Decision time on the EU

The first big question on the Coalition’s EU policy: is Cameron frustrated by the constraints of coalition with the euro-fanatic Lib-Dems?  Or is he secretly delighted that Nick Clegg offers the perfect excuse for putting all that difficult re-negotiation stuff on the back burner?

Politicians find it easy to talk tough in opposition, but harder to make it happen when in power.

It may seem churlish to challenge Cameron’s commitment in the wake of his courageous Veto, and I happily joined the chorus of adulation as a British Prime Minister finally said “NO!” to Brussels.

But with the cynicism of hindsight — he really didn’t have much option.  If he’d to accepted the deal on the table there would have been uproar in the press and the Party.  And the House of Commons would probably have voted it down.  He had to say No.

Which leads us to the second big question.  Can the Veto stick?  The EU is a past master at bypassing and overwhelming obstructions, like an incoming tide sweeping aside a child’s sand-castle.  (The classic example was their re-classification of the Working Time Directive as a Health & Safety issue, not Employment, thus bypassing the UK veto).

We may well have a formal veto on EU-wide taxes like the disastrous Tobin Tax.  But Brussels will find a huge range of new QMV regulations designed to punish the City.  Then comes Cameron’s tough choice.  Either break EU law, defy Brussels and the ECJ, and edge towards the exit.  Or accept defeat.

It seems bizarre and perverse that our EU partners seek to scapegoat the City for a monetary disaster of their own making — and one against which we have warned them for a decade.  It’s equally perverse that they seek to solve the problem of debt with more debt, the problems of EU integration with more integration.

Merkozy’s “fiscal harmonisation” would not solve the €uro’s problems — even if they could make it stick (which they signally failed to do with the Maastricht criteria).  Debt mutualisation would only defer the evil day.  Perpetual fiscal transfers could hold the €uro together, but at the expense of making Greece a German dependency.

Without a €uro break-up, Brussels simply cannot address the structural problem of competitiveness between North and South, because that is inherent in the architecture of monetary union.

The EU is not primarily an entity, but a process.  The Coalition’s policy is effectively to ensure that, for the UK at least, that process will cease.  We have to recognise that having repudiated the process, we cannot indefinitely remain part of the entity.  Roll on Independence Day.

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10 Responses to Decision time on the EU

  1. You have spent most of your productive life working with the ghastly EU and I admire your patience and very clear insights.
    BUT
    Aren’t you looking in the wrong direction? I say this as someone who, like everyone else, knows very little about that deliberately secretive organisation.
    I suspect that, almost as soon as the EU was set up, the Coreper people made immediate lasting bonds with our Civil Service at all levels. As the two bodies increased in power and numbers, the bonds grew tighter and tighter.
    Last night, for example, on Radio 4 was a discussion hosted by Nick Robinson when (I think) the Civil Service mandarin grew so very red in the face when he talked about having a place at the table that everyone laughed at his intensity. The Civil Service seems to me to be dominating this aspect of our lives, as indeed it certainly is in education (personal, bitter experience with free school).
    I am not sure, myself, that the Conservative Party or indeed the Coalition government is the place to be looking at.

    • Thanks Mike. I’m looking at the people. Sooner or later, there’ll be a referendum, and we’ll vote OUT. Meantime, Sir Jon Cunliffe, our new man in Brussels, is said to have more backbone than most civil servants. We’ll see, but I won’t hold my breath!

      • Andrew Shakespeare says:

        Didn’t Sir Jon Cunliffe head the Lisbon treaty negotiations? Am I wrong?

        If so, I wouldn’t invest too much faith in a man who took charge of Labours conspiracy to jettison its manifesto promises and impose the constitution on us, reagardless of our democratic desires.

      • Ian says:

        Is it true that when UK civil servants are on secondment to COREPER they get twice their usual pay?

  2. Maureen Gannon says:

    I like many others are sick to the teeth of the continued farce that is our membership of this fraudulent body , the statement is we must have a place at the table is as farcical, from eggs to fisheries we obey their laws and dictats, all the time losing out to our supposed partners who completely ignore that that they wish to.
    As for Cameron he is like all our present day politicos loves the strutting like a peacock with those laughingly called world leaders, finding billions to prop up a defunct monetry system, while destroying the people he should be making decisions for, another ten thousand jobs lost thanks to a bank that politicos saved to save their votes, with our money, we have NO leaders only manipulators.

    • Andrew Shakespeare says:

      “strutting like a peacock” … I like that!

      An apt description of Cameron’s whole “I’m a Eurosceptic … no, honestly, I really am” European policy.

  3. I think your phrase “strutting with … world leaders” goes some way to explaining Dan Hannan’s First Law of Politics, which is that the higher an individual climbs up the greasy pole, the more pro-EU he gets. I suppose it must feel good to have your ego stroked by a population of half a billion!

  4. Maureen Gannon says:

    I asume that half a billion are the plebs amongst us who have no say in europe, or does it mean thats how many are on the gravy train, being paid for by the simpleton taxpayers.

  5. Maureen Gannon says:

    Respect I was taught, has to be earnt Roger, to respect a fraudulant body does not enter my mindset, it,s like asking do you respect the Mafia?
    Same as pride you have to respect something to have pride in it, as my posts would indicate we would be out of the Politburo yesterday.
    I respect the fact that untill whenever you have withdrawn your resignation over the attempt to manipulate a yes man in your place but there are very few others, same applies to those in Westminster.

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