Will Cameron live up to expectations on the EU?

Cameron with Merkozy

I was recently listening to an interview with a French journalist on the BBC, and it brought home to me a point I suppose I’d been vaguely aware of.  The French actually believe that the €uro crisis was caused by evil Anglo-Saxon capitalists and financiers, in the City of London, as a deliberate act of policy — presumably for the pleasure of schadenfreude, and so that we could say “I told you so”.  More than that: they believe that the Cameron Veto on the Merkozy scheme for Fiscal Union (“FU”, as Dan Hannan calls it) was deliberate special pleading to protect those same evil Anglo Saxons.

This is wrong on so many counts that it’s difficult to know where to start.  Their FU isn’t a real fiscal union — merely the Maastricht Criteria re-heated.  Cameron wasn’t asking for a special dispensation — as he’s said over and over again, he was asking for terms that would have protected the financial services business across the EU.  And he did so not to protect fat-cat bankers, but to protect UK and EU GDP and jobs and growth.  Moreover bankers in London, even if they’d wanted to be proved right, would surely not have plotted a huge economic disaster in the our largest trading partner, which looks set to damage the UK, and the City, perhaps nearly as much as the eurozone — even if they had been in a position to do so, which clearly they were not.

Was it The City which designed and put in place a clearly unsustainable single currency model?  Was it the UK which made the PIGS borrow and spend as though money were going out of style?

But of course the eurozone mindset simply doesn’t allow them to recognise the truth: that in the €uro, they created their own Bankruptcy Machine, and then found they had no way to turn it off.  They are congenitally incapable of recognising the problem, so they are equally incapable of finding the solution.  So they turn to scapegoating and blame-mongering, and who better to scapegoat than the old enemy over La Manche?

Just to re-cap: there are in fact (pace Fitch) two workable solutions: (A) A real fiscal union, with common debt instruments and massive fiscal transfers from Germany to the PIGS; or (B) Euro break-up, in as orderly a way as can be devised. But (A) will never be politically acceptable, while (B), when it comes (as it must) will be forced, not planned.

In the meantime, the myth of the evil Anglo Saxons is so engrained, and so comforting, that no rebuttal will serve, and they will continue to believe it.

I have been loudly praising Cameron for his decision on the Veto.  (Christopher Booker insists that it was no Veto, as there was no draft Treaty on the table.  But that is surely no more than a technical quibble: Cameron’s unequivocal insistence that he would not sign up for their FU amounted, in effect, to a Veto-in-advance).  But I have also said very clearly that if Cameron’s refusal was merely a One-Off gesture, if it’s not followed up with a clear process of renegotiation and disengagement, it could leave us very badly off indeed.  I was delighted to see David Davis making essentially the same point in a recent Telegraph article. 

What does David Cameron think as he sees the Tory Party ahead of Labour in the opinion polls by a clear margin, and his own ratings for decisiveness on the up?  Delighted?  Or horrified at this evidence of red-necked euroscepticism amongst the public?  I suspect a little of both.

We have only two choices.  Either we go back with our tail between our legs, an olive branch in our hand, and plead with Merkozy to overlook our error and ingratitude.  Or we prepare our defences, and make it clear that we will not accept any new EU rules which we feel would threaten the City, whether by QMV or not.  We draw red lines which must and will cut across current Treaty obligations.  And we start to rebalance and repatriate.

The indications are bad.  We’re hinting that we didn’t really mean it when we talked about denying use of the EU institutions to the 26.  We’re agreeing to be non-voting observers at meetings of the 26.  And we haven’t withdrawn the observation that “We shouldn’t be talking about repatriation during the euro crisis”.

We shall see in a few weeks whether Cameron really deserves the accolades we’ve been heaping on him.

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8 Responses to Will Cameron live up to expectations on the EU?

  1. Yes, indeed!
    If the PM wants to be supported by (real) Conservatives, he’d better heed your advice. That would be our best chance, but perhaps his true loyalties lie with the EU, like Heath’s disastrously were and the Liberals’ incomprehensibly still are!

    What is your own prediction? Have you made representations to Mr Cameron?

  2. Not sure I’m David Cameron’s favourite parliamentarian! I’m genuinely uncertain whether he’s going to deliver on Europe. But we’ll soon find out.

  3. Phil H says:

    Roger – I am completely perplexed by the reaction of certain Eurosceptic Tories towards David Cameron. He is playing you all for fools. Just look at the language he used in the Commons last week. He is never going to give the people a referendum and is in fact a Europhile. His main interest is staying in No.10.
    The main mistake he continues to make is that he thought if he moved the Tory party to the left he would appeal to the centre-left Guardian reading middle-class. Beyond stupidity!!
    There are millions of what I would call the patriotic private sector working class who are desperate for a leader who is going to stand up for Britian, put the country first and make us great again.
    If your party proposed to leave the EU – control immigration EU/global – cut income tax accross the board – support our military then you would win a landslide.
    How do I know this – 1) Look at the polls last week when he Cameron made just one small jesture in the right direction.
    2) I come from a working class background, went to a crap comprehensive and have made something off my life. I know unlike Cameron and 95% of the Tory party how the working class think.
    Remove Cameron and replace him with David Davies.

    • Peter Hulme Cross says:

      Absolutely correct, Phil H.

      Couldn’t have put it any better myself.

    • Faustiesblog says:

      Whilst I agree with almost everything you said Phil, I don’t believe that moving the CP to the left was an act of stupidity. I believe it was a deliberate attempt to move the centre-ground of UK politics to the left. Thus, each Conservative government is more left-wing than its predecessor. It’s very devious socio-political engineering that bypasses the electorate’s radar.

      The CP has been infiltrated by the EU – placemen everywhere. The underlying EU doctrines are socialist/fascist, regardless of whether the nations of the EU have left- or ‘right’-wing governments (most of those parties which deem themselves to be centre-right are lefties in disguise).

  4. Andrew Shakespeare says:


    When has Cameron lived up to expectations on anything? The man has a solid track record.

  5. David Cameron’s “cast-iron pledge” on an EU referendum, broken without any serious attempt at explanation and justification, has exemplified what Andrew Shakespeare complains about. It suggests that the PM does not regard reliability and truth as of prime importance, just like Tony Blair, whose “heir” he evidently aspired to become. Worrying!

    • I too have had serious reservations about Tory policy on the EU. But Benedict Brogan’s piece today in the Telegraph is worth a read. He senses a stiffening of the sinews. Maybe wishful thinking, but worth watching.

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