Cameron’s battle with the European beast makes EU less unpopular?

Much has been made of the veto bounce for David Cameron. You find it most dramatically in the ICM poll which filters rigourously for likelihood to vote (and already had the Tories in the lead).

In fact the detail in some of the polls suggest that the Tory bounce has been in part a result of squeezing UKIP’s recent surge. And if you look at the patterns over the last few months on YouGov’s polling report, this bounce only just breaches the typical margin of error of previous ratings.

In the Sunday Times YouGov poll there is some backing for Cameron’s action; or at least for what it signalled. But – and Anthony suggests this may be an outlier – something slightly weird has happened to the let’s leave the EU figure. It’s tumbled from 50% to 42%.

I’d not go too hard in this, but it seems to me that what people are looking for is some form of agency with regard to this European beast, which at its centre barely has the capacity to listen to what it’s constituent parts are thinking or feeling never mind the inclination.

It’s a design fault. Exaggerated all the more by a rapid expansion eastwards. The current phase of the crisis, with the old partners from the days when there were just six countries still calling all the shots for the 27, even to the point of striking down the EU’s own legal advice at the final hour.

So as well as bolstering his own support, Cameron’s apparently robust engagement with the EU seems to have had a palliative effect on the EU’s own ratings in Britain. If his own party’s ratings are going down again it is partly to do with the ferocious press he’s faced in the days following his walk out.

It may be for the best that the UK leaves the EU. That’s the preferred option already for some quite senior Tory opinion formers. But Margaret Thatcher never needed to threaten departure. She may have had her metaphorical handbag, but she was also prepared to commit real resources to a fight that had to be fought on many fronts.

Something that’s noticeable by its absence from Camerons current efforts.

The French German axis is too narrow a base upon which to build a sustainable European future. Whether the UK stays in or leaves, it needs to start investing in a multilateral world that’s likely to become less stable and less predictable. By showing some credible agency abroad, it may also serve to calm Eurosceptic nerves at home and give himself a lot more room to manoeuvre abroad.

That would surely make him more ‘Hitch noteable’?

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  • andnowwhat

    There’s a bit of interesting psychology going on over on

    Obviously there’s much anger at the EU (especially the Germans) and Cameron has become quite the cyber folk hero over there. I find that quite strange given that they are within the euro, Cameron’s position is indirectly against them.

    On the UK front, I found Osborne’s statement, before last, to be very desperate in it’s tone. He seemed to be hoping for markets/industry abroad to go on the up in the future so that the UK can benefit, all of which sounds too much like fingers crossed to me.

    There is no certainty, by a long stretch, that recovering markets will be looking to the west for anything other than consumers. They have plenty of willing, well educated cheap labour in Africa, Asia and S America. Why would firms invest in plants in an island off Europe with an expensive, ill motivated, poorly educated (well, England anyway) workforce and who’s very geographical position icurs added expense?

    I’m really at a loss to why Cameron et al are not being challenged harder save for the obvious of the most pathetic opposition I’ve seen for a long time

  • Mick Fealty

    On the Irish front, ask yourself why Cameron is being lauded a hero? Because as of right now, his position also lines up with the Irish national interest.

    Given the instability of the Euro, membership and non membership does not constitute the only significant lines of national self interest.

    Two things to bear in mind:

    – The people who designed the Euro and passed it fit for purpose are the same ones who are condemning the UK PM for not falling in with the French conditions (which fail to address the same questions they failed to flag up in the first place).

    – Noonan et al are being told they will get nothing more out of a deal that all but lets Frence and German banks off with virtually no penalty.In addition they want the UK to stump up £60 billion it is not likely to see again in a lifetime.

    Cameron’s fault is: one, not being prepared for a fly last minute move on the part of the French government; and telling the world the only thing at stake was the city of London’s right to deal the way it wanted.

    What’s becoming clear is that the UK could and probably should reasonably lead with the shortcomings of the deal itself.

    As a footnote, one of the most pass remarkable things I noted on Twitter at the time was how close to the SF position Cameron was coming.

    Ireland is in an unenviable position. It cannot complain too loudly because the French and Germans can cut off its money supply at the stroke of a Eurocrat institution.

    Whereas the UK has some room for maneuver in a situation where the French and Germans are being left to their own devices and are naturally settling terms in their own favour.

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s an interesting Tory voice on the matter, Fiona Melville:

    This is not the start of our path to being Switzerland (lovely though Switzerland is). Nor is it the start of withdrawal from the EU unless various other things happen as well. Sadly we are still going to have to come back to the questions above about debt, spending and growth. Importantly, we are also still signed up to all the various Treaties that came before this weekend.

    What I think it can be is a wake-up call and a reminder to all members of what the EU is actually for. It is not unfeasible to have an EU where different groupings decide to do different things because it is in their interests while not being in the interests of others (the euro and Schengen are two obvious precedents). It is not even undesirable. Quite the opposite in fact.