Cameron: neither in nor out of Europe
Hamish McRae has the graph of the day, showing that interest rates in the eurozone have diverged so that they are now back where they were before the euro was introduced in 1999 (that was when the currencies were locked together; the graph shows that interest rates converged two years earlier in 1997; notes and coins were introduced in 2002).
McRae’s column in today’s Independent on Sunday is brilliant analysis of why last week’s Brussels summit, the 19th since the Greek crisis, will not postpone the end of the euro for ever.
In my column in The Independent on Sunday, I try to assess the implications of this for British politics. I take as my text David Cameron’s words in Brussels on Friday. These included: “This is going to be something that is going to evolve over a whole series of years.” But the important passage was:
The problem with an in-out referendum is it actually only gives people those two choices: you can either stay in with all the status quo, or you can get out. Most people in Britain, I think, want a government that stands up and fights for them in Europe, and gets the things we want in Europe, that changes some of the relationship we have in Europe.
The Prime Minister’s attempt to clarify what he meant in an article in The Sunday Telegraph today and in the words of “a source close to the Prime Minister” in the Mail on Sunday do not take us much further, although both those newspapers did the needful by reporting that Cameron had “opened the door” to a referendum, rather than the “Cameron rules out referendum” headlines that greeted his Brussels statement.
Cameron’s basic position is “neither in nor out”, which might be described as the true spirit of Britain’s engagement with the European project since 1957. But as I conclude, it does not look like leadership.Tagged in: euro, euroscepticism, hamish mcrae
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