Coffee House

Lock, load and prepare for ambush - David Cameron's very British approach to Brussels summits

28 June 2013

5:54 PM

28 June 2013

5:54 PM

Many Prime Ministers go native when they head to Brussels. But David Cameron’s hostility to the whole racket is hardening with every trip. At his post-summit press conference today, he was remarkably frank about what had just happened. “I have defeated this latest attempt to cut the rebate,” he said.

“I am frustrated I have to go through that battle all over again. But in this town you have to be ready for an ambush at any time, and that means lock and load and have one up the spout, and be ready for it. And that is exactly what I did… It is, and I won’t lie, it is immensely frustrating sometimes, the way this organisation works . . . I think this is no way for an organisation to conduct itself.”

The French tried to recalculate the rebate on British payments for east European farm spending. But they were given a bit of the Wellington treatment. “The end result is that the rebated has been secured in an even more detailed way than what we had in the past,” Cameron said (all this is interesting, because German accounts blame him for the ambush). Cameron explains in more detail in the below clip, his anger showing towards the end.


Cameron may be teased for the Dirty Harry language, but it perfectly represents his country’s exasperation with the way things work in Brussels. The below is the European Commission’s own polling, taken last year, asking various countries what they think of it all. The Greeks have every reason to dislike the EU as do the Italians. But who is the most hostile?

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 18.19.11 Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 18.19.16Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 18.29.48

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • thanksdellingpole


    • Wessex Man

      Rather inelegantly put but 100% correct!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, that does get the message across rather succinctly, doesn’t it?

  • bencorde

    This man is all cynical flannel. If he feels so strongly why does he want to stay in? I don’t trust him an inch. This is all to do with 2014/15. The party is in panic mode because UKIP just keeps growing and shows no sign of going away. Every new headline shows us that the LIBLABCONS have failed the UK miserably and will continue to lead us on the path to self destruction and division. Appeasement of evil never works. They will pay the penalty for their criminal and reckless incompetence.

    • Daniel Maris

      Absolutely – a reaction to the UKIP vote, no doubt. Nothing sincere or intelligent or purposeful about it.

      • bencorde

        My guess is after 2014 they’ll ditch him like a hot potato. Won’t bring me back into the fold from UKIP though. There are many like me who see the need for radical change into how our undemocratic system is exploited to protect the status quo

  • Augustus

    The billions that have flowed out of the EU budget over the decades have turned out to be based on a false promise of prosperity. It’s obvious that deprived and backward areas cannot be reformed with European billions. And why are there always a growing number of EU agencies and other EU bodies asking for more? Europe’s got to create more growth and jobs is the usual mantra for increasing the budget, but almost a third of the money goes to support farmers’ incomes. What growth? What jobs? And if you’re going to send money to countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain in order to stimulate jobs and growth for young people with EU funds, where’s the guarantee that it will actually be used for those purposes? Do companies in these countries get some kind of tax break for young employees, or are those young unemployed people in Spain going to build a nice wooden bridge with government money? It’s all one big ‘progressive’ socialist scam.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron’s ‘hostility’ and ‘exasperation’ with the EU is so profound that he will do whatever he possibly can to ensure that we stay in it.

  • Tim Reed

    “Many Prime Ministers go native when they head to Brussels. But David
    Cameron’s hostility to the whole racket is hardening with every trip”

    Satire. You forgot to add the smiley face at the end. 🙂

    The Cameroons plan on ‘renegotiating’ our relationship so that we may continue to be members of this club of bureaucracy. This means that in truth they intend to fight hard and do everything they can to prevent us from ever leaving.

    How does this square with a hardening hostility to the ‘whole racket’ ?

    It’s all a pantomime, with Dave attempting to play the hero – hoping the audience will cheer in all the right places. Unfortunately for Daveyboy, the dastardly Farage is stalking the stage… “He’s behind you!”. Give the charlatan bloody good shove, Nigel.

  • Wilhelm

    World renown islamic scholar David Cameron on the steps of 10 Downing Street said in reference to the two black muslims butchering the British soldier, ” It’s a betrayal of islam !!”

    Yeah, it’s a betrayal all right, Mr Cameron, but not of islam.

  • Wilhelm

    ”Lock, load and prepare for ambush.”David Cameron’s very British approach.

    That’s kind of sad and pathetic.

  • greggf

    The charts are suspicious.
    They indicate that the whole is bigger than the collective membership.
    Which can only be plausible if it only measures sentiment, and there are no facts to compare otherwise.
    But of course the EU commission did the “surveys”……!

  • Bert3000

    As a British taxpayer, I’ve never understood what gives the London government the right to divert money that I pay into the EU budget. It’s not as the London government will do anything remotely worthwhile with it (a few more drone attacks on civilians maybe?).

    There’s no justification for the rebate and it should stop.

    • MirthaTidville

      Your happy to pay money into the EU budget????…….you serious…no cant be

      • Bert3000

        I’d much rather have my money spent on things like the CAP, on making sure the single market works and on opposing the British government’s constant attempts to shut the country down than have it spent on pointless wars, surveillance cameras everywhere and our vast nannying and overfunded state, thanks very much.

  • itdoesntaddup

    This seems to have been re-titled and re-pictured since I first read it.

    Did No. 10 call?

    • Daniel Maris

      I reckon so…I noticed that. Original looked even more mad.

      Are we supposed to be children, who taken in by such shenanigans?

      Does Fraser actually believe this nonsense?

      In answer to the first – not me.

      In answer to the second – I have no idea, but if he doesn’t then that is truly, truly shameful.

  • Daniel Maris

    The more I think about this article, the angrier it makes me…because it is indicative of everything that’s wrong about political discourse in this country today.

    It’s not addressing realities – either here or abroad. Cameron never was and never will be a Eurosceptic. All this gun fight at the OK Corral rhetoric is ridiculous (and probably pretty meaningless to half the population who have never seen a western movie).

    • arnoldo87

      What I have observed is a politician prepared to go to Europe and tell them that the profligacy has to stop. That we cannot expect our own people to swallow hardship while MEP’s and the Eurocracy flit around in business class and clock up huge expenses.
      Cameron is the first politician to even raise these matters publicly, and is to be commended for doing so.

      • Daniel Maris

        He’s the first to raise it? He’s been in power for three years. What’s he been doing over the last three years? Stroking his chin and blowing smoke rings? This is all about the UKIP vote one way or another. The 2015 election campaign has started. Somewhere, someone has commanded – “we need to project a really tough image on Europe – David as the lone cowboy riding into town prepared to fight it out with the bad guys…that sort of thing…Toby, can you get the ad guys to come up with some ideas…and Imogen can you have a word with Fraser and the others…we really need to push hard on this”

        • Tim Reed

          It’ll be the 2014 election that first brings home the reality.

          • Daniel Maris

            Quite…the scenario is perfect for UKIP…

        • Henry Mayhew

          Great post Squire.

        • arnoldo87

          Daniel – you are right – I should have said that he was the first LEADER to raise it in the European arena. There probably is a good deal of politicking in his comments, but someone needed to make those points.

    • Wilhelm

      ”All this gun fight at the OK Corral rhetoric is ridiculous (and probably pretty meaningless.”

      It’s all BS, but then, it’s all about selling newspapers and making good copy.

    • Fergus Pickering

      But half the population does not read or write this stuff. We are mostly oldies crying for a past that never existed as is the way with people like us. Younger people mostly don’t care for politics. They leave it to the old.

  • cdvision

    Dave’s got the gun the wrong way around.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Isn’t it about time ‘Dirty Dave’ blew the EU away once and for all?

    PS I’m not holding my breath waiting for him though……

  • Jez
    “Daniel who?” you ask. Few folk outside the SW1 bubble will have heard of the charming *Mr Korski*.
    We know who he is! He’s (and let us be fair about it) ABSOLUTELY ‘USE-LESS’!
    Dangerously bad at predicting the outcomes of beligerent and aggressive ideas he and his buddies have that are the fasion-thinking within the Met political bubble.
    FFS! We’re all screwed!

  • allymax bruce

    So, David Cameron stands up for ‘Britain’, gives GerryFrog ambush short-shrift, emerged victorious with the rebate intact, and gives the unprincipled EU diktat a shiner; something to think about !
    What would Labour have done?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You seem easily manipulated.

      The EUcrats are good about helping their EUphile brethren, and staging the required skits to entice those easily manipulated back home.

      • allymax bruce

        Hollande is getting desperate, trying this pathetic ploy. Germany are staring down the barrel of a massive €500 billion write-off if France withdraws from the euro. France are on the verge of pulling out of the euro; it’s only a matter of who goes first, Hollande from office, or France from euro.
        Cameron has done his job of making sure ‘Britain’ doesn’t capitulate, of which, would have extended the grating malaise, to the demise, of the euro/unbridled EU diktat.
        In the snapshot picture, Cameron outwits the GerryFrog ambush. In the bigger picture, Cameron has progressed his plan to regress the EU back to Maastrict.
        Me, ‘easy to manipulate’; that’s funny. Thanks for your concern viceroy.

        • the viceroy’s gin


          So Call Me Dave has plans to regress his beloved EU?

          Yes, you are easily manipulated.

          • allymax bruce

            Maastrict is still EU, but not Lisbon. The future for ‘City of London’ lays in the past; can’t allow GerryFrog to take over, and be a centralised EU financial system!
            I know you’re UKIP viceroy, and surely a return/regress back to Maastrict is acceptable to UKIP ?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Don’t confuse yourself with all that fantastical strategeryizing, lad. That’s much the reason you’re so easily manipulated, you flounder in nothingness. Your boy Dave did nothing but put on a skit the other day, along with his EUphile buddies. Accept this. Then stop and breathe. Breathe again. Then repeat it to yourself… he did nothing. Then stop. Breathe.

              See how that helps your understanding? See how you find yourself becoming grounded, instead of flitting about mindlessly?

              • allymax bruce

                If you say so. Whatever makes you grin; keep believing in Oz.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, unlike you the easily manipulated, we conservatives believe in what’s right in front of our face, and not fantastical strategeryizationing.

                • allymax bruce

                  Foolish words from UKIP’s conservative equivalent to Shirley Williams. You do realise you are nothing more than the Tories SDP. Oz, is a never-never land; it’s in your dreams dear fellow.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Nothing foolish about conservative principle, laddie, although it has no place for you the easily manipulable, who prefer foolish fantasy.

                • Wessex Man

                  What exactly are you trying to get over to allymax bruce who I usually disagree with, is it that Cameron did a good job of negotiating the budget cut to the EU? if it is, I suggest you ask our Farmers if they agree.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  He understands it, and no sense giving you remedial lessons. Try to keep up, lad.

  • Daniel Maris

    “one up the spout…?” Is that Dirty Harry or Carry On Private?

    • Span Ows

      Not sure but the barrel is long and hot.

  • Alexsandr

    And this is a man who thinks he can re-negotialte our membership with these slippery creatures.

    • telemachus

      They are not slippery
      They need to be controlled
      Which is why we need to be in there fully engaged to ensure that the federal budget is reasonable

      • Colonel Mustard

        Why don’t you ever tag the comments down at the bottom of the thread – or write your own?

        Your Marcusean propaganda pieces are always tagged, with military precision, to the leading comments. We recommend proscription, we sh*t you not.

        • telemachus

          thank you
          “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

  • HookesLaw

    Usual empty headed rubbish from the usual suspects.

  • AnotherDaveB

    “David Cameron’s hostility to the whole racket is hardening with every trip. ”

    You say that, but he appoints the most pro-EU candidates available to the positions in 10 Downing Street.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

      Call Me Dave brought that idiot Korski into the hive!

      You couldn’t make this stuff up!

  • Daniel Maris

    I suppose that both you and he have calculated (rightly) that the Tories have no chance of government next time unless they can dislodge nor grind down the UKIP vote.

    Hence the absurdities of the title, the photo and the content to be found in this ridiculous article.

    DC is a fully paid up fan of the EU and has absolutely no intention of taking us. You couldn’t have a weaker starting point in negotiations.

    • telemachus

      You are right that he is a fan
      But not a fully paid up member
      While he keeps looking over his shoulder at Baron and friends he will get nowhere
      We need to be fully engaged to be listened to and respected

  • nationalexistance

    David Cameron firing blanks.

    • telemachus

      As through Osborne on Wednesday
      A nothing statement that will not deliver the balance he promised

      • Andy

        Still sorting out your f*** up. The economy contracted over 7% before of the incompetence of the Fascists – Gordon the Moron Brown, plus his evil sidekick Ed bollocks Balls. They should be hanged.

        • telemachus

          And what should we do with Osborne and Alexander

          • Andy

            Give ’em a medal. Least they are trying to sort out the complete and utter mess you and morons like you left behind.

  • RCE

    Anyone who agrees with that sentiment should vote UKIP, shouldn’t they?

  • telemachus

    It suits the current narrative to promote Cameron as a tough cookie who yet again stops the nasty Eurocrats bumping up the budget directly or by the back door
    At home he cannot give his right wing a referendum and so he takes the weak course of hiding behind a back bencher
    And then when the vote fails he thinks it will not reflect on him
    It will
    He is in fact weak on Europe

    • Andy

      Oh do shut up you idiot. Least Cameron, for all his faults, didn’t give away a huge chunk of the rebate for nothing in return save hot air.

      And how dare you say a word about a referendum. The Fascist Party, of which you are a member and apologist for, promised the British People a referendum on the EU Constitution. The EU, dishonest and dishonourable as ever, renamed it, gave it a shiny new cover, and you and your lot reneged on your promise. You and your ilk are liars.

  • Chris

    Interesting dismissal of DC in Der Spiegel. Implied that UK always looks for trouble and far more important things to discuss, e.g. youth unemployment.

    “…The European Union summit on Thursday night was supposed to be a demonstration of European harmony — until British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived. He insisted that the UK budget rebate go untouched, launching hours of pointless debate….

    The sums involved in the conflict were relatively miniscule given the amounts often at stake in EU agreements. But both sides in the debate were more concerned with questions of principle and the summit devolved, as so many of them do, into a marathon of cooking the numbers.

    In the end, a “satisfactory solution” was found, as Chancellor Angela Merkel said following the meeting without revealing any of the details. But many participants were left with the impression that the hours of discussion devoted to the question were little more than a waste of time

    • Wessex Man

      but even call me Dave comes good sometimes, he had to fight off the French who wanted our rebate cancelled, I wouldn’t call that a WASTE OF TIME!

    • starfish

      If it’s such a waste of time why do they keep revisiting the issue?

      • Andy


    • trapezium

      Cameron was well aware that a summit held to decide what the EU should do about youth unemployment was just the usual posturing.

      The EU is forever making grand plans to solve problems like youth unemployment. They meet grandly in Brussels, they dine and make some groundbreaking announcements. Then they disperse to their home countries and either implement change at a domestic level nor don’t.

      The EU’s announcements are chimeras (chimerae?). They sound good and disappear like the morning dew.

      Cameron merely recognises that and acts rationally.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Is this what the Cameroonian marketing braintrust has come up with now, laddie?

    Dave as The EU Terminator?

    Don’t you feel a bit embarrassed, having to carry this rancid water for them all the time? It pays the bills, no doubt, but it’s gotta wear on you, doesn’t it?

    • telemachus

      The irony
      That is what it emphasises
      This benign fop is far from a guerrilla which he likes to portray

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, the Speccie teenager is in fact a doctrinaire socialist, much like you.