As part of their cynical strategy to keep Britain in the EU, Mandelson and Osborne want the referendum to be held at the last possible moment. The vote will not take place until 2017 — most likely in autumn. And crucially, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, will by then have set in motion a series of treaty changes for the next stage of integration as the EU develops into a superstate.
These changes, foreshadowed in the so-called Five Presidents Report last June, are central to the Mandelson/Osborne masterplan. The report envisages yet further integration among 19 countries in the single currency eurozone, binding them so tightly (financially, socially and politically) that, in effect, the eurozone will become a single country. Not being signed up to the euro, Britain will not be part of this group and will be given a so-called ‘escape clause’, freeing us from any further moves towards closer union. It is vital to stress the importance of these developments.
It means that David Cameron will be armed with powerful weapons to argue for Britain’s continued membership of the EU, even if he fails to win the concessions for Britain that he has said he aims to achieve. He will be able to argue, very plausibly, that EU membership gives the UK the best of both worlds: that is, we remain part of the wider European trading area, while escaping the onerous burdens of membership of a new European superstate.
What’s more, the Europhiles will be helped by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to give her blessing to Britain having ‘associate status’. The Yes camp — with Osborne and Mandelson plotting behind the scenes — are convinced that all this will convince the majority of the British people to vote to remain in the EU. Also, they expect the No campaign to be destabilised by these apparent concessions to the British people. In any case, they scent divisions in the ‘Leave’ camp, with some wanting to quit the EU at all costs, while others are prepared to remain if reforms are achieved.