Coffee House

There is a silver lining to Juncker’s appointment

28 June 2014

David Cameron has been trying to look on the bright side after failing to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming president of the European Commission. And while that might look like the Prime Minister trying to spin something out of an abject failure, there really is a silver lining to this appointment for Britain, even though you have to look quite hard for it.

The Commission president is indeed important, particularly given his role in determining the EU executive’s policy agenda – in practice, no policy can be proposed without his agreement. He also has control over the assigning of Commission portfolios, an argument perhaps against the Prime Minister’s decision to fight Juncker until the bitter end.

But around matters of treaty change, the balance of powers, boosting the role of national parliaments and keeping the Single Market rather than the euro at the heart of the EU, the Commission president’s role is rather subjugated to that of the Council. Such matters of institutional importance are ultimately topics of discussion between national leaders, hence the UK Government’s push to tout its EU reform agenda across national capitals rather than simply in Brussels.

But even on issues of policy, the general mood of the Council is what drives the Commission president’s agenda. To that end, David Cameron should feel heartened by the words of some of those leaders this weeek. People like Finland’s PM Alex Stubb, one of the EU’s most influential new playmakers, spoke of the need to build bridges and declared his support for Cameron’s economic reform agenda for Europe. Dutch leader Mark Rutte, widely seen to have abandoned the UK in its fight against Juncker, pledged concessions to Cameron in the Commission’s work programme.


If the downside of continental Europe’s overriding commitment to consensus has been the European Parliament’s successful ‘spitzenkandidaten’ power grab, the upside is their desire to emerge still united. Placation and horsetrading by any other name. That unity now looks set to manifest itself in the EU’s policy priorities for the years ahead, to the benefit of the UK and to the likely displeasure of Italy and France. It is Matteo Renzi and Francois Hollande who will ultimately end up the odd men out over their demands for further budgetary flexibility, rather than David Cameron.

Perhaps the lesson that the UK should most take home from this protracted debacle however, is that Germany –while important- cannot be the sole crutch upon which it leans for delivery of its EU reform agenda. Angela Merkel was as much taken by surprise over the success of Spitzenkandidaten as anyone else. Her waiting game allowed others to decide the narrative over the Commission presidency. Perhaps if the ‘reformist’ trio of Rutte, [Fredrik] Reinfeldt and Cameron had gotten their act together sooner, it would have been their demands Merkel felt obliged to give in to instead.

The centre-left cohort in Europe led by Renzi who want to ‘change the economic paradigm’ coming out of Brussels provides a natural point around which the more liberal, open and competitiveness-minded EU countries can coalesce to resist. This provides an opportunity for David Cameron to push forward his vision for Europe as outlined in the now-infamous Bloomberg speech.

Those who appear to already be feeling guilty for leaving David Cameron in the lurch –or indeed just guilty at having rolled over to the European Parliament- have effectively given him an IOU [or several] to collect. In that sense, perhaps a defeat on Juncker is a better outcome than a messy victory in the long term. Ensuring those favours are called in on the right policy battles going forward will be crucial to determining the UK’s future in the EU.

The battle over the Commission presidency should not automatically be framed as a foreshadowing of subsequent defeats in Europe, if only because it was always about personality and process rather than issues perceived as being more important over policy and substance. The rest of the EU never considered this one which could put Britain’s membership at risk. They will take Cameron a bit more seriously next time.

Allie Renison is Head of Europe and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors.

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  • starfish

    Time to get out before the EU commissara bankrupt us or start a war with russia

    Next May seems to be an ideal time for the vote

  • Bonkim

    Poor consolation.

  • Pitkapoika

    In the United Kingdom we do not use the word ” gotten “.

    • terence patrick hewett

      Being a Saxonist I use the word often. “Sustren” is so much nicer than “sisters.”

  • JonBW

    The real lesson Britain should take home from the Juncker affair is that the EU is not going to change, reform or modernise. Now or ever.

    So we might as well have a referendum and get out immediately..

    And let’s not forget that the people who are saying that to leave would be disastrous were telling us a few years ago that we’d be doomed if we didn’t join the single currency.

    A prophecy that wasn’t quite fulfilled.

  • HookesLaw

    Despite the nutjob chorus the article makes some good points. Junkner represents it would seem more of the same, but what is important is what actually happens. We have to wait and see if the IOUs come in but equally, assuming the right wing vote does not get split, the rest of Europe probably realise they need to come to some plausible accomotation with the UK as the rest of them come to some ‘ever closer union’.
    Im sure some EU leaders will be praying for Miliband to win the election.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      What would they care? As we see, they get whatever they want, from any of the socialist poshboys.

  • SonofBoudica

    I’m afraid that the IOD is wrong. What the Juncker episode demonstrates is that, for all the promises of reform, the EU is beyond reform. Just like the broken promise to reform the CAP in return for Blair’s surrender of part of the UK’s rebate in 2007, nothing will ever happen. The EU has given two fingers to one of its biggest financial contributors, it’s second or third biggest economy and its second biggest State in terms of population. That is a clear demonstration of why membership of the EU can never be in the interests of the British people.

  • EppingBlogger

    Not sure how Allie Renison came to that conclusion.

    We know from recent FOI enquiries that the UK has failed in every one of its few attempts to stop policies proposed at the Council, so how on earth does he thinkCameron could have any influentce, even supposing he wanted to do so (him being a Europhile, and all that).

  • TimAmbler

    In international competition, which of our teams is the most inept? Our footballers, our cricketers or our EU negotiators? The footballers did get to Brazil, and our cricketers reached the last over in each of the Test Matches, which leaves our negotiators who have not even got to first EU base on any major issue since this government was elected.

    The FCO should have alerted David Cameron that Jean-Claude Juncker was successfully campaigning for the top EU job two years ago. Maybe they did. Making it into a fight late was asking the EU parliament and other member states to unravel what had been carefully stitched up. This may impress UK voters and give credence to Cameron’s EU positioning but it alienates Brussels, other member states and, importantly, Jean-Claude Juncker himself. Whatever his view of Britain before this boiled up, it will be much less helpful now.

    And what was the point of telling the EU parliament that they are too insignificant to decide the matter? The parliamentary vote against Cameron would have been as big a majority as it was at the Council of Ministers. The problem is entirely of David Cameron’s making: he pulled the Conservatives out of the parliamentary group, the EPP, that made the choice. As a result, Britain has virtually no say in Strasbourg at all.

    Opposing M Juncker both late and without suggesting an alternative candidate was seen as childish: Britain throwing its toys out of the pram again. Iraq took Tony Blair out of the frame. The only other name highlighted has been Christine Lagarde who may have now done most of what she had to do at the IMF. But she, as French Finance Minister, instigated the ploy which caused Gordon Brown, in 2009, to hand City regulation over the Brussels. The French can be counted on to attack UK financial services whenever they get the chance.

    Jean-Claude Juncker may not be the ideal President of the Commission from our point of view but he may have always been the least bad choice. Clearly Angela Merkel thinks so. To get what we want from the EU, we must stop demanding what is best for Britain and start a charm offensive focused on what is best for the EU.

    • Conway

      What is best for the EU is not necessarily best for us. Not that there is any chance of reforming anything anyway The only way now that this has been made plain is to get out.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The poshboys are simply incapable of the nuanced approach that you describe. They are clueless.

  • Tom M

    Allie you are to far into the woods at the IOD to see the trees. I suspect that you are unaware that I could take the text of your article and with a few name changes the tenets would apply to every episode of the EU since it’s inception.

  • NBeale

    It’s worth noting that the Council explicitly decided that “The UK raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU. These concerns will need to be addressed.”

    This is a major step forward. Cameron and all the other reform-minded leaders will be able to use this to make major improvements.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Oh sure.

      Now wipe that sarcastic grin off you face, young man !

  • Ken_Johns

    When the electorate of net-contributors Holland, Sweden, Finland and Germany finally realise that the UK’s exit from the EU is going to lumber them with finding X-€Billion more per year, how will they react? Will they blame their respective governments who had a chance to make a difference. Of course Poland may be eating the words of their leaders and could be shuddering from the sudden loss of EU funding, as well as the rest of the free loaders, soon to include Albania and possibly Ukraine etc. Never mind, the EU can always raise contributions and in doing so, witness the whole Eurozone sink into an irrecoverable collapse. Except, of course, the lip-smacking Commissioners with gold plated severance funds and their cleverly written immunity clauses preventing prosecution for almost anything they have done concerning their EU duties. I foresee a Mussolini moment in the not so distant future!

  • david trant

    The rest of the EU never considered this one which could put Britain’s
    membership at risk. They will take Cameron a bit more seriously next

    Puts the UK’s membership at risk, have you considered the rest of the EU are just sick to death of us and are quite happy to see us go.

    What Cameron has done has removed any logic attached to a referendum in 2017, why bother, lets have one asap and get it over with.

  • you_kid

    “… that Germany –while important- cannot be the sole crutch upon which it leans for delivery of its EU reform agenda.”

    The resident fascists will disagree.

    • Raddiy

      Do you?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …your army of sockpuppets makes up most of that fascist residency, doesn’t it, lad?

  • Fred Smith

    Prominent people in the EU have said consistently that reform along the lines Cameron waffles on about is not on offer. If you look at the procedures and history of the EU with a consistent commitment to Ever Closer Union from the off, and look at what’s involved in securing treaty change, it’s moonshine to believe a special deal for the UK, worth a bean, could be achieved at all, leave alone in time for a 2017 referendum.

    This looks like a case of Cameron finding something he could play up over and put on a show for us in the UK, thinking it was all in the bag, then finding out it wasn’t in the bag at all. The notion that he’s been acting out of principle, when the principle at stake was abandoned in treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon, is ridiculous.

    There’s no silver lining for Cameron in this. He hasn’t a clue how the EU works, he’s tried to make much over the wrong fight and fallen flat on his face. He won’t be owed any favours. His reform claptrap is a horse which won’t run, and for those not paying attention, this episode demonstrates that amply. He’s a loser with ideas that are none-starters.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Silver spoon more like….

  • Denis_Cooper

    Look, I said weeks ago that if Cameron was serious about transforming the EU to make it acceptable to the British people then he would not be fussing about who became the President of the EU Commission because TREATY CHANGE IS NOT IN THE GIFT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE EU COMMISSION, and so it would make little difference whether he was one eurofederalist or another eurofederalist.

    And I’ve repeatedly pointed out what Cameron doesn’t want to admit, that it was his Tory predecessor Major who agreed to grant the EU Parliament the power to veto the nominations for the Commission posts made by the EU leaders, through his “Game, set and match for Britain” Maastricht Treaty, which was supported by almost all of the Tory MPs at the time; and although it has taken time for the MEPs to get themselves sufficiently organised to fully exert that power granted to them over two decades ago that is when it originated, not with the later Amsterdam, Nice or Lisbon treaties for which Labour can be blamed.

    And now I will point out that if Cameron objects to the European Council being put under pressure by MEPs to nominate their choice as President of the Commission then he should really be asking for treaty change to reverse the change made by the Maastricht Treaty, remove their veto over the appointments, and return to the situation which prevailed between 1957 and 1995 when those decisions were the exclusive preserve of the member state governments.

    But even though he must know that this is the legal reality and therefore he must also know that he is misleading the British people, he will not admit the truth and call for that treaty change because he knows that it is extremely unlikely that he could get all the other heads of state and government to agree to do that.

    And if he cannot persuade all the leaders of 27 other countries to agree to change the treaties to strip that power from the EU Parliament and exclude it from the process of appointing the President of the EU Commission, there is little chance that he would be able to persuade them all to make the other treaty changes he says he wants, including the removal of the commitment to “ever closer union”.

  • tomthumb015

    Come on, it will be business as usual in the Brussels bubble. Juncker will soon be earning Barroso’s salary that will be – €24,422 per month

    • Stephen Green

      Subject to articially low rates of tax and beneficial un-audited expense allowances.

    • Chris Morriss

      Should just be enough to pay his alcohol bill.

  • Raddiy

    I’ve lost count over the years of the number of senior appointments at EU level that were going to bring a see change in the direction of the EU, only to fade into more of the same seemingly within hours. I’ve also lost count of the number of times we have made concessions to the EU on the promise of real change, the most notable being Labour handing back part of our rebate for reform of the CAP, which on the part of the EU, was effectively the equivalent of taking sweeties from a baby, and which of course always meant they would get our money, and CAP would remain unreformed.

    Junker and Cameron are what they are, Junker a unreformable integrationist, and Cameron just the latest example of a long line of europhile gutless, incompetent, gullible and naive British leaders, who are a total embarrassment to us.

    We can’t win with this incestuous band of fellow travellers whichever of the mainstream parties they belong to, they even breed their own replacements in their own image, and ensure they get elected to ensure continuity.

    They will never change, they will never concede to the demands of the British people, therefore the only solution is to destroy them at the ballot box, however long it takes.

    It is as simple as that!!

  • Makroon

    We need a strong voice for our next Commissioner, not failed politicians – Britton, Patten, Kinnock, nor nonentities like Ashton, and still less ‘chaps’ like Lansley or Lilly.
    My proposal is John Redwood, a “vulcan” in the popular hustings, but a highly intelligent man of integrity, with a good eye for detail, and tenacious with it.

    • Fred Smith

      Don’t forget the oath that Commissioners have to take to act independently of national interest. Also the role that the EP plays in judging the suitablility of the Commission.

      There’s a reason why Commissioners have been pro-EU worthies given a nice little billet where they can score a few quid.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Te Oath? Swear hard and then break it. What are you swearing BY?

        • Conway

          Your ticket on the gravy train?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I’m thinking more of Redwood taking over after your boy Dave is run off, sometime before Christmas or shortly into the New Year, when it finally sinks-in to everybody that the Camerloons are finished, and defeat is imminent.

  • @PhilKean1

    Every now and again, Cameron lets something slip –

    – And every time he does let something slip, almost everyone seems to miss it.

    Take this little gem from his concession speech at the EU Conference.

    ” Joining the Euro should NOT have to be a requirement of being in the Single Market ”

    Oh dear. Cameron admitted it. The media hawks missed it. Cameron’s favourite goal of EU membership, the completion of the Single Market, he KNOWS means Britain eventually being forced to join the Euro.
    And yet he not only is he speaking out in favour of the Federal enabler that is the Single Market, but he is moving Heaven and Earth to make sure Britain is a fully signed-up participant.

    Just how much more evidence will it need before the likes of the incredibly gullible and naive Peter Bone realise that they are being had?

    • Holly

      I have always been under the impression that being a member was part & parcel of eventually adopting the Euro.

      Vote Tory, get your referendum ballot paper, listen to Cameron waffle on for the ‘IN’ camp, and vote ‘OUT’.

      The BIGGEST mistake the electorate can make is to vote ‘IN’. Whatever fig leaves Cameron gets….Eventually it WILL be right back to where we are now.

      • @PhilKean1

        There was never any question that Britain would eventually be forced to join the Euro if we want to be in the Single Market.

        Only people so naive as to promise to stick to Labour’s spending plans would ever hope that we could do one without the other.

        But, there again, the likes of Cameron and Osborne thought, back in 2010, that Britain could happily “not bang on about Europe” – they could sign up to everything EU to keep them quiet, and the City of London would NOT have the EU’s Financial Tax imposed on it.

        Seriously, the politicians we are inflicted with at present must surely be the most sub-standard in Britain’s history.

    • Makroon

      Peter Bone is “incredibly gullible and naive”, because he doesn’t share your love of conspiracy fantasies ?
      OK then, if you say so.

      • @PhilKean1


        I tried hard to reply. But they don’t seem to have moderators working to approve waiting comments.

    • Denis_Cooper

      He should have said that four years ago, and he should have said it to Merkel when she first started talking about a treaty change to provide a legal basis for a eurozone bailout facility. That was his “golden opportunity” to extract other treaty changes in return for what she wanted, and he chose not to make any use if it. In the following months I repeatedly provided a list of treaty changes he should demand, all relating to the euro, and one of those was that those EU countries which were not already in the euro should be relieved of the legal obligation to have to join it.

      For God’s sake, not only did seven eastern European countries together moot that they wanted to be relieved of that treaty obligation, in the autumn of 2011:

      the Tories’ ODS allies in the Czech Republic were emphatic about it:

      “The ruling euro-sceptic ODS party in the Czech Republic wants to push for a referendum on the country’s future eurozone accession, claiming that the rules have changed since 2003 when Czechs said yes to the EU and the euro.”

      “”We should allow non-eurozone members – such as my country the Czech Republic – to decide again whether they wish to enter. We signed up to a monetary union, not a transfer union or a bond union in our accession treaty. This is the major reason why the Czech Prime minister wishes to call the referendum on this matter,” Zahradil said in a statement.

      The Czech Republic, along with all other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, is obliged to adopt the euro once budget deficit and other economic conditions are met.”

      So what did Cameron do to support his allies?

      Nothing, because he is not just pro-EU he is also pro-euro and is working towards the day when we would also be forced to join it.

      • @PhilKean1

        Your rationale assumes that Cameron is wanting to keep Britain out of economic and political union, which evidence shows he isn’t, and doesn’t have staying Prime Minister in 2015 as his first priority.

        Staying Prime Minister after 2015, preferably in Coalition with the Liberals, is what drives him – no matter what the cost.

        • Fred Smith

          He’d rather lose the next GE than win it at the price of leaving the EU. There are some things more important to him than being PM.

          The 2017 referendum is playing with fire but can probably be finessed to produce an in vote and failing that, dropped. It was offered on the assumption that the GE was lost and put forward as a UKIP killer. It hasn’t proven that, partly because no one trusts him.

          • @PhilKean1

            Yes, you are right on that one.

            As explained by Dan Hannan, Cameron has the opportunity to adopt an exit strategy that would see Britain prospering outside the EU and that could win him a majority in 2015. But I believe he would rather lose that election than countenance leaving the EU.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Don’t be silly. There is nothing more important than being PM.

            • Conway

              What about being the head honcho in the EU?

              • Fergus Pickering

                That appears to be a job for a idiot. Has been up to now.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Well, my rationale hardly assumes that when I say at the end:

          “… he is not just pro-EU he is also pro-euro and is working towards the day when we would also be forced to join it.”

    • Fergus Pickering

      But how long will the Euro last?

  • global city

    So everything’s fine then. Roll on ever closer union, as seemingly this means nothing any more!

    What a wonderful piece of spin!

  • Venk

    Tomorrow is another day, another battle.

  • Peter Stroud

    Merkel was on side with Cameron less than a month ago, with others. Now for purely domestic reasons she has reneged on the agreement, and where she goes the other spineless heads of states follow. I’m pleased Cameron stuck to his guns. He was somewhat better than the spineless Miliband, who could only rant about making alliances, whilst failing to remember what happened to Cameron’s alliances a few weeks ago.

    Now, less than twenty four hours after the vote, some those other leaders are edging back to the PM’s side. This just shows the corrupt, inefficient and confused state of EU politics.

    • realfish

      I cannot for the life of me fathom Miliband’s true position.

      Once again, as a man of no principle whatsoever, he is facing half a dozen ways at the same time, waiting to find which way will provide him with the best opportunity. Once an opportunist, always an opportunist – the sly kid who would steal his brother’s toys while he wasn’t looking.

      The depressing thing is that no one in the media seems interested in deconstructing Miliband’s MO, or outing him

      • Fred Smith

        Exactly the same as Cameron’s position on the EU. Not for it for any reasons of belief, but dead against getting out because of the upset to the established order, and if it happened on his watch, the risk and uncertainty.

        The only difference is that Cameron’s been forced to make eurosceptic noises because he happens to have a fairly large proportion of supporters who are suspicious of the EU, and because of UKIP. For whatever reason, Miliband and Labour haven’t had that problem.

        If it wasn’t for the rise of UKIP, Cameron would have mentioned the EU as little as possible and we certainly wouldn’t have had prattle about a referendum and this performance with Juncker.

        • Conway

          I’m not sure that Labour doesn’t have eurosceptics in its ranks. The unions set up No2EU.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        What’s to out? He’s standing around watching the poshboys as they self-destruct and implode.

        • realfish

          Posh boys? He’s from socialist royalty.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …ok, then he’s standing around waiting for his fellow poshboys to implode.


      • Conway

        I shouldn’t worry about not fathoming Miliband’s position, he hasn’t either because no one has told him what it should be yet (the focus groups haven’t reported).

    • Makroon

      German opinion has persistently been that Merkel is ultra-cautious and a ditherer.
      It is only the puerile British media which has presented her as some sort of ‘Iron Chancellor’.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …so basically, you’re acknowledging that Merkel is of conservative temperament.

        So, unlike your boy Dave, then.

    • John Marchant

      Yeah and these idiots talk about the European Spirit and not to be nationalistic, which is exactly what they did in the end, voted for what suited their country. Don’t get me wrong i agree with that but then they should not carp on about nationalism.

  • Wessex Man

    You are having a laugh arn’t you? the EU friendly journals all over Europe are laughing at and baiting Cameron. There will not be any serious negoitations with the EU. There was never a chance in the first place. The leaders of this soviet style enterprise believe Cameron to be an arrogant joke!

    They have done the United Kingdom the greatest favour in exposing this fool!

    • Kitty MLB

      Cameron stood by his principles, the EU will be laughing
      on the otherside of their faces when that socialist buffoon
      Juncker leads the EU into a closer union, under the control
      of Germany.Cameron spoke his mind, can the EU afford
      to lose us their biggest piggy bank.
      This will ultimately lead us closer to the EU exit, thats
      what you why is Cameron a idiot?

      • Makroon

        UKIP was founded to keep the pound. No thanks to them, but thanks to Major ‘n Hurd falling from power, and the Brown and Blair feud, in a typically British way, we muddled through that one and avoided a mistake which could have been terminal.
        Farage’s UKIP have a different agenda consisting of only two points – 1) Get Cameron, 2) ban foreigners. Everything else is a result of these two priorities.
        Apparently the ‘Juncker affair’ has been a major boon to UKIP.
        That must be why they are still protesting so much.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Don’t be so stupid.

        • Raddiy

          I assume you are a researcher for David Cameron, as your grasp of history fits neatly into his style of ignorance. You don’t seem to have much grasp of the present either, for that matter.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Are you Camerloon sycophants getting any closer to figuring all this out, lad?

          Apparently not, judging by that rambling post.

      • Raddiy

        Why will they be laughing on the other side of their face Kitty., closer union is what most if not all of them want.

        ‘Ever Closer Union’ is the open, published, supported and honest position of the EU and its members.

        The other countries have not been lying to their people for the last 40 years like the Conservative, Labour and LibDems in the UK have.

        Cameron is an idiot for

        1. Not understanding the concept of ‘Ever Closer Union’

        2. Being stupid enough to think he could con the shrewd politicians on the continent with his infantile games, like he and his predecessors have done in the UK, when history has shown we have been rank and incompetent amateurs at playing their game, losing every time, and in that I include the pyrhic victories we have ‘won’ over Brussels.

  • Maverick Ways
  • duyfken

    Just clutching at straws. This article is so extraordinarily weak that it just strengthens my contempt for the europhiles’ argument. Members of the IoD and of the CBI may have vested interests to protect, but the obfuscation as evidenced in this narrative shows how little regard they have for the public’s understanding.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Agreed. It’s weakness is the europhiles desperation to salvage something from this issue. More of the ‘potentially maybe of perhaps the offchance a little bit of jam tomorrow for Britain of X or Y or Z come on board and aren’t subject to some unforseen domestic or other imperatives’ spiel.

      Heard it all before. One hundred times bitten, twice shy, as they don’t say.

  • RPrior

    Great news – Now we will exit the EU and swap such unwanted shackles for a similar Free trade agreement offered to Ukraine Georgia and Moldova.

    3 cheers for the failure of Juncker – the fall of the Euro – and the disintegration of the current (soviet style) EU Project

  • revkevblue

    So what you are saying is Now we have been given a good kicking to let us know who is in charge, Daddy EUbucks is going to give us a spoonful of sugar to make the bad taste go away, but not the lesson.

    • Ian Walker

      Since we’re all pretending to like football for a few weeks, perhaps Cameron could take a leaf out of the book of the delightful Herr Müller of Germany, and take this slight knock as an opportunity to writhe around in apparent agony with the hope of getting his opponents penalised?

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh dear these Eurogeeks really do live on some deranged surreal bureaucratic Europhiliac goldfish bowl don’t they?. Three little words are all that matters to the Brussels extremists.


    The duplicitous and treacherous Merkel made it very clear it is her expectation that we will follow eventually. Given this country is pulling the other way its very clear there is an irresolvable disconnect that no miniscule bureaucratic and political machinations will overcome . The only debate remaining is our exit timetable.

    So given these circumstances and the obvious conclusion, this article reminds me of that marvelous scene in the “Life of Brian’ (if you recall Brian lost a vote too) with Ms Renison in the role that Eric Idle plays::

    De Dum, De Dum De Dum De Dum

    • Alexsandr

      the EU. Continuation of the 3rd Reich by other means

  • ScaryBiscuits

    All I can say to this article is ugh! The idea that we can get some grubby little consolation prize from the system isn’t a silver lining but why so many of us want to leave.

    • PierreO

      If ony you would ! is what we thank over here

      • Stuart

        What a stupid nasty little comment. You will miss our contributions though as you sink ever deeper into the EU mire.

      • John Marchant

        Yes well at least we will not have to put up with sponging, feckless, money grabbing, stealing Europeans in the UK any more.

    • Alexsandr

      yes. like we really want some sop from fraulein frump.

  • Adrian Drummond

    Come on? We always hear this narrative over the years and nothing changes. Why will it change now?

    • Holly

      It may change, because the public mood has changed.
      A lot more people are now making the connection of membership in Europe with continued problems on immigration/deportation, and border control.
      Concerns about immigration is now ahead of concerns about the economy in the UK.
      Hopefully the tipping point will come sooner rather than later.

      • 2trueblue

        As you point out the public mood has changed, and not just in the UK but in other areas of the EU. Germany will continue to thrive as they are selling their goods at Greek prices and therefore Merkel did her own thing. Cameron can now see more clearly that the rest of the EU members are not interested in change, just in collecting the money and controlling their members.

        • John Marchant

          Well when the national minimum wage comes in in Germany lets see how well their economy does then, when they have to pay fair wages and not cheap labour.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            They’ll do just fine. They are fiscally prudent, unlike the poshboys.

            • John Marchant

              No they will be back to being the economic basket case they were 12 years ago.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Don’t bet on it.

                And don’t bet on them being saddled with integrating another socialist satellite, either.

            • george

              is that the posh boys in the govt
              the posh boys in opposition who try to pretend they arent posh but have no idea the cost of a weekly shop or how to eat a bacon buttie? (and have just as many millionaires as well)

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …both, as you imply.


                • george


              • david croft

                Detest the use of the word posh, when you mean people with money. Really ‘posh’ people have no ideology and do not belong nor subscribe to political parties.
                Only the vulgar become party politicians and that is what is wrong with this country.

        • derekemery

          The EU is sitting on a demographic time bomb see
          The only economy of note is Germany’s but Germany has one of the worst demographics inside the EU. Juncker’s appointment is representative of how out of touch with reality the ruling EU elite are. Reality will not go away as the problems are systemic. Reality will be ignored as the EU elite run themselves on confirmation bias.

          • 2trueblue

            Just be glad that we are not in the euro.

      • Wessex Man

        Yes Holly it has but the only way to get out is to vote UKip at the next GE and to get enough UKip MPs into Westminster to cause the right wing of the Tories stage a rebellion.

        • Holly

          How are they going to get enough MP’s?
          What are the right wing of the Tories going to be rebelling against?

          Immigration may top a poll, ahead of the economy, but IF you and other UKIP supporters REALLY want to get out of Europe it is your duty to help the Tories to keep Labour out.

          If Labour get in no one but Europe wins.
          They will bounce Miliband into all sorts of deals, and he will sign up to whatever they bounce him into signing.

          • Raddiy

            Don’t be so naive Holly!!

            Give us one example of when a Conservative government has done anything to mitigate our further entrenchment into the EU.

            The Conservative party took us in, and was instrumental in signing us up to everything that was put before them. The Conservative Party is as bad as the LIbDems and actually worse than Labour if you look at their record. The only difference, you have been more succesfull in conning people with your perpetual tissue of lies, which you can no longer get away with because of UKIP, although Cameron in his own little world, still seems to think he can control events by making half baked promises. Deluded!

            Many of us can remember the treachery of Heath, the willingness of Major to force us into the ERM and hold us there, forcing interest rates to 15% and putting thousands of ordinary people into penury. Major didn’t give a toss about us, he was prepared to sacrifice anything and everything to serve his EU masters, and would have persevered if he hadn’t been given a lesson by the open market. Cameron is just the same shallow and superficial chancer who thinks it is all a game.

            UKIP might not get enough MP’s, but they already have enough influence to force your leader to go from whipping against an EU referendum, to promising his fake referendum after a re-negotiation he knows he can’t deliver on, in the space of a couple of years.

            If you think that the pathetic, gullible and incompetent, Cameron, who was stitched up like a kipper yesterday, without a Kipper in sight by the way, is the solution to anything, to quote the Finns, you need to “wake up and smell the coffee”

            • Denis_Cooper

              It was Major who agreed that the EU Parliament would not only get involved with appointments to the Commission but would actually have a veto. However of course Cameron could not bring himself to admit that he was in the doo-dah on this issue because Major had put him there as part of the Maastricht Treaty, what became Article 158 TEC. Much easier to lie and say that it was Labour and the Lisbon Treaty.

              • Raddiy

                Perhaps we are being a tad unfair on him Denis, and we shouldn’t mock the afflicted!

                His ignorance of what Magna Carta meant, or the fact he thought the Americans were running WW2 with a little help from us in 1940 is clearly suggestive of an education seriously deficient. I would imagine that unless Maastricht the Treaty was turned into a feature film he could watch on Netflix, the only significant thing he would remember about it, would be that it was a treaty, and it was done in somewhere called Maastricht, but don’t ask him where it is or what it is about. I think he probably learnt his technique for reading treaties from Ken Clarke, who as we know fully supported what was in Maastricht, although admitting he had never read it.

            • Holly

              All I am after is a referendum, but there are other issues that mean UKIP will not be able to persuade enough voters to give them a shot at running the country, so I am left with the Tory offer.
              Cameron has one shot at giving us the referendum, and I am under no illusion that he will not be supporting the ‘OUT’ camp. He will throw his support behind the ‘IN’ camp, just like the rest of them.
              As for the Finns, well I reckon you read it wrong.
              He was telling us to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ because he too knows the EU has no intention of changing…..
              Well not permanently anyway. They will give Cameron just enough to allow him to tell us he has ‘reformed’ our membership, but Cameron will not be PM forever, and as sure as night follows day, we will be right back where we are now, only the next time, we will be told, ‘the UK people had their referendum and chose to remain members’.
              END OF….
              I am NOT naive about what is going on, I also know precisely how we will be ‘warned’ about leaving, but you see I am a Brit, and I am NOT afraid of allowing the country to think for herself.
              It makes no difference to me today who took us in, all I am interested in is doing my bit to FINALLY get us out…UKIP is not the answer, and by the time enough people vote for them to make any real difference, it will be too late.
              UKIP may win the support of a few Tory rebels, but the rest of them are never going to vote for anything but the status quo.

              • Raddiy

                UKIP is the only reason that Cameron and the Conservatives are offering a ‘referendum’., never forget that. Without UKIP you and those who want instant results and instant gratification would have nothing to discuss or demand, because they would all be still bl**dy ignoring you.

                Until UKIP came along and grabbed British politics by the family jewels, the ‘eurosceptics’ in the other parties were a toothless bunch of wimps who did nothing but moan and talk, and moan and talk, and then when a new treaty like Maastricht comes along, even the chief ‘eurosceptic’ eunuch in the Conservative Party Bill Cash puts party before country and votes for the treaty.

                I’ve heard people like you tell us UKIP are not the answer all the way back to 1% and the mountains of ridicule and insults that were thrown at us. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said our limit is 3% then 5 % , then 9% then 12% etc etc etc. Every period of growth excused as a temporary aberation, yet still we role on.

                The one thing that is not the answer is repeating the same mistakes that are made time and time again, by giving them the benefit of the doubt, with their empty promises claiming it will be different this time. Honest!!

                And still the gullible and naive stick to nanny!

                We have stuck to our task for 20 years and we are winning and we will go on to eventually win the war, only then will we get back the country we have lost, and I am afraid Davy’s little helpers will help him to maintain the status quo and defy the British people for as long as possible.

                • Holly

                  UKIP only recently ‘grabbed’ the British public, and Cameron was talking of reform & referendums before that.

                  I can not stand Farage, or HIS failure to allow more than just HIS stand on Europe to sink into the British psyche. This is what is holding UKIP back, and helping to hinder the public’s confidence as to whether to elect them in a general election.
                  He simply re-appeared to get re-elected in Europe, he wants more or less the same as Cameron, the only difference being we know more about the policies/direction of Conservatives than we do about UKIP.
                  We have no idea who would run what department, and until Farage is ready to get out of the way, they will get nowhere.

                  At this moment in time, it will be UKIP that stop any chance of those of us who genuinely want out of Europe.
                  When Labour proudly boast from the government benches how UKIP voters split the Conservative vote, THEN you can go on and talk about, ‘people like me’, who say UKIP is not the answer, because just now, at this time in politics, they are not the answer.
                  IF Cameron does not get us out. Then UKIP can come in and pick up voters, just like me, in 2020.

            • moggie79

              And Milliband is the solution? Thats what you’re trying to land us with at the election. Its interesting to watch a party that are working to get Balls into No 11 in 2015 lecturing Tory voters on treachery.

          • John Marchant

            There is no referendum under Tory leadership and there will not be one in 2017 and the reasons are blindly obvious. Firstly if Labour win, no referendum, if Labour have a coalition with LibDems again no referendum. If LibDems win (Ha, Ha) again no referendum. If Tory win still no referendum (its lies like before), If Tories have coalition with LibDem’s again no referendum. Only UKIP win or Tory UKIP colaition would guarantee a referendum. Last Polls predict Labour on 34%, Tories on 31%, LiBDems on 8% and UKIP on 16%, you do the math.

            • Damaris Tighe

              Be careful of what you wish for. I support UKIP but I doubt the British public will vote to leave the EU in a referendum. They will be bombarded with pro-EU propaganda & scare-mongering from the MSM. In addition there is the fear factor – better the devil you know etc. Don’t forget most voters will have lived in the EU for the whole of their lives; they have no memory of life without the EU. The fact that they grumble about the EU is no guarantee they will actually vote to leave if given the opportunity.

              For similar reasons I predict that the scots will vote against independence. If they do, take it as a sign of the way an EU referendum will go.

              • John Marchant

                I agree with allot of what you say. I live in the Seychelles so really to me i don’t care, the average British voter does not have a clue why or who to vote for anyway.

                Personally i dont think they will vote to leave which is why i left the UK and EU. My wife is French and used to work in the EU and she hates it far more than me. Ive seen their profligacy, largess at close quarters and frankly how they got away with it originally is beyond me. 10,000 people in the EU paid more than the British PM, dont pay taxes, free meals, free transport, subsidized housing.

                The thing is if the general public across the EU knew what really happened they would leave, which is why the EU wants to outlaw referendum and indeed many countries wont even countenance you having one.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  and if a referendum produces the wrong answer they’re told to do it again!

                • John Marchant

                  I don’t think they will. Problem in the Eu they think every country is equal and they are not. We are not Ireland, Switzerland or Norway, we are far bigger than that. Could you honestly see the EU replacing the British PM if he was a Eurosceptic, i don’t think so. We have not had any bailout from the EU so they have nothing to hold over us.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They have the Londonistan banksters at risk, which is the EUSSR’s hole card.

                • Kennybhoy


              • the viceroy’s gin

                That’s why an article 50 vote is the better course. It leaves the path open for renegotiation, but still with a hammer attached.

                Salmond is following the same path, if you notice. He doesn’t want to present a precipitous option solely.

                • Damaris Tighe

                  what is an article 50 vote?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You should look it up for an accurate description, but from memory it’s a notification of withdrawal, and a 2-year period of renegotiation to determine the relationship post-withdrawal.

              • Kennybhoy


            • Fergus Pickering

              Maths, old fellow. We are not Americans, are we?,

            • Holly

              A lot of ‘IF’s’ there.
              The only ‘IF’ relevant is, ‘IF’ Cameron gets his majority.
              He then has two choices, either he gives us the referendum he says he will, or he goes back on the deal with the public on the referendum, there will then be enough time to dump him before 2020.
              Cameron, of course, will be given the reforms he needs, to be able to fight for us to stay ‘IN’….
              I for one will not be falling for any of it.

              • Conway

                By 2020 it could be too late. That’s the date Viviane Reding set for the USE to be in place.

            • moggie79

              Im doing the Maths. You work to make sure the Tory vote is decimated, they’re already fighting an unfair electoral system and UKIP usher in a Labour or Labour Lib-Dem government. And just think about how lovely the next 5 years are going to be- how much permanent damage will they inflict? And no referendum for certain. It seems to me its not about giving Britain a chance at a vote for the Kippers – its about UKIP. Your ‘lets bring the country to its knees for the sake of the party’ is depressing.

          • Conway

            No, as Dave has shown, the Tories are a busted flush; the only way to keep Labour out is for the Conservatives not to split the UKIP vote.

            • Holly

              YEAH RIGHT.
              Plod on there matey.

      • Alexsandr

        the only tipping point is when we leave the undemocratic, over bureaucratic, over regulating bankrupt EU

      • Damaris Tighe

        It was clever of Farage to make this connection The British public have always been bored to tears with the EU, but very concerned over immigration. By making the connection between the two Farage at last made UKIP into a party of mass appeal. Unfortunately it doesn’t address non-EU immigration, which is arguably more dangerous.

        • John Marchant

          How so, this year for the first time, EU immigration was bigger than Non EU immigration. We can control Non EU Immigration we can EU immigration. Now of course how we choose to control Non EU immigration is another matter, but at least the Government cant blame the EU for that.

          • Damaris Tighe

            It’s not simply a matter of numbers; it’s about culture.

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