Monday, 12 December 2011

EU: Economic crisis, Tory priorities and euro bully-boys (Updated)

Here is a thoughtful tweet from @Nosemonkey (J Clive Matthews) in London:

Question: Is there a single foreign leader that respects Cameron? Just wondering if the UK has any friends left anywhere...

To the warlike atmosphere created by campaigning anti-EU media and secessionist Tory backbenchers and which has fed into popular images of a bulldogian Churchill defending Britain from nazi invasion, I add a tweet of my own:

Churchill was still wedded to Empire, Commonwealth & Anglosphere but IMHO would today be smart enough to be European.

Admittedly, it is speculation. At which stage would Churchill, who in 1946 proposed a United States of Europe built around France and Germany, but with Britain among its friends and sponsors, have taken the plunge to engage fully as a constructive member?

Perhaps it would have taken new generations not rooted in the Boer War and the imperial past to start playing a positive part as a key player in Europe. But the new generations found it hard to shrug off their tribal legacy, with David Cameron the bulldog biting 26 heads of state or government before withdrawing to the company of his secessionist backbenchers at Chequers for R&R [victory celebrations] (The Independent, Financial Times).

The bully-boys (The Sun) and blithering idiots (The Telegraph) on the Continent may be forgiven for thinking that their simple demand for a laissez-passer for a treaty fix among 27, but affecting only the willing, was a reasonable demand. They may have been misguided in thinking that the euro crisis and the global financial crisis, combined with worsening economic prospects globally, were weightier aims even for the future of the United Kingdom (Reuters), but they were taught a lesson about UK Tory priorities (Mail Online).

Naturally, there are some domestic quislings bickering against these new heights of unhelpfulness, but they only add to the festive spirit.

The Liberal Democrat leader and the coalition partner Nick Clegg has, belatedly, come out against Cameron's blocking move (The Telegraph). Alex Salmond, the first minister of Scotland, has accused Cameron of damaging Scottish interests (AFP Google News). British business leaders are troubled by the prospects of isolation in Europe (BBC News Business).

After slamming down criticism from Clegg (Huffington Post UK), foreign secretary William Hague is going to meet US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to discuss wisely chosen topics such as Syria and Iran, where there is still life in the 'special relationship' (The Guardian, question 6 out of 7 Britain is facing).

Let us end our exposé of the statecraft of unhelpfulness here.

Update 12 December 2011: We now have the PM's statement on what he did at the European Council, but IMHO neither the wording nor the reasoning stand much rigorous analysis. Cameron's 'good faith' negotiations did not sound attractive enough to entice deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to sit on the government bench in the House of Commons (BBC News UK politics).

Just wondering... (on Twitter)

Would #Cameron statement stand 10 minutes of scrutiny by young solicitor's clerk first day on the job? #UKpolitics #euro

Ralf Grahn