A Euro-Nightmare before Christmas

Clegg needs to ask himself a difficult question: did he come into politics to be part of perhaps the most diplomatically-inept and Euro-hostile government in modern British history?

John Campfner, The Independent, 10/12/11

The consequences of David Cameron’s refusal to agree to participate in the Merkozy plan early on Friday morning will be many and various, short-term and long-term.

Some of the domestic political consequences are already apparent. Having scented Cameron’s weakness, or a kindred spirit revealed, the Europhobe Right have taken to the airwaves to demand renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU. While, after an initial attempt to toe an agreed line, it appears that senior Liberal Democrats have decided enough is enough. Critics might say that this is coming a bit late in the day – after tuition fees, the demolition of the NHS, the targeted attack on public services and the disabled – and on a topic which will not resonate well with the general public. But Europe is a topic that holds a very particular place in the worldview of many Liberal Democrats. Of course, in response to this the rabid right of the Tory party are goading the Liberal Democrats to walk away from the Coalition, in the expectation that “bulldog” Cameron will be swept to victory after this show of strength.

The longer term political consequences are uncertain. For example, does a Westminster government disengaging from Europe make Scottish independence more likely?

The economic consequences are equally unclear. [Read more…]