On Dave's EU dilemma
Anthony Peters says Cameron has hit the post, yet again.
One thing we know for certain about the EU is that it will never let the people get in the way of democracy. This has once again been demonstrated in spades over the past couple of days.
Although a near neighbour and my own local constituency MP, I am no great fan of our prime minister, David “Call me Dave” Cameron. I think his policy of putting British membership of the Union on the slaughtering block in order to win the next parliamentary elections is morally irresponsible and childish, but he seems fully intent on taking morally irresponsible and childish to new and unknown levels in the same way in which his predecessor, that now-invisible Scotsman who abolished the boom and bust cycle, took fiscally irresponsible and childish beyond the rationally believable simply in order to garner domestic votes.
I was not averse to Cameron’s protests against the apparent auto-anointment process which was supposed to elevate Jean-Claude Juncker, the Muppet in Chief, to the presidency of the European Commission – which of course it ultimately did – but once again the British prime minister found himself with a great idea, poorly thought through and appallingly executed.
Four years ago Labour left him with an electoral open goal and all he could do was to hit the post. He has a fantastic Chancellor in George Osborne who refused to bow to all the moaning Minnies, who stayed the economic course without resorting to Labour’s “Top Two Ed’s” famed Plan B and who is presiding over a growing economy with plunging unemployment. Plan B was, if I remember rightly, a process of countering the painful after-effects of wild government spending by instituting wild government spending.
Meanwhile, President Francois Hollande of France elevated Plan B to Plan A and is now faced with 10.1% unemployment while Cameron and Osborne yesterday saw June jobless figures for the UK fall by a better than expected 36,300 (forecast -27k) with the ILO method Unemployment Rate steady at 6.5%. And still, Cameron seems to be failing to make his administration’s success in steering the economy out of the abyss translate into a meaningful impact on the polls.
He took a huge bet on giving the Scottish National Party its independence referendum while disenfranchising the England based Scottish intelligentsia but handing a vote to 16-year-olds who have never paid a penny in tax and who can now vote on the case for sovereignty but who have no say on local policy issues such as the times of school buses. This gamble is now at risk of blowing up in his face and he might end up being lucky if he gets away with nothing worse that a strike against the goal post. If he loses Scotland and hence the Union, at least we know he can’t win a general election and that the referendum on EU membership sinks with him.
Back to Brussels
We used to speak of overnight wrangling in smoke-filled rooms. Now we have overnight wrangling in €2.50/litre filled rooms and yet, even without the smoke, the composition of the European Commission has not been agreed on. Juncker, apparently a keen smoker himself, ever the supporter of EU neo-Stalinism, feels that he should be able to appoint the commissioners according to his free will. He has evidently yet to grasp the key principle of Democracy, namely respect for the opinions of the minority and I understand Cameron’s stance that having and uber-integrationist president of the Commission requires something a counter-balance in other senior roles.
I’m not sure that a one-legged female Roma with Finnish-Cypriot dual citizenship and representing the United Kingdom Independence Party is quite the solution, but Juncker has to accept that pro-European and totally integrationist are not one and the same thing or, perhaps more pertinently, wishing to slow or halt the march towards the Ever Closer Union does not make one anti-European per se.
Juncker’s adherence to the orthodoxy is very scary but only if one believes in English fair-play and in abiding by the rules as laid down. There is always the French approach which is one of publicly embracing everything enthusiastically and then doing exactly as one wants.
Incidentally, on the subject of enthusiasm, I note that President Hollande is all in favour of the EU spending €300,000,000,000.00 on infrastructure investment. He would, wouldn’t he. Who’s €300,000,000,000.00 does he want to have spent and where would he like to see it go? Surely not Slovakia, Slovenia and Lithuania.
The appointments to the Commission are of course hamstrung by policy towards Russia. The EU’s industrial West needs the gas and the export markets, the new East is still emerging from 40 years of Soviet Russian occupation and suppression. It’s all very complicated and therefore may I humbly suggest that Brussels simply borrows a few neutral Swiss to fill the critical posts. That would shut everyone up.