So he has finally found the venue where he is prepared to have a camera pointed at him. The curtains behind the lectern at the Dutch venue was too far to travel when he was busy; the curtains behind his desk in Downing Street, addressing the British public directly, were dismissed for unknown reasons; he finally settled on a camera pointed at the curtains behind the lectern at Bloombergs to agree to speak to camera. Who knew that curtains were so important to him?
We have now heard in the Prime Minister’s very own voice – or was he lip synching like Beyonce? – the contents of the speech that has been leaked to every major news outlet every day since last week. Never was a nation so underwhelmed.
How did he keep a straight face delivering lines like ‘referendum promised but not delivered’ and make it sound as though it was nothing to do with him. British comedy is not dead yet. ‘National parliaments instill fear and respect in politicians’ was another personal favourite. We have had first hand experience of how much fear and respect our parliament instills in our politicians…
The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament. And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice to stay in the EU on these new terms; or come out altogether. It will be an in-out referendum.
Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.
Have we got it now? We will have a referendum in 2017 so long as we re-elect Cameron, so long as he has renegotiated our treaty with Europe, and that will be enshrined in draft legislation – which is not binding on an incoming politician of any hue. This is quite different from the referendum we were promised in the Conservative manifesto which is not binding on politicians once elected. As the meerkat advert would say, draft legislation/manifesto, they are spelt differently…
He has already asked the British public what they think – it was called an election. That’s how he got to choose which curtains to deign to appear before.
They want a referendum.
Not a promise of a promise of a promise which isn’t binding.