Friday, 25 January 2013

Progress

It's Europe, of course. Cameron's speech was well covered, making the front pages of El Pais, Le Monde, Le Figaro and the Allgemeine Zeitung, to name just the few I browsed on Wednesday. Actually, Le Figaro ran a background piece on Tuesday - and I read in detail both the comments to that piece, and to the report of the actual speech the following day. It was clear Cameron had hit a nerve. The 'before' tone can be summarised as 'The UK can't be allowed to disrupt the European project - and the UK may find that Europe leaves the UK, rather than the other way around'. After the speech report a more thoughtful mood prevailed, with correspondents questioning ' why shouldn't we have the same rights?' The leader of a major European nation stating explicitly the antidemocratic effect of the EU, and volunteering a referendum not even required by that nation's constitution was clearly something new. 

Fraser Nelson goes a little overboard this morning in his fawning encomium to Cameron in the Telegraph, but says essentially the same thing. He reports
Germany’s biggest newspaper, Bild, brilliantly parodied Cameron’s critics: “Most EU countries have tacitly agreed to build Europe above the heads of the people,” it wrote. “The European project is simply too important for democratic participation. And then along comes this Cameron!”
He continues "There is a fatal flaw with Labour’s policies, as Blair – in his more lucid years – understood. Britain is losing faith in hierarchies of all kinds." So when all Miliband has to offer is the wisdom and essential goodness of the all-powerful central State and sod democracy, fewer voters than ever actually trust the venal, corrupt, self-interested and avaricious panjandrums occupying the high reaches of public office either in Whitehall or Brussels.

2017 is of course an age away and some of us will be dead by then. Who knows what else will happen in the world, and the Eurozone itself is unlikely to maintain the current precarious stasis for much longer. In terms of Britain's future, we are no nearer an answer than we were before. However, Cameron's speech has caused more than mere ripples; the message is the same message that both Farage and Hannan have signalled, but coming from Cameron it carries real authority. And so we make progress, perhaps unintentionally, and perhaps in ways unforeseen. But progress. 

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