The Cameron Deception:
“Associate membership” of the EU

I can see clearly now how the EU referendum will be won by the Europhiles, how the great deception will unfold and how, ultimately, those of us who passionately believe that the United Kingdom should be an independent nation state will be betrayed. Not betrayed by the government, nor the EU, nor anyone else who wishes the UK to remain a vassal state – their intentions are clear – but betrayed by those who purport to be our allies.

For those who take more than a passing interest, it cannot have escaped their notice that talk of a major restructuring of the European Union is increasing in volume and frequency. The creation of a monetary union was always a precursor to a political union, for one would inevitably have to follow the other. Now the Eurozone is locked together and the financial crisis has provided the necessary incentive to push on to the next stage of the project.

Plans are already in place to deepen the integration of the Eurozone. This will redefine the EU as two blocks; the Eurozone alongside nine non-euro states. This new structure will be put in place ostensibly to prevent the states not in the eurozone being dominated by those that are. Though the significant implications for the non-eurozone members of what is, quite clearly, a two-tier structure are obvious.

For those that care to look, the writing is on the wall.

The foundations are in place for David Cameron and George Osborne to deceive the British people into believing that this new two-tier structure – that will see Britain become part of the second tier in what will be spun as “associate membership”, the “British model” or some such bilge – is their own idea and victory when in-fact it has been part of a draft EU treaty since October 2013.

It will sold to us as a new looser deal for Britain who will then “lead” an outer rung outside the inner core of the Eurozone.

George Osborne floated the idea of the two tier membership in the New Statesman in September. In his proposal the majority of the EU ‘would be rapidly integrating to try to make the single currency work’ while the other group – including Britain – who do not want to be part of the “ever closer union” and do not intend to adopt the Euro, would comprise the second tier.

This two tier EU, the “British model” of associate membership has been discussed in the tabloids several times since. It is almost universally misunderstood by so-called sceptics and deliberately spun as a positive “new” development by europhiles and closet europhiles,

Our chief negotiator George Osborne – admirer of Blair and bosom buddy of Mandelson – is spinning this as something new, as if it was his very own brainchild. Yet this upcoming restructuring was already presented in the Spinelli Group, Berteslmann Stiftung draft treaty “Fundamental Law” of 2013, the implementation of which is absolutely necessary to resolve the prolonged Eurozone crisis. It has been discussed long before by zealous federalists such as Jacques Delors and Giscard d’Estaing, is isn’t new or original.

The new arrangement will have the double advantage for the EU of sealing the integration of the eurozone and resolving the longstanding issues with Britain and other non-eurozone members.

Andrew Duff, the former MEP and committed federalist Liberal Democrat, has been advocating the “associate membership” strategy for resolving the “British problem” for some time, proposing it originally in 2006 as a means of reviving the EU constitution (eventually re-invented as the “Lisbon Treaty”). The “British problem” being that the public is sceptical about the EU and there is a pressing need to prevent Britain from stalling or vetoing deeper integration. This means, according to Duff:

‘… that the UK is headed directly either for complete withdrawal from the EU or, more likely, for a formal second-class associate membership based essentially on those aspects of the single market which the British find palatable and its erstwhile partners tolerable.

It should be noted that Andrew Duff, aside from being a former MEP, was a Visiting Fellow at the European Policy Centre and President of the Union of European Federalists. It is beyond dispute that he is a well-connected EU insider who knows what is really going on in Brussels. It is interesting to note, therefore, his recent comments on the phantom “re-negotiation”

‘…he and his team are going about Europe talking of ‘baskets’ of issues such as transparency, vetoes for national parliaments and reserve powers for non-eurozone states to block the eurozone majority: no texts have yet been tabled. The result is that nobody quite knows what the British are doing. London’s vague and often conflicting messages are mystifying. […] At the EU institutions, indeed, other important matters are more pressing than Brexit.’

Those in the know can understand this. Not only is the “re-negotiation” merely political theatre, the Brexit debacle is relatively unimportant to the EU, both because they know that David Cameron is not in any way serious, and because plans are already afoot to implement a new treaty regardless of what Britain does.

Cameron has tried and failed in a several other deceptive strategies, now he has rested upon piggybacking on the upcoming treaty and his EU allies will gladly play along.

So he has now has laid out his four “demands” to the EU, and will urge us to measure his “re-negotiation” against them:

  • Forcing Brussels to make “an explicit statement” that Britain will be kept out of any move towards a European superstate. This will require an exemption for the UK from the EU’s founding principle of “ever closer union”.

  • An “explicit statement” that the euro is not the official currency of the EU, making clear that Europe is a “multi-currency” union. Ministers want this declaration in order to protect the status of the pound sterling as a legitimate currency that will always exist.

  • A new “red card” system to bring power back from Brussels to Britain. This would give groups of national parliaments the power to stop unwanted directives being handed down and to scrap existing EU laws.

  • A new structure for the EU itself. The block of 28 nations must be reorganised to prevent the nine countries that are not in the eurozone being dominated by the 19 member states that are, with particular protections for the City of London.

Then the absurd pretence that this represents a significant, fundamental change that he and his chief negotiator Osborne have achieved will come in to play. This despite the fact that Juncker will issue a white paper in 2017 and a new treaty along the lines of the 2013 draft will be implemented.

Thereby a situation in which Britain is locked in a two tier union as a second class member with less influence, the status-quo but worse, will be heralded as a great victory.

Most essential of all for the government’s credibility is that the myth is hammered home that this new status was a result of prolonged hard line negotiations in which the British bulldog prised a new deal from the reluctant hands of the EU, who created a “British model” to appease us.  This is, of course, absolute garbage.

This is pure theatre, an elaborate pretence designed to fool the uncertain swing voters that will win the referendum either way, and convince a clueless, weather vane media that he is striving to win a new relationship and delivering it successfully.

The truth is there is no “re-negotiation”. None. There are no negotiations going on, there is no sitting around a table, it is not happening. As a “senior source in Berlin” said; ‘there haven’t been any negotiations’, thus there was ‘nothing to talk about’ regarding the British question during the recent meeting of the European Council.

There are no negotiations taking place because the changes that Cameron allegedly seeks require treaty change, and his EU colleagues will not begin treaty talks and rush through implementation simply to meet the needs of the British prime minister.

There are no negotiations taking place because the EU is not interested in Cameron’s proposals or ideas, hence why there is no one around the table. The new EU treaty has been set in motion for some time, and the PM’s “demands” are irrelevant.

The Five Presidents Report and the Bertelsmann Fundamental Law began a process that now cannot be stopped.

The political risk is huge, but this is the opportunity to complete integration and create the supranational government. The treaty will go ahead because there are no options left, with the process likely beginning in 2018.

It will be sold to member states as improving the democracy and stabilising the economy of the eurozone. The outer fringe, with their sceptical electorates, will be offered (what is in reality) a formalisation of the status quo as “associate membership” (or whatever label they attach to it) and Cameron will then have all he needs to complete his political ploy.

There are no negotiations because the outcome of this act of political theatre has been decided for some time, the great deception is already in play. Osborne and Cameron will go through the ridiculous charade of demanding “associate membership” or the “British model” and their EU colleagues will play along and agree to their “demands”.

They will then return declaring a great victory for Britain and ask the public to endorse it in the referendum and give them a mandate to create our “new deal” in a “reformed EU”, which may very well include promises of minor concessions of reduced contributions and some leeway on the “four demands”.

On the surface, this two tier structure will seem enticing, in reality not only will we retain all the major disadvantages we currently suffer – from our trade policy being an ‘exclusive policy of the EU’, to the union’s redundancy in a globalised world, to its essentially anti-democratic nature – but once the eurozone integrates further we will be truly isolated within the union as a second class member.

This new “associate membership” or “British model”  will be discussed and pushed from now until 2017, this has already begun in articles propping up simultaneously in the tabloids, do look out for it.

Cameron and Osborne will wait for the hapless leave campaigners to burn themselves out as they peak far too early and churn out the same old tired and unconvincing arguments.

They are preparing to make the move that they think will win the referendum and give Osborne an easy coronation as PM.

Colluding in the great deception will be much of the media; a great many sympathetic journalists will dissemble and simulate in choreographed dishonesty, working in tandem with politicians to confuse the issues in the run up to the final act.

Suddenly you will find many former “eurosceptics” turning as they become apparently enamoured and convinced by the government’s great “victory”, including – I contend – several prominent figures you would never have expected to endorse “remain”, and certainly a great number of Conservative MP’s and Ministers who have formerly expressed scepticism.

Their strategy is in place and their operation and resources are absolutely formidable, but their offering is phoney and weak and they rely heavily on ignorance. If you believe in an agile, independent, free-trading Britain leading confidently in a globalised world and want to win the referendum – then you must know the strategy of your enemy, seek to discredit it and spread the word.


Ben is a writer, editor and Brexit campaigner. He advocates a counter-revolution to achieve the restoration of constitutional liberty and national independence. He blogs at The Sceptic Isle. Follow him on Twitter: @TheScepticIsle

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17 Comments

  1. Pingback: Following The Script | Independent Britain

  2. Very good and thorough article. One reason the negotiation will be bogus is because once the EU has acquired powers, they are never returned to the member states concerned. This is part of the concept of the ‘acquis communautaire’, in place well before Britain joined the EEC.

    There may be some more ‘subsidiarity’, in which member states have slightly more freedom to fulfil EU obligations, but the end game is still deeper integration.

    Reasonable souls may ask why nation states cannot amend the EU treaties in any way they want. After all, the EU was set up by a series of inter-governmental treaties. JM Barroso, until recently President of the European Commission made it clear that such negotiations had to be compatible with European integration.

    He was only reflecting established EU law; Case 44/84 delivered the view that in ‘inter-governmental’ activities, member states were bound by the goals of the EU. The Commission website is explicit that the main goals are the onward integration of economies and political systems. Integration of course means ‘becoming one’.

    Any form of EU membership will have inescapable obligations, but don’t rule out fancy language loaded with ambiguities to portray safeguarding the essential status quo as something radical. The European Court will still be in charge, and long to rule over us if we are daft enough to endorse stating in.

  3. Mike Stallard says:

    Well researched, well written.
    Now, what are we going to do about it?

    • I think raising awareness of this strategy is key, because then people are less likely to be taken in by it. We have to know this strategy and be able to explain why the “associate status” is not as attractive as it sounds, not an achievement of negotiation and not a better deal that resolves the major disadvantages of being in the EU.

    • Spread the word, discredit the Europhile strategy, expose their lies, and argue the case for the risk that remaining entails.

  4. Jim O'Neill says:

    Big problem is how to get this message heard. Most of the public will not understand, and many that would understand will not take the time. Sound Bite it ain’t!

  5. Antonio Arana says:

    Guy Verhofstadt proposes “Associate Membership” where: UK is free to sign bilateral trade deals, access to the common market, take control on borders, British law supremacy on its own territory and British welcome to the Schengen area.

    what’s the problem?

    • What you describe isn’t “associate membership”, in-fact it isn’t any kind of membership, it could only be achieved by leaving the EU. Absolute nonsense to suggest otherwise. The EU could never accept such conditions, and if you’d understood my article you’d realise that that is not what will be involved in our future relationship with the EU.

      Plus, basing any exit plan on bilateral trade deals is likely to lose the referendum. A bilateral agreement between the UK and the EU would take a minimum of 5 years, bilateral trade agreements have been known to stretch beyond a decade. We would certainly face economic uncertainty, and the loss of access to the single market in the first instance will almost certainly lose us the referendum.

      To be clear, what you have described will not be on offer, and cannot be achieved as a member of the EU. You can fantasise about such a possibility if you wish, but reality will dawn on you eventually. IF the EU allowed such conditions for its members, it wouldn’t be the EU.

  6. francis webb says:

    so what happens if we vote leave, we should leave.

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  8. Pingback: David Cameron’s fear of the “Norway option” | The Sceptic Isle

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  11. Simon Blanchard says:

    In Cameron Chatham Hse speech
    @11:10 …”We need a British model of membership that works for Britain and any other non-Euro member”…

    That’s EU code telling the EU Commission he will be surrendering the UK into “Associate membership” of the EU, covered in the Five Presidents report by the Spinelli Group. This is not a negotiation this is holding up the white flag before he starts his talks.

    @29min …”I understand, of course that every negotiation must involve just that – negotiation. But Britain is the second biggest economy in the EU. We are the second biggest contributor to the EU budget. ALONG WITH FRANCE WE ARE ITS FOREMOST MILITARY POWER. We gain from the Union, but we bring a lot to it.” said David Cameron

    A little slip that the UK is no longer an independent military power, since November 2010.
    see “entente frugal” signed in Novemeber 2010
    Vote to leave the EU.

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