Friday, 9 December 2011

Welcome to fantasy island - Britain, its politians and media

Wow, we are informed that David Cameron has 'sprouted a pair of brussels' and vetoed any new treaty, that he has stood up for Britain and said 'No' to the mighty European Union resulting in him being feted by his party and their journalistic mouthpieces. A number of matters arise:

1. As Richard North, EU Referendum, asks: just where is this treaty? There was no treaty on the table; if there was, can we see a copy please? Cameron obviously thinks there was one (maybe it was invisible) because Russia Today quotes him saying that there was a treaty on the table, that it didn't protect British interests so he didn't sign it, as that's his job.

2. There would appear to be an area disagreement over whether the 'arrangement' that Merkozy wish to put in place has legal standing. According to the Guardian France suffered a setback when EU lawyers ruled that the changes would be illegal if approved by only the 17 eurozone members, yet on the BBC Barroso is of the opinion that legal advice states it is possible. The Guardian is not the only newspaper carrying reports that questions the legality of what Merkozy wishes to do, with Spiegel OnLine reporting that because monetary union is regulated extensively in the Lisbon Treaty, reform can only be implemented within the existing legal framework. The legal services experts of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Council, which represents the member states in Brussels, are all in agreement. A treaty concluded only by the 17 euro-zone governments would be illegal, they say. Individual countries could only issue a "political declaration of intent," in which they determined, for example, how they would decide on the use of sanctions against budget offenders. But such a declaration would have no legally binding character and, as officials point out, could also be revoked following the election of a new government.

3. Ambrose Evans Pritchard, Daily Telegraph, writes that the  leaders of France and Germany have more or less bulldozed Britain out of the European Union for the sake of a treaty that offers absolutely no solution to the crisis at hand, or indeed any future crisis. It is EU institutional chair shuffling at its worst, with venom for good measure.At first it did look as though there were four countries in the outer bloc with the Czechs, Hungary, UK and Sweden (which some wag had promptly named the CHUKS), however it now seems that the UK is indeed alone with the news that the other three have agree to ratify the Merkozy 'deal'. There is a further 'fly in the ointment' in respect of the ratification process with the news, via Bloomberg, that Finland is reported to have said if each of the 27 nations isn't in agreement with the new treaty they they will pull out of the eurozone.

4. Just what is it that Cameron has achieved and what has changed? The answer to both question is exactly nothing, zilch; although one thing has become only too clear. What chance repatriation of powers when the other member states would not even concede an itsy-bitsy concession? This of course now creates yet another headache for David Cameron, because every piece of legislation going through the parliamentary process should now receive even greater scrutiny. Note I said should, as I don't believe it will - should being the case of those matters of a financial aspect currently in the pipeline. Thanks to Open Europe, Annexe 1 (p.54) of the linked document lists EU financial regulation in the pipeline; the current status; and entry into force. The annexe also helpfully contains a list of proposals that have yet to be adopted (pp55/56). 

5. It is a tad ironic that for centuries this country has fought wars to ensure that no one power became dominant on the continent and that for decades our politicians have fought to prevent a two-speed EU from happening, yet almost overnight we are about to get both. In the defence budget review one can only hope that Cameron retained some anti-missile-missiles as methinks he will need a good stock to counter the fiscal bombardment that is sure to be launched from Brussels.

6. The Boiling Frog has some succinct comments on 'Events Bruxelles', ones worth reading in stark contrast to offerings by James Kirkup and Charles Crawford. Some questions have been raised as to Cameron's real motives for 'spoiling the party' and, in that respect, James Delingpole comes closest in my opinion when he writes that Cameron's only wish was to find the line of least resistance which would keep him in power longest. At all costs Cameron wished to avoid a referendum because it is on record that in a cabinet meeting he stated that such an occurrence, which would no doubt split the coalition asunder, was to be avoided at all costs.

7. The burning question which few, if any, have seen fit to tackle is the future political landscape in this country - especially when considering the involvement of Ukip. Nigel Farage has been on the airways, understandably, but not said anything of substance - in my opinion. If recent events are anything to go by, we may as well not hold our breath.

Afterthought: Remarks of Herman Van Rompuy here; Conclusions of the Council here; and the Statement by the Euro Area Heads of State here.


Jim said...

The best thing out of all this is that we have royally p1ssed off the Euro-elite. They will be unable to stop themselves trying to take revenge for what happened today.

Probably not immediately as they have other fish to fry and, lets be frank, its entirely possible that this little spat may be a tiny footnote in history if the whole euro zone collapses at some point in the next few weeks/months/years.

But if they manage to pull the Euro through this crisis, the first thing on the agenda will be to get back at the UK. And the more they do that, the more outrageous the demands made on the UK, the more likely we will be backed into a corner where the only option left is to leave.

Roll on that day.

IanPJ said...

one can only hope that Cameron retained some anti-missile-missiles

probably gone the same way as the Harriers..

Anonymous said...

OK, so there was no treaty today. But there may be soon. And Cameron can't possibly sign it given what he's done now, unless it only affects eurozone members.

The Boiling Frog said...

Ta as always for the link WfW

WitteringsfromWitney said...

J: Agreed, unfortunately I fear that the price to be paid will be very high - all the more reason for us to get out.

IPJ: D :)

Anon: It won't be only eurozone members any financial directive affects. Cameron won't be asked to sign if it is not a treaty change (and then that can ony be agreed at an IGC) as they hope to do this outside the LT.

TBF: Pleasure as always.