Mulling over the fallout from yesterday’s disastrous decision by David Cameron to put petty Party political considerations before the national interest, I am finding it more and more unfathomable as to what on earth the prime minister thought he was going to achieve in the long run by wielding our veto to scupper plans to sort out the Eurozone crisis.
Osborne, appearing on the Today Programme was asked over and over by John Humphrys to specify one, just one power that we would have been asked to surrender under the interim plans which the other 26 nations wanted to enact. He was unable to do so.
Last night Cameron told Sky News that things such as the Schengen Accord, which we opted out of regarding internal EU passport controls, were a sacroscent part of our independent relationship with Europe.
Schengen was signed in 1985. It has no relevance whatsoever to matters under discussion this week. Is this really the best our prime minister could come up with to support his argument? It is an apt demonstration of the monumental lack of intellect at the heart of our Government, and that Cameron has absolutely no diplomatic skills, going to his bottom line as a default response. This is not how international negotiation works.
What Cameron has achieved is that he no longer has to steer a new European Bill through Parliament. This would have resulted in a catastrophic split in the Tory Party and Cameron facing the real possibility of a challenge to his leadership with all the associated fall out for the future of the Coalition. In addition by appeasing his backbench rump of Euro sceptic MP’s Cameron has now avoided the possibility of having to call a referendum where the PM would have been forced into sharing a platform, and campaigning with Ed Miliband.
What would Labour have done? Firstly we wouldn’t have got the UK backed into such a corner, and secondly we recognise that if the euro crashes and burns, then we will suffer with it. Like or not we are tied into what happens across the Channel, as Europe is by far and away our biggest trading partner. To continue the pyrotechnic analogy, if you live in a terrace and both your neighbour’s houses on fire you do whatever it takes to stop the fire spreading to your abode.
That’s where we are now. We have to work hard, make sacrifices and make sure the Eurozone survives. We can reflect on the more esoteric arguments once the crisis is over.
Cameron acted purely in self-interest to save his own skin, and by rejecting the bank transaction tax, he is assuring that the cheques to the Tory Party keep flowing in from their cronies in the City.
He may garner favourable headlines in the right wing press and be hailed by the Tory MP’s in Parliament, but week, months and years down the line the British people will pay the price for Cameron’s selfish actions.