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In a preview of David Cameron’s 2013, Europe dominates his New Year interview

6 January 2013

David Cameron’s New Year interview on Marr was dominated not by the economy but by Europe. In a sign of what the promise of a speech setting out his European strategy has started, Cameron was repeatedly asked about what powers he would like back.

He didn’t give much away, repeatedly telling Andrew Marr he would have to wait for the speech later this month. But two interesting things did emerge. First, Cameron indicated that he wanted to toughen up the way that the free movement of people is applied. I presume this means that only those with work or a clear means of support could come here; Nick Boles and others have long argued that this is possible under the existing treaties. Second, Cameron indicated that the new terms-or-out referendum would take place within five years.

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On the child benefit changes coming in today, Cameron stuck to the script. There’s still no good answer to the two-earner question: why a household with two people on £49k should keep their child benefit while a household with one person working on £60k should lose theirs. But Cameron struck a more emollient tone, emphasising that he accepts that those on £60k are not the ‘rich’. Cameron also took a less confrontational line on the welfare up-rating being limited to 1pc, saying ‘I don’t like taking money from anybody.

Strikingly when asked about Britain’s AAA credit rating, Cameron emphasised that the important thing was not the rating itself but how much it cost this country to borrow. This suggests that Downing Street now accepts that there’s a real chance that the AAA rating will go this year.

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  • Rhoda Klapp

    A couple of years ago we had the concept here of the ‘Brownie’. A porkie by Mr Brown. We need a new word, for when Cameron trots out the Norway story, it just is not true. You can read Booker in the telegraph to find out the truth. So can Mr Cameron. So the question is, is he misinformed, or is he lying? There is no third option. A pity Marr is too damn thick to pull him up on it, or is the BBC line to take essentially the same lie?

    So, I’m looking for a word to replace brownie. Not just for this once, I assure you it will come in handy in the future too.

    • cosmic

      The term’s a “Cast Iron”.

      The Conservative’s game and particularly Cameron’s game has always been to be to kid a section of their support along with an impossible half-way house, “In Europe but not ruled by Europe” position, whilst remaining steadfastly pro the EU.

      Cameron seriously over-played that one with the Cast Iron Promise, and afterwards referring to the small print. It was a huge miscalculation and he had no idea how much damage that piece of duplicity would do.

      Now he looks to be about to make a strong statement on a choice on the EU – after the next election – which of course relies on people going a long way to trust him and no one does.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The individual term escapes me but the collective noun for the technique is “Camerslime”. It is usually prefaced by:-

      “Look, we need to…” or “Look, I know that…” or “Of course people are worried about…”

      and terminated by:-

      “We need to do the right thing.”

  • TomTom

    Why doesn’t Rompuy summon Cameron to Brussels and dress him down ? He is a popinjay with no real influence and no credibility at home. Let him bluff and bluster

  • barbie

    If he thinks this will make people vote for him he’s mistaken. We want the referendum now, before the next election, he’s on course to lose, what then? We all know Miliband won’t allow a referendum, but why any of them assume they are the only ones who can have their say is amazing to me. Arrogance a mile high. It is us the electorate who should decide not parties or politicans. Calling others names shows a weakness and fear he cannot face, UKIP are making progress, and the nation have noted their coming. Conservatives should take note, and action, before its to late. Why they don’t question Cameron’s motives more closely I’ll never understand.
    As for regaining powers back, he won’t, the other states will block all moves. When we signed up for this, well devious politicans did, we signed for all rules and regulations, but Cameron could say we didn’t vote in a referendum has a nation, and walk away until we do. He as no guts, he as no sense of fairness, its up to us the electorate to put him in his place, at the bottom of the pile, and vote ukip.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Cameron looked and sounded like as Establishment Placeman this morning. He isn’t OUR Prime Minister: he’s theirs.
    He won’t get my vote. I’m ‘odd’. I want my country to be independent and self-governing – like it was in 1969 before LibLabCON dragged us into the EEC/EU.

  • ButcombeMan

    I got an overwhelming sense of depression watching this interview, not because of Cameron’s slipperiness, (as with many politicians, that is a given), but because of the mind numbingly abysmal showing, from Andrew Marr. Just pathetic.

    He really is an absolute waste of licence payers money, a soft touch, a disgrace.

    He has let the public down.

    The one thing that needs to be pointed out and asked about, gets ignored.

    Marr MUST know, that Article 50 is THE way, laid down in treaty, for renegotiation of a state’s relationship with Europe.

    Marr said “Let me turn to the process” then went on to ignore Article 50.


    Was a deal done that it would not be mentioned?

    What chance that Cameron will go in front of Andrew Neil and have the same soft discussion ?

    What chance that Cameron will go in front of Neil at all?

    • barbie

      Well it’s the BBC what do you expect? Its been left wing for years, and chooses its questions and people who appear. Look at QT, most of the panel are now really impossible and unknown. That programme a flag ship for the BBC. as become foolish to the extreme. The public could do better answering the questions thant he chosen panel.

  • Wessex Man

    I love to see this slimeball in big trouble, he’s so bloody arrogant he’s still kidding himself he’s going to win in 2015,the sun will rise in the west first.

  • Vulture

    If Cameron had anything worth saying on Europe he would have said it seven years ago. He’s an EU sock-puppet with a flabby face and a seriously forked tongue.
    Two pieces in today’s Telegraph: a sycophantic trail of drivel from Cameron groupie W’Ancona and a cold douche of realism from Christopher Booker: viz. that Cameron cannot negotiate with the EU without invoking Article 50 ( an intention to withdraw) and that he has said he will never do.
    Two interviews on TV: Cameron the slippery slug on Marr; Farage the straight-talking man on Sky: Choose!

  • TheBollingFrog

    Cameron told a blatant lie on Andrew Marr. He said; “”Norway has to obey all the rules of the Single Market…and it has no say over those rules”

    Utterly untrue, Norway has influence via membership of the EEA Joint Committee on single market rules, and has a veto like Iceland and Lichtenstein as part of the EEA/EFTA agreement. A veto it has deployed over the 3rd Postal Directive.

    It’s revealing that not one journalist so far seems prepared to call him out on a lie.

    The Norway option would actually give Cameron what he (allegedly wants) repatriation of EU powers, but access to the Single Market. I wonder why he is so keen to avoid that option and instead go for renegotiation within the EU which is not possible under EU treaties…?

    • The_Missing_Think

      Yes… as usual, the NUJ nice people openly corrupt and “No Platform” the truth, for their own selfish (£££) and highly destructive politics.

      The NUJ virus automatically prohibits honest commentary from its host, if it disadvantages the politics of destroying Western civilisation.

      The NUJ virus needs destroying, before it destroys us. (No, not the hosts, but the NUJ malware within them).

  • Austin Barry

    Quite what, if anything, Cameron proposes to do about the millions of Bulgarians and Romainians, many Roma gypsies, who, theoretically, could be rocking up in the UK this time next year wasn’t teased out of the PM by the clearly irritated Marr.

    I supect that the only action Cameron will take will be to ensure that he hides his pin number when at the ATM.

  • Noa

    Watching him one feels that he is locked into the role of Hamlet, being played in the village hall by the Midsummer Amateur Dramatic Society. Having always wanted the role, he has nevertheless failed to learn the script, unlike the audience, who chant it in unison over his weak extemporisations.

    “…conscience does make cowards of us all,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
    And enterprise of great pitch and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry
    And lose the name of action…”

  • jazz6o6

    “domiates” ……???

  • George_Arseborne

    What is really great about this big speech since last year? I assure you there will be nothing new, it will be same old. About Europe Cameron is trying to address the heckle from his backbenchers and the eminent treat from Farage`s UKIP. he is not convincing anyway.

    The simplest thing for Cameron( With lots of Eurosceptics in the Tory Party) to do is to offer the in/out referendum on UK membership in Europe, then join the likes of Ed Milliband ( Majority members Europhiles), Nick Clegg and some Tories like ken Clarke who are all Europhiles and campaign for UK staying in Europe, period. He should stop confusing all the time.

    The only way to cut down welfare bill is to work on proposals of people in jobs ending living wage. This will cut down welfare bill drastically than this unfair aspect of stripping families off child tax credit.

    Then comes George Osborne most cherished Triple A credit rating. It will hunt and hurt the government very badly if UK is striped off, so he should not dare brush this aside.
    This will show how incompetence these lots are and how frightened by the Market. There was an article recently in the Daily telegraph stating that France ( Striped of Triple A rating) borrows at a rate slightly less than UK ( Full Triple A rating). So what is the point of the Market? or better still UK had been into the longest double dip recession and might enter a triple dip if nothing is done all as a result of George Osborne failed economic policies.

    I do not think Cameron is fit to be at the head of this Nation up to 2020. he has actually taken away the Great out of Britain.

    • Davey12

      France is borrowing using the Germans AAA rating. Actually the ratings are now redundant all we need to do is wait for this big sorry mess to implode. The entire western world is borrowing itself into oblivion.

      • George_Arseborne

        Is this actually logical? Then Italy, Spain, and errr!! Greece would have maintain theirs as well. Only UK with the exception of Italy has gone into recession, double dip of course and likely face triple dip sometime this year if care is not taken.

        USA was strip off long ago yet their borrowing rate went lower again. So Osborne and Cameron should actually give an explanation on their so called Triple A mantra that has taken the nation into an economy dole.

        Cameron and Osborne are binge borrowing more than Labour yet the economy is not improving and confidence amongst consumer very low.Where are all these borrowing money going to?

        Why are the bankers with all their scandals going scot free? The amount collected from the bankers for taxes was £700 Million less. Why are the hard working families suffering while the people who put us in this mess to begin with are going away free ?

        This shows how out of touch Cameron and Osborne are and are in to serve their Banks and tax avoidance Masters. What a shame

  • In2minds

    Cameron on Europe, or do we mean the EU? “He didn’t give much away” and he won’t get much back either. Cameron is as delusional as Gordon Brown.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “First, Cameron indicated that he wanted to toughen up the way that the free movement of people is applied.”

    Wanting to toughen up is not the same thing as actually toughening up. It is easy to say. He also said he wanted to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands but has failed to deliver on that. Overcrowding, the housing shortage, exploitative landlords, crime and terrorism, impacts on infrastructure and sustainability, pressure on essential services and the ballooning benefits bill are all good reasons for the government to prioritise effective immigration control, especially before 2014.

    When it comes to his personal hobby horses Mr Cameron is emphatic and determined. When it comes to immigration and Europe which are of serious concern to a majority of people he resorts to vague assurances and ambiguous articulations.

    • Seasurfer1

      A fear of, and a kneejerk reaction to Farage of UKIP, I reckon. He should be concentrating on the ECONOMY, reversing the pending cock-up on restricting CHILD BENEFIT, and kicking into touch his re-defining of Marriage.
      These 3 Policies will determine whether he becomes Prime Minister next time.
      If he pursues with restricting Child Benefit and redefining Marriage and does not get the Economy right his tory MPs will be scalped at the next General Election.

      • barbie

        It will be much more than what you say, immigration is still a sore point for those wanting jobs, housing, etc. Also his stance on foreign aid @ 11billion and rising while our own take cuts. Health tourists having treatment and not paying, while our waiting lists rise and hospitals face crippling debts. He’s no good and his lack of clarity and guideance proves it.

    • EJ

      Just from this weekend’s press alone it’s clear that Cameron has lost it – although everyone bar the Spectator realised that some time ago.

      Comment after comment on the Mail and Telegraph are vehemently anti-Cameron / pro-Farage. Everyone I speak to in the Tory heartlands despairs at Cameron and voices increasingly vociferous support of Farage. This isn’t something that can be contemptuously dismissed as a few dissatisfied swivel-eyed loons (much as you’d like to!)

      The Conservatives made a terrible mistake when they elected a left-leaning PR-obsessed snake oil salesman as their leader. Now they are paying the price and they will lose in 2015.

      Yes there are good men doing good work like Gove and Duncan Smith, but while Dave arses around with gay marriage, no one is tackling the issues that urgently need dealing with (immigration!) before this country sinks forever into third world, third rate oblivion.

      Farage and UKIP now represent the only force for true conservatism still standing. And their support will grow and grow.

      • telemachus

        No son it is the right that have lost it
        Anyone supporting one horse Farage has lost the power of reason
        Why support a man who is just one stop away from Robinson
        Cameron’s play on Europe played well down here in the Antipodes
        Maintaining a voice at the negotiating table while pursuing naked self economic interest including re-establishing contact with the Commonwealth again
        Why cannot the revanchists see that?

    • Noa

      Well, he could stop benefits payments to non contributors for a start, or require all UK visitors to have sufficient cash to support themselves. Preventing the landing of, or impounding and destroying unroadworthy vehicles and caravans would also have an effect.
      Deterring them from coming in the first place is a lot easier than turning them back at the border.
      Still I’m sure the Kerslake/Heywood duo will be flummoxing him, saying that there are all kinds of reasons why nothing can be done.

      • barbie

        The EU will search all areas of rules and regulations to stop him, Cameron won’t know what’s hit him. He could do many things, but he won’t, Clegg’s on the sidelines calling the shots or blackmailing him with pulling out of the coalition. He should call his bluff. The EU it’s self will of course set the rules, and say what we can expect but the final thing will be NO. Cameron should walk away and accept the fact this nation is fed up with the status quo and would vote to come out by at least 98%, so whatever he does won’t satisfy us. We see health tourists coming here and not paying for their treatment, we see 11 billion in foreign aid while we take cuts, and foreign workers coming here and having all the benefits we have paid for and they’ve not added one penny. Of course he will do nothing, his coat is yellow.

      • TomTom

        Transport is an EU Responsibility and he could remove Benefits from UK nationals but they might note vote for him……after all Noa you are an EU Citizen (look at your passport) just like a Romanian……but do tell me why Children of Turkish Workers are eligible for Stuident Loans and Maintenance Grants here

        • Noa

          All of which is sadly true, TomTom.

          Of course I never asked for or wanted EU citizenship, it was thrust upon me.
          Perhaps we should consider being EU benefits tourists ourselves?
          The open house status of the UK appears to be known to all our fellow EU citizens. So, can we encourage our own Neets, long term unemployed and unwed mums to take up residence in Sophia or Bucharest? Is the housing better in Hamburg? What’s the quality of dentistry like in Dresden or Delft?
          Or, as a lesbian student, will I get an educational grant in Luxembourg?
          There must be a whole continent of opportunities to be seized out there, if only we knew how!
          Why isn’t there a an UK produced Baedeker’s Guide for our own potential benefits tourists? Saying how to get there and what to do when you do? If we an establish such facilities over there for them to come to us, then we can do the same for our own people.
          Surely the lack of such a guide is the clearest indication yet of the death of entrepreneuralism in the UK!
          Or, perhaps, other countries just won’t take on the UK’s social liabilities?

          • TomTom

            Funny but true ! Other countries have a differently structured Benefits System which is why the UK is attractive because it publishes guides in a myriad of languages unavailable elsewhere and most Benefits here are not work-related but baby-based

  • Daniel Maris

    Europe to dominate. Great strategic thinking Osborne (remember Cameron’s just the front man doing the PR, which to be fair, he does reasonably well). So the Tories are going to focus on Europe…UKIP are already up to 16% in the polls. The more the Tories focus, the more Farage will get a hearing, the more people will like what they hear and the more UKIP will rise in the polls. At some point there is danger of critical mass being achieved. Let’s not forget that what did for the SDP was not Thatcher but the Falklands. It would be wrong to assume that this will be a UKIP bubble. What will be important now is whether Farage can assemble a credible team around him, rather than a bunch of loony tunes.

    • Colonel Mustard

      He’ll need to ditch the cheesy pound stretcher logo too! A complete turn off. Get some proper design and marketing advice Nigel.

      • Seasurfer1

        Cameron needs to drop Europe, and rally tory voters on the Economy, ditch the restrictions on Child Benefit, and kick into touch the Gay Marriage issue which is upsetting the Churches.
        Why are the Conservatives obssessed with SEX?

      • Noa

        Which takes money and serious sponsorship. Who is watching from the wings one wonders?

        • Malfleur

          Probably the same interests which have been funding the Coalition and the Labour Party, unfortunately…

    • Seasurfer1

      Farage was brilliant on Sky this morning. Cameron was Wobbly and looked unsure and stressed. There is danger ahead for the Tories.

      Get ready for UKIP to be 18% in the Polls.

  • Austin Barry

    Cameron’s evasive and slippery appearance on Marr compared very unfavourably with Nigel Farage’s robust and coherent interview which followed on Sky.

    • Noa

      And increasingly, no sense of honour.


      David Camerons policy is for Britain to be run by Europe but not actually be in Europe.What a clown.

    • telemachus

      Cameron is a giant compared with the chameleon frog Farage
      He may be desperate but at least he is true to himself and our great country

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