Do you think the EU and the United Kingdom will have parted ways until 2023?
In the end, I don’t think so. If you talk to responsible and well-informed people in civil society, at the universities, in business, most people see very clearly that the UK is a lot better off within the EU. Unfortunately we have a political class that largely seems to lack these insights. They don’t seem to understand the most basic notions of how international relations and negotiations work. Also, we have a press deeply hostile to European integration, largely owned by people not based in the UK that pursues its own particular agenda, that is persistently telling blatant lies about the EU. The Leveson Report into the culture, practice and ethics of the press is full of evidence for this.
How could the scenario of UK leaving the EU unfold?
The next significant electoral milestone in the UK will be the European Parliament elections in 2014. It’s expected that the fiercely anti-European United Kingdom Independence Party will do extremely well. UKIP will win at least a third of the seats in England, maybe even half of them. That’s what Tory politicians are thinking about when they play around with this idea of promising a referendum after the next general election, which will be in 2015. But there is one thing that makes things difficult, and that is the referendum on Scottish independence, which will be held in late 2014.
How do these elections interact?
Some people think, and I think that is a plausible notion, that the decision of Scottish voters will be affected not so much by whether or not the next election will lead to the UK leaving the EU, but by visceral feelings amongst the Scottish electorate about there is going to be another Tory government. If it looks likely that there will be a Tory majority in 2015, that might well affect the way people vote in the Scottish referendum quite substantially ...Zum vollständigen Artikel