David Cameron has been seeking to achieve “reforms” of the European Union. He wants to triumphantly announce that he can now call for a “stay” vote in the forthcoming referendum. But the release of the draft EU renegotiation document on Tuesday will plunge the Tory party further into civil war.
One survey suggested that, even before its release, nearly 70 Tory MPs planned to defy Cameron and vote to leave the EU. Scores more MPs are now set to join them.
Cameron wanted the right to deny benefits to migrants, and allow business to decide which EU rules to follow. He has secured some nasty measures to use against migrants.
And Donald Tusk, president of the EU council, has said that information from the British government “shows the type of exceptional situation” that would trigger a “safeguard mechanism” to cut benefits.
But Cameron has still got far less than he promised—and the Tory right will tear him apart for it.
Former minister David Mellor has even compared Cameron’s negotiations to the appeasement of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
Cameron will be forced to hope that he can extract further concessions at the EU summit on 18 February.
Cameron would have had to resign if he had presided over Scotland leaving the UK
He tweeted, “Document shows real progress in all four areas where UK needs change but there’s more work to do”.
He then cut a planned speech saying he would have to “digest the details” of the proposals.
For years Cameron has compromised with those Tories who want to leave the EU.
But Cameron’s hopes of waving a Union Jack and frightening the other EU members into giving him what he wants has largely failed.
The basic contradiction for Cameron and his friends now is that the big business chiefs, who the Tories serve, do not want to leave the EU. But few Tory activists and backbench MPs want to stay.
Despite his frequent denials, it was almost inevitable that Cameron would have had to resign if he had presided over Scotland leaving the UK. Leaving the EU would finish him too.
As the debates swirl around how hard the government can be on migrants, socialists have to do two things.
The first is to insist that the bosses and bankers are to blame for the problems in society, not people from another country.
Blame Google for its tax-dodging, not ordinary people fleeing war and poverty.
And we should also make the case for bringing down Fortress Europe, scrapping the TTIP trade deal, standing against austerity in Greece—and leaving the bosses’ club that is the EU. The Labour Party should be exposing the EU, not defending it.
And the Tories’ problems should also be a spur to step up resistance, and encourage strikes and protests.