Britain and the EU (as things really are)…

Ben Brogan nails the UKs dilemma over the EU under Cameron’s leadership:

Eurosceptics want Britain to defy the EU more often, all the better to ensure that our views are heard in the renegotiation they believe is inevitable. From the other side of the Channel, though, British defiance is increasingly understood as a precursor to departure.

  • The EU might temporarily miss the UK’s 8.1 billion net contribution if the UK were to leave but that prospect wont stop them from turning down a request from the UK to have some of the EU powers re-patriated.

    Whichever way Cameron turns, he is in danger of going over a political cliff. Give in to the EU demands and a backbench rebellion becomes a Supervolcano. Isolate the UK and the Government gets criticised for achieving nothing except to drive a spear into its relations with the Lib Dems.

    Ed Milliband smells blood. Never mind his Zombie-like eyes. You are about to see his fangs.

    I would not rule out Cameron coming away with something though. The Europeans will fear that if the UK is given nothing, they will veto not only the Budget on Thursday but also the Banking Union vote coming up in Mid December. In a sense, the latter vote is more important. At least there is a mechanism to deal with the Budget if it is not agreed but a failure at the December summit could be very damaging in the context of the debt crisis.

  • iluvni

    you really think that ‘nails’ it?

    Eurosceptics of any worth arent remotely interested in re-negotiation. They want the UK out of the EU.

  • Seymour major
    ‘Isolate the UK and the government gets criticized….’

    Brings to mind the old ‘fog on the channel, rest of europe cut off’ gag, the euroseptics[not a typo], would see that as the continent’s loss rather than Britain’s. John Major must be having a laugh at Cameron now.

  • Ruarai

    The Cameron Doctrine:

    “Who needs a doctrine when one has a full bladder?”

    The absence of strategy has been striking from the outset but fused with the presence of a strong anti-state ideology and a weak leadership, the current Tory Party may be the most potent force to wreak havoc on the neighbours’ island since 1066.

    At this rate, the Cameron legacy will be England. Gone from Europe and Scotland gone form the UK; i.e. the UK gone too. Oh, and a functioning welfare state? Scrapped on the alter of austerity. A new Jerusalem indeed.


    Still improbable perhaps but ask yourself, as you preview the forthcoming a debate on Scottish independence and you consider the types of developments and conditions that could tip the minds of Scots to stand tall, how persuasive an arguer for “the UK” would be or could be a Tory leadership flailing amidst the collapsing scenery of a most wreckless administration that has just walked Britain into the calamity of European disengagement, destroyed the welfare state and presided of a disastrous economic program?

    The winds are blowing – and Cameron doesn’t have a weatherman or a map or a vision worth a damn.

  • Greenflag

    Ruarai ,

    At this rate Cameron could be even worse for the UK’s relations with the EU and the rest of the world than Thatcher . At least with Thatcher while one may have disagreed with her vindictive destruction of British manufacturing and mining there was at least a coherence in her foreign policy .

    Cameron more and more gives the impression of being the front charging lemming Tory chief as they charge to the cliffs of Dover to repel a caricature EU cartoon . Meanwhile on Calais shores and from Bordeaux to Bremerhaven backs are turned to the septic isle and eyes turn east to the rising future in Poland , Russia , China etc .

    Is’nt that why Peter & Martin were in Shanghai last week ?

  • Ruarai


    I agree with you on Cameron’s potential to leave his country with less influence and allies than most any of his predecessors.

    I’d disagree with your characterization of him as “being front charging”, indeed my overarching impression of his approach is the opposite of that. I see him and his government caught in the headlights of a continent and a world and a moment in history that’s unfolding faster than ever before, a world being remade at a pace he doesn’t understand, that scares him and that he’s responding to rather than shaping.

    Since this world is moving too fast for him to influence, instead and inevitably, he’s influenced by it, reacting to it, complaining about it and vainly shouting “stop!”.

    In short, Cameron is not charging forward in the wrong direction – he’s charging nowhere, he’s directionless; he’s a man without a strategy or an understanding of what one looks like. At a moment when fundamental relationships within Europe and between Europe and the world are being re-imagined and remade, he’s lost, he’s watching and he’s panicking.

    And, as a sidenote, as Cameron’s Etonians fail to stem the growing resentment in Britain towards participating in Europe as a builder and a leader and a problem-solver, so shall they sleep-walk Britain – against a backdrop of Red Top jingoism – into a position of increasing global isolation and the atrophying influence, relevance and power that comes with that. And therein lies the opportunity for the SNP.

    Far from leading Scotland from a big international entity into small-country status, they will have an opening to present independence as the Europe-engaging sane direction for their country vs. shrinking with the Etonians and Red Tops disastrous offshore corporate tax haven ‘island nation’ UK project.

    Independence can mean a voice for Scotland in Europe and in therefore in the world. That’s anything but an emotional pitch.

    The emotional and unwise option may yet prove to be Cameron’s rudderless and drifting UK, not Salmond’s Scotland in Europe path.

  • Greenflag

    Ruarai, @ 21 November 2012 at 4:43 am

    On reflection and in view of your introduction of the Scotland question into the mix -I’m convinced that my analogy of Cameron as Lemming -in – chief heading for the political cliffs was somewhat hasty and inaccurate .

    Instead the image now embedded in my mind is that of Cameron -holding on for dear life – being dragged around the Home Counties by one of Rebekah Brooks horses when the animal spooked after hearing Dave drone on for too long about his ‘Big Society ‘ and standing up to Brussels .

    I had’nt thought of the SNP angle but yes it makes sense .Whether the Scots opt for a new departure or stick with centuries old tradition will be problematical . If it comes down to a vote between finance v tradition I expect the Scots to go for the money . They may finally have learned the lessons of the Darien debacle back at the beginning of the imperial era.

  • Greenflag

    Now here’s Raisa’s view of hold onto your horses Dave sitting more comfortably before the fit hit the shan as it were.