Reading Aaron Ellis’s thoughts on the unexpected “no” from Cameron on Friday – as well as the mournings and musings of various others – has prompted me to pause for thought. HMG has always sought to have British commissioners holding the economic portfolio in Brussels, in order that the economic regulation that emerges has a flavour that is acceptable to the British palate. It is perhaps no coincidence that financial regulation became indigestible once labour abandoned the principle of occupying the economic portfolio at all costs – to get Baroness Ashton into the new foreign policy portfolio – thereby allowing France to install Barnier into our old redoubt. This perhaps explains why Britain is so nervous about the coming tide of financial regulation, when we have not previously been overruled on such matters via QMV, but has Cameron played a blinder or a poor hand badly?
Rather depends on how deluded you are, for there was very little choice available to Cameron.
Mr Clegg is a clever chap, and a pragmatic one too, so when it comes to value of our trade with europe I have no doubt he is well aware of the declining importance it plays, if only because Osborne and Alexander will have sat him down for a little chat. However, he is bang in the middle of a gruelling battle to transform his party into something fit to govern the UK, and that requires that he doesn’t yank too hard on the baby-reins. At some point before the next election he will have to instil a more pragmatic form of enthusiasm for the EU that is able to reflect critically on its flaws, not least the damage that the doctrine of ever-deeper-union has done to public acceptance of the wider project. The uncritical europhilia that has been our Lib-Dem diet to date stems largely from the fear that without the shoulders of europe to stand upon the UK’s future is dark for we need europe’s might to keep; the money flowing, the barbarians from the gate, and to temper our anglo-saxon tendencies. Perhaps he needs to show his party this:
In the space of just ten years the value of our trade with europe vis-a-vis the rest of the world has slipped dramatically, and it has done so because europe is now a low-growth zone.
The euro crisis rumbles on, with the Greece bail-out 2.0 entrain and still no real solution to the currency union’s problem. In a marked change from a generation of Conservative policy; that we should be at the heart of europe to ensure they don’t make a pigs ear of it, we know have George Osborne arguing for a two-speed EU, with Britain in the slow lane. Welcome aboard George!
Is this the promised land, where British democracy becomes accountable once more?
How things have changed since the previous article in March asking what a Cameron led government would with its EU policy pledges; we now have a Conservative / Lib-Dem coalition, the EU apparently fire-hosed 750bn Euro’s at its sovereign-debt problem, but the financial markets smelled a rat when rumours emerged the bailout package wasn’t as watertight as they had been led to believe, and as a consequence have been punishing the euro for the last week.
Where then does this leave Camerons six EU policy pledges?
First of all this is not a party political article, nor should it be construed as a recommendation of the Lib-Dems in the coming election, vote where your convictions lie. What this article intends to demonstrate is that the Lib-Dem’s are a crucial function of our political system, and their apparent flaws are in fact vital to the operation of that function.
So, what are the problems with the Lib-Dems that make them so objectionable? Well, this boils down to two core problems; the first of which is that in a First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral system a vote for them is essentially a waste, the second is that their policies are rarely conform to coherent platform that is recognisably guided by core principles.