So, if Cameron wins the next election, we shall have a referendum to establish whether we stay in Europe or flounce off on our own. The new terms that Cameron wants to negotiate will probably keep a free market open for businesses and bankers, but will opt us out of the sort of EU rules that protect us common working plebs, but I don’t suppose we’ll have a chance to vote on whether we want the old or new terms.
But a referendum about staying in the EU might turn out to be pointless anyway, because we shall already have had the referendum on Scotland’s independence by then. The president of the European Commission suggests that if Scotland votes to go it alone, it will not automatically be a member of the EU, but will have to apply for membership as a brand new country. If that does happen, surely the same will apply to whatever is left of the former U.K, because England isn’t a member of the EU in its own right either. Nor is Wales. Northern Ireland is a possible, perhaps, because the country that is a member of the EU is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,’ so at least it gets a mention. But Great Britain came into existence when the two former kingdoms of Scotland and England (which included Wales) were united in 1706. If Scotland drops out, Great Britain will no longer exist, so neither will the U.K. What we’ll be needing will be a referendum to decide whether we should apply to be allowed in to the EU. And the EU might say no. In fact, if I were them, I would.