Coffee House

Angela Merkel’s nerves about Britain’s future in the EU

16 October 2012

16 October 2012

The Prime Minister and Angela Merkel spoke last night on the phone to discuss the European Council meeting later this week. Downing Street said the pair ‘agreed that further work is needed before agreement can be reached’ on banking union, which is a coded acknowledgement that David Cameron is concerned the current proposals are not in Britain’s interest and do not currently protect the single market and that he will push for greater compromise when leaders meet.

This is all part of the Prime Minister’s big Europe week. He has a Cabinet meeting this morning, and as its members are increasingly piling pressure on Cameron for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, the topic may well come up. They might discuss the speech he plans to make later this year on Europe, which Rachel Sylvester suggests in her column today could include a pledge for a post-2015 renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with Brussels which would be put to a referendum. James revealed back in May that a promise on a referendum would almost certainly feature in the next manifesto.

Merkel is already worried about Britain’s relationship with Brussels, though. The Mail quotes a report in Der Spiegel, which says the German Chancellor believes that ‘the Cameron administration’s unwillingness to compromise leaves the German government with no choice. In reality the Chancellor has long since come to terms with the fact that there will no longer be a path back to the centre of the union for the British.’ Yesterday’s announcement in the Commons on plans to opt out of law and order measures will have underlined that. It is not a good sign that Merkel sees Cameron as intractable and unwilling to compromise when he hasn’t even started the renegotiation process.

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  • JoeThorpe1963

    She’s as power mad as Hitler time for Cameron to say no to absolutely everything the EU comes up with good or bad until they come around to our way of thinking.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    It is not a good sign that Merkel sees Cameron as intractable and
    unwilling to compromise when he hasn’t even started the renegotiation

    Well going beyond making the point that it is a basic negotiating ploy to suggest those who one are negotiating with are not co-operating, on the contrary its an excellent sign that perhaps finally Cameron and his stooges might be getting it through their thick dithering skulls that we the British people want our country back from the parasites in Brussels (and Westminster & Whitehall) and if he facilitates the return of our country, life might be somewhat easier for him!

    Far better that than Cameron throwing away his negotiating chips as he has done with complete withdrawal. Really I do wonder who are dummer our journalists and commentators or our politicians.

  • Charlie the Chump

    Intractable and unwilling to compromise? Good, the most sensible stance for dealing with the EU, if we give an inch they will always take a mile.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    “The Mail quotes a report in Der Spiegel, which says the German Chancellor believes that ‘the Cameron administration’s unwillingness to compromise leaves the German government with no choice….”
    No choice about what? whether to accept the British Government’s NO, or to try and ride roughshod over it?
    We are talking about National Sovereignty here. Too much has been given away already and shouldn’t have, without the British peoples’ mandate. There IS no more room for compromise: we want our country back. We don’t want the EU dictating to us and we don’t want to become a satellite of a Greater Germany. The CON Party is slowly waking up to that fact – now the EU needs to as well.
    No promise from Cameron (Miliband or Clegg) about a post-General Election Referendum is believable. They have all promised, and all reneged, on promises over the EU. The ONLY Party which has been consistent is UKIP and they are also the only Party promising to make the UK independent and self governing again.
    That’s who is getting my vote. We do not need to be in the EU to be friendly and cooperative neighbours with Europe.

  • mcclane

    “”this realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the
    world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and
    royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic
    compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by
    names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next
    to God a natural and humble obedience” and has been since 1534.

    We don’t need Angela Merkel to worry about us.

    • bloughmee

      Well, you seem to have skipped a step there in your faux history, the one that had the William of Orange coupists throwing out all that lovely 1534 language.

      • mcclane

        The Commons decided that William of Orange could be King. They can decide again on the EU. We need a new English Convention Parliament.

  • London Calling

    This is all Jelly on the plate…………..

    who can be trusted to bring forward a referendum, If its part of the tories next manifesto I would be very skeptical. promises have been broken too often.meanwhile cameron and salmond cosey up scotlands referendum. seriousley backwards in my view…lets hope we do get a referendum in Europe, even if its jelly on the plate getting there,,,,:)

  • HooksLaw

    If Merkle wants Britain in Europe she should start listening to Britain’s views about Europe.

  • Coffeehousewall

    Why should we compromise? We are not asking the other states in the EU to change their position at all. We are supposedly a sovereign nation with a sovereign parliament. Therefore we should not be compromising at all. To compromise is to give up sovereignty – but for what, in this case?

    • NeilMc1

      Unfortunately, we are not a sovereign nation. We gave that up a long time ago.

  • jazz6o6

    Who cares what Cameron says or does ? It’s all just PR spin.

    I wondered why he was going along with allowing sixteen year olds to vote in the referendum on Scots independence, after all the younger generations are more likely to be taken in with Scots Nat blandishments. I then realised that Cameron probably wants Scots Independence.

  • David B

    Britain and Germany are the two largest funders of the EU.
    If the UK moves away from this, Germany will have a larger bill.

    As regards an in/out referendum, it was in the Lib Dems manifesto, so publish a
    draft bill and see if it can be passed now, for a date in 2016

    • NeilMc1

      Why 2016. Why not 2013?

      • David B

        I propose
        2016 for the following reasons:

        I don’t think the Lib Dems or Labour will vote
        for a referendum in this parliament and the mathematics of the current House of
        Common requires one of those parties to back the bill. Remember the Lib Dems are pro EU and so is
        the current Labour leader.

        All the parties will probably propose in their manifesto’s
        for the next election to hold an In/Out referendum sometime in the next parliament,
        so let’s pass the legislation now and remove the wriggle room (I suspect Labour plan to try and
        divide the Conservative/UKIP vote on this issue). But also we need the legislation now as the
        history of the parties on this issue is not good – in 2005 Labour proposed a referendum on
        what became the Lisbon treat (and I think the Lib Dems supported it but I am
        sure someone will be able to clarify that) to take the sting out of the issue
        (and it was very successful), in the last election the Lib Dems proposed an In/Out
        referendum again to take the sting out of the issue and again it was successful.

        It gets the Scottish independence referendum out
        of the way, until it is completed the result of any other referendum is corrupt
        – Lets say we have an EU referendum and we stay in on a large Scottish vote.
        Scotland then leave the UK and is not admitted to the EU (very likely that is
        Scotland leave the UK that Spain will veto it membership) but the remainder of
        the UK remain within the EU.

        Therefore 2014 is the Scottish referendum and
        the next election is May 2015 – To me the next sensible time to have the EU
        referendum is May 2016 – giving approximately 3/4 months for the new government
        to form with campaign teams forming in September 2015 and campaigning starting
        in March 2016.

        • NeilMc1

          Agree with most of your reasoning, but Cameron and the Tory party will not be in government after 2015. UKIP certainly won’t, thus it will be Labour or Lab/LibDem. Do we really think they will give the people a referendum, even if they promise, yet again, to do so. They are more Euphile than Cameron and Hague.

          • David B

            Quite right, the next government could repeal the
            legislation, but I would love to see them try.

            I suspect by the time of the next election an
            In/Out referendum will not be critical to who wins that election, but any party
            that does not support one will lose it.
            That is why I suspect all three parties will include the pledge in their
            manifestos. It they then repeal the legislation
            they will end up in the same position as the old Liberal party, relegated to
            the pages of history

        • HooksLaw

          OUT would still require us to negotiate membership of the single market and membership of the EEA will still mean signing up to EU rules.
          None of which would bother me but of course the huge spittlefest of the anti EU brigade then turns out to be meaningless. The reality, the difference would be relatively small. The EU would continue to exist and be an influence on us.
          Too many of the usual suspects simply want to stop the world and get off. Pathetic.

          • David B

            We need to lance the boil, regardless of your opinion it is an issue that the general public want to address and the general public are always right.

          • an ex-tory voter

            Tell me, are any of the BRIC nations members of the single market or EEA? Is China managing to export “the odd product” into the EU without being a club member?

            We are one of their biggest markets, they will negotiate!!

            If not screw them, I am happy to buy and export to the rest of the planet. At least the rest of the planet does not try to impose it’s political and judicial system on me, without a “by your leave”.

    • BarryG

      That is exactly what this is really about. With Britain out, and Germany picking up a bigger slice of the EU bill, what do you think they are going to ask for in return??
      More control.

  • Arthur

    German book calls Merkel a Mafia-like egomaniac dictator
    Gertrud Höhler: Die Patin (Orell Füssli, Zürich 2012).
    Let Merkel note this:
    Governing like a mafia boss,
    obsessed with power, and the source of the Eurozone’s misery – these are the
    latest epithets levelled at Angela Merkel by Professor Gertrud Höhler in her
    brilliant and timely analysis of the mentality and politics of the German
    Chancellor. Höhler, born in 1941, the daughter of a Protestant minister, is the
    author of 15 books on literature, politics and economics. An advisor to former
    German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Professor emeritus of German and General
    Literary Studies at the University of Paderborn (1972 – 1993), she remains a
    highly respected consultant in her fields of expertise.

    The book is currently available
    in German only. The title in English is The Godmother: How Angela Merkel is
    restructuring Germany. The significance of the ‘Godmother’ label is
    underlined by a photograph on the back cover which shows Merkel in the same
    pose as Don Corleone, the sinister mafia boss figure played by Marlon Brando in
    the movie The Godfather. The pictorial analogy anticipates the content
    of the book, which portrays Merkel as a despot, accusing her of stifling the
    role of Parliament and running Germany with her inherited dictatorial East
    German mentality foreign to most westerners: “We have more state power and less
    and less parliamentary power,” writes Höhler, and Merkel adopts “totalitarian
    […] and increasingly more strict measures against dissenting opinions in
    parliament”. She is ‘obsessed with power’, ‘running an autocratic regime’, and
    ‘imposes her will on Germans and other Europeans without caring about the rule
    of law, national constitutions or even earlier treaties which she herself
    signed’. She is ‘establishing a dictatorship not just in Germany, but in
    Europe’ with the aim of becoming the Chancellor of Europe.

    Calling Merkel’s style of
    government “das System M” (“the M system”, where ‘M’ stands for both ‘Merkel’
    and ‘Macht’, the German word for ‘power’), Höhler writes that she is driven by
    her quest to remain in power at all costs, aptly named by Forbes
    magazine as the most powerful woman on
    earth. Merkel, claims Höhler, has “no principles” and “no real
    understanding of democracy”; she is “a power-obsessed egomaniac, driven by just
    one thing: a desire for more power”. She warns that Merkel’s autocratic regime
    is becoming Germany’s third dictatorship in less than eighty years, after
    Nazism and East German communism, and does not shun comparing it with either.

    She reveals how Merkel
    systematically orchestrated the end of the political careers of all her
    potential rivals within her own Christian Democratic Union (which also happens
    to be Höhler’s own party). She claims that Merkel has progressively built up
    power structures that focus on non-elected bodies (such as the European Central Bank) rather than
    democratic structures (such as the Bundesbank, Germany’s Central Bank that is

    The book calls indirectly for a
    mutiny against the “seeping interference in the legality of a community” by
    this “woman without a vision”; it is a warning against Merkel’s autocratic
    regime, which is becoming a new “quiet variant of authoritarian power
    expansion, the like of which Germany has not yet known”.

    Whether Merkel is consciously or
    just fortuitously collaborating in the scheme to wreck and rule the Eurozone,
    her first success has been Greece. A frank exposure of her mentality and
    tactics was long overdue. This book is it.

    • James102

      If you look at 20th century history and ask which European country’s population got the worst deal from their politicians Germany stands out a bit.
      First World War: 12.2% as percentage of males 15-49, 6.8 million best estimate of casualties (Neill Ferguson: Pity of War) about the same for WW2? Then we have the civilian casualties, starvation, smashed cities.

      • mcclane

        And so?

        • James102

          And so you wonder if the German political class’ priorities are in the interests of the average German.
          Their banks hoovered up bad debt from Ireland, Greece and the US Sub-prime markets now they seem intent on ignoring the consequences of the only other major net contributor to the EU budgets leaving. Just how much can the German taxpayers take? Especially in the light of the demographics. Germany is rapidly ageing, how will it pay for its own welfare budget let alone the rest of the EU?

    • Arthur

      I think there must be two of us. I wondered why I was getting so much abuse.

      • Arthur number 2

        Sorry, Arthur. Yes, there are two of us. I will change my name in any future comments, as you seem to have posted your comment(s) first. – Arthur (the other one!)

      • Dimoto

        “So much abuse” ? You received 5 positive arrows, be happy, that’s more than I will ever see ! (wink)

    • HooksLaw

      ‘But Ms Höhler undermines her case with what amounts to a 273-page
      polemic filled largely with psychobabble and paranoid insinuations. A
      good book on Mrs Merkel’s shortcomings could be written. This is not it’

      • Nicholas K

        It is generally a safe rule of thumb in international affairs to study closely what The Economist recommends and do the opposite.

    • Dimoto

      Not new.
      A well-known, raddled, old anti-Merkel obsessive (and Kohl groupie).
      Angie is not some dark force, she is just a dithering, opportunistic politician, rather out of her depth.

  • Mike K, Preston

    ‘It is not a good sign …’ etc.
    On the contrary!!!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    ‘ It is not a good sign that Merkel sees Cameron as intractable and unwilling to compromise when he hasn’t even started the renegotiation process.’
    dave has made crystal clear that he will not allow an in/out referendum. And even that is not enough for this Spec hack.

  • Heartless etc.,

    The H2B has something to laugh about?

    I bet he has.

  • Ian Walker

    “It is not a good sign that Merkel sees Cameron as intractable and
    unwilling to compromise when he hasn’t even started the renegotiation

    Seems a great sign to me. We’ve tried 40 years of being fair-minded to Brussels and we’ve been royally shafted time after time.

    • ButcombeMan

      Exactly what I was going to say until I saw your post. The inimitable Isabel Hardman, misses the point-yet again

  • Russell

    Shapps said categorically that the conservatives will NOT give the electorate any choice in leaving the EU in any future referendums, just a choice to ‘stay the same’ or vote yes to a ‘new’ re-negotiated terms of membership on Sunday Politics with Brillo.
    Cameron, Shapps and many other Tories really do not understand the detestation felt by millions of voters about our membership and net contribution of £billions per year and the EU interference with every aspect of life in the UK.
    An in/out referendum must ge given to the electorate BEFORE 2015 if Cameron and the Tories are going to avoid being wiped out, as many life long conservative supporters have had enough and will switch to UKIP even if it means the incompetence party (Labour) getting back into office.

    • Dimoto

      Repeating it over and over again doesn’t make it true.
      The majority of the electorate probably do loathe the EU, but the election will be decided on more prosaic matters – how well the economy is doing.
      People also generally say they loathe all politicians, HMRC, Slebs, journos, estate agents, caravans and any number of other inconveniences.
      But apart from the tiny but noisy minority, they do manage to keep a sense of proportion.

      • bloughmee

        …so then, you’re anticipating Dave the Cameroon and Company will repeat their previous awesome showing, next time?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        ‘the electorate probably do loathe the EU, but the election will be decided on more prosaic matters’ – and thanks to the BBC and the bulk of the media and people like yourself, the electorate believe are they are two seperate things. Dictated policies on prosaic matters like energy, food, transport, law, immigration, business, tax, trade, etc etc which effect everyone.
        And the connection is never in its entirety ever made in the mainstream.

      • an ex-tory voter

        The eurosceptics may be a “tiny but noisy minority”.

        However, that does not make them wrong and any lack of proportion they exhibit is nothing compared to the enormous, disproportionate and anti-democratic impact the EU has on the lives of all UK citizens.

        • dorothy wilson

          If you want to criticize a “tiny minority” you should look at the fanatics who are members of the European Movement or at least those that operate in the East Midlands.

      • Boudicca_Icenii

        Maybe. but enough will jump ship to UKIP to ensure that the CONservative Party goes down to a defeat worse than in 1997. It may never recover.
        Does Cameron really want to be the PM who led the Party into the pages of history, like the Liberals in the early 19th century?

        • Garyessex

          Or the LibDems in the early 21st century. BTW, I think you mean 20th century for the jolly old Liberals.

      • ButcombeMan

        I think you are wrong.

        The hatred for the EU and for the way Cameron is seen to be a wet fish in dealing with it, now transcends any lingering loyalty to the Tories. More than that, the anti EU iinfection has spread to all parties, even to some LIbDems.

        I really believe the situation is now irrecoverable for Cameron. He is just not trusted on Europe, will never be trusted on Europe.

        Dual identity Shapps will also become history. Russell is right in his entry above.

    • HooksLaw

      Mindless – even if OUT we would have to negotiate a relationship with them. How easy would that be from outside? You are pathetic in your blind ignorance to reality.
      We are of course heading in the direction of being OUT already, when the Eurozone draws up its inevitable treaty for a closer union we will be outside that and we will have negotiated new terms.

      • an ex-tory voter

        Have to be in to negotiate with them, complete nonsense!!

        The EU has trading relationships with nations all over the globe. It is not necessary to be a club member to buy a Mercedes, a BMW, a VW Audi, or a Bosch product. They see us as a lucrative market, money talks and therefore they will talk to us.

      • Boudicca_Icenii

        Article 50 of the Lisbon Treachery REQUIRES the EU to negotiate a Trade Treaty with any nation that decides to secede from the union. There is a two-year period during which the Treaty must be negotiated, before the nation actually leaves.
        It is you who are ignorant.

        • Dimoto

          Boudicca – you seem to absolutely NOT trust the EU (with good reason in my view), but then, why do you suppose that we could have a civilised “trade negotiation”, and that they would then behave impeccably in implementing it ?

  • Colonel Mustard

    I’m still waiting for the verifiable cost benefit case for the incremental federalisation we have experienced (beyond elitist platitudes and troll nonsense) let alone any implications from new developments to put the arm on our finance industry. Britain was never going to be “part of Europe”, historically, culturally and politically. So far we seem to have experienced all the disadvantages as our centuries old, proven political and legal systems (so under valued by the nincompoops in government) have been trashed by European socialist authoritarianism and the Napoleonic code, leaving us groping for identity and purpose with in-fighting on a scale never seen before.

    Each time one of these liars tries to articulate the benefits of being “in” Europe it rings hollow, arrogant and totally ignorant of history. That goes for the coterie of socialist trolls clinging here like limpets so don’t bother. I already understand everything that is wrong with me for thinking these “un-reconstructed” things.

    Today I’m mainly Colonel Mustard in the car with some garden tools and horticulturing books.

    • James102

      Yes that is the giveaway isn’t it? Does anyone believe a cost-benefit analysis is not on-going in the treasury or that an official one would not have been published if there was a good case for our continued membership?
      Such an analyses should be done before any negotiation but it won’t because the EU can’t be sold with economic arguments and the general public, unlike the political class ,is not interested and probably antagonistic to the political ones.
      Not all is lost though. Our political class and Cameron’s group in particular are not very good at politics and are likely to be carried away by the momentum. The more the UK’s relationship with the EU is examined the less the electorate will like it.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Well quite, James. I found this little gem hugely revealing in which the Head of the EU Delegation to the US, If you please, one Joao Vale de Almeida reveals quite openly that the EU is a political project, for those not bright enough to have fathomed that out by now!

  • dorothy wilson

    “The Mail quotes a report in Der Spiegel,
    which says the German Chancellor believes that ‘the Cameron
    administration’s unwillingness to compromise leaves the German
    government with no choice.”

    Surely the truth is the other way around: Merkel’s unwillingness to compromise is leading to a situation where the British government has no choice. And that choice is to offer the British people a referendum on how they wish our relationship with the EU to develop.

    I suspect part of Merkel’s anxiety is that if the British stand up to the German/Brussels intransigence other countries will follow suit. And Finland could well be one of those. When I discussed this with to one of my Finnish friends a few weeks ago her view was over 90% of Finns are unhappy with the EU and that Finland would eventually leave.

    • TomTom

      Actually Germany wants Britain as a balance against France, but Britain keeps tilting towards France in defence matters which unbalances things.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Dont you get it? Germany loves Britain ’tilting towards France’ in defence matters. There is no ‘France’ there is Europe and the more we ’tilt towards France’ the more we are ’tilting towards Europe’ (EADS notwithstanding). Its called the Common Foreign & Security Policy which you hear so much about from the BBC (joke).

    • Dimoto

      If you read Spiegel, it mostly just ignores the UK. There is no sindication agreement with any UK newspaper (unlike with other EU countries), and hardly ever an article on Britain, unless they can pour scorn on (e.g.) organised tourist visits to London’s seamier areas.
      I see that as typical of German views on the UK (with obvious exceptions). They really do resent us and have an abiding suspicion of UK motives. The more they affect to treat Britain as an unimportant, peripheral country, the more they reveal their insecurities.
      Downing street apparently indicated that Merkel agreed that more work needs to be done to accommodate UK misgivings ? Come off it ! We’ve been here before.
      Remember Cameron being convinced he had “assurances” from Merkel before the famous veto ? Then she just kept schtum, allowing Sarkozy to railroad through his heart’s desire.
      Merkel is just a small time, opportunist politician with an election on her mind, who constantly plays both sides against the middle, and whose word can never be trusted (ask the Spanish).
      Bit like Cameron really.

      • dorothy wilson

        I do keep an eye on the on-line edition of Der Spiegel and agree that the only time they have an article on Britain it is likely to be negative. They had one prior to the Olympics predicting a disaster with no subsequent acknowledgement – as far as I could see – that this prediction was simply wrong.

        However, I have a lot of German friends and do not find that attitude among them. Indeed a couple of years one of them told me he was thinking of spending his retirement here – provided we stay out of the euro.

        • HooksLaw

          Since when to the British or British papers say anything positive about the Germans, or anybody from overseas for that matter? Oh yes, they deserve it.

          • dorothy wilson

            I was referring to one German magazine and not German newspapers as a group. I also made it clear that my many German friends give a totally different impression.

          • Dimoto

            Don’t be daft Hooks.
            ALL of our newspapers (even the Speccie), and many of our politicos are forever going on about how we need to “learn from Germany”, with it’s powerful (some would say freakishly large) manufacturing sector and “apprenticeships for all” .
            The Brits generally admire axiomatic ‘German organisation and engineering prowess’ and the press is generally pretty benign, (except when Merkel manipulates one of her favoured “technocrats” to boss a southern European country).
            When did you last hear a chorus of senior British politicians giving rancorous anti-German speeches, as the Germans did after the “veto” ?

  • andagain

    ” It is not a good sign that Merkel sees Cameron as intractable and unwilling to compromise when he hasn’t even started the renegotiation process.”

    I would be astonished if she thought anything else, given that his party think that “virtue” and “hatred of the EU” are synonymous.

    • Frederick James

      ” It is not a good sign that Merkel sees Cameron as intractable and unwilling to compromise when he hasn’t even started the renegotiation process.”

      The final sentence of the article is highly tendentious. “Not a good sign” for whom? It strikes me as rather a good thing.

  • Andy

    Yes we should just leave and let them create their Fascist State. Seems the Germans have got what they have always wanted: a European Empire and without having to use tanks.

    • Ian Walker

      Exactly. Goering got it wrong – it’s not “guns before butter” but “banks before tanks”

    • James102

      It is easy to overestimate the Germans and as well to remember the latest estimates that their banks lent $100 billion to Irish banks $60 billion to various US sub-prime backed bonds and an unknown amount to Greek, Spanish and Portuguese banks.

      • Andy

        Well if you look at the Target T2 balances the Germans are in a hole with the Greeks. They’ll never see a cent of that cash if the truth were known.

    • Mirtha Tidville

      Just as well, these days they couldn`t fight their way out of a paper bag!!

  • Arthur

    They think we should just leave, we think we should just leave. Everyone’s happy. Dunno where they’re going to get £50million a day to replace our contribution, but I suppose they could just go ahead and print it.

  • John_Page

    Don’t get excited over what he may or may not put in a manifesto about the EU in two and a half years’ time. Whatever it offers about the EU, it will not be believed.

    • James102

      Yes, this is a problem for Cameron: the short term “Cast Iron” guarantee. Time and again his lack of experience and judgement shows.
      It is the same with Andrew Mitchell, it really is a feat to make Miliband electable but Cameron has managed it.
      Kids in men’s jobs. Him and Johnson doing the Gangnam dance at Chequers about sums them up.

      • an ex-tory voter

        Cameron’s problem is not lack of experience, or judgement.

        It is lack of principle, or more probably adherence to the wrong principle, coupled with a lack of courage and a complete lack of negotiating skills.
        He is weak and the EU runs rings around him, every time.

        As a leader of the the Conservative Party he is a dismal failure, as the leader of his nation he is beyond dismal, beyond parody and especiallly “beyond belief”.

        • James102

          But can you point to either experience or good judgement?

          • an ex-tory voter

            OK, I will grant you he does not seem to possess either, but they are secondary issues.
            If he had principle and the courage to argue the case he might just begin to lead his party and his country. He could achieve that regardless of his lack of experience and judgement.
            The bottom line is that he is not and never will be a leader. He is merely the senior sheep in the flock and will be singled out for political despatch the moment a wolf appears.

      • HooksLaw

        It was Brown who signed us into Lisbon and Conservatives who voted against. You continually misrepresent the truth in order to pander to your prejudice. It is a meaning;less prejudice since even out of the EU we would continue to be influenced by it and have to sign up to its regulations. You ex[pose yourself as a bigot by not admitting that.

        • an ex-tory voter

          “Brown” and “bigot” in one paragraph, my word!!
          Brown may have signed us up to the Lisbon Treaty but since becoming PM Cameron has ducked every opportunity to roll back the EU monster.
          Cameron is the Prime Minister, Brown is the ex Prime Minister. It is for Cameron to fight in the best interests of the people, Brown is irrelevant today.

        • James102

          We need to sign up to Japanese regulations with regard to some aspects of what we export to them that is different to the EU which is transforming itself into a state and therefore the various ‘regions’ need to have the same regulations regardless of whether they have anything to do with trade.
          A hairdresser in the UK is subject to EU regulations but not Japanese ones which is the difference we are talking about here.
          If we left we would be one of their largest export markets as we run a massive trade deficit with them. You don’t lay down conditions that hinder your best customer from buying from you.

  • Vulture

    Why is the Speccie continuing to pretend that the so-called renegotiation is anything other than what it clearly is : yet another phase in the gigantic con-trick being perpetrated on Britain by Cameron – and the other two Westminster parties?

    Cameron has no intention of returning powers lost to the EU because he is a fully paid-up lackey of Brussels, and even if he was serious the EU articles forbid the return of such powers: look it up.

    Therefore the ‘re-negotiation’ are a smokescreen designed to baffle the British public as we are drawn even deeper into the sticky morass of its embrace.

    Please do your readers the favour of telling them the truth and stop swallowing the downing Street lies just for once.

    • Heartless etc.,

      designed to baffle the British public

      Bullshit baffles brains.

    • RKing

      Good article by Daniel Hannan in the mail today on how we could leave.
      Worth a read.

    • dalai guevara

      ‘fully paid up lackey’?
      I thought that was Clegg’s position? I think you will find DC will have a lot of time on his hands once he ‘retires’ from the front line.

    • MikeBrighton

      I dont think the Tories and especially David Cameron can say anything on the EU that I could now believe.

    • HooksLaw

      Usual tiresome rubbish which completely ignores reality in order to pander to ignorance and prejudice. It ignores the reality of what ‘OUT’ would actually mean.

      • James102

        Daniel Hannan
        Gives our trade deficit with the EU in 2010 as £46.6 billion. We represent about 25% of their foreign sales.
        The article is worth reading as it shows how relatively easy it would be to withdraw and the advantages to us.

        • dalai guevara

          This is simplistic stuff, I am afraid to say.

          How would our trade deficit reduce if we withdrew? Do a quick survey, look out of your window and count the cars you see. Fancy driving that Mondeo from tomorrow onwards, or keep your Beamer/ Merc?

          When you get your pay cheque, or indeed write them, fancy ditching that nice and easy SAP software package for weekly envelopes?

          I mean, really – have you thought this through? Spell it out to me as if I was a five year old.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            Bravo – That is beyond parody.
            Leave the EU and the Germans refuse to sell us cars?
            Leave the EU and revert to cash in weekly envelopes? (I’m sorry that point is so opaque I might have missed your nebulous point )
            Leave the EU and no access to print parts?
            Dont insult my 5 year old. He’s got more nous than
            you could ever hope for.
            God. Fraser has got a lot to answer for….

            • dalai guevara

              What is your problem, mate.

              Can you not read?
              It wouldn’t.

    • telemachus

      Far from your black and white negative position I would say that Cameron has our economic and trade interests at the front of his mind
      Not to say that estrangement from Europe would destroy the City
      Ask any Banker

      • John

        I just asked several here, and they disagree with you.

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