Now the details of the renegotiation of the United Kingdom’s terms of membership of the European Union are known it is hard to see why anyone bothered. Regrettably the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has missed the opportunity to achieve the fundamental change he earlier called for, he asked for nothing and has received nothing. In the two most important areas, immigration and the protection of non-Euro states, the deal is laughable.
No effort has been made to reduce the number of economic migrants from the EU, 183,000 came in 2014/15 and the limitation on benefits may only operate with the approval of the European Commission. This body has no democratic legitimacy and is the driving force behind closer integration. It cannot be relied on to be sympathetic to the UK. Even the modest suggestion that children outside this country ought not to receive child benefit has not been accepted, it will continue to be paid but at the rate that applies in the home country.
As regards protection for the non-Euro members there is nothing. If a vote goes against them in the Council of Ministers it has been agreed that there will be a “discussion” but that is all. It is hardly novel as the EU has endless, interminable discussions. This Country needs to have a close and friendly relationship with its neighbours. That is in all our interests. Equally, it deserves its own democratic ability to determine how it is governed. Far too much power already rests with Brussels, this was meant to be the time to reverse the process. Instead it will continue inexorably to the creation of a federal state of which the UK will be but a region. It is time to leave.