A mass online persuasion mission is under way that goes far beyond what the British electorate may or may not want from Camerlot ‘renegotiation’ of its relationship with the European Union. The Slog reveals some extraordinary information, and invites readers to decide for themselves between the real and the surreal.
There was a rare and brief period of significance during the puerile debate on David Cameron’s ‘deal’ from the EU in the House of Commons yesterday. It occurred when both Labour and SNP members tried to put pressure on the Prime Minister to postpone the Referendum for various reasons. The Conservative leader huffed, puffed, jollied and brushed off the requests…but there was even less logic and more shiftiness than usual in the way he did it.
For me, it was a penny-dropping moment: Cameron, I felt, was a man with a timetable, and he didn’t want it to be derailed. His original plan was to make the sort of statement we heard yesterday around mid-February, but now he’d brought it forward. Why?
The PM is not one for the exhaustive debate (let alone Inquiry) because he knows that such things might rapidly reveal to the crash investigators that his plane has no engines. But yesterday, I sensed there was a much bigger factor than that: Dave looked concerned that the unravelling of the EU on various dimensions was about to become so obvious, even Tyrone and Bianca Lakeweed of Lower Slobdon-on-Cesspit might spot it.
I have a dwindling list of Westminster contacts these days – especially since the last Election – but I do still have one former Whitehall mandarin with a least one finger on the pulse, and the rest in various pies. I ran my hypothesis past that person, who came back to me around midday as follows….not verbatim, hence no speech-marks: what follows is the gist, sorry, the heads up. I must try and keep the slang up to date.
You’re quite a bit behind the curve on this one. Most of the Cabinet and Dave’s endless unofficial advisers have been having kittens about a rapid deterioration in the eurozone since last October. Tory-friendly hacks are trying very hard to spin the worst of the news – or not cover it – but the Party at the top thinks the Berlin and Brussels grip on things is dismal.
In particular, they cite Italy and France as Chernobyls waiting to happen. And the migrant crisis is getting out of hand.
I mentioned this morning’s Bloomberg release about the inflation forecast for the eurozone being halved. This was airily dismissed.
Yes, it’s a clear symptom of economic malaise, but they know the average voter doesn’t care about that stuff. [This has always been my experience too when talking to Camerlot about EU membership]. When they talk about “getting a grip” they mean solving the stuff that Farage jumps on. The anti-EU crowd gets Farage…Tory policy on the Referendum is all about giving Farage nothing he can get his teeth into. It’s the depiction of the EU as an organisational basket case – especially about migrants – that will turn working class voters against it. That and being forced to do what these idiots want.
I asked if there was a fear that dissenting Labour MPs were getting their message across.
The Labour outers as you’d expect are making no headway at all. Most of them have forgotten how to listen to the unwashed, let alone talk to them. And the senior Tories know that the vast majority of the Labour Party isn’t going to critique its own idealistic dream. Their (Camerlot) nightmares are about things like violent migrant backlash, regional violence in Spain, chaos in Italy, direct confrontation over border controls in Poland and Hungary, and above all – more and bigger Jihadist atrocities in France that might leave Hollande at the mercy of LePen.
Now the above is of course just one person’s sounding of opinion…a person I would describe as mildly eurosceptic. As it happens, for example, I disagree that economic and fiscal disasters don’t matter: I stick to my long-held view that the sheer scale of Italian banking collapse (and its potential incrimination of ECB directors) could very quickly set off a fuse heading rapidly for the gunpowder barrels; and a crisis in the Spanish onetime Caja system could alone blow Deutsche Bank away. What starts as technical finance-nerd news will hit the tabloids the minute that their readers can’t get cash out of the ATMs.
But two days ago, this cryptic text was left on my private mobile:
Ask yourself why Schäuble has been struck dumb
It’s a fair point: even today in Britain, the entire age spectrum has been brought up on the cardboard German who wants to order everyone about. And Wolfie Wheelchair has been uncommonly silent during the ‘renegotiations’ saga. So I got back to the sender, whom I have met (and respect) without there being much trust between us. This pseudonomic email came back a few hours ago:
Having given it a few minutes thought at the time – and had time to reflect since – there really is only one answer to the riddle: ‘destabilising NATO’s creature in Europe, the EU’.
But in terms of both credibility and extrapolation, you’d have to be as green as grass to take it at face value. That is to say,
- The obvious imputation is that both the Russian and Turkish régimes would like to see the EU in a mess, and
- a big feather in their caps would be Brexit
- but the source knows I am a committed eurosceptic, whereas
- I have never been able to ascertain where he stands on the EU – or indeed, his nationality, employer or political leanings.
We are in Smiley’s People territory here. The only points I would make are:
i. whether accurate on not, just by getting in touch, the source suggests that, as always, major league geopolitics are in play; and
ii. if he’s bothering with lil’ ol’ me, then every blog with some degree of influence is being distracted/wooed and manipulated in an attempt to have their will prevail….whoever ‘they’ might be. That is, there is a great deal at stake.