"Downing Street said yesterday that a referendum is unnecessary. It is, at the very least, an odd negotiating strategy for Mr Cameron to throw away the strongest card in his hand before the game has even started." - Telegraph leader
The press are calling on Cameron not to treat us as "congenital idiots", but what if - politically and economically - we are? Let's not get into the whole 'in or out' issue of the EU. It inflames too many passions. Let's just look at one of the mooted solutions to the problems of the Euro.
The proposed EU Tobin Tax is a threat to Britain's economic future. The burden will fall, not merely disproportionately, but mainly on the City of London as the only global financial centre in the bloc. This has been reported in the quality press, as has the threat from City folk to move their businesses elsewhere, but there's no sign that the British people care.
David Cameron's political future depends, not on getting things right, but on pleasing that clueless majority. If he had the charisma of a Margaret Thatcher or a Tony Blair he might shape their opinions but he hasn't. He can't even influence the views of his coalition partners. Nor does it help that he short-sightedly joined in the scapegoating of bankers to cover for the failures of the political class at EU and national level.
Marcus Brigstocke's idiotic recent comment on Have I Got News for You to the effect that the bankers are always threatening to leave and winning political concessions, so "...maybe the public sector workers should all threaten to leave too..." probably better represents the general population's view than anything I can say. What, after all, is the City of London to a Warrington benefits claimant who is now more 'the man on the Clapham omnibus' of British politics than you or me? Well a great deal, actually, but if he doesn't understand that, a hapless, charisma-free, David Cameron can't help but listen to his ignorant views with attention.
For those of us who believe Britain would be 'Better off Out' the Tobin Tax proposal is further proof that our European 'partners' do not have our interests at heart. Yet it does not prove that the EU is rigged against us. It isn't. It's rigged, by its original French designers, against the German people. It was designed to exploit an historical guilt that no living German should now feel.
Unlike their federal government, which is as feckless as any group of politicians spending other peoples' money to buy votes, the hard-working German citizenry is largely debt-free. They produce fine goods, deliver fine services and more than pay their own way in the world. They are peaceful global citizens and no longer go in for armed evangelism. Would that we could say as much. Yet, true to the French design of the European Project, they have seen their pensions and public services cut, while they contribute more and more to bail out their feckless, massively-indebted neighbours. They are the EU's greatest victims.
Properly viewed, the EU is just a cynical game played to rules written by Frenchmen. It is a game played brilliantly by France and the other consistent net beneficiary nations. Only Britain and Germany ever naievely treat it as a serious political project. From this point of view, David Cameron is simply a bad coach of the British national team. Whether we believe Britain should play this game or not, for as long as we are in the league, we are entitled to have him try to lead the national team to victory.
The 'congenital idiocy' of British voters is something of an obstacle, perhaps. If Cameron believes in the EU and wants to see EU-scepticism decline however, then he needs to man up and do his job. Or make way for a new manager who will.