David Cameron To Propose EU Referendum Tomorrow

Tyler Durden's picture

In a move that may cause some consternation in Europe due to its adverse implications for trade paterns in the continent, tomorrow British PM David Cameron will announce that he will propose a referendum on whether or not to stay in the European Union, a move that as the WSJ qualifies it "threatens to inhibit trade and cast a new shadow over the troubled bloc." That may be a slight exageration: the referendum would take place, if at all, before the end of the first half of the next Parliament, roughly by late 2017, after an election. Which means that if Cameron loses the election, it is a non-issue, just as it would be a non-issue of course if the UK public voted to stay: according to a survey of the British public late last week by pollsters YouGov showed 34% indicated they would vote to leave in a referendum, while 40% said they would vote to stay. A week earlier, 42% said they would opt out, compared with 36% preferring to remain. Obviously a volatile topic for the population.

Still, as the WSJ notes, an "explicit vote on whether to leave the EU would be the first such move by a member in some time. In 1985, Greenland, which is part of Denmark, voted to leave the EU's predecessor, the European Economic Community. And, in 1975, the U.K. held a referendum on whether to leave the then-EEC, which resulted in a large majority voted in favor of staying in." Finally, since the UK has its own currency it certainly does not have all the adverse side effects of being fully integrated into the Eurozone, which is why Cameron's gambit may have very little if any market relevance. If anything, the move will merely further alienate the UK from the continent, aggravating a process that started over a year previously.

Realistically, this may be merely internal horse trading with the other UK parties, which however will have little impact on the broader macroeconomic picture.

Then again, with the BOE preparing to engage all other central banks in currency warfare, there may be far bigger issues on the horizon quite soon.

From the WSJ:

Mr. Cameron plans to say that, if elected in 2015, a Conservative government would renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the EU, and then hold a referendum on the new settlement in the first half of its five-year parliamentary term. Such a referendum would mark the first time in recent years that an EU member has offered its citizens such a vote.

His pledge will likely prove unsettling for one of the world's largest trading blocs as members of the EU have been struggling to deal with a debt crisis. While many people had focused on the risk of Greece leaving the euro zone, the promise of a referendum by Mr. Cameron would raise the prospect of an exit by a far-more essential member—one of the bloc's biggest economies and its most important financial center.

The move is a risky gambit by Mr. Cameron, who has found himself in a tight spot on the issue of Europe. He has said repeatedly that he thinks it is in Britain's best interests to remain part of the EU. But some members of his own party—who think too much power is ceded to Brussels—have aggressively pressed him to significantly reduce the U.K.'s ties to the bloc or exit altogether.

Still, the referendum Mr. Cameron will propose wouldn't occur before the end of the first half of the next Parliament, roughly by late 2017, after an election.

He is betting that, by offering the vote, he can both appease the anti-Europe wing of the Conservative Party and, at the same time, keep Britain in the EU under new and better terms.

"I want the European Union to be a success. And I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it," Mr. Cameron is due to say.

His proposal is likely to make the Europe debate a key part of the country's next election. That in itself comes with potential risks, as business leaders and others have warned that uncertainty about Britain's future status in the EU could chill the desire for companies to invest in the country until matters are sorted out.

Mr. Cameron's proposal comes with conditions. He will need to win the next election—and likely need to win it outright. His center-right Conservative Party, which failed to win a majority in the previous election and was forced to form a coalition with the centrist and pro-European Liberal Democrats, has been trailing the main opposition Labour Party in opinion polls.


A survey of the British public late last week by pollsters YouGov YOU.LN 0.00% PLC showed 34% indicated they would vote to leave in a referendum, while 40% said they would vote to stay. A week earlier, 42% said they would opt out, compared with 36% preferring to remain.

While members of the British public are often quick to gripe about the EU voters generally don't cite Europe as a key factor in general elections. Mr. Cameron also is conscious that a key factor in the next election will be in winning the center ground.

Europe also has long been a divisive issue for the Conservative Party—it played a factor in the downfall of the past two Conservative prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher and John Major. In opposition, Mr. Cameron said the party had alienated voters by "banging on" about Europe but the issue has one again come to the fore since he became prime minister amid the euro-zone crisis.

Mr. Cameron also risks further aggravating his European counterparts, who already get frustrated by what they view as the U.K.'s efforts to throw up roadblocks.

European officials have spoken in recent weeks about the potential consequences of a U.K. split. However in private, EU officials have been more critical of Mr. Cameron's plans, with France warning London would not be able to pick and choose which parts of EU membership it would keep. And, some European officials worry the U.K. could prompt others to try to follow suit.

An explicit vote on whether to leave the EU would be the first such move by a member in some time. In 1985, Greenland, which is part of Denmark, voted to leave the EU's predecessor, the European Economic Community. And, in 1975, the U.K. held a referendum on whether to leave the then-EEC, which resulted in a large majority voted in favor of staying in.

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Mongo's picture

Mr. Cameron's proposal comes with conditions. He will need to win the next election


YEAH! There you have it!

Back to work debt slaves of Britain!

THX 1178's picture

The EU won't exist in 2017.

Say What Again's picture


On Wednesday's open you should go all in on ES and short VXX

There... that was easy.

Manthong's picture

They should hold the vote just after the official Greek default.. .sometime in 2033.

knukles's picture

Extricate thy ass from Evil NWO Socailista Experimentia, if only for the children and the City.

kaiserhoff's picture

That's almost fucking Biblical knucks, and damn straight, but maybe it should be thine ass..., or thine arses?

Time for more vino;)

Mister Ponzi's picture

Is there a risk that the referendum will not be held? - No risk of that.


It's not the first time Cameron gives a "cast-iron guarantee".


They all know that Brixit - the British exit from the EUSSR - will probably constitute the beginning of the end of the European Union. Not because Britain is so important for the EU - no. The Germans pick up the tab, there exit would mean that the bureaucrats run out of money. The Brits have negotiated a heavy discount. But a Brixit would show after some time that despite all the propaganda a rich European country can survive and probably thrive without being a member state. You can have all the benefits of the EU (free movement of people, free trade) without being a member. Actually, Europe's richest nations like Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein etc. are outside the union. The only exit from the EU (EC at that time) was a success story, but the country (Greenland) was simply overlooked. A successful Brixit would be an example for others: Our European version of the shining city upon a hill...

falak pema's picture

US undersecretary of state, William Burns warned Cameron on this, saying that the US ADMIN did not view the UK's European disruptive position with a kindly eye as THE US MONETARY SYSTEM IS TOO TIED IN TO THE ECB/EURO TO STOMACH SUCH DISRUPTIVE ACTION BY THE UK IN THESE TELLING TIMES. This is an official comment as the press picked it up. 

You have been warned Cameron...Whence the referendum for 2017!

By then Cameron's career at 10 Downing will be most likely over. 

Nussi34's picture

Screw the EU, the Euro and the Eurocrats incl. their Brussels hookers!

smlbizman's picture

the poll is training the brits how to think, so by the time they vote they will get it right....

YuropeanImbecille's picture

Won't happen, the Zionist Jew Miliband will be the next premier and will bring utter disaster to these imbecille limeys.

EscapeKey's picture

Get us the fuck out of that socialist experiment.

Harbanger's picture

We may go thru hell, but I'm certain that in the end.  We WILL be Victorious!

Stonedog's picture

This is only to placate UKIP party members and Tory members who want the referendum.  Unforunately, most of them remember the last time David Cameron gave them a "cast iron" guarantee of a referendum which did't happen.  This will accomplish nothing at all.

VonManstein's picture

Just Cameron scum trying to harvest votes from the UKIP crowd which are now over 10% of voters. Load of bolocks and to be ignored.

Colonial Intent's picture

UKIP are not ron paul, they are just another bunch of corporate shrills who are amazed they are being taken seriously by the MSM, thay are way too close to the BNP and will not get elected, not all brits are racist shrills for the SQ mile.

Boeing Boy's picture

What is a corporate shrill?  Sounds unpleasant.


UKIP believe in democracy, unlike yourself.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

How is the UKIP racist?  I am so sick and tired of the ideological debate being;


If you are white and from a "rich country" you have an affirmative duty to tax your citizenry so as to help poor people all over the world, and help them come to your country via mass immigration?  Oh you want British to remain British = racist.  Oh you want to stop illegal immigration across the US/Mexico border = racist.  Oh its okay for there to be parties like the Black Panthers and the NAACP, but if white people congregate in such a fashion = racist.  Your argument is simple minded and abjectly ridiculous.  I hope you can see that unless the Western European (& based) first world countries pull their heads out of their collective politically correct ass and realize that unless people stop with this PC nonsensical (all the poor black/brown/old soviet block have a *right* to move to where we live and make a better life for thsemselves) bullshit, the cultures of Europe will be eroded away, and never come back.  


falak pema's picture

referendum after armageddon is fine. Those who vote will have already bit the dust. 

CPL's picture

If they aren't too busy figuring out how to skratch out a living with subsistence farming and not eating one another by then.

Acet's picture

In the context of the EU, the Brits are mostly seen as selfish, uncooperative and slightly untrustworthy. "Not a team player", "Not the guy you would trust to cover your back" and "Always has an angle" would maybe be the best descriptions.

If Britain leaves Europe, very few will mourn its departure. That said, it will be seen as a bit of a betrayal (though from the "guys we never really trusted and kinda expected they would do it eventually") so I suspect it will be highly unlikelly that for a least a few decades the UK will have the same kind of access to the EU single market as the likes of Switzerland (and for all the failed experiment that the Euro is, the single market is highly unlikelly to unwind).


littleguy's picture

Fuck the continent. It's a trash bag of socialist utopias gone wrong. It's doomed to permanent stagflation and demise. The UK economy will definitely grow faster that the EU (Euro countries especially) and with the time before the referendum, the weaker the argument that we need to be a member of the suicide club will become. I mean with the spectre of leaving the EU hanging over the UK, if investment dries up, then sure perhaps we should think about staying. But it won't. We have a better trained educated workforce than all countries bar Germany (I'm sorry it's just true - continental universities are a joke), we speak English the de facto global language of business, we have our own currency, we have a business friendlier government, we're scaling back the public sector and deficits (in theory at least - but we'll get there), we're a maritime nation, the city of London is in London funnily enough. 

Rot in hell EU / european commission, Barroso, van Rumpoy, Hollande, the ECB, Goldman Sachs and the rest of the shit bags who love the EU bollocks.

NotApplicable's picture

You two seem to have the divide and conquer politics polarized exactly as they've been programmed into you. Good job!


Acet's picture

Nah, plenty of shit going on in the EU that needs fixing.

The difference is that in most of the rest of Europe people don't have the same overinflated sense of self-importance as the English.

This is kinda sad, since the English sense of superiority is the carefully cultivated hook that is used to manipulate the population into venting their fury at the filty foreigners, all the while the thiefing, greedy, cronyist and psychopathic amongst the locals have risen to power and are pillaging what's left of the wealth of this country 

I'm Portuguese and lived in other places in Europe before moving to the UK and what really saddens me is how what I found when I arrived here was not at all like the great country I used to believe the UK was when I was a kid and a teenager (in fact, after living in Holland, the UK turned out to be a bit of a crap place).

Acet's picture

That might very well have been the case 30 years ago when the UK still made stuff, or 60 years ago when it still had an Empire.

Nowadays, it's all one enormous circle jerk of people providing services to other people and there are at least 14% of GDP worth of Ponzi scheme (called the Financial Services Industry) that have become an anchor dragging the country down, along with a housing bubble which has not deflated an inch and is still at least 30% above its historical house-prices to average-income ratio and, last but in no way least, the second highest level of indebtment of the entire developed world, just after Japan.

I'm afraid the last few decades of "growth" in the UK were nothing more than a Nation-wide binge of spending on credit and now that the bill is due, the country is now on its way back to the 70s income wise.

The country has been living of the last few bits out of its Empire inheritance (the facilities, institutions and law that grew out of a trading empire) and of the American-promoted success of the English language, but the people just don't have the risk-taking spirit, organisational abilities and spark of the Englishmen of old that built said Empire.

Not that most of Europe is any better. The difference is that the English believe themselves and their country as being somehow unique and better than all the others, when in fact they're no such thing. It's almost funny that in that regard, the closest in spirit are the French (who also have an overinflated opinion of themselves).

koncaswatch's picture

Sounds like today's USSA.

Non Passaran's picture

You got many points right, however the continent is far worse.
There is nothing to gain from staying in, except for the scumiest and laziest citizens.

agent default's picture

The only way for the UK to get its manufacturing base back is to get the fuck out of the EU.  Same for most countries.

plongka10's picture

You're a bit behind the curve with the news today that the UK is now Germany's number one trading partner, having overtaken France (AEP, Telegraph today) I don't think Germany are going to turn their back on that level of trade anytime soon.

There is a level of hype and bluster over this, as you would expect from interests determined to see the Project through to completion. However, we know the clock is ticking until Lisbon becomes irrevocable. Expect more noise on this point through the year.

Neethgie's picture

Do not be fooled, everyone in britain who wants a better future votes ukip, cameron is simply trying to hold on to our coattails as we run off into the distance taking his traditional vote, if the labour party offers a referendum too, we WILL see a brixit

Colonial Intent's picture

Why would any patriotic british subject vote for ukip and their city of london paymasters?


plongka10's picture

Any YouGov poll on this matter should be heavily discounted. They are compromised. The guy who heads it up is the husband of Lady Ashton, the EU foreign affairs czar.

Ol' Davy boy is running scared of UKIP and the defection of swathes of conservatives to their banner. The majority of people I speak to want out.

Colonial Intent's picture

Outside of the Square mile most people want in, come out of your ivory tower rodney.

joego1's picture

The world will be eating bugs by 2017. Take back Piers Morgan or we are going to do something really bad to you.

littleguy's picture

We don't want him back. Send him to Brussels.

knukles's picture

Bloody good solution!

You're happy I'm happy, the Continentals would think they've won the lotto....

booboo's picture

I guess we can split him with you, all in favor say aye.

CPL's picture

omg that was two ham sandwiches and a side of corn...

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The Irish question ???????????????????????????????


If Sterling weakens by another 10 - 15 %  against the euro all internal Irish activity that involves eating , drinking and shitting will become too expensive to sustain.

Dr. Engali's picture

2017? What a bunch of horse shit. By 2017 the whole fucking world will be at war and nobody will have remembered such a nonsensical statement.

Rustysilver's picture

Classical politician decision / non decision. Not this year, not next year; not ever. There, I decided.

David C

silverserfer's picture

broub broub broub bourb broub!

smacker's picture

The way the Cameron in/out referendum is shaping up, he is being very devious and it will resolve very little. It will confirm what many people already think: that Cameron is privately pro-EU.

Before the referendum ever takes place, he will engage in re-negotiations with the EU-crats to repatriate a range of powers from Brussels to Westminster (with no input from the British people -- political elites always know best).

There is absolutely no way he will get what he and the Brit people want; it will be well short. A majority of Brits only want to retain a relationship based upon free trade (the Single Market Treaty) and maybe a few other trivial things. The rest should be stuffed.

But come the referendum, we will be faced with choosing between sticking with a vast majority of as-is existing treaty relations which Brussels refuse to give ground on (or Cameron hasn't even attempted to renegotiate) _or_ leaving altogether. Cameron already knows we will not likely vote to leave, because the Establishment pro-EU campaign will be very powerfully orchestrated and inject fear into anybody who thinks of voting OUT. The BBC, Sky News and MSM will see to this.

So what will have been achieved? Very little. The EU will continue to be a running sore in Britain for years to come and its growing undemocratic corporatism will continue.

Colonial Intent's picture

The only reason he's anti-EU is cos he wants to still be the tory leader after they lose the next election.

Our right wing (Tory/UKIP) is not finished yet, their paymasters in the city will get a bit more mileage out of them before they drop them.

smacker's picture

Well, John Redwood told me a coupla months ago that Cameron was elected leader of the Tory Party *because* he was EU-sceptic, but he did not elaborate on what he meant by "EU-sceptic".

I had prompted Redwood's comment by saying that IMO Cameron was elected because he promised to heal the wounds in the party over Europe, given that it had torn the Tories apart for years and given Labour an open goal. I believe I was right and Redwood was wrong (or indulging in wishful thinking). Cameron's gambit with an EU referendum is his way of healing the wounds. We shall see.

Gimp's picture

You know the saying - "If his lips are moving....."

dunce's picture

They talked alienating themselves from the EU like that was a bad thing, i think it might be their first step and last chance to be a decent country. Turn away from the lemming charge into the socialist sea.