Stanley's blog

I recommend that David Cameron views the four episodes of the BBC’s 1996 documentary on Britain and Europe, entitled The Poisoned Chalice, and he then has another look at the end of the political careers of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

A foolish commitment in 2005 to the Conservative euro-sceptics forced him to strip his MEPs of their influence by withdrawing them from the EPP-European Democrats (oka British Conservatives) group to form a somewhat odd group of right-wingers.

Recognizing that it would be futile to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty after it has entered into force, he looks likely to make a manifesto commitment to re-negotiate the UK’s treaty obligations and repatriate social and employment policies, notwithstanding that there is not a hope in Hell that the other 26 Member States will agree. He will also no doubt commit the Conservatives to hold a referendum on any future treaty. He will have to be careful because, although no further major reform is likely in the foreseeable future, there will be treaties of accession, such as of Croatia.

More recently, Cameron has backed another losing policy. He has earned the wrath of Merkel, Sarkozy and Zapatero, by writing a handwritten letter to Czech President Klaus urging him not to sign the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. It does not augur well for the UK if it is to have a prime minister with such poor political judgement – such an extreme step is not normally taken unless one is pretty sure to win: backing Klaus was a no-brainer from the outset.

The financial governance legislation is vitally important to the city of London and the national interest, and the UK needs all the friends possible: but the country will be virtually friendless in Europe.

Finally, what will happen inside the new government, assuming that the Conservatives win the next election, when the two heavyweights, William Hague and Ken Clarke publicly scrap over Europe. A very interesting dance of the elephant is awaited.

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