I am frankly amazed by the outpouring of hysteria from some politicians and the media on the subject of David Cameron’s use of the veto over changes to the Lisbon Treaty.
To listen to some in politics and the media bemoaning what they claim is the resulting ‘isolation’ of the UK you would think that the UK should accede to any request from the EU in order to avoid this fate. Why? The Euro, which these proposed changes were designed to support, has been a predictable disaster for almost all the countries involved other than Germany.
It is also worth bearing in mind that many of these commentators-such as Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine- were vociferous supporters of us joining the Euro. Indeed, Michael Hesletine thinks we still should-an unusual case of trying to join a sinking ship. Had we done so, we too would now be bankrupt and quite possibly governed by an unelected official appointed by the EU, as Greece and Italy are. These commentators were wrong when they wanted us to join, so why should we listen to them now?
We should now move onto redefine and renegotiate our relationship with or within the EU, starting with the question “What do we get for the£50m per day we send to Brussels?”. If we do not get what we want, we should accept that the UK’s future, like its past, success will lie in being an open economy servicing and trading with nations with which it has historic connections in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.
One aspect of the “deal” at last week’s EU summit puzzled me. It was seeing Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF (a Frenchwoman-her predecessor being maybe not coincidentally a Frenchman) proudly announce that the EU countries (other than Britain’s) central banks were going to make loans to the IMF of €200 billion. This might seem counter intuitive-how can countries which are to put it mildly short of money make a loan to someone else? Of course the answer is that the funds would be loaned to the IMF for it to loan back to the Eurozone.
That is obviously a circular piece of none too subtle legerdemain, but the hope was that other countries would join them with additional funding. This hope was rather dashed when the Canadians immediately announced that they has no interest in subscribing funds to rescue the ‘rich continent’ of Europe. Sensible people the Canadians: they dragged themselves back from being a basket case in 1994 with spending cuts which restored a budget surplus and have not experienced a banking crisis. They also just announced withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Following the refusal of China to take part in such nonsense despite the myriad rumours, I can only assume that this latest leg to the circular Ponzi scheme that is now the Eurozone is a non starter.