Well well well, maybe David Cameron has some cobbles after all.
Cameron has generally presided over the “wettest” Tory administration the UK has seen since Neville Chamberlain, but today he delivered a veritable pipe bomb of a speech on the future of the European Union.
First, the problems in the Eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe. Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.
If Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.
While Obama is certainly doing his best to make sure America’s portion of that last figure increases (driving down Europe’s share as a side effect), what Cameron is saying here is both obviously true and absolutely unacceptable to the Euroelite: The European cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable.
People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.
Cameron basically stood up and pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes.
More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the Eurozone. More of the same will not see the European Union keeping pace with the new powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the European Union any closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same – less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs.
“Hey dumbasses: stop digging!!”
And still more:
I want us to be at the forefront of transformative trade deals with the US, Japan and India as part of the drive towards global free trade. And I want us to be pushing to exempt Europe’s smallest entrepreneurial companies from more EU Directives.
These should be the tasks that get European officials up in the morning – and keep them working late into the night. And so we urgently need to address the sclerotic, ineffective decision making that is holding us back.
That means creating a leaner, less bureaucratic Union, relentlessly focused on helping its member countries to compete.
In a global race, can we really justify the huge number of expensive peripheral European institutions?
Can we justify a Commission that gets ever larger?
Can we carry on with an organisation that has a multi-billion pound budget but not enough focus on controlling spending and shutting down programmes that haven’t worked?
And I would ask: when the competitiveness of the Single Market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council but not a single market council?
And here we have a Tory Prime Minister actually sounding like…a Tory! Who would have thunk it?
Thatcher or Reagan he’s not, but this is bold stuff given the Eurocentric tenor of post-Thatcher UK governments.
Oh: He also wants a referendum on EU membership by 2017.
Reactions from the Eurocratic elite has been predictable: How dare Cameron slander our magnificently robed Emperor? And naturally all of them focus on the referendum than his substantive critique of the increasing collectivist, bureaucratic and unsustainable EU.
Good show, Cameron old boy, good show. (Golf clap)