I’ve been wanting to blog about Cameron’s diplomatic disaster ever since it happened, but I’ve found it hard to write anything that hasn’t already been written better elsewhere. However, I don’t think this blog will be complete without at least one posting on this topic, so here’s my take on it…
It’s clear to me that his safeguards were just an excuse to get out of a treaty revision (which he probably rightly thought he couldn’t get his party to agree to). If he had been serious about wanting a treaty with safeguards, he would have built an alliance in advance rather than pulling the proposal out of his hat at the last moment.
Sadly, the consequences for the UK are likely to be immense. Although the new treaty will presumably be primarily about fixing the Eurozone, it’ll be tempting for the other countries to add other topics that the UK have been trying to block in the past. If they’re clever, they’ll even make it easier to make treaty revisions without requiring unanimity.
Furthermore, if the other countries get into the habit of meeting without Britain, it’s likely they will agree a position on lots of EU topics amongst themselves, and the UK will be presented with a fait accompli later.
I do think the most likely scenario is that the UK (if the British union survives that long) will regret deeply ten or twenty years from now, and they’ll be begging to be accepted back into the full EU. However, when that happens, they will probably be required to sign up for the whole package, including the euro and Schengen. I think there’s a possibility that historians in fifty years’ time will conclude that Cameron was a hapless politician who achieved the opposite of what he wanted to do and made European integration leap forward.
Anyway, for now this shows again that Scottish independence is badly needed – the UK is dominated by the English, who again are dominated by London, which is mainly focused on the City, and it’s simply not always in Scotland’s best interest to do whatever some multinational financial institutions in the City of London think would maximise their profits.