Huh! Defending British interests my arse.
True, there was no way that any British Prime Minister would have signed that treaty/treaty amendment (delete appropriate description). However no British Prime Minister would have willingly negotiated that treaty, which involves amongst other things the placing of the Eurozone members within a very tight financial straight-jacket. No British Prime Minister would have flounced out of talks on the miniscule issue of regulation of the banking sector – not as has been claimed in some sections the issue of the “Tobin Tax”. In short, Cameron did not show the necessary behaviours befitting a British Prime Minister, putting the interests of his paymasters in the City before the country.
However, what I want to focus on is not the treaty, but our dear leader’s negotiating skills. Does anyone else think that they were… seriously lacking? As 5 Live’s sport’s “discussion” show “Fighting Talk” pointed out, this is the second time in a year that Cameron has arrived at a conference, made his point and seen things go against him. Last December, he flew to Switzerland to lobby for England to host the World Cup in 2018, only to see the Russians win the bid, with 1 solitary vote backing the English bid – 2 less than the English FA calculated that they had in the bag before the last representations.
This time, Cameron left Belgium with 26 countries going ahead with the treaty amendment, leaving the UK behind. As Milliband the Younger put it, it’s not a veto when the thing you are aiming to stop goes ahead… that’s called losing. When attending the press conferences post treaty, you could see the thought processes of Merkel and Sarkosy going on behind their eyes – arrogant stupid British probably being top of those thought processes. Stupid though is probably being too kind a description for Cameron – they guy who has thrown away 40 years of negotiating positions in one fell swoop. Cameron is probably too stupid to have even thought about the full consequences of what happened on Friday – beginning with what impact his decision will have in keeping the union itself together.
The boast, made by Labour politicians, that part of the union dividend is a influence on the EU via the UK has been shot to pieces by Cameron’s actions. Writing in the Sunday Herald, Iain McWhirter hypothesised that the EU, possibly as an act of revenge would offer enhanced terms to an independent Scotland – just as they would get shot of the problem English. All this is very interesting – the only truth of the matter is that at a stroke one of the key arguments for staying in the union has vanished overnight. If Salmond were to clarify that an Independent Scotland would only enter the EU after a referendum, it would be doubtful even then that Cameron would recognise how much of a precarious position this union is now in.
There is a worrying trend building up with Cameron appearing at conferences and events and coming away with nothing like what was expected. Brown, Blair, Major or Thatcher would not have gone to that meeting and flounced out so spectacularly at 5am. Whatever you think of them, they would have gained some sort of quid pro quo before agreeing the treaty – or suggested key amendments making it a different treaty. Unlike his immediate predecessors, Cameron just does not give the impression of knowing how to get what he wants – just on how to spin this situation (which is about the only thing he has done “right”).
On Friday morning, Cameron looked every inch a political lightweight let loose in the heavyweight circuit – with disastrous consequences. Only like everything else at the moment – it will be us that pick up the pieces.