ll vote to stay in. But to follow much of the media coverage in the UK you would think that the EU is a ‘buro-dictatorship’ imposing Euro-rules for the sake of it. I mean, in principle, the EU is a sophisticated democratic machine that represents UK interests, and has helped the UK in many important ways. I could understand it if the reforms had highlighted issues that we suspect the EU is weak on such as perhaps dealing with the migrant crisis, or fisheries, or CAP, or greater openness or foreign policy. You would never think that the vast majority of UK MPs are pro-EU – I expect we will be asked to vote yes because of Cameron’s reforms, as he was saying today, which is such a ludicrous way to frame the proposal. The quality of the debate has got to improve a lot!

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