Published on 19 Oct 2012

Is that the grumpy old muppet in the Boadicea wig?

The man Der Spiegel compared to one of the grumpy old muppets who spectate and grumble at The Muppet Show today donned the Boadicea wig and helmet for his press conference at the end of this European Council meeting.

“Are you ready to wield the veto on the EU budget in November?” David Cameron was asked. “Yes” and I will take a “tough approach.”

He said “tough” seven times in a shortish press conference.

Are you “in retreat” as President Hollande said?

“We’re getting a good deal for Britain.

“I’ve got a reputation for plain-speaking and “what (other) people are saying about you” doesn’t matter.

“Are you sure the rest of the EU will let you renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership?

“Opportunities are opening up for a new settlement,” he said, and “the plates of Europe are moving.”

Danger of the splits

Many here agree but they think he is in danger of performing the splits.

The PM repeatedly said that the redesigning of Europe opened up an opportunity for Britain to redesign its relationship with Europe.

Mr Cameron’s adviser on Europe policy, Ivan Rogers, has been wandering around asking European figures what they think are the chances of Britain being given a “soft landing” into the second tier.

It would be fascinating to know the full account of his soundings.

But the truth is that what David Cameron is looking for is more like a third tier membership as there are “ins,”  in the EU who are in the eurozone, “would-be-ins” who have promised to join at some point and then there’s Britain, who would rather eat its own feet than join and doesn’t want anything to do with a whole load of other entanglements spawned from the existing treaties.

Bespoke renegotiation

Does the EU truly want to create a precedent of exceptionalism that goes way beyond previous opt outs and constructs a bespoke renegotiation across the whole range of policy areas?

I popped into Chancellor Merkel’s post summit and she quoted fellow European leaders who thought the ECB wouldn’t be ready to deal with bank regulation across the eurozone until the beginning of 2014.

When she was asked if she was stringing the whole process out because of  her own general election in September 2013 the German chancellor did a wonderful faux naif answer: “I hadn’t even thought about it until you said it….it’s completely far from my mind this kind of idea.”

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2 reader comments

  1. Philip Edwards says:

    Gary,

    He MUST act tough to counter the impression given by his near-tears at the tory conference.

    I bet his big business/banker paymasters and tory small shop owners and contract IT clerks weren’t impressed by that little performance. Tories always regard any display of humanity or emotion as “weakness.”

    Which is why Nye Bevan rightly used to give ’em hell :-)

  2. Karsten Hammershoy says:

    Why don’t you brits not get it. The EU is about working together, rather than against each other.

    So when David Cameron says ” I am getting a good deal for the UK”, it demonstrates a mix of ignorance and arrogance.

    Hey dude, we are all members of the same club, so the objective is to get a good deal for all of us, not just for some of us.

    He demonstrates a nationalistic mindset which belongs to the early 1900.
    This resultet in two major European wars.

    Yes, of course there are different opinions on what is good and what is bad.
    But these battles should be fought between political observations, not countries.

    So what a good UK Tory PM should do, is to work with, and gather support from other EU conservative politicians, to steer the EU in a conservative direction.

    What he is doing is, rather than getting likeminded EU politicians on his side, and creating allies, he is acting like the bully in the school yard, creating enemies.
    Never mind David Cameron, he will soon be gone and forgotten, but it is bad for the UK.

    Imagine a scenario where the Scotts say goodbye to the Union, and the europeans ask the brits to leave the EU.
    Then you can sit on your little island in the North Sea, and talk about Bulldog Spirit and what that got you.

    Good luck guys.

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