Europe referendum: What has changed?

David Cameron Conservative-supporting newspapers were happy with what Mr Cameron said

Six things that the Europe speech changed:

1. The Tory press is back

David Cameron has never enjoyed headlines this good. Even his bête noire Simon Heffer of the Mail praises him

...but for how long?

2. The Tory backbenches are happy

MPs worried about losing their seats, as party activists and voters defect to UKIP, now have something to woo them back.

Europhobes loved the promise to end "ever closer union"

Pro Europeans were relieved by the pragmatic tone of much of the rhetoric

...but for how long?

Next week gay marriage will test their patience and many loathe the Coalition

3. UKIP's attacks on the Tories will now be blunted

Last night Nigel Farage attacked Ed Miliband. Some in UKIP will wonder whether they should strike deals with Tory MPs, whether formally or informally.

...but for how long?

The EU Budget row looms. If David Cameron comes back from Brussels with only a real terms freeze will that re-light UKIP's fire?

4. The Lib Dems will get closer to Labour

A party led by passionate pro Europeans - Clegg, Alexander and, perhaps soon, Huhne - will find the thought of another Coalition with a Tory party committed to EU renegotiation increasingly unpalatable of a Lab-Lib Coalition will grow

5. Labour will find it easier to woo big business

Although the Tories assembled an impressive list of business backers to write a letter to The Times today other business leaders - particularly of multinationals - may start to warm to the idea of a Labour government

..making it easier for them to get elected

6. The Tories will be more united ...

David Cameron took a leaf from Harold Wilson's play book by promising a renegotiation followed by a referendum to calm a battle raging in his party. It allowed Labour to get through two elections in 1974 without splitting

..making it easier for them to get elected

However, the divisions opened up by the referendum of 1975 led to the creation of the SDP in the early 80s and Labour's wilderness years. It could happen to the Tories after 2017

...but they may end up splitting

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

UKIP - power struggle, not soap opera

All the bizarre news stories that have emerged from UKIP in recent days reflect a power struggle within a party that aspires to hold the balance of power after the next election.

Read full article

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  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    Interesting and credible scenarios.
    IMHO most likely scenario is 1) Conservatives win next election because of promise to renegotiate and hold a referendum on EU 2) modest changes agreed to the "settlement" 3) PM argues that mission accomplished and the country should vote to stay in EU 4) UK votes to leave EU on small majority 5) PM decides to stay because that was always his intention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.


    So you want no say in the regulation that sets out how you work, do you?

    Would you want a say in your own pay negotiations or not? I guess you would and on the same basis we have to be a full part of the EU.

    We need to at the table when regulations are devised or we will only lose out.

    That is also why the people of Europe (all of us) must be allowed to vote for our EU President.

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    @339 quietoaktree
    We do still produce oil but IIRC, as before, it tends to be too good for diesel & petrol production & it gets sold abroad. We import a lot of our fuel oil but cannot off top of my head quote nos.

    On gas, I think we became net importer from Russia, Morrocco, Norway, some time ago - during last decade?

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    #336 Up2snuff

    --The last figures I remember were UK produces Ca. 90 % oil and 70% gas of its requirements.

    --am I mistaken ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    What has changed is that Cameron has realised that change is happening. People are fed up with EU socialists bossing them about and telling them what's best.

    The BBC cannot "steer" the people like they used to. Everyone can see all sides and engage. Transparency and Democracy is on the up! Tell Red Ed and Tony next time you see him - no president of europe for you now eh Tony?! HA HA HAAA!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    335. bryhers
    I see no evidence that the current Government – or the last one to think of it – has any plan to create a hi-tech, high skills based economy.
    Some see the “Revolution” as being a sweatshop UK, where the average Joe will produce for others what we won’t be able to afford himself.
    In the “British Interest”?
    A minority would say so; are they driving the EU debate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    @322 quietoaktree
    Energy independent? From whom?

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    A low skill base,absence of high tech and salience of finance have become retarding factors.

    Add absence of an elite to drive innovation using the state as a means of change,high skill,high tech like N. Europe.

    Innovation after WW2" was driven by growth.But the computer,a British invention,was exploited by the Americans

    Where is the investment in skills and tech to drive a revolution forward?

  • Comment number 334.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    Covo @ 330
    "allthe good work Georeg Osborne has already done"

    George's 2010 economic aims:
    1. Reduce deficit year on year, removing structural deficit by 2015
    2. Get economy growing again (which it actually was in 2010)
    3. Maintain UK's AAA rating

    How's George doing with all those after over 30 months in the job?
    (clue he's hanging onto one of them by a thread)

    Bias? Nope, just facts

  • Comment number 332.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    322 quietoaktree

    "Almost energy independent and a low (falling) GBP (presently =1.17 Euro ) --but to no avail.

    -- any ideas what can be done ?"

    Last time i read a solution from you it involved demanding Britain get out of the EU, whilst simultaneously stating that the EU was Britains only hope. With that kind of bipolar logic, i doubt anyone will be looking your way for an answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    The BBC and Channel 4 are campaigning against the Government but all the time Ed Milliband and Ed Balls are in power there will never be another socialistic Labour Government to carry on spending and ruin allthe good work Georeg Osborne has already done.

    Ed Balls gets in a muddle and blames a stutter, typical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    218 John
    The point I was making is that the evidence based opinion shows repeatedly that small & medium SME's see the economy as the biggest issue and regulation as a minor issue. Yet Cameron is continuously proposing less regulation as a major plan for supporting businesses in this recession and enacting failed economic policy which has lead the UK into the longest and deepest recession EVER!

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    #323 Hollander

    "And the UK holds virtually all the aces in this poker game. Who is the EU gonna get to cover for the loss of UK's net contribution?"

    --using that argument learn how to bow to Merkel !

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    #326 Hollander768

    The UK made the decision to go for ´service industries´
    rather than ´industrial´

    -- if you are also knocking ´service industries´ (banking)--

    --What is left ?

    (democratic question)

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    One could argue, for making pro-EU propaganda, Nick Robinson is displaying an anti-democracy attitude. Which is it, Nick? Are you for democracy (ie against the EU) or against democracy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.


    " As for trade, leaving the EU will have no effect on the volume of trade."

    --all to lose --and only more of the same to win ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Never listen to central bankers. They only exist to enrich the rich and doing so by impoverishing everyone else. Central bankers are the ones who will artificially lower interest rates so big rich banks will benefit from borrowing free cash whereas ordinary peoples saving are getting slowly wiped out through inflation.

    King's mantra (as that of his successor): save rich bankers at any price.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Leaving the EU will be UK's salvation. And the UK holds virtually all the aces in this poker game. Who is the EU gonna get to cover for the loss of UK's net contribution?

    As for trade, leaving the EU will have no effect on the volume of trade. Don't listen to the scaremongering of corporations (who fear losing access to more cheap labor) and more to the WTO. Trade will continue as normal.


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