Cameron is out of the Champion’s League
Not even Jose Mourinho, the special one, would have had the nerve to return from a European 26-1 defeat and claim victory. But Cameron’s gall, it seems, knows no limits.
He will return, no doubt, to much flag-waving by his own backbenchers. “We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it” seems to be the genius strategy that his own party will applaud enthusiastically. But how sensible is it?
For months now he has told the nation that a stable, viable Euro is in the UK’s National Interest; that uncertainty in the Eurozone was affecting our employment figures, our growth, our prospects; that the EU is our main trading partner by a clear country mile. Last night he sat down with that trading partner and a few hours later told them to take a running jump.
For months now he has told the nation that, when it comes to domestic fiscal policy, “we’re all in this together”. This is the logic used to justify austerity, misery, child poverty and unprecedented cuts to our public services. Ordinary people being asked to pay for catastrophic errors of judgement which were wholly outside their control – whether one subscribes to the view that it was the Bankers “that done it” or that it was irresponsible politicians.
But, when asked by the larger community of nations of this continent to apply this same principle, a 0.05% tax on financial transactions and tighter regulation of banking in exchange for a return to stability and growth – measures which should have been welcomed – that logic failed. He drew an intractable line in the sand. And so, the rest of Europe said: “You are the Weakest Link. You leave with nothing. Goodbye”.
Yesterday, The Sun newspaper – that Euro-pandering, leftie mouthpiece – predicted three possible outcomes to the negotiations:
“OPTION 1: DREAM FOR DAVE ~ A TREATY is agreed by all 27 EU members to enshrine fiscal union in the eurozone, with concrete safeguards for Britain’s demands also agreed.
RESULT: Cameron returns a hero. Most Tory backbenchers are happy, calls for a referendum are silenced and business is delighted the euro is saved.
OPTION 2: PM PUMMELLED ~ THE eurozone members sign a treaty among themselves. Cameron is isolated and gets no guarantees for Britain.
RESULT: The euro gets propped up in a shaky deal and a two-speed Europe begins, with Britain cut out of key decision making. Cameron faces open revolt in Westminster.
OPTION 3: CAM CALAMITY ~ NO agreement is reached and Britain is blamed for ruining the euro’s chances. In weeks it breaks up in chaos as countries default on their debts.
RESULT: The world plunges into recession and Cameron is blamed. Clegg pulls the Lib Dems out of the Coalition and the Government collapses.”
Cameron’s actions leave the UK teetering between option 2 and 3. I have no doubt that The Sun’s headlines tomorrow will hail him as some sort of Churchillian hero. But make no mistake – they had it right yesterday. Even Thatcher, the lusty centrefold of right-wing Euro-scepticism, never walked away from a negotiation in such destructive a manner.
Cameron will claim that he did it in the National Interest. As if the National Interest is a term interchangeable with the interest of the City of London. Was that theory not blown apart in 2008 when the financial sector cost the country the largest single rise in national debt ever experienced?
How does one reconcile taking the risk of causing a global catastrophe to protect some Holy Sovereignty, while supporting the appointment of unelected leaders in Greece and Italy? While handing over the reins of domestic policy to wealthy lobbies? While surrendering foreign policy to Washington?
I need not discuss the deal in question. The truth is, even if one U-turns as fast and as often as our pirouetting Prime Minister, there is still a 50-50 chance they will end up facing in the right direction. Whether the deal on offer would have been good, bad or indifferent for Britain is irrelevant now. Cameron’s actions have denied the nation the opportunity to hold that debate.
Sweden, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are not convinced by the deal being offered. So, they have said they have to take it back to their sovereign Parliaments to consider it. All their options are still open – including saying “no”; using the veto; walking away.
So, ask yourselves this: Why is it our Prime Minister alone that has decided to make the decision on the spot, there and then, at 4am? There can only be one answer: It is the difficult discussion with his Coalition partners, the Opposition and his own backbenchers which terrifies Cameron.
He did not adopt this defiant approach because he is brave. He adopted it because he is a coward.