Just deserts – Voting for your man
Cameron was voted into government to deliver the referendum. And now that Brexit has been delivered, there are now plans afoot to reverse the outcome of the referendum.
It was Joseph de Maistre who said, “Every country has the government it deserves”, and “In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve.” People often vote for those who reflect their views, who echo their concerns and say what they want to hear. So when the British people were whipped into a frenzy about immigration and anti Europe sentiments, Cameron, in order to secure the next election, promised the British people that he would renegotiate the UK-EU contract, so that European immigrants are no longer entitled to claim benefit and stop the tide of Europeans flooding across British borders to rob nice British people of their jobs. And to top it, he would give them an in/out referendum if they voted for him. He said what they wanted to hear. They voted him in.
Until he went to Europe with his list of demands, it appeared to the British people that Mr Cameron would be asking for a four-year ban on benefits, including in-work benefits to EU migrants; reduction in EU regulations and repatriation of some regulatory powers from Brussels such as working time directive, and legislation on human rights, a UK opt-out from ever closer union, protection for non-euro countries and sovereignty of national parliaments to block proposed EU legislation. EU immigration was definitely top of the list, as the public were up in arms about EU immigrants claiming benefits in the UK. By the time Mr Cameron got to Europe, his demands had been ‘refined’ and what he left with was ‘refined’ even more. For the Euroceptics, what Mr Cameron returned with cannot be described as a ‘new settlement’ because all the EU legislation still remain in place, the European immigrants will still continue to claim benefit and send money back home albeit with some minor concession. What Cameron has secured has not changed the status quo, what he has secured are words of comfort, a plaster over the wound. Cameron said what the voters wanted to hear and he got their vote! Delivery is another thing, maybe another Tory parliament.
As the US presidential campaign heats up, one should therefore not be surprised that Donald Trump is racing ahead, Trump is obviously saying what the American Republican voters want to hear, erecting a wall on the Mexican border, stopping Moslems from visiting the United States etc. At this rate, the Americans will definitely get the leader they deserve!
Original article first published in The European Business Review on March 1 2016.