Am struggling at the moment to work out if the current EU situation with the UK vetoing the proposed treaty amendments and in so doing alienating themselves from the rest of Europe reminds me for of Christmas or the School Playground.
One on level it has all the elements of a Christmas Pantomime, yet on the other it reminds me of the “I dumped you first” arguments from the school playground.
Nick Clegg told Andrew Marr earlier today (Sunday 11th December) that for him vetoing the changes to the treaty was ‘untenable’, but then went on to deny that it didn’t spell the end for the coalition, which is no surprise: Turkeys’ don’t vote forChristmas!
Clegg after all had agreed to Cameron’s negotiating position in advance according to William Hague, but could resist a somewhat classic quote about the situation the UK now finds itself in:
There’s nothing bulldog about Britain hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, not standing tall in Europe, not being taken seriously in Washington.
Translated that means: Europe don’t want the UK and the US doesn’t rate the UK, which in all honesty pretty much sums it all up pretty well.
To be fair to Cameron he did say last Friday that the UK would not sign a new treaty aimed at tightening fiscal rules across the euro zone. Given that it was inevitable that the EU were going to seek such a treaty change why the surprise? For once he did exactly what he said he would.
Makes you wonder if he had expected, or been promised, support and was let down at the last minute (I know reminds you of the World Cup bid), in which case this is a case of Cameron backing himself into a corner and given himself no choice: which isn’t good leadership at all.
So where does this leave the UK? Sort of nowhere really! we haven’t left the EU (though many seem to think we have) and it is impossible to see how we will have any influence amongst the other members now. In effect the UK has been left with no allies in the EU and precious little good will and is now so marginalised it is seen simply as increasingly irrelevant.
So what next? William Hill are offering odds of 5/1 that there will be a EU Referendum before the next general election, odds of 3/1 that the Euro will cease to exist as a currency by the end of 2012, and 2/9 that it will survive. Before you get excited though: these are pretty much the same odds as before the meeting.
As I said: pantomime time!