When I first heard the news that Cameron had actually exercised his veto, I said to my wife; "Ignore everything and only think about it after Christmas."
And that is what I am doing!
There is so much absolute rubbish being aired in the newspapers. And did you hear the "Lord Haw Haw" approach by the BBC afterwords, exercising that doom ladened voice they always use when they talked about white South Africans? Yes folks, it has been resurrected for Cameron.
Fraser Nelson wrore an excellent article in the Spectator Blog ending with:
There is more to our country than its politicians. Treaties signed by men in suits account for just a fraction of its international relations. I'm still hoping Britain can stay in the EU. But the Independent's front page puts it best today: the EU is leaving Britain. Cameron stayed firm on Thursday — but the EU is moving in a direction that Cameron can't follow even if he wanted to because he's hemmed in by public opinion. The October revolution, as no one really calls the last Europe rebellion, was driven by MPs who could not reject plans for a referendum and face their voters. People power was expressed then, a taste of what Cameron could expect if he had signed that Treaty.
Cameron had no choice on Thursday. He'd never get a EU27 Treaty past his party, and it may have triggered his Triple Lock referendum (which bans any treaty which transfers powers to the the EU). Sure, Cameron will take the brickbats and the bouquets today, but as far as I can tell it was Sarkozy, not Cameron, who ruined the chance of an EU27 Treaty — by foisting on Cameron something he knew the House of Commons would never pass. Nick Clegg is pretty much saying that Cameron was all set to cave in, demanding just fig-leaf protection for the City and dropping any demands of the return of powers that he was talking about just three weeks ago. But Sarkozy wouldn't even grant him the fig-leaf.
Sarkozy, not Cameron, was the wrecker on Thursday night. Perhaps because France wants Britain out of the EU, perhaps because Sarkozy wanted the new Fiscal Union to be a 17-member group that France could better dominate. It's still not clear.
What is clear is that Britain is now facing a choice. The status quo is not sustainable, for the reasons Owen Paterson outlined in his explosive interviewwith James Forsyth in this week's Spectator. If the EU is changing ‘radically’, as Sarkozy says, then so must Britain's relationships with it. We renegotiate and save our EU membership, as I'd like us to do, or Britain pulls out — choosing not isolation, but world trade. Once upon a time, we did that quite well. We could again.
Indeed, it might be asked: who is the true isolationist? The EU has responded to globalisation by putting up trade barriers, slapping tariffs on imports, disparaging globalisation, subsidising industries that can't compete globally, ignoring the rise of India, China, Brazil, etc. To borrow a Billy Bragg phrase, theirs is a land with a wall around it. Our horizons are global. So no matter what happens with the EU, isolationism is not an option anyone in this country is considering.
So, dear reader, before you make a decision on whether Cameron has done the right thing or not, wait until the new year as. by then, you will have a true opicture of how this will affect us.
In addition, many pundits are forecasting the demise of UKIP because of Cameron's stance. Well, my answer to that is, there is a bye-election in Feltham (Middlesex) on December 15th. This will be a good litmus test of how, in the immediate period, UKIP fares. But remember, if they don't do as well as expected, this may change when matters concerning the EU and Cameron's stance unravels.
An old Chinese insult is; "May you live in interesting times!" We are indeed living in interesting times and I will return to this matter in January when we have a clearer picture.