Monday 23rd June
A long time ago, couple of years before he became Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron declared that he would both engage with Europe and that it would no longer dominate internal Conservative Politics. He went into Coalition with the most pro-European party, the Lib-Dems and for a while was seen smiling at European Summits as he declared great friendships with Mrs Merkel and M. Sarkozy. But slowly thing began to sour; the Euro crisis and being forced to use our veto meant that we were heading into our default isolated position.
And then came the referendum promise, with his much vaunted but still no details re-negotiation. I think his hope would be that he could come back in early 2017 waving a bit of paper and declaring a-la-Chamberlain to have achieved ‘Peace In Our Times’. Whatever he came back with would be declared a victory and then he would ask a grateful public to endorse him and vote to stay in. He would have put the whole Europe issue to bed, at least for a few years – and shot Mr. Farage’s fox into the bargain. But now it is all going horribly wrong. The real powers in Europe actually want more integration not less and Mr. Cameron is increasingly shouting into the void. He has chosen to fight against the consensus candidate for President of the EU, Mr. Junkers. And even though it looks like he will lose he is now forcing a vote. Does he really want to be public humiliated. Europe doesn’t work like that. It is all deals and compromises behind closed doors and smiling faces in public. If things continue to go against him he will have little hope of any meaningful re-negotiation. Even if he wins the next election he may end up having to recommend us leaving. What a disaster that would be. So what is he up to? My only conclusion is that this is simply grandstanding to try to win back Tory voters drifting off to Ukip. All I can say is it won’t work, Mr. Cameron.