December 11, 2011

The 'veto' that never was
The 'veto' that never was

The real message of that fraught gathering in Brussels last week was that the EU’s leaders in fact achieved nothing that could solve the terrifying short-term debt crisis strangling their beloved euro. Despite all the trumpeting about “Cameron’s veto”, our Prime Minister’s presence was really irrelevant. In no way did it deflect the rest of them from struggling on to “the project” in the only way their ideology allows them to do – by calling, as always, for more political integration. In no way will this avert the nemesis which their hubristic gamble has brought on itself: the bottomless pit of debt run up by those countries whose exit from the euro is the only way it might be saved.

There never was any “Cameron veto”, because this could only have been relevant to a treaty text, which was not in existence. This misconception nevertheless allowed his critics to paint a picture of Britain left forlornly isolated, in a minority of one, as the rest of Europe surges on without us. But so long as those debtor countries remain in the eurozone, the only way they can all move forward together is, like lemmings, towards the cliff edge.

Without a treaty change, the only question left for that referendum which so many in Britain are still calling for is whether we stay in or leave the EU altogether. But that, as we know, neither the Coalition nor the Labour Party would allow us to consider. So we reverse William Hague’s sad little battlecry of yesteryear. We stay “ruled by Europe”, even though, it seems, we are no longer fully in it.

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