I'm sure that it's not just me, who can see the yawning chasm that exists between what Prime Minister Cameron will actually demand from his European counterparts; and what most British citizens would like to see him deliver, when it comes to renegotiating the specific terms of our EU membership prior to the European referendum that will be held in 2016 or 2017.
This after all, is the same Prime Minister who came perilously close to losing the Scottish Independence Referendum, which would have seen the 300-year-old union between England and Scotland finally broken and that ultimately resulted in Mr Cameron being forced to offer the Scottish Nationalists the sort of concessions that they once could have only dreamed of. But then that's what you can expect to happen when you have an inexperienced British Prime Minister who not only lacks real political gravitas, but is also missing the sort of patriotic fervour that one might reasonably expect to be a basic requirement for that particular office of state.
Clearly though, Cameron has absolutely no intention of demanding that Britain should regain its historically sovereign right to control its national borders, in order to counter the huge influx or migrant workers that have inundated the country over the course of the past 20 years, as for him to do so, would directly contradict one of the European Union's founding principles, that being the free movement of labour.
Given that the European Union's existence is almost entirely founded on the basis of its four key pillars, the free movement of people (ie: workers/labour), goods, services and capital, there is little or no likelihood that any of the other member states are going to be inclined to allow Mr Cameron to reinstate the sorts of border controls that existed in Britain before 1973. For them to do so, would not only undermine the very principles of the EU itself, but also for one or two of the community's generally poorer states, it would almost certainly prove to disadvantageous, as their more needier citizens would immediately be denied access to jobs in one of the Union's wealthier states.
Although it's been said before on numerous occasions and with good reason, it is perhaps worth reiterating the point that Prime Minister Cameron is, was and will always remain a committed Europhile, presumably because he takes the personal view that Britain is bigger, better and more influential within the bloc, than it would be outside. Whether or not that's true surely depends on your personal viewpoint and whether or not you believe that Britain in the 21st century is completely incapable of managing its own national and international affairs, in terms of its trade, finance, welfare, social services, diplomatic relations, energy, education, transport, industrial manufacturing, immigration, agriculture or fishing. After all, it's worth recalling that prior to our accession to the European Economic Community in 1973 we had managed all of these various national competencies quite well; and although we'd had various hiccups along the way, successive sovereign British parliaments had done a pretty good job of running the country for hundreds of years, prior to the EEC/EU being created.
Evidently though Prime Minister Cameron and many of his parliamentary colleagues, on both sides of the chamber, now seem to believe that they themselves are totally incapable of running our country and would much rather hand many of those same vital responsibilities over to un-elected foreign officials and administrators in Brussels and Strasbourg. Which sort of begs the question, just what do we need Mister Cameron and the rest of his parliamentary colleagues for, if our country's major areas of responsibility are actually being decided by foreign officials, administrators and representatives based in Strasbourg and Brussels?
Anyhow, to get back to the subject of Prime Minister Cameron's so-called EU renegotiations that have been much talked and speculated about in the British media recently. Given his full and unwavering personal support for the European project generally, any hopes that Prime Minister Cameron might genuinely attempt to reform the EU, let alone consider taking the UK out of the Union, were always likely to prove difficult, if not impossible, for him to contemplate. Despite his public rhetoric regarding the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have arrived in this country during every year of his premiership, in common with his predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Cameron almost certainly regards these extraordinary migration figures as a price worth paying for our continued membership of the EU.
However, in order to continue the pretence of being the UK's most pragmatic Eurosceptic Prime Minister and supposedly putting the needs of our country before all else, he has currently invented a wholly deceitful strategy of trying to convince British voters that the only meaningful way of controlling the high levels of immigration into the UK, is by reducing or eradicating the single greatest "drag factor", which in his opinion is the various Welfare Benefit Payments available to all workers in Britain, foreign or domestic. By removing the rights of migrant workers to receive such mandatory benefits for a period of at least four years, Mr Cameron hopes that this measure alone will result in the number of migrants coming to the UK each year falling from the hundreds of thousands that it is now, to the tens of thousands that he previously hoped to achieve several years ago.
Of course his strategy overlooks several important factors, not least of which is that the new Welfare rules that Prime Minister Cameron would need to introduce, in order to prevent any new migrants from receiving such UK based entitlements, would almost certainly be found to be discriminatory by the courts. Although today, the European Union has found that Germany is perfectly entitled to withhold benefit payments from new migrant workers for up to a period of three months, that is entirely different to the British proposal to withhold payments for up to a period of forty-eight months, which some foreign workers might argue is both unreasonable and discriminatory.
And even then Cameron's suggested course of action pre-supposes that the vast majority of migrant workers are entirely driven by a desire to access the UK's generous benefit system, when most pro-European pressure groups will tell you that isn't the case at all. Not forgetting the fact that vast numbers of newly arriving migrant workers are from relatively poor areas of the world, be that Eastern Europe, or the Indian Subcontinent, then logic would tend to suggest that even a basic pay packet in the UK is going to be far more than they could earn in their home countries, so financial "drag factors" would still exist, whether they're accessing the British benefits system or not.
Obviously those migrants who are intent on exploiting the UK's fairly generous welfare system might well find such sources unavailable to them for a period of time, be that three months or four years, but either way, their mere presence in the UK will still allow them unfettered access to our health and education services, our social services, food banks, charitable institutions, legal services, housing stocks and at least some form of living expenses, so what sort of loss are they really suffering, were Prime Minister Cameron to get his way in Europe?
The reality of course, is that Cameron's proposed measures are simply window dressing to try and convince the British public that he is being tough on Europe, tough on migration and in touch with the millions of British voters who are rightly concerned about the numbers of foreign migrants who are inundating the country every year, with a further three million expected by 2020. In truth however, Prime Minister Cameron is not only being weak with Europe, by asking for virtually nothing in his purported renegotiation with them, but is also being dishonest with the British public, by promising them reductions in immigration numbers that will almost certainly never be achieved, simply because of the free movement of labour that is integral to the entire European project. It is only by renegotiating or completely rejecting that particular treaty clause that Britain and Prime Minister Cameron can ever hope to genuinely limit the numbers of people arriving here every day; and Cameron loves Europe far too much, to ever do that.
In bringing this specific post to an end, it is also worth pointing out yet again that controlling our national borders and the numbers of strangers who cross them every single day, is only one particular aspect of our current EU dilemma; and even if Prime Minister Cameron were to solve that (which he can't and he won't), there would still be plenty of other problems to resolve. The immigration issue is just one of many national competencies that successive British Prime Ministers have handed control of to Europe; and if that were ever settled to our satisfaction, there would still be the question of the others, including our trade, finance, welfare, justice, social services, diplomatic relations, energy, education, transport, industrial manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, to name just a few.