Today the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has declared Britain has nothing to fear but fear itself when it comes to withdrawing from the failed EU project. All true Eurosceptics will welcome these comments. After all, a senior mainstream political figure speaking out about the benefits of withdrawal is long overdue!
However, the Mayor’s decision to temper his statement by saying it would still be preferable to remain in a ‘reformed’ EU was somewhat less welcome. By trying to hedge his bets by appealing to the pro-‘reform’ wing of the Conservative Party, Boris has missed the point entirely: renegotiation with the EU is not possible.
Boris has said in Mayor’s Question Time recently London is integral to the success of the European Union as its financial centre. But what he forgets is its very success is the reason why the jealous bureaucrats of Brussels are so anxious to drown it in a sea of red tape.
For 40 long years Prime Minister after Prime Minister has tried to make the EU project work for Britain, or at least make the terms tolerable to the Great British Public. Time and time again they have failed, dressing up these failures as great triumphs of the British underdog against the EU Goliath. Since 1996 Britain has opposed 55 EU proposals in the Council of Ministers and failed to block each and every one. Surely this is a clear message to even the most dyed-in-the-wool Europhile.
In advocating the “wait-and-see” renegotiation policy Cameron has cooked up, Boris is playing into the myth what could not be reformed in 40 years can be changed in 2. It is deluded to think tinkering around the edges will produce the sort of reforms the British people want to see, because it would require massive treaty changes, an unacceptable scenario for Brussels. By perpetuating this myth of ‘renegotiation’ Boris is hampering our ability to present a viable future outside the EU to the Great British Public to vote for in 2017.
Whilst we welcome Boris’ comments – they do not go far enough. Renegotiation will not prove possible. It is time to cast off the EU millstone from around our necks, dig our heads out of the sand and embrace our bright, global future. It is time to Get Britain Out.