• For some years I have felt like the most unpopular Englishman inside the EU institutions. Now I have competition. David Cameron cut a very lonely figure in the grim Justus Sipsius building in Brussels. He vetoed a new EU Treaty that was designed to save the Euro and will try to present himself as a strong leader in the UK.
His objection to the Treaty had nothing to do with the Eurozone itself or the new, proposed draconian measures on failing member states. This is a pity as he could have used the opportunity to explain that democracy, both in the UK and in Europe, was something that we passionately care about.
He should have warned them that abolishing national democracy and vesting new powers in EU bureaucrats (under German direction, of course) was disgraceful. That an apology needs to be issued to Greece and Italy for the removal of their democratically elected governments and the appointment of puppet premiers. If peoples are deprived of their rights they will resort to other means, civil disorder in Greece being an example of this. The EU project is now in danger of creating the very extreme nationalism that it was supposed to stop.
On the economics Cameron could have taken a lead by saying the Euro project is beyond rescue. Terrifying the peoples of the EU with talk of dire consequences of Euro-breakdown is only keeping the weak countries trapped inside an economic prison and making an even bigger ultimate breakdown more likely.
Better to face up to the truth, and admit that certain countries need to leave the Euro. It is true that the implications of this are serious for many banks, as they hold €1.5 trillion of toxic loans between them. Yet it is going to happen anyway. As the example of Iceland shows, getting the bad news out of the way does, at least, give some hope for the future.
Sadly Mr Cameron said none of these things and did not object to the Treaty in principle. Under massive political and commercial pressure he tried to win some safeguards for our financial services industry, but President Sarkozy told him where to go.
All 26 countries will press ahead anyway leaving the UK in the worst of all worlds. We are still members of this union but firmly on the outside of influencing events, we are more unpopular than ever and we are in a permanent voting minority. We will pay a heavy price as the very industry Cameron sought to protect will be the subject of retribution. The next time the bond markets twitch, a snarling Sarkozy will condemn the Anglo-Saxons and demand more legislation. We will be utterly powerless to stop this.
I believe that the real debate on the UK’s membership of the EU has now begun in earnest. If Cameron thinks that one dramatic gesture in Brussels will appease the eurosceptics, he is in for a rude shock. Just as Scottish nationalists grew after devolved powers were granted, the EU withdrawal genie is now firmly out of the bottle. The agenda that UKIP has sought for so long is now at the heart of our national debate.