It was never going to take long. As soon as polls showed recently that UKIP was on course to get the most votes in the European Elections, the lamestream media editorial writers and the party communications teams at Labour, Tory and Lib Dem HQs were preparing pieces like this:
The same old pledges and platitudes are being rolled out, from Sadiq Khan’s apology in an open letter to UKIP supporters, which then outlines policies designed to entice former Labour voters back to Labour; to David Cameron’s ‘understood and received the message’ soundbite before he went on to proclaim what voters want – with neither party actually asking anyone outside the Westminster bubble why 4.3 million voters put their ‘X’ next to UKIP on the ballot paper
A common thread among the legacy parties is that the EU has to ‘change’. Having pushed this line for many months, they now use it as a crutch to declare that this is what voters want, and they all declare that if only we vote for them they will bring about the reforms we apparently want.
It is, of course, one huge steaming pile of freshly laid bullshit.
Snake oil isn’t close to the product these people are trying to sell. Rather they are pushing a product that makes the fictional element ‘Unobtanium’ in the film Avatar, or the dragons storyline in the TV series Game of Thrones look real in comparison.
Whatever ‘reform’ the EU might be persuaded to adopt, it will be trivial and will not result in the return of any powers to the UK that reduce Brussels’ control over the free movement of people, control over the free flow of money to different tax jurisdictions within the bloc, control over the movement of goods and services and the tariffs applied to them.
But despite these facts and despite the legion of Eurocrats, Commissioners and MEPs who have stepped forward to point out these facts and explain that the principles of the EU that underpin it are non-negotiable, our politicians and media continue to talk about EU reform as if it is just a negotiation away – and groups claiming to be Eurosceptic continue to make public demands that renegotation is undertaken.
So it is that a significant proportion of those people who say they want the UK to remain inside the EU do so because they have been fooled into believing reform is possible.
They are being taken in by fantasies and distracted from reality – therefore allowing the politicians to avoid the reality that only invoking Article 50 of the EU Treaty (Lisbon) will result in a renegotiation of the substantive issues and only by leaving the EU will the UK be able to take control of the areas where people want to see change.
We can be in, or we can be out. But we can’t be a bit in between.