Skip to main content

Nick Clegg steadies the ship

David Cameron went to Brussels but his use of the veto, which could have been justified in certain circumstances was bad from the point of view of strategy and pretty appalling from the point of view of tactics.

His position was so last minute that he had not briefed even a single potential ally. The result was that we had no allies.

Sarkozy laid an ambush which the UK walked straight into. The result was a catastrophic defeat for British diplomacy, which puts at risk not only our wider diplomatic reach, but undermines respect in Washington and Beijing. Neither has the veto stopped anything the EU26 now wish to agree among themselves without reference to the UK, so the defeat is total.

In the UK the Europhobes' references to the Second World War have come thicker and faster than ever. Complete withdrawal is now seen as possible, even likely.

So what Nick Clegg has started to do today is sensible. He has understood the fury amongst the Liberal Democrats at a defeat which is on the same scale as the AV humiliation that the Tories inflicted on us.

He learned a lot from that.

I suspect that the Brussels veto is not the last word on this matter, and that from now on, the Europhobic attack dogs will get far less of what they want than their gleeful triumphalism will have them believe today.

I judge that the mood among Lib Dems is now grimly determined. 

We have been successful in putting forward the liberal agenda in government. The price of the Brussels debacle will be that the Lib Dems will start to dig in their heels a lot more- and that includes starting to reach out to our EU allies and rebuilding the relationship that has been so badly damaged by Tory scorn and ineptitude.

My father has one line that he uses from time to time: "Never ever trust the ******* Tories", he should know, he once was one. Liberal Democrats must trust less and verify more: this coalition is a business relationship, not a marriage. It is time we got more from this, including real constitutional reform. That must now be the determined goal for Mr. Clegg. and all the Lib Dems.


john smith said…
I'd hoped the Liberal presence would have buffered our country against the worst excesses of the Tory right. In practice it has accelerated the process.
It begs the question what would the Tories have to do for the Liberal leadership to leave the coalition?

Popular posts from this blog

Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

KamiKwasi brings an end to the illusion of Tory economic competence

After a long time, Politics seems to be getting interesting again, so I thought it might be time to restart my blog. With regard to this weeks mini budget, as with all budgets, there are two aspects: the economic and the political. The economic rationale for this package is questionable at best. The problems of the UK economy are structural. Productivity and investment are weak, infrastructure is under-invested and decaying. Small businesses are going to the wall and despite entrepreneurship being relatively strong in Britain, self-employment is increasingly unattractive. Red tape since Brexit has led to a significant fall in exports and the damage has been disproportionately on small businesses. Literally none of these problems are being addressed by this package. Even if the package were to stimulate some kind of short term consumption-led growth boom, this is unlikely to be sustainable, not least because what is being added on the fiscal side will be need to be offset, to a great de