So, now it’s official, if far from clear.
We want to stay in the European Union, David Cameron
declares, but only on our own, unique terms.
These we intend to negotiate with the other members, who as usual are united
against us. After that, in 2017, the
British voters will decide whether the battle was won or lost – in other words
elect to remain in the club or walk out.
The only people happy with that prospect are 100 Tory
hard-line back-benchers, the kind of people who would sooner vote to join the
Flat Earth Society than continue in the EU.
Cameron has played to their gallery, and perhaps into their hands.
It’s madness, this interminable re-evaluation of Britain’s relations with Europe. Charles De Gaulle was right all along: we
were not ready to join when we first (belatedly) applied to join the EEC, as it
was then, and we’re not ready to join the EU half a century later. The difference between then and now is that
then we were merely knocking at the door, making a dreadful fuss on the
pavement outside, now we’re inside the house annoying all the other guests.
But you know my views; I expressed them here a few
As a leader, Cameron keeps going down in my
estimation, gathering speed as he descends.
How demeaning that a prime minister should dare to risk Britain’s
global standing by playing political hokey-cokey. (You know the words: left foot in, right foot
in, whole self in, shake it all about.)
He performs this jig to a discordant tune played by a
vocal parliamentary minority of chinless Hooray Henrys in his own party, and a
splinter opposition party led by a strip-suited spiv who’s probably never been
troubled by an original thought in his life, other than the absurd notion that
he himself ought to occupy the office.
It is Cameron who should be sending them running for
cover, not the other way round.
The Europeans are exasperated and our business leaders
are confused. And well they might be. ****