David Cameron might be hoping that the eurosceptics in his party are chuffed with his tough guy stance on Jean-Claude Juncker. And by and large, they are. But they’re not wholly impressed. One eurosceptic remarks that this intervention is simply about the Newark by-election, given its timing. Another, who is minded to at least believe that the Prime Minister is thinking about European reform, rather than Patrick Mercer’s old seat, says:
‘This is no way to do diplomacy. Cameron has left this to the last minute yet again and it could be too late to do anything. He has had months to express a view yet is only engaging now.’
Indeed, discussions about the next president have been taking place in Europe for months. Newark considerations aside, it is odd that Cameron hasn’t started grumbling sooner and lining up allies against Juncker and Martin Schulz, who would also be detrimental to Britain’s chances of reform.
MPs do think it’s another example of David Cameron’s ‘essay crisis’ approach to governing, in which he leaves everything to the last minute and then manages, by hook or crook, to secure something. The problem is that essay crises are all well and good when you’re an undergraduate who can stay up all night with some coffee to produce an acceptable essay, but they’re a bit more difficult to pull off when it’s the slow-moving European Union and diplomacy, not dissertations, that you’re dealing with. But they’re glad that at least he’s having a go at looking tough.