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A French Official today said this:

The UK is like a man who shows up at a wife swapping party without his own wife.

These were the famous words used by Lady Thatcher during her statement to the House of Commons on the 30th November. They also happen to be the words that could best come from anybody who is even moderately in favor of the European Union upon hearing of David Cameron’s European adventures.

It goes without saying that he has made a mistake. The short-term politics of it are for him good. Not only have Tory Backbench Eurosceptic come out to pile praise on their Dear Leader for saving them from the EU(SSR?), but Labour are now in a difficult position.

The Labour Party had been enjoying having Cameron between a rock and a hard place, unable to move and being slowly squeezed to death by the European project and various individuals who could charitably described as mad.

It is obvious that there needs to be reform of the EU, and of the Euro. Neither will be destroyed by Britain’s rather farcical attempt at preserving our national sovereignty.  A new European wide treaty was (and is still) needed. The proposed treaty would have bought the EU closer in terms of financial integrity, ensuring that current and future financial crises can be robustly dealt with.

The proposed treaty, it is said, included provision for a Financial Transaction, or ‘Tobin’ Tax. I am glad that we did not sign up to such a proposal, which would disproportionately affect the United Kingdom and the City of London. It is important that this is not imposed on the United Kingdom. Luke Bozier points out here that the City is responsible for more than one million jobs in the United Kingdom and creates tax revenue which is equivalent to the size of the budget of the National Health Service. We clearly cannot afford to lose those jobs or that income, and I applaud David Cameron for not signing up to that.

The really tragic part of the story is this. Cameron had to give some meat to the Tory Sharks. It was either concessions from France and Germany, or it would be small chunks of his political career. The 1922 Committee was said earlier in this week to be preparing letters to the effect of proposing a leadership election. We are once again being governed by a Party that is obsessed with an issue that the Public really don’t care about, much to our national detriment.

Cameron needed something that he could wave, to show that Britain wasn’t becoming an offshoot of France and Germany. He returned in triumph by openly admitting that he has wrecked proposals for an EU wide treaty. Britain is thus to be left behind as European Governments sign multilateral agreements to the effect of a treaty.

We will be the only nation not to sign up to this agreement. Our nation is slowly becoming more isolated under the Conservative Government.

And yes, I do call it a Conservative Government. We have once again seen that the Lib Dems in Government (“on your side”) are nowhere to be seen. It has been reported today that Nick Clegg was only told of the deal at 6am this morning, just before David Cameron held his press conference to announce his foolish mistake.

Be under no illusion, the Lib Dems are having no influence on the decisions that matter.

On the NHS, the £3.5bn reorganization is still going ahead. Tuition fees have been increased by 300% to £9,000, and applications to University are down by an average of 15%. The AV vote was lost. And now, to cap it all, the most pro-EU Party has supervised our withdrawal from Europe’s top table.

I am unsure as to whether Labour would have acted differently were we in this position. I do not know what Ed Miliband would have done if he were Prime Minister. I suspect that he would have been more generous to the EU, but that is only speculation, and I know that others in the Labour Party think that we would have acted differently.

The Party should remember this fact. We are now contributing £4bn a year to the EU in order to sit back and watch other Countries take decisions over our future. To coin a phrase, rather than sitting at the top table of Europe we in the kitchen, hunting for leftovers.

Cameron may be the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st Century. We may struggle to politically attack him over Europe.

But –

We can damn well try.

 

Update: Further detail on the treaty has been published by the BBC:-

 

  • a commitment to “balanced budgets” for eurozone countries – defined as a structural deficit no greater than 0.5% of gross domestic product – to be written into national constitutions
  • automatic sanctions for any eurozone country whose deficit exceeds 3% of GDP
  • a requirement to submit their national budgets to the European Commission, which will have the power to request that they be revised
  • eurozone and other EU countries to consider, within the next 10 days, providing up to 200bn euros to the International Monetary Fund to help debt-stricken eurozone members

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Here is a statement from the Guardian, explaining what the Editor in Chief of the Guardian Group told Cameron and Clegg about Andy Coulson last February:

Before the general election the Guardian contacted all three party leaders to tell them of certain facts about Andy Coulson which the Guardian could not at that stage report.

In a telephone call around February 25th, Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz told the prime minister’s director of strategy Steve Hilton a number of details about the case of Jonathan Rees, a private detective who had worked for the News of the World, which the paper had been unable to publish due to ongoing legal proceedings. These included:

• Rees’s name – he had been described in a Guardianreport published online on February 24th and in the paper edition of February 25th only as “Mr A”

• The fact that he was awaiting trial for a murder in which the victim was found in a pub car park with an axe in his head

• The fact that Rees had been jailed for seven years for conspiring to frame a woman by placing cocaine in her car, after which he had been rehired by Coulson’s News of the World.

• The fact that Rees’s illegal activities on behalf of the News of the World had been prominently reported in the Guardian before he was rehired under Coulson.

None of these details was included in any report for several months until after the collapse of Rees’s trial in March 2011. The thrust of the conversation was that Rees was a murder suspect who had been involved in massive corruption on behalf of the News of the World of which Coulson could not have been unaware. The Guardian understands No 10 chief of staff Edward Llewelyn was informed of this conversation.

Downing Street’s reference to the private detective working for Panorama is baffling and irrelevant to how the Rees information was handled. There was no suggestion that Rees ever had any connection with Panorama until March 2011, many months after No 10 was told the details of the Rees case.

Staff at the very top in Downing Street knew the sort of activities that Andy Coulson was allegedly engaged in when Editor of the News of the World….

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The Guardian is today reporting that Andy Coulson, former Director of Communications to the Prime Minister is going to be arrested by the Metropolitan Police tommorow for his part in the phone hacking scandal.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, reports here that he was aware of how deeply Mr Coulson was involved in the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, and that he informed David Cameron through an “emmisary”. Mr Rusbridger also states that he told Nick Clegg in a face to face conversation….

Mr Rusbridger states:

 Before the election it was common knowledge in Fleet Street that an investigator used by the NoW during Andy Coulson’s editorship was on remand for conspiracy to murder. We couldn’t report that due to contempt of court restrictions, but I thought it right that Cameron should know before he took any decisions about taking Andy Coulson into Number 10

I don’t think I was the only person to warn Cameron in advance about Coulson, incidentally.

Mr Coulson’s job title was officially given as “Downing Street’s Director of Communications”, and he was employed by HM Government, not Mr Cameron. His £475,000 contract with CCHQ was terminated when Mr Cameron moved into Downing Street.

Update: Andy Coulson was indeed arrested on charges of phone hacking and making illegal payments to policemen.

This seriously brings into question the conduct of Nick Clegg and David Cameron who knowingly employed someone at the heart of Government who may be arrested……

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The Coalition will continue, with the Liberal Democrats remaining in Government even if the Tories win a majority, according to Rachel Sylvester in The Times:

“For the Tory modernisers, the Lib Dems are the ideal weapon to ward off the enemy within. The news that some of the so-called “Tatler Tories” have been dumped from the list of prospective parliamentary candidates  is evidence that the leadership does not think that the modernisation of the party is yet complete. The Prime Minister is pleased to have political cover for keeping the 50p top rate of tax, abandoning the “prison works” approach to crime, avoiding a return to grammar schools and retaining the ring-fence on aid — all policies that infuriate the rightwingers. “The traditionalists are just not on planet Earth,” says one Cameroon.”

It would certainly provide political cover to Cameron to continue his modernization of the Tory Party.

“Proper “Tories don’t seem happy about it either.

@Richedaw, a self described Orange Book Lib Dem commented that “its the Tory Right’s fantasy conspiracy theory re why the LD tail wags the Tory dog so much”

@mad_pieman, a right wing Tory, said “Over my cold dead body”

I wonder what Simon Hughes and the “social” liberals think of that?

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