Monday, December 12, 2011

The agenda all along?

One senior Lib-lim, the disgraced former chief secretary to the treasury David Laws, is blaming The Boy's "veto" on a lack of British pre-summit preparatory work "to get some of the big nations on side and understand the concerns the UK had".

But doesn't the silly man recall the Welt online piece on the Thursday of the European Council, telling us that Cameron was "likely to find his European partners in no mood for British intransigence"?

At the time, it was very obvious what Merkel and Sarkozy were aiming for – they put it in a letter, and it was pretty obvious that they were not going to take anything less, having already seen off Van Rompuy and his proposal of 6 December.
Then there was also the meeting between Sarkozy and Cameron, the week before the European Council. If there was going to be a meeting of minds, it would have been apparent then. But if he wasn't listening to Van Rompuy, it was pretty obvious Sarkozy wasn't going to be taking a lot of notice of The Boy.

At the time, there was a small but important detail. Sarkozy bid adieu to The Boy from the steps of the palace, leaving Cameron to walk the 100 yards or so to his car on his own. When it came to Merkel though, Sarkozy was with her right to the door of the car, right down to the lingering touch as the German chancellor slipped into her seat.

These small signs tell one a great deal. It was very obvious that the Franco-German motor of integration was lining up against perfidious Albion, and there was nothing Cameron could have done to stop it.

Laws, thus, is blowing wind. But it does beg the question as to what Cameron could have done. And here, if he had insisted on Van Rompuy convening an IGC, it is hard to see how he could have been refused. The "colleagues" would have been trapped into doing something they did not want to do – negotiating amendments to the Lisbon treaty – which The Boy could then have vetoed.

To that extent, Laws does have a point. At a European level, Cameron's tactics were flawed. But then, more likely Cameron was playing to his domestic audience. Flying out as the poodle of Brussels and returning the eurosceptics' darling, he has succeeded perhaps beyond his wildest dreams.

It is only the Lib-dems that seem to care what actually happens in "Europe", even if they can't actually be bothered to inform themselves properly about what is going on.

While some may rejoice in this presaging a break-up of the coalition, and an early general election (next Spring?), the thought of a resurgent Tory party sweeping into office, with their europhile leader at its head, does not exactly fill one with joy. And, if that has been the agenda all along, both the Lib-dims and the British public are falling for it.