For all the talk of membership of the EU being in the UK’s ‘national interest’ and the UK having ‘influence’ to shape the EU’s direction, the reality is rather different.
The media, which goes to such great lengths to make these assertions, seems completely unaware of its own contradictions on the matter. Another example of that is presented by the Financial Times today.
Despite the UK’s much reported influence, we read that few EU leaders see scope for an extensive renegotiation. So where is this great influence? And as we have asked before, if the UK has so much influence in the EU to begin with how come we have such a poor settlement today that necessitates the repatriation of powers?
Then there is the national interest argument. The rationale given for EU leaders opposing the UK’s meek request to repatriate some powers from supreme government in Brussels is that it could undermine EU integration that is apparently required to enhance ‘Europe’s’ weight in the world. Further that if the British people rejected any crumb-like revised terms Cameron managed to get tossed down from the table it could result in a EU split affecting Europe’s political and economic architecture.
So where in those arguments is there anything about the UK national interest? All that is being whined about is what it could mean for the EU and its interests. All the bleating, cajoling and veiled threats coming out of Washington, Brussels, Berlin and Paris is about the UK doing something that might hinder their interests. The interests of the UK are irrelevant to them – exactly as they are whenever EU law is written, regulations are formulated and trade deals are struck that result in poor terms and outcomes for the UK.
As always, it’s all about what they want. The wishes and needs of the British people don’t matter.