My preceding post and the commentary that followed it has made me pause and attempt to think. Hitherto it has been all too easy for people like me who are instinctively anti-EU to simply snarl that we want out, no halfway house, just out! But of course, Europe, in whatever form it takes over the next few decades, will still be there and we must have some sort of relationship with it, or at least, with its constituent parts. The question is, what sort of arrangement should that be?
Obviously, trade and legal links need to be made, as in the normal way of business between sovereign states. That should not be too difficult given that Europe sells more to us than we do to them so they are extremely unlikely to wish to destabilise that arrangement. It is in the area of political strategy that we need to think very carefully how we approach our relations with the Europeans. Obviously, I am no expert and so I tend to the default position laid out over the past 500 years or so, that is, always try and use such weight as we possess to balance the power scales in Europe. At different times these scales have weighed heavily in favour of Spain, then France, then Germany and then Russia. Each time Britain has leaned in favour of the lesser powers, and that, I think, is what we should do with contemporary Europe which is increasingly falling under German hegemony.
If adopted, this policy must be pursued with great subtlety, if not downright deception, because we should not work on the basis that Germany is the dangerous military enemy of old. It is not! It is an extremely successful, democratic country with whom we should try and maintain cordial relations. Even so, if (as 'SoD' believes according to his commentary on the post below) France wishes to loosen its ties to an EU under increasing German control then we must aid and encourage her. The same thing goes for the Nordics and also, perhaps, to the eastern Europeans who might, in time, become nervous at German power. Certainly every effort should be made to woo the Irish.
I do not believe that we can execute a policy like this from inside the EU. The greatest allies the Germans will have in preserving the Union is the entrenched bureaucracy in Brussels who will do everything in their considerable power to thwart our efforts. If we are to act independently, then we must first become independent. This is a prospect which our current prime minster simply will not stomach - unless he is forced to! Once again, I would suggest that the only thing likely to drive him to it is a massive victory for UKIP in next year's European elections, and by massive, I mean not a single Tory MEP sent to Brussels! That, and only that, will put such fear and trembling into Tory seats that enough of their MPs will revolt unless real action is taken before their election in 2015. By "real action", I mean mainly two things. First Cameron has to defy the Brussels hierarchy on one or two (or more) significantly important matters such that it will force a showdown - and with the strong possibility that Britian will have an in/out referendum in 2017 it will be interesting to see who blinks first! Secondly, he might have to cut an electoral deal with UKIP. That, of course, will mean the Tory party accepting several UKIP policies vis-a-vis Europe which means that all chances of another Tory/LibDem coaliton will cease to exist - and a good thing, too, given that the chances are the LibDems will be decimated at the next election.
Cameron has already had very recent poll indications of how the Tories are haemorrhaging support to UKIP in key Tory marginals which is leaving the door wide open for Labour to step through at the next election. I have said it before, and I will now be even more boring by repeating it again, it is absolutely critical that as many people as possible vote UKIP at the next Euro election, and then vote Tory at the following national election - even if you have to hold your nose. If you find the thought of voting Tory deeply abhorrent, then take a photo of Ed Balls with you into the voting booth, like 'a hanging in the morning it will concentrate the mind wonderfully!'