A heretical proposition

キャメロン首相/『英国と欧州』スピーチ
英国, 2013年, デーヴィッド·キャメロン

David Cameron, the British prime minister, made a big speech last week. He announced plans for an ‘in or out’ referendum in 2017 on whether the UK should stay in the European Union.

According to one columnist, the prime minister is an “outstanding set-piece performer”. A delay in the timing of the speech “had created a burden of expectation that would have crushed lesser men. Mr Cameron appeared to thrive on it. His delivery was relaxed and confident, his arguments clever and optimistic. A smooth-talking product of Eton and Oxford, Mr Cameron is blessed with a rare knack for appearing statesmanlike. ‘He was born to be prime minister,’ even grudging admirers say.”

At 17:19 (below), he uses mild language (eg “we would be much more comfortable”) to make a “heretical proposition” (heretical ~ in disagreement with general opinion).

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Let me make a further heretical proposition.

The European treaty commits the member states to “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”.

Now this has been consistently interpreted as applying not to the peoples but rather to the states and institutions, and it’s been compounded by a European Court of Justice that has consistently supported greater centralisation.

Now we understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective.

And we would be much more comfortable if the treaty specifically said so – freeing those who want to go further, faster, to do so, without being held back by the others.

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