The political rift between the UK Prime Minister David Cameron (Conservative) and the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat) widened into a public feud over Cameron’s refusal to sign the Merkozy accord.
The Deputy Prime Minister says U.K. Coalition Breakup Over EU Would Cause Economic ‘Disaster’
U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said a breakup of the coalition government would spell “economic disaster” for Britain while saying he was “bitterly disappointed” by last week’s European Union summit.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s refusal to back a 27-nation pact to tighten budget rules may leave the U.K. “isolated and marginalized within the European Union,” Clegg told the British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Marr” program today. Still, he said “it would be even more damaging for us as a country if the coalition government was now to fall apart. It would create economic disaster.”
By refusing the join the planned fiscal accord, Cameron strengthened that wing of his Conservative party who want Britain to leave the EU. He also caused the biggest rift with his coalition partners since both parties campaigned on opposite sides of a May referendum on overhauling Britain’s voting system.
A poll by Survation for the Mail on Sunday today showed that almost two-thirds of voters said Cameron was right to back out of the EU accord, while 48 percent said Britain should leave the EU altogether. A poll by ComRes, carried out just before the summit for the Independent on Sunday, showed 52 percent of Britons say the euro crisis is an ideal opportunity for the U.K. to leave the EU.
Clegg said that Cameron had been placed in a “difficult position” at the Dec. 8 to Dec. 9 EU meeting because he faced “intransigence” from France and Germany. Nevertheless, he added that the government should now “fight, fight and fight again” for Britain’s interests within the EU.
Not Good Enough
Cameron told reporters following the all-night talks that “what was on offer just wasn’t good enough for Britain. It’s better to allow those countries to do their own thing on their own.”
Paddy Ashdown, a former Liberal Democrat leader, today criticized the move, saying Cameron’s decision “doesn’t make it easier” to get the U.K. through the economic crisis. “Cameron has acted as the leader of the Conservative Party and not the prime minister of Great Britain,” he told Sky News.
Let me point out some simple math to Paddy Ashdown: Two-thirds of voters approve of Cameron’s decision not to sell the UK down the river. Thus Cameron not only acted as Conservative leader, but rather for all of the UK.
Moreover, I might point out, Cameron should go one step further and call for a referendum to leave the EU. Let the voters decide.
Better to Let Them “Do Their Own Thing”
Here is a fitting tribute to Cameron’s statement “what was on offer just wasn’t good enough for Britain. It’s better to allow those countries to do their own thing on their own.”
Link if video does not play: “It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers
Fight, Fight, Fight Again Within the EU
Rah, Rah, Sis Coom Bah, Cameron wants to “Fight from Within!” Yeah that’s the spirit. Episode number Five from the British Sitcom Yes Minister explains why.
Episode Five: The Writing on the Wall
Sir Humphrey: Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it’s worked so well?
Hacker: That’s all ancient history, surely?
Sir Humphrey: Yes, and current policy. We had to break the whole thing [the EEC] up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn’t work. Now that we’re inside we can make a complete pig’s breakfast of the whole thing: set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch. The Foreign Office is terribly pleased; it’s just like old times.
Hacker: But surely we’re all committed to the European ideal?
Sir Humphrey: [chuckles] Really, Minister.
Hacker: If not, why are we pushing for an increase in the membership?
Sir Humphrey: Well, for the same reason. It’s just like the United Nations, in fact; the more members it has, the more arguments it can stir up, the more futile and impotent it becomes.
Hacker: What appalling cynicism.
Sir Humphrey: Yes… We call it diplomacy, Minister.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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