David Cameron said “No” last night and Sarkozy and Merkel told him to “get lost” (or words to that effect). As Tim Montgomerie has written on Conservative Home: “For a long time the debate has been about whether Britain should leave Europe. Overnight it appears that Europe left Britain.”
I congratulate our Prime Minister for actually putting into action his rhetoric that he would stand up for Britain. He can expect cheers from Tory backbenchers when he enters the House of Commons chamber next week, and rightly so.
The comments from French President Nicolas Sarkozy that it was all the fault of the United Kingdom a Treaty between all 27 EU member states could not not be reached to douse the flames of the Euro, which would have included an attack on the City of London through crippling financial regulations, will leave a sour taste in the “islanders” as the French like to call us Brits.
As I have written before, the EU is a club. UK Prime Ministers, past and present, feel the urge to belong to the club and its trappings: chummy one-to-ones with German Chancellors and French Presidents, fine wine and food. Very nice, I’m sure. The problem is the British people don’t get any of the trappings themselves but instead they are subjected to Brussels technocrats dictating our immigration policy, our employment laws, our agriculture policy and much more besides but with none of the benefits of EU membership: we paid out £10.5 Billion to the EU last year but got far less back.
Now, it’s not just the British people who feel like this. An example of this is Poland. Here, the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, is desperate to clamber aboard the Titanic: he still wants to ditch the Zloty and swap it for the Euro. But the Polish people are not so keen on the sinking Euro. I was speaking with my cleaner, a very hard working Polish national living in Ipswich, and she told me that her fellow Poles have looked at what happened in the 17 Eurozone countries when they adopted the currency and saw the prices shot up overnight: funnily enough the Poles don’t want to find it harder to buy their food and pay their energy bills. My Polish cleaner put it very succinctly: “Having one currency for all the different countries across Europe doesn’t work because each country has a different economy”. Quite.
But that doesn’t matter to the Polish Prime Minister: he just wants to be part of the EU club and enjoy its trappings in Brussels.
It really didn’t have to turn out like this. You’d have thought the Germans and French would have learnt from the last century on what happens if you try to harmonise Europe under one Government. Unlike on the previous two occasions, Europe is not going to be rescued from it’s own folly by the British. Therefore, it is now up to the French and Germans to arrange an orderly exit of the Euro for countries that need to devalue their own currency to survive.
Meanwhile, Britain will start moving to the other exit.
UPDATE: Excellent post from Neo-Guido on the fallout from the Cameron veto: http://order-order.com/2011/12/09/the-right-people-are-upset/ What a lovely morning indeed.