Europe will end David Cameron’s political career

13 June 2013

1:27 PM

13 June 2013

1:27 PM

Poor old David Cameron has never been blessed with attractive options on the European front. But for a while it was possible to suppose that it might not ruin his career to anything like the degree it helped to scupper the ministries of John Major and Margaret Thatcher. That pretence is over, however. There’s a storm coming and Cameron will be shipwrecked on the Belgian coast and that will be that.

A few months ago I suggested that all the talk of Tory “unity” on the European question was so much hogwash. The best that could be said was that all these clever ploys and stratagems for renegotiating Britain’s membership of the EU had bought Cameron a little time.  But only a little. The relief could only be temporary, however, not least because a large part of Cameron’s party want the Prime Minister’s preferred policy to fail.

Cameron thinks it is in Britain’s interest to remain a member of the EU. He does not consider the present terms of British membership intolerable. If he did he’d simply opt to leave now. Britain’s relationship with the EU may, in Cameron’s view, often be less than ideal; it is rarely, if ever, impossible.


So Cameron has put himself in the foolish position of – supposing he is still Prime Minister at the time – having to scuttle around Europe demanding better terms knowing that if he fails to “win” these terms he will, logically, find himself in a position of having to argue that terms of membership he found reasonable in 2013 have by some alchemy become utterly unacceptable in 2015 or whenever. Nothing of substance will have changed but Cameron will, presumably, have to campaign for Britain to leave the EU because Britain’s relationship with Europe was much the same as it was in 2013 when Cameron thought it was in Britain’s interest to remain a member of the EU. This is madness.

Moreover, it is quite evident that a large part of the Tory party has set Cameron up to fail. Consider this passage from James Forsyth’s latest (and characteristically excellent) column:

‘If he’s going to lead the “in” campaign,’ one senior Tory MP remarked to me, ‘I don’t think he can lead the party too.’ At least one loyalist fears that, if Cameron comes back from a Brussels renegotiation saying he’ll campaign to stay in, the chairman of the 1922 Committee will immediately receive enough letters to trigger a vote of no confidence.

In other words: Cameron has been set up to fail. 40 per cent of the Tory party  – roughly speaking – wants out. That proportion can only, I suspect, increase, in the next few years. So it boils down to this: half the party believes that Cameron’s definition of “success” is actually evidence of failure. Because renegotiation is just a milestone on the road to withdrawal. It’s not meant to actually achieve anything. On the contrary, it’s a ploy that is built to fail and many of those pushing it have no interest in seeing it actually produce anything.

Again, all the talk about Tory unity “holding” to 2015 or so is balderdash. The party is already split down the middle and it is a breach that cannot be mended since the growing Better Off Out caucus cannot possibly be reconciled to any plausible alternative relationship with Europe. For them, Cameron’s success is failure and his failure is success.

The only way the Prime Minister can survive the coming storm is to make a chump of himself by leaping to the Better Off Out side. The alternative – and perhaps more plausible – road to survival requires him to lose the next election. But that will be the end of him too. And so, there we have it: one way or another we’re approaching the endgame of David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservative party.

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Show comments
  • Kel

    Perhaps he’d be happy to lose the GE because that will lead to UKs continued membership of the EU under every other party except UKIP. The public’s desire to leave the EU will however continue to grow and whoever else is in power will still have to deal with it.

  • Jonah

    Could this happen:
    1. Cameron fails to gain sufficient support to stop Junckers.
    2. Junckers naturally refuses to negotiate the UK’s position in the EU, leaving Cameron sinking.
    3. Cameron has no option but to approach Farage for help.
    4. Farage agrees to save Cameron’s face, but only on condition of a Tory-UKIP coalition deal after the event: Cameron has no option but to agree.
    5. UKIP team up with the French National Front (FN) (reluctantly) and others to guarantee appropriate influence in Brussels.
    6. UKIP and their European associates amass to sack Junckers before he’s even started, and force a complete review of the European parliament.
    7. The Brussels-controlled ‘EU’ is demolished, and reformation begins in earnest to reflect the needs, values and wishes of the vast majority of European people.
    8. Member countries are once again able to begin to manage their own affairs without interference from a ‘federal government’ in Brussels.
    9. In the UK, the Tory-UKIP coalition begins, and at last the UK has a government that truly offers what the majority of British people really want: a safe and prosperous nation working in partnership with the majority of other European countries which, having been freed from the constraints of a potential Belgian Super-Parliament and are now free to work together in mutual interest.

    But if Cameron fails to oust Junckers (which he will without UKIP’s support), the Tories are dead in the water; Junckers will never negotiate with him or with Labour or the Lib Dems, and the UK will simply not be allowed to leave Europe without being made an example by Brussels, in which case Cameron’s promised Referendum is meaningless, so again the Tories are dead in the water.

    Seems to me the Tories only have the one option – talk to UKIP and save the UK (and indeed Europe). I may be wrong of course, but the coming months are likely to prove very interesting indeed.

  • JohnDevries

    What a great article. Written as it is, no bullshit, no exaggeration. Let´s hope Cameron has read it.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Oh I think making a chump of himself is quite an attractive option. But in the end it is probable the Milipede will have to do the scuttling about. And then there’s always the strong possibility that the Euro will do for Europe before then.

  • Lee Moore

    This really is the most fearsome nonsense. The Conservative Party is not split down the middle on Europe. It is split near one of the edges. The question is – how much longer can the splinter dominate the plank ? Not much longer – the next bout of opposition (coming in 2015) will finally shave off the Europhile fringe.

  • Macky Dee

    Alex, You are easily confused by people more intelligent than yourself.
    “If DaveC finds EU intolerable he’d leave now!… (No, he’d renegotiate 1st)
    “Situation the same as 2013 when it was acceptable”… (No, in 2013 the situation is one needing changing!)

    I hope you don’t get paid much for writing this half-baked crap.

  • Ian Walker

    Option 3: He could defect to UKIP

  • Terry Field

    I really don’t much care about the future of Cameron, Clegg, Milliband Hague or any of the kids who are or would like to be sitting inn the Big Chair.
    Nobody seems to write political articles in any journal that takes the humble, unsexy primary approach to ‘What is the best long term, strategic approach for the reconstruction of a successful, prosperous socially together Britain.’
    I could not give a stuff for the sections or individual actors of the Tory, Labour, Libdem or any other grouping.
    Success is not the success of some group of political operators, it is the survival and prosperity of the country.
    Does anyone at all give any thought at all to that.
    It seems not.
    One cannot expect a whole lot from journalists in terms of values, but even they have families, children, and just now and then, they must, surely, think that life is not just about ‘stories’, but about their and everyone’s gritty reality.

    • Fergus Pickering

      In order for Britain to succeed as a nation we would have to have things to sell that other people want. And what are these things? Don’t all speak at once. I should say banking and the English language. But perhaps you know better…

      • Terry Field

        Reconstruction of manufacturing export capacity will take half a century, but it is not optional. British people need to understand that the situation as as dire as 1945.

        The gutless political liars will not utter a word of the truth, and the so-called economic advisors simpy pitch for business, like tarts.

  • Uptonmanor

    The best way cast iron Dave can salvage any semblance of a political career is to join the LIBDEMS asap…….Simples.

  • Joyce Francis

    cameron would do better if he looked after his own country and whats happening to it but instead his to bizzy with eu, and time he does get around to look there will not be a country to look after

  • Clive Smith

    Glad to see the back of him – just hope red Ed fails dismally at the ballot box – Britain cannot afford any more muppets in Westminster !

  • woodsy42

    Don’t you mean that – Cameron will end his political career in Europe. Of course he will get chucked out by the Tory party, he has destroyed it, but the EU will welcome him into their inner circle with open arms into a much more lucrative job than he has now.

    • Fergus Pickering

      More fantasy. Where do you people live? Neither Blair nor Brown has a job in the EU? In fact NO British ex-PM has a job in the EU. Why should they give one. Thisis just one of the silly things you lot are always saying. It is by no means certain that, given a referendum,the British people will vote for OUT. In fact you lot say so. You say that the ruling elite will make sure the people vote for Europe. In other words the British people are stupid. Yes, I think so.

  • thanksdellingpole

    DC ended his own career.

    The loser!

  • global city

    Cameron is the heir to that web of lies too many Tories have spun about ‘Europe’ for so many decades. He truly is the heir to Edward Heath. Let us hope that the Tories reap the whirlwind of all those lies that they have sown.

    The debasement of parliament this has caused has not just been confined to the ‘Europe’ issue, but has leached into every area of political life.

    They now find it impossible to make a straight case for the European ideal, which is wholly about political union, but if they began to make a genuine case for the genuine cause they know what would happen.

    So they keep on lying.

    We are all being dragged into their fantasy of power, at the cost of us losing our right to self determination. Disgusting, isn’t it?


    There is no foreign rule of the UK whatsoever. Westminster Parliament would have nothing to do if that was true.

    • ghanimah

      Quite right…which is why Westminster MPs now have more days off, why the Queen’s speech (and others before it) are bereft of anything of substance and why the European Parliament has rarely been
      busier, listing on its database 1,301 “legislative acts” so far, for its
      2009-2014 session.

    • global city

      What do you think they do in ‘Europe’ all day?

  • Lady Magdalene

    “one way or another we’re approaching the endgame of David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservative party”
    That’s made my day.
    The Conservatives need to find themselves a BOO Leader. Gove would do; so would Paterson – or someone from the backbenches. I don’t care, as long as they put the issue of reclaiming our Independence and regaining our Sovereignty at the top of their “to do” list.
    Best option would be to recruit Farage, but as that’s not likely, a pact will suffice.

    • Macky Dee

      I support leaving the EU – the thing is, when your audience is ALL of the UK, and your democratic position is to serve ALL – You would soon find that the Re-Nog and Referendum from DaveC is the most, considered, most logical way of actually giving the Brits a vote! If you think about it, Nigel Farage doesn’t want to ask the people, he just wants out – as i say i agree with leaving the EU but when you serve 70 million people with varying viewpoints – you have to be… what’s the word?… Diplomatic (Meaning you dont shout your demands like Farage, who, because of this wont get anywhere).

      • Kel

        However, Nigel Farage and UKIP are offering a referendum and will abide by the result whatever that may be. They are trying to go down the democrtic route whereas the Tories are trying to kick things into the long grass and everyone else has their finger in their ears whilst shouting ‘EU problem, what EU problem?’

  • rolandfleming

    A Well reasoned article.

    But … I’m still not entirely clear which day-to-day problems in my life — or the lives of anyone else I know — would be improved by having a referendum on the EU. This is a serious question. Can someone please list a few reasons why this is important ? I’m not against a referendum, I just want to understand why this is a pressing issue for the UK.

    Why isn’t government talking about the real elephant in the room: pensions? That *is* a big and pressing issue that affects pretty much everyone. It is the main origin of our debt and deficit. Almost everyone retires and receives a pension. Our population is ageing and our current system is unsustainable. Isn’t that more important?

    • Wessex Man

      because no one will say the obvious that the Euro will bankrupt every country in Europe even if not in the Eurozone, that unemployment is rising throughout the EU at a faster rate than anywhere else on Earth, that the Auditors have refused to sign off the EU audit for 18 years, that we could invest the 54 million we pay in each day in proper jobs and welfare and that Hollande thinks it will all be fine next year.

      • Blorgh

        (Correction: Hollande thinks it’s already fine. See his comments in Japan a few days ago.)

  • Aphorisms & Musings

    Even if we get out of every European treaty ever signed, the law will remain exactly the same and continue to be made by Europe. We will have to comply or sink. This Conservative wet dream of reinstating a grovelling, forelock-tugging working class with no rights and an aristocracy of hedge fund managers is never going to come to pass nor will it actually improve anything.

    The Americans are not going to save us and the UK produces nothing which is particularly attractive to the rest of the World except house prices, inflated at the expense of the idiots who live here.

    This whole “Better Off Outside” business, UKIP and the rest of it are for the most part reflective of how miserable, parochial and illiterate the UK electorate have actually become and serves only to distract from how our entire political class are spivs and criminals to a man.

    • Wessex Man

      It must be hard getting that head of yours through doorways.

    • Remittance Man

      Sixth largest economy on the planet, set to become Europe’s second largest car manufacturer, a global financial industry that is the second largets in the world, the third highest expenditure on pharmaceutical R&D after the US and Japan, seventh out of 192 nations on the “ease of doing business” index and in 2008, the UK was the sixth-largest manufacturer in the world measured by value of output.

      Does that sound like a country unable to stand on its own two feet? Doesn’t to me. And believe it or not, it’s called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I quite fancy a grovelling, forelock-tugging working class.Rather than the stroppy, idle, violent lot we actually do have.

  • allymax bruce

    David Cameron is the only true leader of the Conservative Party; among his qualities are integrity, morality, and honesty; you can trust David Cameron when he tells you something. I can’t think of any other politician from the LibLabCon that can say that. I wouldn’t trust Gove, or Boris, as far as I could throw them! As for Miliband, everything Labour is, does, promises to be, is a lie. Labour would sell true own grannies if they thought it would get them into power. Never, NEVER give Labour your trust.
    In these hard times, I wouldn’t trust Labour with my childrens future!
    Gove is a real danger; he’s a Labour beast in disguise; akin to the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang. Labour; champagne socialists, that created an underclass! Not even the Tories at their worst could have done that!

    • trevor21

      You are Lynnton Crosby and I claim my five pounds.

      • Wessex Man

        Now you are giving him credit for having a brain, whatever next!

    • crosscop

      “You can trust David Cameron when he tells you something.”
      Yes – the murder of Lee Rigby really didn’t have anything at all to do with Islam. We owe so much to the Muslim community and we really should integrate into their way of life and not the other way round. Well said, Mr Cameron. That makes perfect sense.

      • allymax bruce

        I think even the ‘official cobra response,’, that Labour instituted, are no longer accepted by the ‘British’ public; this was hate crime by Muslim blacks and even David Cameron now realises Labour’s official cobra line is just bullshit. I think Cameron is moving cobra away from Labour’s ‘pander to the blacks for appeasement’, line. Everybody can see it’s going to cause a race war of he continues to pander to blacks. A change away from Labour’s (EU), old official cobra line is coming.

    • Tim Chiswell

      Are you serious? The man who put his face next to the slogan “We’ll cut the deficit not the NHS” on election posters, and has since pushed through a Bill to introduce NHS privatisaion (that was NOT included in the manifesto) and has seen the deficit INCREASE in both absolute AND relative terms is “someone you can trust when he tells you something”???

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron’s problems over the EU is of his own making. Don’t go banging on about Europe he said, whereas the moment he became leader of the Conservative party (8 years ago) he should been banging on to produce a policy that the whole party could more or less support. That’s what leadership is about, if he doesn’t understand this he should ask Mr Miliband who has kept his party more or less in line.

    • Fergus Pickering

      He has kept them n line by saying nothing at all, which is a curious kind of leadership..

  • Steve Chapman

    What should happen: pre-election, a party draws up it’s policies in a pro-active manner, and a leader is chosen to represent those ideas in Government… Cameron is a puppet. Clearly though a lot of the pigs in the trough are concerned at the threat from UKIP, not as any serious challenge to the Conservative party, but possibly their seats. Oink oink

  • pinkgunnergirl

    Cameron is a joke. He’s no Leader and he is no winner either. He has no ideological core and he is basically coasting it. I can’t understand why the Tory party cannot see Cameron and Osborne are driving the party off a cliff from which they may never recover.

    All this EU stuff matters not because the Tories will not win in 2015, Labour will form the next Government with a small majority and Cameron will be toast anyway.

    • Tim Chiswell

      The Tory party are letting Cameron and Osborne do the job required of them – dismantling the welfare state for ideological reasons (at least as far as is possible in 5 years).
      They couldnt win an outright majority against an incumbent deeply unpopular Labour party in the last election, the demographic of their core voters is aging and dooms them to become progressively less electable with every passing year, and they know deep down they may never get another real shot at majority government again in our life-times…. basically they’re heading off a cliff with or without Cam & Os, so they’ve got the Bullingdon twins demolishing as much of the perceived ‘socialist’ structures of the UK as possible before they’re ushered out of the door for good…

      • Macky Dee

        Bullingdon twins – You are so consumed by unimportant nothings like their background, ooh i heard they were in a club and the club gets bad press and i believe the press so i think Cam and Oz are nasty!

        • Tim Chiswell

          You think their background is an ‘unimportant nothing’??
          Do you SERIOUSLY think Cameron would be PM if he werent an Eton & Oxbridge educated millionaire?
          Their backgrounds are extremely relevant – neither of them have EVER had a job in the ‘real’ world, nor have either of them ever had to worry about money in their lifes. I consider this EXTREMELY relevant to the fact that they persue a political agenda that demonstrates a complete lack of empathy and understanding of anyone less fortunate than themselves

          • Macky Dee

            And Neither You nor Me have ANY experience / qualification required to run a whole country

            • Tim Chiswell

              No, we dont – but at least we dont try to!
              Is it really too much to ask that we have a political class drawn from people with real life business, social, financial, military and legal experience – rather than career politicians whose ONLY experience and education is in the field of ‘how to climb the political ladder and play to the voters’?
              Churchill ALSO came from a wealthy, priviledged background – but years of military service gave him the ability to understand the realities of war, and the experience of dealing with and communicating the common man. I doubt he would have been the great war Prime Minister that he was if his whole career had been based on a PPE from Oxford, followed by years as a paid researcher or campaign staffer for his local MP!

    • Macky Dee

      You don’t sound like a disgruntled Tory… More like just a Labour voter!

  • Augustus

    It’s Europe’s political setup that’s heading for the skids. There’s far too much money being wasted, corruption is rife, far too many bureaucratic institutions, and far too much unnecessary intrusion into business and individual lives. (this week the EU Parliament decided that you can’t put the image of a baby on manufactured baby milk powder because it would discourage breastfeeding). Everyone else has to justify their actions except the EU. Americans had to fight for their independence and unification to become one nation. If you compare that to a united Europe you can see that it won’t work. Anyone with the brains of shrimp can see that the present EU is doomed.

    • Eliyahu100

      Gus, what i see is more a situation in which the Eurozone keeps stumbling along, while Mario Draghi tries manfully to keep it from total collapse and while the Germans and like-minded Eurofools refuse any solidarity with their poorer euro neighbors like Greece. The Germans favor austerity for everybody while they prosper because the relatively cheap euro favors their exports whereas the strong mark would make their goods too dear. The Germans and their friends forget that despite their crimes in WW2, West Germany got 15 billion bucks free from the Americans through the Marshall Plan. Moreover, the USA got the formerly occupied lands to agree to forgo reparations payments from Germany. So the German Wirtschaftswunder depended on 15 Billion free dollars from the Marshall Plan plus no reparations except to the Jews of whom the Germans and collaborators had murdered 6 million persons or more. Their “economic miracle” did not derive only from their own hard work. It would seem therefore that in order to restore growth and economic strength to the indebted Eurozone member states, a big infusion of money is needed rather than the extreme austerity that the Germans have imposed, refusing mutualization of debt, and depriving the Greeks for instance even of their medical care. And it would seem just for the Germans, now that they have attained prosperity greater than that of their victim countries, provide the bulk of the funds needed. Bear in mind that 15 billion bucks in 1950 terms probably amount to a few hundred billion at today’s purchasing power and exchange rates.

      Otherwise, the EU is proving to be a death pact, especially the single currency. And the EU preaches to the rest of the world!!!

    • Kel

      I believe that Austria is also having some financial issues. Add Italian & UK elections around May and I think the EU and Eurozone crises are not going away any time soon.

  • Peter Stroud

    What is really worrying is the change in Cameron’s stance on the EU when in opposition, and now. He gave the impression before the 2010 election that he was a staunch sceptic. I remember the battering he got from Ken Clarke for realigning the Conservative MEPs with other highly Eurosceptic parties. Now he seems to be wavering, and it is likely to be content with winning some minor concessions so as to be able to lead an IN campaign.

  • David Webb

    Cameron is a traitor – he supports foreign rule of England – so he should never have had a political career in the first place. The fact that the politicians have agreed among themselves on a set of politicies that are treasonable does not make them any more lawful.

    • Liberanos

      I think it’s something of an overstatement to say that Mr Cameron’s belief in membership of the European Union, shared by millions in this country, makes him a traitor.
      It merely makes him mistaken.

      • David Webb

        Liberanos, the 82 people who ticked me up agree with me!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh don’t be silly. That makes every PM for the last forty years a traitor, doesn’t it? Why Cameron more than the lot of them?

      • David Webb

        Yes, the political class as a whole has pursued policies that amount to treason. As they used to say “treason never prospers/what’s the reason?/if it does, none dare call it reason!”

        • Kel

          I believe it was Tony blair that did away with the treason laws, funny how Labour also presided over ever closer union with the EU isn’t it? They wouldn’t even give the public a vote on Lisbon treaty so I would agree with the treason statement – they had their agenda and ignored the will of the people.

  • Guest

    You can’t have a common market without common rules and regulations. Saying you can is a bit like saying you can have Tuesday afternoon on a Saturday. As a nation we really need some of the less bright parts of the conservative party to understand this simple fact.

    • Tim Toddles

      ‘we’?? Labour have never been about ‘we’.

    • James Strong

      But the EU left the idea of a common market behind them a long time ago.And they state what the want, so let’s believe them. They want ‘ever closer union’. Well, not for me.
      I’m pro-free trade within Europe but very firmly against the EU.

  • HD2

    Not 40% , but >75%. Only Big Business wants us to stay in, and only because it suits their interests.
    The EU is not in the best interests of ANY individual European citizen – just an excuse to regulate, tax and ruin an entire continent.

    A Common Market, on the other hand, is in ALL our interests – but it needs to begin and end there – with NO common rules or regulations, just a right to sell anything that’s legal in one country, in ALL countries.
    It’s down to the individual country (I’d argue for County-level democracy, with each County Hall having powers akin to Cardiff and Holyrood) so that there is a powerful incentive to diversify and innovate – the very opposite of what Brussels imposes.

    One simple suggestion (partially on the back of last night’s excellent BBC documentary on Councils fining motorists merely for revenue purposes, since it’s easier to raise fine revenue than cut expenditure) that I have long advocated – why not allow each County the freedom to set its own Car Tax rates? Then London rates can be sky-high and rural rates rock bottom?

    • mightymark

      “Only Big Business wants us to stay in, and only because it suits their interests.”

      I thought I as reading the Spectator but this seems to have made its way from the International Marxist Journal. A sister paper perhaps?

      • Abhay

        He is right.

        There is nothing Marxist about pointing it out. Just as there is nothing conservative about condoning big business blindly.

        Ask any person who has worked at corporate HO in the city they will tell you about big business / banks. They are mostly pro EU and other large, multi-lateral institutions. Also, big businesses are pushing diversity and PC in a big way. Most large businesses have formal diversity councils, promote it and if you fall foul of it, your career will be dead.

        So please stop confusing conservatism with big business and please stop confusing new liberal-left with old illiberal Marxism.

        • mightymark

          “They are mostly pro EU and other large, multi-lateral institutions. Also, big businesses are pushing diversity and PC in a big way. Most large businesses have formal diversity councils, promote it and if you fall foul of it, your career will be dead.”

          Well if this is true why do you think it is so?

    • Macky Dee

      Europe is Socialist. UK is Capitalist. Never will they work in harmony. Lets leave.

      • Tim Chiswell

        Have you ever lived in Germany? Socialist? Their economy, industry and production are all a good deal healthier than ours – they are a perfectly functional CAPITALIST State (as is Denmark, France and a whole host of other European countries).
        If the UK is ‘capitalist’ then why did we take the extreme socialist measure of taxpayer-funded bail-outs of the banks? This contravenes every conceivable principle of free market capitalism.
        We also have the largest public sector and most extensive (and expensive) machinery of State in the whole of Europe – again, hardly ‘non-socialist’, is it?
        Im currently living in another EU country (Estonia) where we have a fixed 20% single tax rate, a private healthcare system, and no nationalised or government subsidised industries…. by comparison the UK looks like a socialist hotbed – but feel free to keep telling yourself that EUROPE is socialist while the UK is capitalist, if thats you’re favourite prejudice, since the UK’s ‘free capitalist’ government hasnt got around to legislating on what you are allowed to think (yet).

        • Tim Chiswell

          I should point out that I am neither a capitalist nor a socialist by inclination. Both ideologies have serious internal contradictions: capitalism assumes a free market, yet in reality the market can never be ‘free’ – either one or more ‘big players’ will emerge and proceed to rig the market in their own favour, or government will regulate the market to prevent this, in which case it isnt ‘free’ in the first place; socialism assumes that industry and services are socially owned for the public good, yet in reality in order for this to happen government must control these industries, in which case they end up being owned by the government and serving the government good, not by society and serving the social good.
          We live in a world that is technologically and economically so far advanced from what it was when ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism’ were originally conceived that neither can realistically be workable. We are trying to run a 21st century civilisation according to one or other of two competing 19th century ideologies, and then acting surprised when neither seems to work.
          What we need is a new aradigm, that combines thhe benefits of both without the drawbacks of either – unfortunately we do not seem to be even having this discussion or attempting to develop this model, simply trying (and failing) repeatedly to apply the same two century old models to the modern world, and then arguing about why they have failed…..

        • Macky Dee

          The French have the biggest state in terms of % of GDP(53%). You make a good point about bailouts being anti-capitalist, i dont agree with bailouts (they are illegal under EU law, but that doesnt stop us or EU from doing it).
          If it were up to me, the banks should be allowed to fail, and any money should go to ensuring individuals / businesses dont lose out because of reckless bankers, the bankers should be jailed.
          When i say socialist, i am on about the direction of Europe. Germany is a good example of 1) Capitalism 2) Welfare state that is not overly generous 3) Good business minded policies BUT – It is where they are heading – To say that they will be the financial backstop for all EZ countries (which is what they are already to a certain extent) THAT IS ANTI CAPITALIST – That is Total Socialism. That is a capitalist country heading in a very different direction. France is capitalist in all but name.

          How can a group of countries who have decided to ditch all the economic levers they had, ie Their own currency, Their own Interest rates, their own banks, all the mechanisms needed for Capitalism to work – they have ditched all of these in favour of a more centralised, less democratic way of being Led by a commission who is not directly elected.

          You have a funny idea of capitalism!

          Capitalist, (to me) means, business friendly, low tax, small government, easy to hire and fire, and FREE to make money and use all these levers to the benefit of its peoples.

          • Tim Chiswell

            Now there I agree with you – I would hope that any new paradigm that we develop would contain within it all the features that you list as ‘capitalist’ (technically speaking, those are not exclusively capitalist traits, and ‘capitalism’ is an economic/political doctrine that goes far beyond such basic, common-sense principles).
            Its just that, in my opinion, its not as simple as ‘leave europe’. Its not even as if we could if we wished. We could, of course, leave the EU, but we are part of Europe (for better or for worse) culturally, economically, socially and geographically and, in or out of the EU, would continue to be so, and continue to be tied closely to the economic fortunes of our European neighbours (who form at least 40% of our export market, and an even greater part of our imports).
            I think the terms ‘capitalist’ and ‘socialist’ get bandied about far too often, and more often still not used in the dictionary sense of the word, but according to the individuals own persnal perception of what that concept means or implies.
            What we need is a collective discussion as to what forms of economic modes we are going to move forward with, and what exactly the terms we use to construct them mean – for example when you say ‘business friendly’ I tend to agree with you… but of course what is ‘friendly for big, multi-national corporations may be profoundly harmful for small to medium local businesses (witness the massive tax evasion by the likes Amazon, which makes it imppossible for highstreet bookshops who pay full business rates and taxes to compete).
            Unless such issues are addressed on a global scale we will continue to persist with a dysfunctional socio-economic system whereby neither Europe nor the UK (nor anyonwhere else) is truely ‘socialist’ or ‘capitalist’, but simply a weird mish-mash of each in various proportions.
            What we need is a new ‘third way’, that embraces the realities of 21st century society and finance – instead we all too often get stuck in disputes about which mis-perception of the two 19th century models we prefer….

            • Macky Dee

              As long as that third way is democratic, and has the people at it’s core, then that is definitely what is needed.
              I do use the term Europe to mean EU, and again the Capitalist / Socialist terms get bandied about quite loosely. I think we can agree that neither what we have or what seems to be in the pipeline is good enough. We do need that third way!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Your 75% is pure fantasy.