Saturday, January 07, 2012

Confusing the issues

In a bid to preserve The Boy's new-found credentials as a "eurosceptic", the modern-day successor to the European Movement has been hard at work. This is Open Europe, which has managed to place material with three newspapers, predictably the Daily Mail, the Failygraph and the Financial Times.

The headline issue, as presented by The European Movement Open Europe, is an attempt by the "colleagues" to include single market and other measures in the latest draft of the intergovernmental treaty, which will require the use of EU institutions, building on an initiative started by Cameron himself.

In fact, there is very little difference between this latest version and the first draft, which we reported on 17 December, then remarking that it was as close to being an EU treaty as it could be, without actually being one.

In effect, this puts two fingers up to Cameron, and makes a complete mockery of any pretensions that he might be "standing up for Britain" and preventing the "colleagues" from taking their intended action.

Hence, with the safe distance of a month – long enough for memories to have blurred - The European Movement Open Europe is setting up The Boy as the champion in what it is positioning as a second round of the fight.

Thus, we are seeing the focus being carefully shifted to questions as to whether The Boy will "try to block the use of the EU institutions in implementing and enforcing the fiscal pact", or (so we are told), whether he will "merely insist on the EU institutions not being used for single market issues".

Nothing of that latter statement actually makes sense, and there is no mention of the single market in the draft treaty, but the confusion introduced serves to preserve the myth of the veto and keep attention away from the fact that nothing much has changed since the European Council meeting in December.

One thing newly added to the draft treaty though is a passage which firms up on the declared intent of the "colleagues" to incorporate the new treaty provisions "into the treaties of the Union as soon as possible". A time scale of five years from the entry into force of the treaty has now been specified.

Cleverly, having not covered the original statement in any detail, and the first draft of the treaty at all, The European Movement Open Europe can present this to its media clients as something new and different, setting The Boy up as the "hero of the veto", protecting his turf.

Thus does the British perception of EU politics deteriorate into utter fantasy, with the non-existent veto now being "protected" in a contest which only exist in the imaginations of the europlastics, determined to keep the withdrawal agenda out of the headlines.

Nevertheless, by confusing the issues, Cameron's role as defender has been defined, as he girds his loins for battles to come. And so does the fantasy continue.