Saturday, 4 October 2014

"Negotiation": David Cameron is starting to sound like Alex Salmond

In campaigning for Scottish independence, various questions were raised about the future of Scotland. Would she continue to be a member of the European Union? What currency would she use? Would she remain a member of NATO? Alex Salmond argued that all these questions could be resolved in pre-independence negotiations. Scotland would be able to negotiate keeping the pound, getting admitted to the EU on favourable terms, staying in NATO without nuclear weapons, keeping all her oil wealth and keeping the BBC. Never did he offer any indications as to what Scotland might have to give in return for all these benefits. Salmond seemed to have the idea that negotiation means asking for what you want and being given it.

Our prime minister is planning to do some negotiations of his own. He wants to end or modify free movement of labour in the European Union. This is an even bigger demand than Scotland getting to keep he pound. This is a fundamental change to the founding principles of the EU. This is to ask that every citizen of the EU loses a freedom and privilege that they have so far been able to enjoy.

Just what is Cameron going to offer the other member states of the EU in return for re-negotiating free movement of labour? It's going to have to be something big and juicy. Like Salmond, Cameron does not tell us what concessions he might be prepared to make in negotiations. I suspect that like Mr. Salmond, Mr. Cameron thinks negotiation means asking for what you want and getting it.

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