Albert’s soaked Jubilee bunting hangs limply, the ‘street party’ detritus is scattered across the allotments and the sudden outburst of the bulldog spirit has given way to excessive grumpiness, most of it directed heavenwards. The whole range of televised Jubilee events proceeded like clockwork, now we Brits can get back to doing what we do best – cocking things up. And few can match our dear leader in that art. Even whilst he was reading the lesson in St Pauls another huge row was building about his decision to refer Lady Warsi for investigation into whether she has broken the ministerial code, whilst refusing to do the sane for his pal Jeremy Hunt.
He will have little time to mull that over this morning for a significantly bigger challenge is about to engulf him. He faces a battle over a new European Union treaty to create the federal Europe demanded by Germany as its price for saving the Euro. Suddenly the Germans are seeing the ludicrous nature of a single currency based on a one for all and all for one. Germany is an economic giant amongst pigmies, and the popular demand is that it hands over its hard-earned prosperity to bail out those who have failed utterly to mange their own affairs. The price it is demanding is a federal Europe with budgets controlled from the centre. And there sit the Germans who are about to gain the supremacy that has twice eluded it.
The proposals will be presented to European leaders at a summit on June 28. Britain has so far been excluded from the negotiations, but suddenly David Cameron has a big decision to take. And we all know that he is not too hot in that art. Yesterday a leading EU diplomat said ; “We’ve heard the British lecture about what needs to be done but they’re not part of the negotiations. Cameron will be asked to sign on the dotted line and that’s all he will be allowed to do”.
And here is the nightmare scenario. The Conservative Party is pledged to initiate a referendum in the event of Treaty change, and what is proposed is the biggest change ever. If our dear leader signs without conceding a referendum he will face a potentially destructive attack by the majority of Conservative MPs. If he signs and announces a referendum the Cleggites will walk away from the coalition, and a general election will loom at a time when Master Miliband has a massive lead in the polls. Refusing to sign will trigger the same Lib Dem reaction.
In theory the answer is obvious. Allow a referendum on the assumption that the people will vote to stay in the European Union. That, after all, is what the suddenly dominant Labour Party will urge them to do. A yes vote would silence Cameron’s own party, would keep his Lib Dem lapdogs on side. But the Jubilee celebrations have served to show that the great Britsh public is in no mood to listen to politicians of any colour. The millions across the country who demonstrated so dramatically their support for the monarchy were also demonstrating something else.
Yes, the Queen commands great respect but, above all else, those hordes were saying we are proud to be British. One woman who spoke to camera said it all. “We love the Royals”, she said, “they remind us what it means to be British. If we didn’t have them what would we have left?”. Her answer to her own question was “nothing”.
Right now those who would campaign for a no vote would have a field-day. They would present the vote as a decision on whether we wish to retain our own identity. They would bang the drum along patriotic lines. They would organise a metaphorical fly-past of those Wellingtons and Spitfires that caused such emotion yesterday. Knowing Nigel Farrage they would probably stage a real one. And Ed Miliband, although against withdrawal, would hedge his bets, he is not about to slam the Number Ten door in his own face.
Of course the intelligensia would ridicule the concept of isolation, would point to the fact that we are now just part-actors on the world stage. But, like the anti-monarchists over the past few days, their numbers would be quickly submerged in the patriotic fervour that is usually less visible.
So what will the great man do? His instinct will be to find a fudge, to claim that this is not really a significant treaty change. That sleight of hand has worked in the past. This time it simply won’t wash.
Sadly our dear leader is no Churchill. He would have had no quelms in telling Clegg that if he adores Europe so much he should perhaps consider living there!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY;
“If you found yourself in paradise, it wouldn’t be long before your mind would say “yes, but….”. Ignore your mind, there are no problems. Only situations – to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the ‘isness’ of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Problems are mind-made and need time to survive. They cannot survive in the actuality of the Now. Focus your attention on the Now and tell me what problem you have at this moment”…..Ekhart Tolle in The Power of Now.