So, as soon as the dust of the Lisbon Treaty has settled, it is swept under the carpet. Mr Cameron will not have a referendum on Lisbon. He says that if you read the next sentence of his cast iron guarantee it is clear that he didn’t mean it to refer to post ratification. In truth there was never any realistic prospect of a post ratification referendum anyway. He was silly to have said it and to have allowed himself to be boxed into a corner.
Now he says he will try to renegotiate some of Brussels’ powers back. No chance, of course, he’d have to be a lot tougher than he is and his party more united for that to be a possibility. He is hoping we won’t notice come the next election but one. The reason Brussels will not allow Britain to repatriate some powers is the same reason why it would be such a good idea: it would mean any country could do the same – pick the bits of Europe it wanted, rejecting the bits it didn’t (the Common Agricultural Policy springs to mind here). It would mean Europe à la carte. And the European political class can’t allow that.
It seems Cameron wants to renegotiate over a full parliamentary term of five years and that his bargaining chip is that he would veto the budget. Cameron needs two healthy doses of backbone and common sense. Backbone because there is every reason for blocking the budget – it is too large for a post recession Europe and there is so much corruption that the accounts haven’t been signed off by the auditors since Mr Cameron was at school. If that is what you believe - and it is what everyone outside Brussels believes - then just do it. Common sense because he must realise that he can only use the budget veto once. The way these people negotiate is to delay and delay and then say it is urgent for the functioning of the EU that we sign (remember Lisbon?). For this to work Cameron would have to have all his demands prepared on Day 1 and then they would say we were trying to renegotiate the whole of our membership terms.
I have previously been supportive of Cameron but I am coming closer to the view that he might be just a silly young fool – in his political positioning and attituding no different from the Mandelson-Blair lot. Someone who in fact has no strong beliefs but would like to be in power. Perhaps I'm wrong.
Some commentators – Janet Daly, for example – make the point that at least Cameron is doing something, and showing concern about Europe, so we should vote for him. I rather think that Cameron will be elected anyway and that a strong vote for UKIP will give him some much needed determination and direction. Cameron will realise that the only serious threat we can offer is to leave Europe, stop paying its bills either in cash or in excessive regulation. You see, the Brussels elite knows, deep down, that Britain would be better off both democratically and financially, if we left. It is the British who don't know this.