David Cameron's belated speech on the future of Britain's relationship with the European Union will largely have fallen on either xenophobic or deaf ears.
The most common dogma underpinning everyday Europhobia is blind prejudice, mobilized by a tabloid press that consistently correlates Europe with unbounded immigration, escalating crime, economic malaise and social deviance. This perspective of Europe as an open sluice gate channeling cancer into emasculated sovereignties is only matched by a morose apathy towards the esoteric squabbling of ineffectual parliamentarians.
The real impact of Cameron's speech will be confined to the skeptic whisper of shadows lurking at his back in the House of Commons. The referendum is geared towards the appeasement of an increasingly popular political fringe group and its supporters. This can be deduced from the lack of coherent objective, the ambiguity of Cameron's own leaning, and the fact that it would not be held until 2017.
The proposal still rests upon a Conservative victory of majority in the 2015 election. But this is not an outrageous proposition at all, and what is of certainty is that, as the 2010 election demonstrated, Tory's are ruthless campaigners, and a large proportion of the electorate are vulnerable to anti-European demagoguery. Unless Europe becomes a marginal impetus for Conservatives between now and 2015, or UKIP's prestige diminishes, it is likely that Euro-fear-mongering will be a centerpiece of the campaign trail.
If the referendum came to pass and the electorate voted "out," the results could be disastrous for British society and democracy. There may be greater scope for further infringements of workers' rights, such as with the abandonment of the Working Time Directive, an irritating excrescence of the European Union in the view of some proponents of the referendum. Trade could rightly be discontinued, there could be a loss of agricultural subsidies, and business may take flight to member states able to offer more generous fiscal dispensation in return for commerce, which could lead to greater employment famine for British citizens.
Britain could be left economically and politically isolated, particularly in light of the impending Scottish referendum on independence, and considering the United States have hinted that the transatlantic "special relationship" could be spoiled by Britain's departure from European unity.
Is Britain's exit likely? Fortunately not – this escapade should be read as tacit political diplomacy contrived towards repatriating certain powers back from Brussels, closeted by a discourse of one-nation-Conservatism.
And this is the most irritating hypocrisy of all.
Cameron employs rhetoric of collective responsibility - "we're all in this together" - that presumes the complicity of British society in his calculated decisions when something is required of us, but when we require a kindness of government, we're literally on our own.