EUROPE'S SHOT ACROSS THE BOW AT CAMERON: A BRIEF COMMENT.
"They have one line and they just repeat one line. It is a very bizarre sense of autism....
It's pathetic. It's just very sad to see Britain, so important in Europe, just cutting itself out from the rest and disappearing from the radar map …. This is a culture of opposition … It is the result of a long period of opposition. I know they will come back, but I hope the trip will be short....
They are doing what they have done in the European parliament. They have essentially castrated your UK influence in the European parliament.
I have told William Hague: 'go away for two to three years, in your political economic situation you're going to be all by your self and you'll come back. Go ahead and do it'. That is my message to them … You want to be marginalised? Well, you go for it. But it's a waste of time for all of us.
It's not going to happen for a minute. Nobody is going to indulge in rewriting [treaties for] many, many years. Nobody is going to play with the institutions again. It's going to be take it or leave it and they should be honest and say that....It is a time of tumultuous waters all around us. Wars, terrorism, proliferation, Afghanistan, energy with Russia, massive immigration, economic crisis. It is time when the destiny of Europe is being defined – whether or not we will exist as a third of the world's GDP capable of fighting it out on climate, on trade, on every … issue on the surface of the Earth.
We need to be united, otherwise we will be wiped out and marginalised. None of us can do it alone. Whether you're big or small, the lesson is the same. And [Britain's] risk is one of marginalisation. Irrelevance.
If we get a government that is ferociously anti European that will vote down this kind of legislation then I think the relationship is going to be very difficult. As we enter the next phase one of the issues we have to discuss midterm is of course finances. France is a net contributor to the tune of €5bn a year, of which €1.5bn is the same as British rebate. That should tell you quite a bit huh?"
Comments by the French, Minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche, in "France: 'autistic Tories have castrated UK in Europe." Guardian, 5 November 2009 in www.guardian.co.uk
" I must admit that my thoughts rest primarily in Europe - the revival of the glory of Europe, the parent continent of the modern nations and of civilisation. It woud be measureless disaster if Russian barbarism overlaid the culture and independence of the ancient States of Europe. Hard as it is to say now, I trust that the European family may act unitedly as one under a council of Europe. I look forward to a United States of Europe in which the barriers between the nations will be greatly minimised and unrestricted travel will be possible. I hope to see the economy of Europe studied as a whole....Of course we shall have to work with the Americans in many ways, and in the greatest ways, but Europe is our prime care, and we certainly do not wish to be shut up with the Russians and the Chinese when Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Belgians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Poles, Czechs, and Turks will have their burning questions."
Winston S. Churchill, Prime Minister's Minute of 21 October 1942, to Anthony Eden.
The comments by the French Europe Minister are easy to dismiss out of hand, as merely the remarks of a well-known and somewhat marginal politician. However, as the London Times notes, in very very undiplomatic language, Monsieur Lellouche was uttering the thinking of much of the European pays legal, about the feared European policies of David Cameron's incoming government (see: Charles Bremner, "Lellouche Outburst - does he speak for Sarko?" in www.timesonline.co.uk.) The pity of it is, that most likely au fond, Cameron, being an essentially, Harold Macmillan-style, paternalist, de haut en bas, type of Tory leader, probably realizes that his drum banging on the subject of Europe has little or no rationale other than to keep his party faithful happy. Unfortunately, the smoothness which he has shown in domestic British politics seems to desert him so far on the International scene. As Geoffrey Wheatcroft, who is not by any means hostile to either the Tory Party or its leader, recently commented:
"But abroad it has been a quite different story – a series of missteps and own goals, culminating in the gruesome embarrassment of his volte face on a referendum, and his forlorn attempt to explain it away. The French Europe minister Pierre Lellouche may have been using rather ill-chosen language when he told the Guardian that the Tory position was "pathetic", and accused William Hague of "bizarre autism" on Europe. But the whole episode is certainly a huge self-inflicted wound which not only casts a shadow over Cameron's judgment but raises the question of whether the Tories actually have a sane foreign policy – for Europe and beyond – that they can conduct in office. Every way Cameron has turned has led him into a blind alley".
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, "The Tories Foreign Foibles go far beyond just Europe,"
5 November 2009, in www.guardian.co.uk
The above is not to gainsay the fact that Cameron and his circle are made up of intelligent and personable chaps. A great improvement by far, over the mauvais ton crowd that no forms the government of the UK. However, it is not really credible nor reasonable to allow Britain's place in Europe to be defined by the parameters of such semi-outworn concepts as 'the Special Relationship', and, the harangues that former Prime Minister Thatcher was used to indulge in, when she was in power. That fact is that by itself, the UK, is never going to be the Americans sole partner, either in Europe or elsewhere. Especially with the end of the American 'unilaterialist' moment of the Bush years. If Britain wants to 'punch' above its weight in world affairs, it can either join up with the other leading powers in the EU to formulate one policy for the same worldwide. Or, spend an incredible amount of money on its arm forces to provide Britain with a true 'ally' for the USA, on the world stage. With its economy hit by the 'great recession' worse than most, I am skeptical if there is any political tolerance in the UK body politic for the latter option. Which means that the former is the only plausible one possible. Presuming that the UK wishes to have under Cameron a foreign policy at all...