The Prime Minister may feel safe in his Camerlot Coalition, but it will doom him to defeat in the end.
The fact that last night David Cameron won his EU referendum denial with ease (he was always going to) feels somewhat irrelevant to me this morning. Some eighty-odd Conservatives voted against the Government, but this still means only 25% of MPs were in favour of a referendum.
Before continuing, I confess to having deleted some paragraphs from recent Slog posts, because the research information in there was, frankly, wrong. I of all people should’ve known better than to read an English newspaper out here and expect it to both stick to its agenda and tell the truth. But local servers simply don’t go into British sites beyond the BBC and, now and then, The Sun. One has to go to the local Mcdonalds (with a powerful global server) to have any chance of reading UK independent stuff: this too, I suspect, reflects how marginalised we are as a country these days – for there is no problem with other mainland countries, or the US news sites.
I understand that there were issues with the nature of the EU Referendum Bill (it was a dog’s dinner) and that politics were bound to play the major part. But even so, out here in the real world this vote will be seen as entirely the wrong way round: for just two days previously, an Angus Reid poll had shown that only 25% of Britons are happy with the EU membership as it stands.
Although the inability of Westminster, Whitehall, and most of the media to feel the pulse of Britain has become a cliché in recent years, it is no longer a subject for satirical amusement. Our system is today in a crisis of both liberty and democracy. The Government and media (of whatever hue) listen to everything in our private lives, but listen to nothing we say in public opinion polls. We have reached the stage of blissful – and wilful – elite ignorance that typified the USSR. No regime – regardless of its security sophistication – can ignore what the citizenry want forever.
The disdain with which this public petition was treated I found breathtaking at times over the last few days. Cameron somehow thinking he looked decisive by breaking his word to the electorate; Hague dismissing the vote as ‘political graffiti’; and Ed Miliband calling what we want ‘a sideshow’. Ed arriving at the next Commons debate in a perfumed wig and thick make-up, before declaring “Let them eat cake”, might be in order…although Basil Fawlty trying to run a hotel and wishing the guests would go away is probably a closer parallel.
It is the fact of this situation (and the facts in numbers) that should give everyone in Britain cause for concern. Looking back over the last four polls about EU membership, the figure for those who want out right now without any referendum has crept up to 49% – a staggering statistic, given that if you add to this with a referendum, there is a clear majority for secession…not renegotiation. The percentage saying we must stay in has dropped in just a year from 33% to 25%, and even 42% of LibDem voters have had enough. But the Parliamentary elite refuse to accept any of this glaring evidence of deep dissatisfaction. (For those wishing to depict us as Little Englanders, by the way, I would refer them to the latest Brussels Eurobarometer, which shows the same across the Union…49% wanting to abandon the whole idea.)
As usual, Dave and those around him are lackadaisical and smug about the ramifications for Camerlot. In which case, they should pay more attention to the detail of both this latest poll, and other recent surveys.
42% of British voters recently told MORI that they would never vote Tory. Not, ‘don’t vote Tory’…..they would never vote Tory. Right there you have David Cameron’s biggest problem: with his Party’s support still languishing in the upper 30s per cent, and the LibDem vote collapsing, out of five possible votes, he must get three to win – because two are denied to him before he starts.
I suspect it is more ‘him’ than ‘The Conservative Party’, because otherwise the other key stat – that 49% of all of us want out of the European Union immediately – doesn’t make sense. As I keep on posting, but almost nobody seems to get what I’m positing, a Tory Party going full-blooded for euroxit would sweep to power…but it would have to dump Camerlot, and it would split the Party. If, however, Cameron doesn’t grow some balls pretty soon, the Coalition will collapse along with the EU…and Edhead, Harpoon & Balls would gain power.
In theory, the EU could wind up breaking the Party system we have here in Britain. But it won’t, because the cosy system in the Commons is far too nice for many MPs to think about shooting the golden goose. Cosy it may be, but yesterday it looked positively archaic.
The debate speeches I saw looked perfunctory and wooden. Cameron observing that “when your neighbour’s house is on fire, you go to help” was quite one of the daftest soundbites he has uttered in a along career of superficial drivel. Surely when you’re living with your neighbour in his inferno, the first priority is to get the hell out.
As for, “I share your passion for EU reform”, this crammed more dissembling and inaccuracy into seven words than any other remark I can remember in politics: He doesn’t share our passions about anything, and almost nobody in this country has a passion for any existing or potential future EU…including the Prime Minister himself. For a man who has been gutless in dealing with Brussels (and is widely loathed both there and in France) it was an extraordinarily gauche lie.
But then these days, our legislative process does, truly, look like something from the Steam age. It was, of course, built for a time when at least a majority of governments were playing by the rules. In Germany, you may have noted, this seems still to be true: just to get approval on an increased EFSF bailout fund, Angel Merkel must tomorrow face a full debate of all Bundestag MPs to get approval for the move. I hope she wins, because this will – if it goes ahead – finally seal the eurozone’s fate. Unfortunately, it also stands a good chance of ruining all of us.
Don’t just take my word for it: read what Wolfgang Munchau (a chap who has been right more times than even The Slog about Europe’s dysfunctionality) had to say in the FT yesterday. Here’s a gripping, mind-concentrating extract:
‘Under consideration has been a leveraged European financial stability facility, perhaps accompanied by new instruments from the IMF. A leveraged EFSF is attractive to politicians for the same reason that subprime mortgages once appeared attractive to borrowers. Leverage can have different economic functions, but in these cases it simply disguises a lack of money. The idea is to turn the EFSF into a monoline insurer for sovereign bonds. It is worth recalling that the role of those monolines during the  bubble was to insure toxic credit products. They ended up as a crisis amplifier.’
And of course, they will do so again. The entire mad-cap scheme is South Sea Bubble stuff.
Yesterday at our billet here, there was a Russian Barbecue. The Russians burned a treat and were very tasty….probably a happy side-effect of them all being so fat.
Only kidding. But there are as many of them here now as Germans: it’s still dominated by Brits (more and more of whom appear to me just dazed in some way) but the Russian role is to remove the towels left by the Germans on loungers, and just sit there anyway. They are, almost to the last one, loud barbarians. Whereas, oddly enough, the Brits seem harmless when you talk to them.
They talk about football, the X Factor, and why David Cameron is a c**t. Then they sink back into silence, and the rest of their beer. The Latin staff here have a terrible time, but display almost no stress. They are, in every way, the obvious explanation for why a Saxon-Latin economic area will never work – at least, not with the survival of liberal democracy. I say this because when asked to fix something, they promise sincerely to do it, but don’t. They are neither warriors nor worriers, and this will never do for the Germans.