Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections

Cameron’s baseball bat vs Howe’s broken cricket bat

Using a cricket metaphor to describe Mrs Thatcher’s attitude to British negotiations in Europe, he [Geoffrey Howe] said: “It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only to find … that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.”
BBC News Website, 10 October 2015 : Obituary: Geoffrey Howe

Well at least for Thatcher it was “cricket”.  For Cameron, however, it’s different. He is the opening batsman, but he’s going in with a baseball bat and insisting that the other side let him play baseball (while they play cricket). And yet, many suspect that he actually prefers cricket.

The whole demand for “renegotiation of the UK’s membership” is like saying you want to play baseball whilst everyone else plays cricket.

The treaty that we originally signed up for spoke in its earliest clauses about the desire for “ever closer union“. Changing your mind in politics is perfectly acceptable – although most politicians make a hash of doing so. But if you decide you no longer want “ever closer union” you don’t ask the others to let you play by “special rules”. Which in effect is what Cameron is seeking.

I can understand that having seen the mess made of setting up the Euro zone and the difficulties that the Schengen region is having coping equitably with migrants that it might be appropriate to ask all members if they want to reconsider the rules.

To abandon “ever closer union” would require treaty change  – which can’t be done in the 2 years before Cameron is committed to a referendum to satisfy his Euro-septics.

If the members do not want to collectively change the rules for all – and play baseball rather than cricket, Cameron is in an awkward position:

  • Either stand on his dignity and say “Europe won’t change – so I’m leading you out” – and campaign to leave, or
  • Admit he actually prefers cricket, campaign for to stay in – and then (almost whatever the result) admit he is a busted flush and resign.

Personally I don’t like “baseball” – and if that is what the EU ends up playing, I’m not sure of the point in staying. But if we end up leaving the EU, I may end up campaigning for Northumberland to secede from England and then seek federation with a newly independent Scotland – or, more easily, personally move north of the border. However, today the Scots in the North East of England are very friendly!

It’s Cameron who is the threat to the security of the Union.


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