Juncker is a lame duck president before he has even swum onto the pond
28 Jun 2014 at 09:36
A few days ago John Major, with characteristic good sense, gave us a clue what would happen when Juncker ascends into Euro heaven. A sense of guilt would prevail that Britain had been hard done by and that amends need to be made. This prediction was borne out by Merkel’s comments this morning that Britain’s concerns need to be addressed. Other European leaders will follow. But the swivel eyed wing on the Tory party are a little confused. They are delighted that the cosy, corrupt hypocrisy of European politics has been beamed into everyone’s living room at prime time. But ironically a serious renegotiation is now almost a certainty. And if the opinion polls are right this means that an exit from the EU is highly unlikely. They will argue for an early exit.
But if the swivel eyed are confused it is nothing compared to the disarray in Europe. They are genuinely horrified that a leader hasn’t fallen into line after a bit of shouting and screaming for the cameras and the punters. Europe has never quite understood the way Cameron does politics. Of course he can pork barrel as good as anyone but he can be very stubborn over a point of principle. And the principle here is pretty simple. Juncker is a total disaster. A drunk, a bully and a true believer in a United States of Europe. Mention reform to him and he will probably think you are about to treat him to a slap up lunch at a Pall Mall club. As much use as a cat flap in a submarine. And privately that’s what the majority of leaders think. The trouble is it’s what they think in private and not in public. This is just the sort of double dealing shittery that their electorates despise. For the first time since Margaret Thatcher’s brick filled hand bag thumped on the Brussels negotiating table that the British bulldog has not just barked but bitten. But Cameron is not the divisive figure that Thatcher was. He has considerable charm and knows how to play the game. But he has come out of this stronger. And it takes courage to be humiliated. His stand would not have crossed the mind of Blair, Brown or any Miliband. It would have been unthinkable.
But what of Juncker? He is a dead duck president before he has even swum onto the pond. He knows what the other leaders really think of him. He will be in office not in power. Merkel will be in the driving seat. And he may not last the course. The press will be digging for tales of drunken outbursts. They will not be disappointed.
And what of Farage? His relevance is beginning to dwindle. One former Tory MP confided in me the other evening, ‘I voted UKIP in the Euros because I hate Cameron and everything he stands for. But this is a simple means and end argument. To vote UKIP at the general election means we will get a Labour government; no way’.
I may be hopelessly wrong, but those commentators with the exception of dear old Simon Heffer who put the boot in this morning, might be reviewing their opinion that Cameron is a man of style rather than substance.