Coffee House The Spectator Podcasts

The View from 22 — Britain vs. Germany, kicking the Lib Dems and the BBC 28

15 November 2012

9:19 AM

15 November 2012

9:19 AM

Are Britain and Germany heading for an almightily clash over the future of the EU? In this week’s Spectator, Christopher Caldwell argues that Angela Merkel has had enough of Britain’s position and is out to give David Cameron a kicking over Britain’s lack of solidarity with her nation. On the latest View from 22 podcast, Fraser Nelson explains the significance of about is about to happen:

‘The [problem is the] extent to which Europeans don’t understand us, they can not get that for Britain, it is an issue of sovereignty. They keep thinking well the Brits don’t want to agree the next budget, let’s give them a few sweeteners — a subsidy here, a commissioner there. They are trying to horse trade with us, where for us now it’s gone beyond that.

‘In days gone by,  you could have had a stictch up between the elites. You could have said “right Tony Blair you’ve got this starry eyed fantasy about reforming the EU in your own image so if you give us a concession, we’ll pretend to play along with you”. That doesn’t work now because Cameron no longer controls European policy. He has it handed to him by his backbenchers…we are no longer speaking the language of the rest of Europe when we go to these negotiations.’

James Forsyth’s political column this week discusses the Tories’ brewing plan to win the next election — by targeting a significant number of Liberal Democrats seats. What does this mean for the coalition? James discusses the mathematics of how this strategy might work for the Conservatives:

‘The plan [for 2015] is what they call this 40 + 40 strategy. Defend the 40 most vulnerable seats and they you try and take 40 others. If you were to do that list purely based on the seats the Tories are closest to winning, there would only be 9 Liberal Democrats and the rest would be largely Labour, with the odd nationalist seat in there too. Their actual list of 40, which I have been told about. 20 of those seats are Liberal Democrat seats.

‘Why are they doing this? Because they think there is some tactical voting for the Lib Dems that will unwind. They also think the demographic factor and consumer targeting information — people who should be Tories but don’t know it yet — all favour them in those seats. This puts them in an interesting position. They are trying to govern with a party at the same time as trying to unseat a third of their MPs. We haven’t seen that before in Britain and that is going to test Cabinet collegiality to the limit.’


And what do our guests think of about the fall of General Petraeus? Listen with the embedded player below to hear differing opinions on America’s popular general. You can also have the latest podcast delivered straight to your machine by subscribing through iTunes. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.

The View from 22 – 15 November 2012. Length 28:03
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Show comments
  • Colonel Mustard

    The 28 story is already dying. The propaganda machines of the left are churning and any small voice piping up on the right is easily scorned to silence as a nut job “denier” or “phobe”. The game is over. The left’s lobotomisation of the public majority which started forty years ago has produced generations of socialist zombies who can be relied upon to parrot their inane soundbites without question or logic. Truth is truth alright. Unfortunately it is a manufactured truth that can no longer be assailed. And the party that should be providing the alternative narrative – which is basically freedom – is full of cuckoos in the nest.

  • Vulture

    It’s completely understandable why Frau Frumpel does not ‘get’ Britain’s Euroscepticism. She is the product of a closed socialist society ( East Germany) and had never even been abroad before the fall of the Wall. LIke her predecessor as Kanzler ( the one with the small moustache) she had next to no experience and therefore no understanding of ‘abroad’. She barely speaks a word of English. She is, in a word, parochial.

    Beyond her, Germany itself has, since 1945, been understandably consumed with guilt about what it did from 1914-45. It wants to forget that it ever was a nation ( which it had only briefly been after 1870) and drown itself in a greater Germany – ie. a united Europe which, as the perceptive Europhile Robert Harris has pointed out, is the Third Reich writ large in economic terms.

    Britain, on the other hand, has always been a globally maritime nation, once ruled a quarter of the world, and had an outward, progressive and open mentality. We see more clearly than ever that we made a historic mistake in locking ourselves into the closed European project in the 1970s – a mistake which is now rapidly being undone. Above all, the EU’s undemocratic, statist and corporate foundations were set in stone when we joined – which is why we have always been uncomfortable with them. INside the EU we are shackled to a corpse. It is time to regain our freedom.

    • dalai guevara

      Unbelievable, the childish smearing continues – and with so little skill. That is truly worrying, as it exposes stubbornness.

      If there was a choice between a chap on PPE and pop’s money, or a lass that is happy -when she meets the likes of Samaras or Berlusconi- NOT to compare the size of their swimming pools (because she hasn’t got one), who would you choose?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Frankly neither. I have no axe to grind against Frau Merkel but as the leader of a foreign nation I would not expect to “choose” her for anything. That is part of the problem – that the agendas of foreign politicians exclusively pursuing the interests of their own nations (understandably) are being imposed on an England whose leaders are not. In their metrosexual and puerile urge to be seen as fair to the whole wide world our “statesmen” (I use the word loosely) seem to view their own English people as last in the queue for their attention and protection.

        • dalai guevara

          Bearing in mind these are both conservative politicians (by label), it is astounding that it is AM who has single-handedly finished off the nuclear industry, whilst DC greatest achievement has been to remove that wind turbine from his home.

  • Archimedes

    I wonder if this announcement of the 40/40 strategy is maybe a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge to the LibDems on boundaries….

  • @PhilKean1

    “Tory plan to win the next election”

    “Targeting Liberal seats, and defending their 40 most vulnerable seats”? They really just don’t know what is about to hit them.

    Cameron simply CAN NOT win a general election when his core vote is going to collapse.
    He thinks Core Tories will look at Labour and stay with him. I say core Tories, the ones who have had enough of Cameron’s betrayals and penalisation, will look at Labour and see very little difference. And by 2015, the excitement at getting the opportunity to kick Cameron out of Downing Street will be irresistible.

    • Archimedes

      I presume you’re suggesting that these supposed core Tory voters will be defecting to UKIP, or some such thing? The core Tory voters are really the shire Tories – UKIP is too much of a City-cum-Redneck party to ever win those people over, and they have too many buffoons to successfully change their image. What UKIP is actually doing is stealing the peripheral Tory vote – not the core. In the battle for political talent, UKIP is losing miserably, forced down the path of recruiting numpties that have little to say unless they can say it aggressively: thus, it is all too easy for the media to spin UKIP as some sort of neo-BNP party. I’m sure they’ll receive nothing but praise in 2015, going into an election with that image, that will make it oh-so-difficult for their opponents to discredit the veracity of their character, and ride a guilt trip on the moral rectitude of the average voter.

      In fact the most likely scenario for a successful UKIP campaign, is if Labour decides to employ a tactical approach where they assist in lending some credibility to UKIP, in order to help destroy the Conservative vote – and, of course, UKIP voters will all want Labour at the bridge commanding EU negotiations for Britain, particularly at a time when large changes are going to have to be made, right? Then, we can take a trip down the road of fairly irreversible integration with the EU, and the concomitant permanent weakening of any negotiating position that would see a British exit due to the more integrated economic position we would be in.

      So, yes, it seems like you chaps have it all figured out – well done.

      • Vulture

        The very fact that you spend so much time dissing UKIP shows how worried you are by its impact.
        If the Tories want to prevent the return of a Labour Government they know what they have to do: repudiate their pro-EU leader and get rid of him.
        Because as things stand there’s no difference at all between the Tory and Labour attitude to Brussels : they both agree to capitulation.

        • Archimedes

          I haven’t denied that I am worried about it’s impact: it’s a major chink in the Conservative armour. I just don’t think that that’s the case for the reasons UKIP think it is. UKIP holds the power to keep the Conservatives out of government for a generation. I don’t think that that is going to deliver what either the Conservatives, or UKIP, want. Yet, UKIP’s position is not reconciliable with that of any responsible government, because it is not open to considering a path to achieving it’s goal – just demanding it immediately.

          • Vulture

            I don’t understand why you think UKIP’s position is not ‘compatible with responsible government’. What could be more responsible that listening to what the electors want ( ie. a referendum) and granting it?

            IT’s the LACK of listening that has pissed so many off with the Democratic process. The voters today in Corby should demonstrate this yet again.

            I think the real reason why the three Wesminster parties have sold the EU pass is that so many of them profit personally from the great betrayal (perks, pensions, junkets). Many of them want to emulate Neil Kinnock and get the entire family on the gravy train.

            The other flaw in your argument is that you seem to think that the EU will go on sailing sedately on ti 2015 and beyond, whereas all the available evidence is that its crashing in flames and won’t be in a position to suck us or anyone else into its all consuming maw.

      • dalai guevara

        Bang on. I can already smell the next GB-broom-cupboard-style book signing event coming up.

      • Coffeehousewall

        What a load of cobblers. I come from an urban Conservative constituency. Our MP has recently decided to close her constituency office because she is too busy in Westminster, and always supports Cameron on every anti-conservative vote that passes her way. She has been rewarded.

        I am a conservative and have voted Conservative but this election I will be supporting UKIP and will happily distribute leaflets and do whatever else is required to prevent the Conservative Party winning this seat.

      • 2trueblue

        UKIP voters will want Liebore at the bridge commanding EU negotiations???

        You are truely kidding here? These are the people who tied us to the EU and gave loads more of our money to?You were joking, whew, thank goodness.

        • Archimedes

          I was, of course, being sarcastic for dramatic effect.

          Do stop using coinages such as “Liebore”, “EUSSR” and the like – they just make you sound like a twat, and are unlikely to have the kind of associative effect you’re looking for.

          • Noa

            I was only able to find one use of EUSSR, not for liebor, that use was perfectly appropriate.
            Being sarcastic for dramatic effect just makes you sound (sic) like a twat, and [is] unlikely to have the kind of associative effect you’re looking for.

            • Archimedes


              • Noa

                Just saying, pillock.

            • dalai guevara

              Once the eight and a half votes are counted tonight following the police commssioners’ elections, perhaps you will also find a use for the phrase ‘UK politburo’?

    • Heartless etc.,

      But the so-called Tory Party – however understood – is morphing into a limpid-dimwitted-green-irrelevance. We only need a Cones Hotline or something equally stupid like elected Police Commissars or flannel about immigration or ‘gay’ ‘marriage’ or Big Society or energy tariffs or the need to buttress the EUSSR to complete the picture… oh wait a mo!

  • dorothy wilson

    Frau Merkel needs to bear in mind that the people of Britain are rapidly reaching the stage where they have had enough of the EU.

    I have a long standing involvement with an association dedicated to international cooperation, including a spell as European President. Nevertheless I am a very profound sceptic as far as the EU is concerned. For some time now I have become increasingly of the view that the rest of the EU will make it impossible for us to remain as members. It seems we are getting ever closer to that stage.

    And, as someone else has pointed out recently, if we do part company the EU will have a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in its budget.

    • Dimoto

      You don’t have to agree with the Spectator’s nostrums.
      IMHO, this one is poppycock.
      Merkel just wants a quiet life, long enough for her to win her election.
      She wants the UK to stay “helping to bear the financial burden”, but other than that, we don’t loom large on her screen.

      Germany is keen to preserve the manipulated currency, and control over the southern fringes (to prevent them doing stupid things as far as possible), and is evidently severely upset with a France that is no longer inclined to bend the knee (as Sarkozy loved to do), but UK ? Pretty irrelevant (as long as they keep paying).

    • Damian Buckley

      Wishful thinking. The British people may be against the EU, but we are not passionately against it. We’re against it in the same way that we don’t like rail fares. Give us the choice between paying the fare or having the line shut down, and we grumble and hand our money over.

      As for our contribution to the EU budget, I haven’t seen a league table of net contributions for a few years, but last time I did, we were of miniscule importance compared to Germany. Not so much the Grand Canyon as a hairline fracture. Has anyone got a link to such a table?

  • HooksLaw

    On the contrary – I suspect they know and understand that it is about sovereignty. Other countries are more sanguine about it because they have rarely had the internal ‘sovereignty’ or democracy that we have had.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Cue the anti German racism

    • dalai guevara

      If Germany was a race I would agree with you. However, I kept a copy of Mein Kampf to remind me that it’s not.

      • Coffeehousewall

        I don’t think that is Fergus Pickering posting. It sounds as though telemachus is stealing people’s identities again. The Spectator should be able to see that, but will not do anything about it.