Brian Monteith: The clock is ticking for David Cameron

THE Prime Minister is toast. There is no getting away from it. No matter which way the vote goes in the EU referendum his days are numbered. And that number is small.

Friday, 3rd June 2016, 8:26 am
Updated Friday, 3rd June 2016, 9:32 am
David Cameron. File picture: WPA Pool/Getty Images

The reason is all of his own doing. He didn’t need to have this referendum on EU membership.

I think it is a good thing giving the people a say for the first time in over 40 years. We should have had a say on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. It changed the whole nature of the European club by ensuring it became a political union rather than a trading arrangement. It removed a host of issues where nations could veto change, meaning we could have policies introduced against our will. And they have been, with 56 laws we were against all going through. We should have had a vote on the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 that took us down the road towards a European super state, but our politicians, including David Cameron, ducked the issue as they feared we would reject their work.

So now we have a referendum, not on a point of principle, but to try and prevent the Tory party bleeding to death with its constant in-fighting over membership of the EU. David Cameron must see now that it hasn’t worked. He has let the genie out of the bottle and the damage to his own party is beyond repair. Irrespective of the result backbench MPs are coming for him. They may not get him at the first attempt but they will get him. And it wont be pretty.

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Two questions arise. Why all this in-fighting? And what’s in it for the rest of us?

The in-fighting has always been there, but has grown to dominate the party, because there has always been a sizeable number of MPs that believed our own parliament should have the final say in who makes our laws. It comes down simply to who controls the UK, ourselves or other countries ganging up against us.

Our prime ministers have all thought that trading some of our sovereignty for having a say in what other nations do would be a good thing. Not all MPs agreed with them, including Tony Benn, but most were in the Tory party, only a few were in Labour.

Now, as our MPs have become progressively weaker the number of rebels has grown. When a Tory becomes a rebel he or she is putting country before party, and probably before personal advancement. We should therefore thank and respect those Tory rebels for going against their own best interests. But what’s in it for the rest of us? That’s simple. At last we are having a say in who governs us. Is it the unelected EU commissioners whom we cannot sack and have the sole power to introduce or repeal EU laws, or is it the MPs – and those of them that form the government – that we can sack? That seems pretty worthwhile to me.

Most people don’t know there are currently five different EU presidents, never mind name any. We should be governed by people we can identify and name and be able to remove. It doesn’t matter which party you vote for, it’s that basic.

Stubbs’ departure is a slap in the face for all Scottish football fans

Only ten days after winning the Scottish Cup and Hibs supporters are brought back to reality by the departure of the manager, Alan Stubbs, for United. Not Manchester United, Newcastle United or Leeds United – but Rotherham United. That’s not a team I ever played in my Subbuteo days.

Is it a bit of a slap in the face? Why yes, of course it is. But before the schadenfreude takes over amongst rival fans it has to be said that it’s also a slap in the face to Scottish football.

It all comes down to TV money – until Scottish football creates a more attractive product that delivers higher TV income the road to English clubs, even relatively small ones will be irresistible.

Bordering on the ridiculous

The case of the Brain family in Inverness who face deportation from the UK offers a curious insight into our barmy immigration policy.

Having fallen foul of a change in non-EU persons visa criteria (after the visa they were using to work here was abolished) the Home Office in London has given them two more months to obtain a different visa or be deported back to Australia. A gaggle of pro-EU politicians are campaigning to have their deportation overturned. This is odd for it seems obvious to me that the problem is how we give anybody and everybody from EU countries the right to stay here but that Australians are required to meet strict criteria about sponsorship and salary levels. We should treat everyone the same.

If we were able to do that then we could design our own points system that would make it far easier to show compassion for hard workers that pay their way – like the Brains – while loafers that are a drain on resources could be asked to leave.

The world’s our oyster, not EU

AS we now move into the final month of the EU referendum the scare stories about what happens if we change our relationship with the EU continue.

That practically all of them have been exposed as falsehoods never gets in the way of repeating a whopping lie. The latest nonsense is that our food manufacturing companies will suffer. Funny that. I always find the demand for Scottish foods larger the further afield I travel away from the EU. Like the time I found a Scotsman who had imported the fryers from a Falkirk chippy to Taiwan and opened up shop with the name “The Frying Scotsman”. Nobody ever said Europe is our oyster. The world is our real market and the potential to grow is massive.