By Russell Bruce
According to a report on David Cameron’s ‘breezing in and floundering out’ of EU talks by the Guardian’s political editor Patrick Wintour, senior Lib Dems have claimed that the Tory PM went into last week’s talks with “no intelligence, no friends and no flexibility”.
Backing for Alex Salmond’s position came from another senior source quoted as saying this outcome was “a gift for Alex Salmond”, because Cameron had taken unilateral decisions with “huge implications for Scotland.”
The question of it being a ‘gift’ should be ignored because the issue is about a statesmanship that Cameron did not display when he failed to use Foreign Office officials to prepare the way, or build a constructive approach to helping the Eurozone resolve its problems.
Cameron expected the other nine non Eurozone countries to be at his back but he had barely opened his mouth when they left him isolated because they were pragmatic, recognising that a Euro solution was in their trading and diplomatic interests.
In international relations with near neighbours and key trading partners it is always better to be inside the tent …
Cameron’s foolhardy exhibitionism has damaged his reputation, and that of the UK, far beyond Europe. Instead of useless grandstanding he should have seen opportunity.
All political parties, including the SNP, are opposed to a unilateral Tobin tax. The SNP has made it quite clear that America needs to be on board.
Cameron had an opportunity to play the long game and use what may still be left of the so called ‘special relationship’ to provide a bridge between Europe and America. He has blown any credibility he ever had and left the world perplexed as to how they should deal with the leader of perfidious Albion.
L’Angleterre, ah, la perfide Angleterre – England, oh, treacherous England.
Now we are hearing assurance that Britain, AKA England, is very supportive of developments that will see the Eurozone crisis move towards a resolution. It would have been better to have adopted such an approach as a starting point.
In walking out Cameron has ensured that the UK faces regulatory changes over which it has lost influence. Alex Salmond is right to ask the questions he did because Scotland is now trapped within two unions where its interests and views are not being tabled in pragmatic and constructive discussion.
The potential damage to inward investment and for employment in Scotland could rapidly become critical. Scotland’s voice must be heard in Europe, we have no vote (yet).
However, Cameron’s grandstanding may soon result in an empty chair !