Little reported, as far as I am aware, is a speech given by Nick Clegg today at the London School of Economics. The most interesting section is where he turns his thoughts to the eurozone crisis:
"In terms of the Eurozone, the real failure has not been the original concept of monetary union. It’s that the rules were never applied stringently enough. The Stability and Growth Pact was actively watered down in 2005, allowing members to wriggle out of their fiscal commitments to each other. Now we are seeing the effects. But on a day like today, when people are talking openly about the possibility of Greek default, the key question is not: how do we seek to renegotiate the UK’s place in the European Union in a treaty that hasn’t even materialised yet. The single-most important question, the urgent question is what role can we play in helping the Eurozone avoid further turmoil, creating the stability needed for prosperity and jobs – in the Eurozone and in the UK too. A stable, healthy Eurozone matters massively to the UK. It’s where we send 40% of all of our exports and, together, we all face a longer term problem of competitiveness - a problem not even a raft of new treaties could fix." (Emphasis mine)
The first part of the emboldened section is, I believe, a side-swipe at 'Useless Eustice' and his band of merry men and women and that treaty renegotiation just ain't going to happen; however it is the second section that provides the most cause for concern. In view of the fact that until 2013 the UK is still liable for contributions to prop up the eurozone due to our membership of the IMF, the question that logically arises is whether Clegg is preparing the country for yet another bail-out for Greece, rather than Greece being permitted to exit the eurozone.
Were a further bail-out to Greece to happen - and one in which we may well be liable for the odd £billion or two - it would, I believe be an ''excrement hitting the ceiling-mounted air circulation device' moment where the British public are concerned, especially when they will look at that and then compare the deprivation they are suffering at home with Coalition 'cuts', cuts 'real' or 'imagined' will not matter. As an aside, it is also worth recalling this in relation to Cleggs assertion that 40% of our exports goes to the EU, but then that is yet another digression..........
There is of course yet another question that this speech poses, namely who, exactly, is running this country: the EU with the help of Clegg or the EU with the help of Cameron?