Is Britain’s ‘Gentleman’ Prime Minister now set up for a fall by Euro ‘Players’?

Will Hutton tricks out a nasty diplomatic undertow to his walkout. If things go belly up with the Euro, not only will the UK suffer economically, it may get the blame for it not working:

Worse, we have made it significantly harder for the 17 members of the eurozone rapidly to put in place the cluster of policies needed to save the euro. Chancellor Merkel said the compromise was workable – to widespread German scepticism; the European Central Bank warmly welcomed the progress, but announced no new measures. If the euro breaks up because its members have to move clumsily and slowly outside the formal EU treaties and institutions because of Cameron’s veto, the resulting series of bank collapses and consequent depression will hurt Britain badly. What’s more, fellow Europeans will not forgive us for a generation. This is a catastrophic moment in British and European affairs.

He adds:

The over-riding preoccupation was to manage his tribe, now in thrall to the worst of ancient Tory instincts that have been so consistently wrong. In no circumstance could he risk having to take a treaty change through the Commons relying on Lib Dem, Labour and a minority of Tory votes, accompanied by an ever-more hysterical insistence that there should be a referendum on Britain’s relationship with Europe. The paradox of referendums is that they are anti-democratic devices, only ever deployed by politicians and commentators if they are certain about the result; this is why they are the favourite device of despots and dictators. The Tory right, certain of the result, given overwhelming press support, smells blood; if they can engineer a referendum, Britain can leave the detested EU.

And it may well come to pass… Eventually.. Though my feeling is that the British press have come late to this party themselves and tend over polarise matters in line with their own familiar (and preferred) Eurosceptic/Europhile binary.

In bigger picture, Anthony Painter came much closer to the much harsher reality underlying Britain’s incipient culture war on Twitter last night:

“We are waving the ship goodbye but we’ll soon realise that the mooring rope is tied to our ankles…”

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  • Brian Walker

    There can’t be a complicated enough reading of this mess, and a simple blame Cameron game won’t do.But granted, it looked humiliating, I’v e never seen anything like it and my memory stretches back faintly to Suez in 1956.
    Most comment so far reinforces the holder’s prejudices. Bagehot’s account in the Economist is the best – or anyway the most complicated – I’ve read.
    Perhaps no UK PM would have done differently when it came to the night. But should Cameron have touted the British requirements round the EU earlier? And should he have stayed at the table, speaking if not voting as the deal was argued out over the coming months? Even now, can he get back and would the party let him? Will some among the doubters in the 26 peel off – like Ireland?

    Longer term..
    A “dirty”austerity protocol to stifle any country’s growth strategy wil hardly survive long, Nothing has been done to “save” the euro.

    It’s far from over…

  • OneNI

    Is this the same Will Hutton who was still arguing in favour of joining the Euro as recently as three years ago?

    ‘The over-riding preoccupation was to manage his tribe’
    What patronising rubbish. Hutton simply cant accept that some (especially a Conservative PM) may have his own coherent, rational and logical position.

    As pointed out above Hutton’s own judgement has a track record of being ….wrong

  • FuturePhysicist

    Will Hutton’s a hypocrite, both a critic and an enabler.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As pointed out above Hutton’s own judgement has a track record of being ….wrong

    The current problems with the Euro do not mean that the case for joining the Euro has actually changed. The arguments are still the same. The issue that we are dealing with at the moment is bad regulation. Which, shock horror, is also the cause of the UK’s own current economic malaise.

  • iluvni

    Slugger jumps the shark

  • Roy Walsh

    I tend to agree with much of the above,
    ‘The Tory right, certain of the result, given overwhelming press support, smells blood; if they can engineer a referendum, Britain can leave the detested EU.’
    This disingenuous ranting demeans an otherwise credible journalist since the question in any possible referendum will not be ‘in/out’ rather more likely on the terms of what was disagreed last week, agree or disagree!

  • Alias

    If you examine the propaganda that the EU has used to engineer the political specimen of the europhile, a key meme involves the fallacy of trading sovereignty for influence.

    What exactly this ‘influence’ is deemed to be is never specified but it is some abstract quality that is secured by surrending control to a third party in the first instance and maintained thereafter by sevile compliance with the will of the third party.

    A mentality where ‘popularity’ and being ‘at the centre of things’ is the driving dynamic is usually associated with weak-minded boys and girls but, thank to EU engineering, is now a mentality that defines the europhile.

    You hear them squealing this mentality whenever they open their mouths to protest the actions of others not afflicted with the meme: “We are isolated in Europe! We are marginalised! We have lost influence!” they cry.

    But so what? Apparently, Cameron should have agreed to a Transaction Tax in order to maintain influence. Presumably, he would then have the influence within the EU to oppose a tax after he had agreed to implementing it. However, by not trading sovereignty for infleunce, he remains opposed to the tax and doesn’t need to use influence to oppose that which now will not exist because he exercised his sovereignty to oppose it rather than traded that sovereignty for influence.

    This is the standard illogical gibberish that now informs the ‘thinking’ of the EU-engineered specimen of the europhile. This dismal creature lacks the cerebral capacity to grasp that there is no need to influence others in the exercise of your sovereignty if you do not make the fatal mistake of giving your sovereignty away to them in the first instance.

    We hear this gibberish repeated in Ireland by the europhile all of the time. In reality, we trade 100% of our sovereignty for a return of 1.8% influence (our voting share) over the matters that we could have had 100% influence over it we didn’t trade them.

    In regard to the affairs of other countries, why do we even want 1.8% influence? What practical use is it? And why do we think we have a right to decide – even at the pitiful level of 1.8% – the internal affairs of other countries?

  • Mick Fealty


    And your point is?

  • Brian Walker @ 4:15 pm gives as proper a perspective as one can, at this stage. His memory (like mine), going back to Suez, prompted a thought: on that occasion, as this one, the Observer was the odd one out. And proved, horrendously correct. Absit omen?

    Yes, I too read Rentoul, in the Sindy arguing that “Any PM would have done as Cameron did“, but I felt the key paragraph of Rentoul’s piece missed the point:

    The most important is that any British prime minister would have made the same decision. Britain’s refusal to be part of the “fiscal compact” to save the euro was a refutation of the great-leader theory of history. Cameron did not say no to the fiscal compact because he was “weak” or “appeasing his backbenchers”, as Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, alleged. The weak thing to do would have been to agree to treaty wording that offered no certainty on regulation of the City of London. Especially because Nicolas Sarkozy seemed to be, for his domestic purposes, making it hard for the British to agree.

    That ignores everything that Will Hutton cogently spells out. So, let’s summarise:

    ¶ Both Merkel (who was once looking for a liberal-northern-European bloc to balance the Club Med) and Sarkozy (who had needs and something to offer) have had severe rebuffs from Cameron and his acolytes. Why, having been appallingly badly treated/insulted/ridiculed, should either roll over now?

    ¶ The whole FTT thing was grossly misrepresented for domestic consumption, wasn’t on the agenda, and is irrelevant at this stage. When it does come around, presumably at the March EU26 pow-wow, Cameron will probably not be present to intercede.

    ¶ These Euro-occasions are well prepared by the “sherpas”. Since Cameron has wilfully opted out of the EPP, and — as it seems — has totally failed to build bridges to any potential allies, he went into last week’s events blind. He tried to wing it. And failed. Tough.

    ¶ All of this might not have happened. The Tory right were allowed to exploit PMQs last Wednesday, and serially applied the Flammenwerfer to Cameron’s nads. Was that, in part, Speaker Bercow (“So which dwarf are you?”) repaying outstanding debts? So it has handbags at two in the morning. Daft.

    Bottom line (from Browning, who was well aware of cheap Daily Mail-type applause):

    Just for a handful of silver he left us,
    Just for a ribbon to stick in his coat …

    So, how can we rebuild? And who gets to eat humble pie?

  • Alias

    It’s win-win for Cameron and the UK.

    Cameron keeps his backbenchers onside, and the City of London avoids a transation tax while parliament avoids ceding more sovereign powers to grossly incompetent bureaucracy in Brussels.

    On the other hands, it’s lose-lose for the EU. They don’t get a new treaty and they don’t get a new transaction tax to boost EU coffers.

    The other theory, of course, is that the EU did not want a new treaty for the old reason that their anti-democratic agenda would be once again rejected by the nations of Europe if they were allowed to exercise their democratic franchise.

    If that is the case then the EU did not mismanage the European Council meeting as badly as they appear to have done. Why not? Because, although they cannot now introduce a transaction tax without giving a competitive advantage to the City of London (the EU detests competition), they now have an excuse to impose their anti-democratic agenda via trojan legal mechanisms without consultation with the nations of Europe.

    While the EU is incompetent, the same cannot be said for the two chancers who act as its joint-dictators (Merkel and Sarkozy), so I’d be sceptical if they were stupid enough to rule out a transaction tax exemption for the UK without grasping that they would also be ruling it out for the EU. In theory they can still impose a transaction tax but not without ensuring that the City of London has a competitive advantage; and as they destest competition, that is not likely to occur.

    So that leads back to the most likely explantion for their ‘mismanagment’ of the European Council meeting: that it is a ruse to allow them to proceed to impose their agenda without the consent that would otherwise be required.

    Either way, the UK is exactly where it wants to be while the EU is still up shit creek without a paddle.

  • Alias @ 1:18 am:

    Tell us, in all honesty, do you really believe all that obsessional dystopian malevolence (“anti-democratic agenda”, “the EU detests competition”, “joint-dictators”, “stupid” …)? Or does repeated repetition and/or extended marination in the Daily Mail just make it easier?

    Let’s have just one example. Have a straight, honest look at Merkel’s background, history and personal politics, then affirm that she is natural “dictator”-material. I’m no fan — but “Mutti” ain’t that sort.

    Then actually try and understand what the FTT is, and — more to the point — is not.

    Sometime around then dialogue with you might become possible.

  • Now that I’ve got that lot (@ 11:05 am) off my mid-December congested chest, can we go back to Mick’s original point — that Cameron was somehow “set up”.

    We discover

    … the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, had offered David Cameron a deal in which, in return for lowering his demands, the EU could take steps towards fiscal union without amending its treaties and without the Eurozone going it alone.

    Suddenly all that stuff about poor defenceless Dave being waylaid by nasty continentals lacks credibility. It looks as if the Witney Slasher was the perp, with malice aforethought. So it’s back to the alternative plot.

    All together, then, final verse and a quick chorus, to the accompaniment of Quincy Jones:<blockquoteSo get your skates on mate, get your skates on mate
    No bib around your Gregory Peck today, eh?
    Drop your plates of meat right up on the seat —

    This is the self-preservation society.
    This is the self-preservation society.

    Hang on a minute lads – I’ve got a great idea. Errr…

  • Ooops: insert [>]

  • Mick Fealty

    I didn’t mean a priori. He’s NOW set up himself up as fall guy. I expect the fault is in my poor phrasing.

    Peter Oborne, whom I usually rate pretty highly argues that he avoided fall guy status, by ignoring sceptics in his party who were asking for him to go in all guns blazing.

    But if this goes badly, I expect Sarko in particular to make a meal of Britain’s exit lin order to cover his own failings in all of this.

    That’s not mention my more substantive point that withdrawal of any agency in all of this is pretty drastic.

    If there’s a win for Cameron here, it may be that the others will come to him to sue for better terms later in what, as Brian rightly intimates, is a process that still has a very long way to go.

  • Sorry, Mick Fealty @ 12:44 pm, I think I got your point.

    Matters move so quickly it’s difficult to see cause, effect, praeter hac and post-hoc. Doubtless this afternoon’s Commons performance will confuse, and will be designed to confuse even more. Even so, it must provide Cameron’s first, and definitive narrative.

    Just as well: the other “versions” show signs of unravelling.

    Beyond that, when the Tory ultras recognise they’ve been served DOC prosecco, not the Dom Pérignon, and they’re not going to get their referendum, the “81 Group” will have no mercy. That would be one way, perhaps the quickest, Cameron’s master-stroke could turn into self-evisceration.

    Meanwhile, catch the back-end of the Independent‘s leader, coming close to arguing LibDems walk from the coalition — that could be another. The editorial cartoon is quite good, as well.

  • OneNI

    I think it is outrageous that Slugger is not highlighting the fact that the SDLP (0.4% of the vote) and the Alliance Party (0.1%) have backed Salmond’s (1.7%) that Cameron should have consulted the devolved institutions about what to do in europe.
    Cameron has a national UK mandate. The Coalition achieved the votes of 59.1% of the vote.
    Do the SDLP want to tear up the Belfast Agreement? That Agreement clearly recognises the sovereignty of Westminster.
    Cameron has a mandate for the entire country.

  • Greenflag

    According to German reports the British ‘bulldog’ has been muzzled and it did so all by itself with no help from it’s friends .
    Mad dogs and Englishmen etc obviously don’t need the midday sun 🙁

    Todays Commons debate should be a jingo fest .Could it prompt a Lib Dem walk ? Meanwhile the skinny on RBS’s woes is being made clear.

    Which just again underlies the failure of governments to address the ‘real ‘ issue i.e that of bankster and bond trader plutocracy disguised as ‘democracy’.

    I guess if the LIb Dems walk Mr Cameron can look to the UKIP for support ? Maybe even the DUP or UUP ? And if not the TUV then perhaps SF if they would but take their Westminster seats ?

  • OneNI @ 1:36 pm:

    Cameron has a national UK mandate. The Coalition achieved the votes of 59.1% of the vote.

    Only via a time machine. The election was 6 May 2010: the Cons and the LibDems had two separate prospectuses. The ConDem pact was finalised at midnight on 12th December. Wherein all that horse-trading and cherry-picking is any concept of a popular “mandate”?

  • Recte: “12th May”.

    Head cold. Sorry.

  • Barnshee

    “The paradox of referendums is that they are anti-democratic devices”

    You mean people actually vote for what they want?

    What a wanker

  • Alias

    Malcolm, there is the reality and then there is your Guardian-formed perception of it. You regularly confuse the two and implore others to share your confusion – becoming a tad irrasible when they don’t.

    It is not a case of ‘beleiving’ that the EU does not want competition from the City of London: it is case of observing it.

    There is only one reason why the EU will not impose a transaction tax without the City of London also imposing it. That reason is that the City of London would have a competitive advantage. If the EU was not afraid of such competition then it would proceed to implement its tranaction tax with that competition in place.

    Likewise, it is not a case of ‘beleiving’ that the EU does not want to consult the nations of Europe about implementing its anti-democratic agenda: it is case of observing it.

    The EU detests referendum as these give the nations a right to self-determine their affairs and thereby place ownership of rights in the people and not in the state. On the occasions when they have not been able to avoid a referendum, they have insisted that the result be cast aside and the people should be made to vote again until they return a result that is acceptable to the EU.

    But I guess it is hard for you to observe things that are obvious to those who have not offered their services to a regime as an evangelist…

    Incidentally, another EU-engineered meme is to protest that any actions of parliamentarians that protest the transfer of sovereign powers to the regime is appeasement of eurosceptic backbenchers, whereas any actions of parliamentarians that promote such transfer is not appeasement of europhile backbenchers but is to be considered at promotion of the national interest rather betrayal of it. So we see the europhile media focusing on Cameron’s pressure from his eurosceptic backbenchers but we not a bit about Cleggs’ pressure from his europhile backbenchers to appese the EU.

  • Barnshee,

    They vote for one of the things that they want. Referendums take one question out of context and get an answer to it, while playing down the side effects. For example, if you had a referendum on “do you want lower taxes” it would almost certainly pass. If you had another referendum on “do you want higher spending” it would also probably pass. The fact that the two (perfectly legitimate) democratic desires may be incompatible falls between the cracks.

  • Alias

    They are not being asked to vote on matters of policy. They are being asked to surrender fundamental sovereign rights of nations and states to a supranational regime.

    A referendum for the trivial former should not be obfuscated with a referendum for the paranount latter.

    It is again EU-engineered anti-democratic propaganda that promotes this corruption of the democracy in the member states.

  • Roy Walsh

    There has been much comment in the last few day’s about two speed europe, Britain being on the outside, bad for Britain, no-one has yet explained what this means, Britain, like Ireland, Netherlands, Croatia etc. are all part of the EU, Ollie Rhen can rant like the angry school-boy ’til his cow’s come home and threaten further or deeper regulation of the British financial services sector, I strongly suspect they are too full of their own self delusions and, as China and India economies grow and USA/south America recover or grow they will need the British financial market, less regulated and free of euro-funding taxes, to administer these funds since they have the expertise, meanwhile markets will continue to attack a currency established to achieve a political goal rather than an economic one and, if the euro fails, where will other nations place their trust?

  • Master McGrath

    What is really interesting here as so many people who actually have well informed and ignorant positions is the fact that the CBI and those who make, manufacture and sell our exports in our biggest and most sustainable export area seem to have generally reacted with a degree of horror to Cameron’s antics.
    The much valued ‘City’ interests are the ones who have got us into the incredibly weak economic position we are in as they know how to make money make money until the band stops playing and the fat Lady does not sing but demands her share.
    ‘UK Alone’ is a lovely notion until it starts to actually be added up and if it is going to be that out manufacturing industries (what little we have left of them) are disadvantaged in the way the CBI thinks may be the case and we all start to suffer.
    Bulldogs are lovely animals and their tenacity of character is to be much admired BUT lovely as they are like many canines the general rule of ‘one more more brain cell and they could talk to fish’ applies.
    That actually applies more to David Cameron now that I think about it as Bulldogs have much more reliable and dependable characters than he does.
    As that other ‘Bulldog’ Churchill summed things up on one occasion, ‘Jaw Jaw is better than War War’.
    You can only keep jawing if you are still in the same room at the same table.
    UK Alone is not!!

  • Alias

    McGrath, contrary to europhile propaganda, the City of London contributes a 35 billion trade surplus to the UK.

    While it is true that EU financial regulation along with its monetary and macroeconomic policy created massive amounts of debt, only europhiles proffer the notion that the solution to a problem created by EU regulation is more EU regulation. The Bank of England does not, for example, regulate the all-important leverage ratio of its banks. That formerly sovereign power has long since been transferred to the EU.

    The EU duly issued the Capital Requirements Directive that allowed banks to leverage to insanely high levels in order to faciliate the expansionist monetary policy of the ECB. That is why you now have no major German bank with a leverage ratio of less than 50 and it is why you now have this crisis. Were a German bank to write-down a mere 2% of the value of its assets it would be de facto insolvent. So we now have the EU forcing its eurozone member states to underwrite bad debts of banks in order to avoid a situation where massively over-leveraged eurosystem banks are declared insolvent. In other words, to avoid a financial meltdown that only exists because EU regulation of the financial sector engineered it.

    It is also a europhile myth to claim that Cameron wanted a ‘special deal’ for the UK when in actuality he merely wanted a deal that involved all 27 states having an equal ‘veto’ and he was prepared to drop all (nonsense) talk about repatriation of formerly sovereign powers in order to get it.

    As regards the other europhile spiel that the UK is now isolated. Well, as a UK broker said, “The UK is as isolated a man waving good-bye to the Titanic from the dock at Southampton.”

    A sane man will isolate himself from a sinking ship. Only insane rats (and I would never use this term to refer to europhiles) would jump on board a sinking ship.

  • Alias

    One other point, the UK had already stated that it would not be taking part in negoiations between eurozone members so it is a tad silly to say that they are now isolated from a process that they never intended to join.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I think manufacturing was suffering already McGrath, it’s a huge contrast to Principia Mathematica being published today. Frankly we’re seeing that the tuition fee situation will make it difficult for traditional middle class people who want to do science and engineering to qualify to fill roles even in basic infrastructural needs like monitoring old nuclear plants, energy generation, pharmaceuticals and medical devices … so the UK may need, well Francs!

    Still I suppose when you have the likes of the BBC, Premiership Football and The Royal Family to stare aimlessly at who cares about more tangible concerns?

  • FuturePhysicist

    I use traditional middle class as an upper limit for a financial bracket only, not to generalise people.

  • Harry Flashman

    “There can’t be a complicated enough reading of this mess, and a simple blame Cameron game won’t do.But granted, it looked humiliating, I’v e never seen anything like it and my memory stretches back faintly to Suez in 1956.”

    Once a BBC man, always a BBC man.

    The more the Guardianistas and the Beeb get their knickers in a twist the more I see that Cameron is on to a winner.

    Domestically his move is hugely popular, yes, I know let’s get all the cliches out of the way quick so we can move on to substantive issues,


    OK? So there’s by-election coming up soon if I’m not wrong, let’s see how well the Lib Dems do shall we? Let’s see the Labour candidate stand on an unashamedly pro-Euro ticket? Then we can judge who is “isolated”.

    So what about the wider shores? I’ve said it bfore and I’ll say it again; Europe is over, they’re a busted flush, an irrelevance, Europe simply does not count in the world any more.

    If the UK does extricate itself out of that nepotistic, soviet-like, incestuous club and turns towards a freer association with the rest of the world, the places where the future is being written, it will be the best move they ever made.

    If the UK does get out, just watch the Gaderene like stampede of other nations for the exit doors immediately after.

    Europe is a corpse folks, it just hasn’t woken up to the fact yet, but then corpses never do.

  • Alias @ 11:46 pm:

    That’s an interesting “take”, but a contrary one.

    As I recall the Commons session, it runs against what Cameron was saying (Hansard for Monday is not on line yet for me to confirm) — and I’m fairly sure he said it several times.

    He argued that EU regulation prevented the UK having more stringent scrutiny and controls of banking, particularly citing the FSA report in support.

    Then, on a somewhat broader aspect, there is Olli Rehn (and here I have a quotation for chapter-and-verse):

    “I would also like to remind you that the UK government has also supported and approved the six-pack of new rules tightening fiscal and economic surveillance which enters into force on Tuesday. The UK’s excessive deficit and debt will be the subject of surveillance like other member states, even if the enforcement mechanism mostly applies to the euro area member states.”

  • FuturePhysicist

    So MR not only is the UK unashamably and utterly dependent on Europe for agriculture, manufacturing, trade etc. but a neo-liberal Conservative-LibDem goverment need it to regulate the country’s budgets so long as the City isn’t threatened.

    Ah well I suppose UKIP can still look enviously at Iceland’s bankrupted economy, the Norwegian “eco-communists”, the pseudo-Eurozone collectivist tax havens in Switzerland, the corporatist Russians, the Euroenvious black market Ukrainians and the Islamo-Keynesian Turks as examples of how prevalent example of the advantageous victory of individualism, competitiveness and free markets, democracy outside of and against the “doomed EU” in Europe and eventual future EU states across the Balkans like Croatia and the rest of the … oh wait let’s not forget the absolute monarchist state of Lichtenstein and the totalitarian regimes in Belarus and Moldova either!

    It’s not the Eurozone’s fault that Austria doesn’t have an Austrian school economy it’s the Austrian school’s fault.

  • dwatch

    Switzerland obviously did not join the EU or the eurozone because they certainly did not want Germany & France having control of their banks. How many can see the UK following in Switzerland’s footsteps.

  • Mick Fealty

    I wish it was that simple Harry. Hague was at the US State Department yesterday with Hillary; he’s well respected in those parts as something of a heavyweight.

    He looked knackered and sounded rambling and conditional on almost everything he was asked; as though he wasn’t quite sure where the game was going next.

    That, it seems to me, is Cameron’s weakness. Clegg is not the only one who is not sure where Cam is going to take them next.

    Maybe he’ll be proven justified in the end. If he’s pulling out of the EU I dont see the alliances he’s building up as an alternative.

    Paradoxically, whilst I don’t beleive he has any clear intention of taking the UK out of the EU, that may well be the de facto outcome of all of this, even if de jure they stay in.

  • Neil

    OK? So there’s by-election coming up soon if I’m not wrong, let’s see how well the Lib Dems do shall we? Let’s see the Labour candidate stand on an unashamedly pro-Euro ticket? Then we can judge who is “isolated”.

    Disengenious Harry. No-one is suggesting that this will leave the Tories ‘isolated’ domestically (which makes little sense). Dave’s playing to his own gallery and his decision will be popular within his own party.

    Which is kind of the problem you see, Dave’s cynical use of a veto the UK has managed to avoid wielding for have a century, pulled out of the bag by Posh Boy Dave because the vultures within the Tory party are circling above. He’s decided to use the veto for his own selfish purposes, to shore up his support within his own party. Make no mistake, he didn’t do it for Britain, he did it for Dave.

    So what about the wider shores? I’ve said it bfore and I’ll say it again; Europe is over, they’re a busted flush, an irrelevance, Europe simply does not count in the world any more.

    Say it as often as you like, you may even be correct, but it might be a bit of a hard sell while Europe is still the most wealthy continent on the planet. That aside, if Europe goes down, we go down with it.

    We’ve just made it more likely that Europe will go down, our biggest marketplace, how on Earth do you think that’s a good thing?

    But at least Dave’s protecting the bankers eh? Not that that’s what he was put in position to do or anything, I’m just pleased our poor defenceless bankers will be looked after, and we won’t need to introduce any kind of reform that might change the banking system which is, clearly, perfect in every way.

    I mean, where else could you bet the farm, lose, have the public pay for the farm, then bet it again. And don’t worry if you fuck it all up, you’re still in line for all your pay, perks and pensions. The public will pay for it.

    If the UK does extricate itself out of that nepotistic, soviet-like, incestuous club and turns towards a freer association with the rest of the world, the places where the future is being written, it will be the best move they ever made.

    Where do you think the future is being written then Harry? I’m just curious. Please don’t say the USA, that would just be too much. The Far East? Places like China perhaps? Who seem to be urging countries, Britain included to do what is necessary to protect the EU.

    So we’re going to make ourselves relevant by doing the opposite of what they request?

    If the UK does get out, just watch the Gaderene like stampede of other nations for the exit doors immediately after.

    Europe is a corpse folks, it just hasn’t woken up to the fact yet, but then corpses never do.

    Again, that’s the problem. If the UK gets out they pull down the house of cards. Britain then goes down the toilet with Europe. I ask you again, how is torpedoing our biggest trading partner out of the water supposed to help our situation?

    It was described by an economist on Radio Ulster last week as lose-lose. The link evades me. But that’s the way it seems. Either the EU works out, survives and we are marginalised and irrelevant (which would be a lose) or our biggest trading partner goes down the shitter and we lose a significant portion of our trade (which would also be a lose).

    Where in there is the silver lining? Apart from the fact that you’re anti EU and quite happy I mean.

  • Alias

    “If he’s pulling out of the EU I dont see the alliances he’s building up as an alternative.”

    Have you been looking closely enough? Non-EU UK exports will account for 70% of all UK exports by 2020. It doesn’t make any sense for the UK economy to be crippled by EU regulations when that marketplace is small and declining. The EU’s share of global GDP will have declined to 17% by 2015 despite frantically adding new states to disguise the failure.

    The UK imports more from the UK than the UK exports to the EU. In addition to that incentive to keep a non-EU member onside, the EU is restricted by various articles in the Lisbon Treaty (3 and 8, for examples) that legally mandates it to negotiate “free and fair trade” with non-EU countries. It is also prevented by World Trade Organisation from discriminating against UK exporters.

    Lastly, the UK is already a member of the EEA in addition to being a member of the EU. Withdrawal from the EU does not require withdrawal from the EEA. Since EEA members can export to the EU without tariffs, there is no need to remain within the EU just to have access to its marketplace.

    But who really thinks that Cameron isn’t a europhile even though he claims to be a eurosceptic? The British public are eurosceptic and, oddly enough, Cameron requires their support to be re-elected as prime minister without the need for a coalition partner. To be seen by the public as what he really is would be to face a second term hitched to Clegg & Co.

    The public will vote for him thinking he is on their side but he’d sell them out in an instant as, in common with all europhiles, they have no functioning concept of a national interest.

  • Alias

    Typo: “The UK imports more from the EU than the UK exports to the EU.”

  • Alias

    The FT has a description from the Czech prime minister about the contents of the ‘treaty’ that Cameron supposedly ‘vetoed’:

    “Right now, there is not much more than a blank sheet of paper and even the name of the future treaty might still change. I think that it would be politically short-sighted to come out with strong statements that we should sign that piece of paper.”

    If your solicitor advised you to sign a blank contract and to leave a blank cheque on his desk, you’d report him to the Law Society.

    Yet this is the type of deranged ‘advice’ that euro-fanatics are proffering for their nations, and are feverishly condemning the prime minister of the UK for not following.

    It’s almost enough to make you agree with the EU that some folks should just not be allowed to vote…

  • Alias,

    Of course it’s a bad idea to sign a blank piece of paper, but equally it’s a bad idea to refuse to sign a piece of paper before you even see what’s written on it.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Typo: “The UK imports more from {Any region} than the UK exports to {Said region}.”

    Any exceptions to the rule?

  • Alias

    That’s makes no sense at all. Agreement doesn’t enter into it until there is something to either agree or disagree with.

    It will be at least a year before any of the prime ministers would be in a position to veto a treaty since that is the mimimum lenght of time the process will take. However, since they have pre-agreed it, their respective nations will lose whateter rights that the EU later determines that the governments have pre-agreed to giving away.

  • Alias

    FP, your point?

    My point is that the EU gets more income from the UK than the UK gets from the rest of the EU. That places the economic balance of power on the UK’s side.

    The EU is in no position to boycott UK goods should the UK dump the EU, as it will be the net loser in that boycott.

  • Harry Flashman

    I think Mick and Neil you are too closely examining the individual trees to notice the enormity of the forest surrounding you.

    To mix metaphors, opting perhaps for cliche, but the EU and the euro are the Titanic and the noise you hear is number two and three boilers bursting through the bulkheads on their way to the bows, the main hatchways are giving in and the water is now lapping the foredeck, it matters little if one of the crew members has decided to lash a couple of deckchairs together before taking a flying leap overboard. It will have no effect on the end result no matter how much it angers his fellow deckchair arrangers.

    It’s over, the euro is going down and taking the EU with it. Twelve months from now Europe will be a very different place, poorer definitely, less democratic almost certainly. The personalities will have changed, strutting little Nicholas Bonaporte and the Iron Chancellor herself probably won’t be around (ironically by “isolating” himself Cameron might survive). Last week’s summit won’t even feature as a footnote in the history books, heck it’s only the Wednesday afterwards and it’s already unravelling.

    To talk of winners and losers in the summit is farcical, this isn’t negotiating pork belly quotas with wily French bureaucrats, it’s sauve qui peut, or as we Xenophobes say, every man for himself.

    Look at the big picture, don’t sweat the minutiae.

  • Harry Flashman @ 7:19 am:

    Nice on colour, beta minus for rhetoric, epsilon minus for failing to offer a single relevant fact.

    In which regard it curiously reminds me of smiling Gerry Healy, Galwegian and erstwhile residential sage of of Dublin’s North Strand. The early ’60s were Gerry’s Socialist Labour League phase: we cynical non-Trots were connoisseurs of Gerry’s outpourings, frequently reduced to what would later become ROFLOL.

    The particular Healy moment that comes to mind was his summative rant on (I believe) the Cuban Revolution: “This, comrades, is a debate of empiricism of the one hand, and dialectics on the other — so let’s not confuse the issue with facts”. Just like our beloved Sir Harry.

    Can we at some stage hear Sir Harry’s critiques of recent movies? Say, Meryl Streep as The Iron Lady? Or Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn? I’d dearly love to compare Sir Harry on the latter with the magnificent editorial Gerry Healy penned for The [SLL] Newsletter. It began “So Marilyn Monroe is dead” and concluded many ponderous paragraphs later with the ringing conclusion, “This proves the Stalinists are incapable of leading the working class to ultimate victory!”

    All of which totally off-topic — just like so much of this now murdered thread.

    Moreover, isn’t Xenophobe (with the capital) a tired, redundant and out-classed space-invaders game?

    Please “Flag as offensive”.

  • Roy Walsh

    One other matter avoided by Will Hutton is the reasoning behind the latest emergency summit last week, and the cause of disagreement between Britain and their neighbors in Europe, ensuring European and international financial services located there can now borrow at 1% with the opportunity to then lend to Italy at 6.4%, thereby reducing the impact of bondmarkets which has already had a yield on Italian debt exceeding 7.4%, a place seen as unsustainable in relation to the Republic and Greece, both of which then required a European bailout, as above, the markets are unlikely to wear this and I think will continue to push Italy’s and French debt ’til an economic tool aimed at achieving a political goal is gone and they can again trade in a greater multiplicity of currencies.

  • Harry Flashman

    As I said above, it’s only Wednesday and already last Friday’s “historic” deal has just submerged beneath the waterline;

    “Forget David Cameron’s veto, another eurozone crisis is only weeks away”

    Malcolm, we’ll come back to this page in twelve months’ time and see which of us had the clearer perspective of where the euro is going.

  • Neil

    That said Harry do you then accept that Callmedave’s use of the veto was ultimately pointless? Having now pissed off the bulk of Euroland for no discernable benefit is it possible do you think that he did so to shore up support within the eurosceptic section of the Tory party?

    Put another way do you think he’s used a veto that British Prime Ministers have baulked at using for over half a century for selfish political gain? If not what ‘gain’ has he achieved given your view that the use of the veto has changed the course of events not a jot?

  • Harry Flashman

    Yes, actually Neil, his veto was pointless, the deal was bunk anyway.

    But he’s boosted his own domestic position at a time when European governments are falling like nine-pins to EU diktakts, which is in itself a result.

    If, as I suspect, the whole project is going tits-up anyway it is cost free for him.

    We mustn’t get so prissy and precious about telling the EU to get stuffed as and when necessary, they aren’t God Almighty you know, France and Germany have thrown their weight around before in the EU, how come everyone only has a hissy-fit when the Brits stand up for themselves?

    By the way read Fintan O’Toole in yesterday’s Irish Times, he seems to be getting pretty euro-sceptic these days which is quite something coming from Ireland’s answer to Will Hutton.

  • HeinzGuderian

    left wing luvvies outflanked………yet again 😉

  • Alias

    “But he’s boosted his own domestic position at a time when European governments are falling like nine-pins to EU diktakts, which is in itself a result.”

    That’s about the sum of it. While I’d still praise him for not giving the green light to a new treaty, it’s more likely to be the case that a new treaty is the last thing the EU itself wanted at this time. This way they get to use that self-amending clause in the Lisbon Treaty that our europhile political class denied was even there. Plus, of course, a new treaty was the last thing that Cameron himself wanted – for fairly obvious reasons.

    Incidentally, the EU-engineered ‘coup’ in Italty gained “influence” with the bond markets for all of about two weeks. Italy’s cost of borrowing hit a new record high of 6.47% on the bond markets today.

    That’s the poor bargain with trading sovereignty for influence. Loss of sovereignty, like AIDS, is forever. Whereas influence is as transient as the flu.