If you’ve been paying any attention to the reports on Cameron’s negotiations with the EU, which to be fair is a bit like asking if you think the author of B&Q’s screws, fixings and widgets catalogue ought to be nominated as the next Makar, you’ll know that the pig lover has been porked by the European Parliament. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, has told Cameron that he can’t guarantee that the Parliament will approve any deal that the UK reaches with the EU Commission. This means that the UK could have a referendum on the deal and voters could approve it, only for the EU Parliament to throw it out and we all have to start out all over again with Nigel Farage doing one of his impressions of the cast of Dad’s Army only without the jokes.
However it’s looking increasingly less likely that voters will approve the UK’s continuing membership of the EU, at least in England. While Scottish voters remain in favour of remaining in the EU by a large margin, in England the polls show that the exit campaign is rapidly gaining ground. Although there is still a majority for staying in the EU, it’s an increasingly threadbare majority and one which may not endure through a referendum campaign that in terms of its mendacious desperation will make Scotland’s Project Fear look like a Wikipedia article on dendrochronology. And if you were to slice open a Project Fear scare story you could count the rings and find out how often it had been repeated, and when the truth died on the front page of the Daily Record.
Incidentally, on Tuesday a Daily Record journalist was claiming on Twitter that it was untrue to say that the Daily Record campaigned for a No vote during the Scottish independence referendum. He was of course entirely correct in exactly the same way that this blog didn’t campaign for a Yes vote, that Labour in Scotland always publishes carefully costed policies, and that Spock from Star Trek moonlights as a stand up comedian. The Record was always the first to report on each and every intervention for the very first time from Gordie Broon, and in the days before the vote devoted its front page to an entirely spurious vow that seemingly had been cooked up by the erstwhile Prime Minister complete with his personal guarantee that he was going to supervise its implementation. And as soon as a No vote was secured, Gordie pissed off to a high paid job with a bank and Scotland still hasn’t received a single extra power. And all thanks to the Daily Record that didn’t campaign for a No vote.
You can tell that the campaign to remain in the EU is getting desperate. While we had to wait for the Scottish referendum campaign to get well underway before we witnessed repeated interventions for the very first time from Gordosaurus northbritannicus, roaring scares about cancer treatment not being available and threatening pensions, the starting pistol hasn’t even been fired on the EU referendum campaign and already the Gordosaurus is wearing a path on the carpet in front of a hand picked gathering of dinosaur fans. Since Gordie is about as popular with the electorate in England as a chili enema, the only reason he’s being dragged out is because the remain campaign is getting desperate.
Equally, we were well into the Scottish referendum campaign before we got a carefully orchestrated intervention from Liz Windsor, disguised as an off the ermine edging remark to a fawning subject. Only at the time the No campaign swore blind that only a paranoid nationalist could possibly imagine that it was anything but a totally spontaneous comment from her apolitical madge which just happened to help the No campaign. This week we’ve already seen the prematurely balding remain campaign rope her apolitical grandson into their efforts in an intervention that was as transparently staged as Donald Trump’s comb-over. Kensington Palace swears blind that that Will wasn’t referring to the EU referendum in his comments, and if you believe that then you probably also believe that the Daily Record didn’t campaign for a No vote. When the establishment gets the monarchy to meddle in the constitution, you know that they’re in deep trouble.
The reason for the frantic efforts is that it’s by no means certain that the UK as a whole will vote to remain a member of the EU. According to opinion polls a substantial majority of older voters want out, and they’re the voters most likely to vote. Although Scotland will certainly vote to remain a member, in England it’s too close to call. If the trends displayed in recent opinion polls continue, by the time there’s a referendum there will be a majority in England for leaving the EU.
We might even see a result where there’s a slight majority in the UK as a whole for remaining, but a slight majority for leaving in England. England would be kept in the EU thanks to Scottish votes. Whaur’s yer English votes fur English laws noo eh? If that were to happen the demand from the Europhobic English right to evict Scotland from the UK will be overwhelming.
As the wheels come off Cameron’s renegotiations and the remain campaign wanders around out of control like a shopping trolley steered by a drunk, there’s going to be many more dramatic interventions for the very first time, carefully staged to look spontaneous. The stakes are very high. There will certainly be a vote to remain in the EU from Scotland, and a vote to leave on the back of English votes will equally certainly provoke an unstoppable demand for a fresh independence referendum. After all, the Better Together campaign swore blind that only a No vote to independence would secure Scotland’s place in the EU. Every other promise and commitment that the Better Together campaign made has turned out to be untrue, Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will would be the final insult in a long list of insults.
The UK is living on borrowed time. Ad hoc short term solutions to deep rooted problems only work in the short term. Scotland’s demands haven’t gone away, and they won’t go away even if the UK does get the result it wants in the EU referendum.
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