This morning I had an epiphany! You know when you have been pondering a subject matter for a long time and you just can’t make head or tail of it. Then suddenly the ‘eureka’ moment. I am talking of course about what some call my obsession with Britain’s attitude towards Europe. Specifically the rise of Euroscepticism and Cameron’s pathetic response to try to placate his Tory backbenchers whose constituents are defecting in droves to the populist United Kingdom Independence Party.
In my previous blog post I lamented “what is your big idea on Europe David” ? But try as I might I certainly couldn’t find anything ‘big’ in Cameron’s long awaited Europe speech! Then it struck me that @Number10gov just might be doing another bit of ‘burying bad news’. So I looked for clues between the lines, but it was there staring me in the face all along:
“Britain is not in the single currency, and we’re not going to be. But we all need the eurozone to have the right governance and structures to secure a successful currency for the long term.
And those of us outside the eurozone also need certain safeguards to ensure, for example, that our access to the single market is not in any way compromised”
Cameron is not looking for reforms at all! He is feeling the wrath of the City of London and the hot breath of Boris in his neck! London’s mayor has said all along:
“We can no longer blame Brussels. This is perhaps the most important point of all. If we left the EU, we would end this sterile debate, and we would have to recognise that most of our problems are not caused by “Bwussels”, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure.”
And what was this ‘short term’ mistake, a mistake so obvious, yet no Tory would dare speak of ? ‘Not joining the Euro’ is where my bet would be. Not signing up for it, when the chance was there in 1995 at the Maastricht treaty. Instead securing an ‘opt-out’ for the British Pound Sterling. A coin #ukip types are so fond of they think it is a symbol of ‘Britishness’; they even have tacky ties and tie pins made of them.
“Now hang on a minute”, a lot of British Eurosceptics will butt in, ” isn’t the Euro supposed to be this huge disaster that our politicians saved us from?”
Well actually, the markets that these same types are so fond of tell a quite different story. They seem to be of the opinion that anything that doesn’t kill the Euro only makes it stronger! This is perhaps why WikiPedia reliably informs us
The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of November 2013, with more than €951 billion in circulation, the euro has the highest combined value of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.S. dollar.[note 14] Based on International Monetary Fund estimates of 2008 GDP and purchasing power parity among the various currencies, the eurozone is the second largest economy in the world.
For any British politician to admit the country made a mistake not joining the Euro would of course be political suicide. That doesn’t hide their Prime Minister’s pain and anguish he feels now the core Eurozone countries are pulling closer together, in effect creating a two tier Europe. An EU where Britain is left out at important decision making meetings. This seems to be Cameron’s hopeless mission: Finding a way that “those of us outside the eurozone” do not end up discovering we have shot ourselves massively in the foot, or in Britain’s case painfully in the middle of it’s important financial services industry and City heartland. So is it any wonder Major Boris Johnson is starting to plan for a City post #brexit and tries to put a brave face on it?
Will the Eurozone leaders take pity on David Cameron and throw him a bone? He is not going about creating sympathy and allies in a great way as succinctly pointed out by Rem Korteweg writing for the German Council on Foreign Relations. So ‘not stupid’ Boris has seen the writing on the wall and commissioned a report of his own with a distinct positive spin on life after #brexit to save his rear side. He knows only too well, that the big financial institutions that lease his London skyscrapers can pack their bags and move to Frankfurt at the flick of an internet router.
That is the risk you run if you destroy a country’s proud manufacturing industry and think the froth of the banker’s cappuccinos in the City is something anyone outside London really cares about.