Why David Cameron's 'Northern Alliance' may reshape Europe

He may finally have the allies he needs to remake the EU

1 March 2014

9:00 AM

1 March 2014

9:00 AM

If David Cameron were to divide Europe up, he’d make some crude distinctions. There would be the basket cases, like Italy, Spain, Greece, France — examples, by and large, of how countries should not be run. Then there’d be the former Soviet bloc, sceptical about Brussels because they recently escaped a remote, controlling bureaucracy and don’t want to repeat the experience. Then come the good guys, the people with whom he intends to reshape the continent: the Germans, the Dutch and the Scandis. This is the group that the Prime Minister has started referring to as his ‘Northern Alliance’.

Mr Cameron has, until now, had little interest in the machinations of the European Union. To him, politics is primarily social — so he makes alliances by making friends. When François Hollande turned up for a visit, he was taken down to the pub and served a ploughman’s lunch. Angela Merkel, by contrast, is being treated like a homecoming empress. Plans for her visit included an address to both Houses of Parliament, lunch at 10 Downing Street and an audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. This pageantry is all the more surprising given the fact that Cameron doesn’t have any favours to ask — at least, not now. He’s buttering her up for the big one, when he wants to change the terms of Britain’s EU membership and have the result of his efforts put to the country in a referendum.

What might Cameron want then? He has yet to say, which makes it difficult for the Germans to support him. This is where Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, comes in. Cameron has known him for years, and once bent the Commons’ rules by giving him lunch in a dining room reserved for MPs. For an enthusiastic Anglophile like Rutte, such gestures are much appreciated. He was in Britain again last week, invited to Chequers for talks and dinner. The two leaders have much to talk about (besides floods) — both are moderates in their mid forties, leading coalitions and implementing austerity at home. Both are facing challenges from Eurosceptic populists: Nigel Farage in Britain, and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.

Both want radical reform to the European Union, but Rutte has a hard plan — one that could easily double as a Cameron manifesto. He wants to put Brussels back in its box, giving national parliaments the power to veto EU directives they don’t like. If more than a third of member states dislike an EU idea, he says, it should bite the dust. He also plans a new manifesto for the EU: it should stop spewing out directives, and act only when national parliaments cannot. Less interference, less spending, fewer diktats, more democracy. Precisely the sort of package that Cameron would like to offer in a referendum — albeit with a British stamp on it.

Angela Merkel should have no problem with any of these reforms. This is what Cameron would see as the ‘Northern Alliance’ idea of how countries should be run in a modern Europe — and the consensus extends well beyond the current political elite. A YouGov poll this week for Open Europe shows a clear majority in both Britain and Germany agreeing with the Rutte proposal: that more policies should be decided by national parliaments, and fewer by the EU level. When Brits were asked which European leader they’d most like to replace Cameron, Mrs Merkel came top and Mr Rutte second. We are, it seems, all northerners now.

The attraction of a Northern Alliance will, of course, be tied to the Scandimania now sweeping Britain. Never has there been so much appetite for all things Nordic: the crime novels, the clothes, the music, the television box-sets and even the booze. The traditional images of Sweden — blondes and Abba — have been joined by Spotify and The Killing. Even Ed Miliband has made a pilgrimage to Stockholm to see what ideas he can bring back to Britain. A creative explosion is under way in northern Europe, and it captures the imaginations of politicians as much as it does those of consumers.

Not so long ago, the phrase ‘Swedish model’ was taken to mean some kind of third way between capitalism and communism. But this changed in the financial crisis of the early 1990s, after which Sweden was rewired — and a new Swedish model created. It was one where private companies would run hospitals, the underground and even schools. There was a radical individualism, a stress on balanced budgets and decentralisation. This led to an abundance of creativity when it came to policy, which has seen Scandinavia supplant America as the lodestar for the British right. Michael Gove’s school reform is modelled on Sweden’s ‘free school’ experiment, which moved parents and children from struggling council-run schools to a new breed of independently run schools. The most popular chain, International English Schools, reject the ‘progressive’ consensus in Sweden (which involves peculiar ideas about ‘student democracy’) and offer an untrendy traditional education. High demand means free schools educate a fifth of all Swedish sixth-formers. In Britain, there are now 174 free schools.

But what captivates Cameron most is how Scandi conservatives can win elections in left-wing countries. He is close to the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who (like Rutte) is a moderniser in his forties. He responded to the financial crisis not with bailouts but with a permanent tax cut for the low paid — the equivalent to an extra month’s salary every year. He went into the Swedish elections boasting that ‘we are the new workers’ party’ and became the first conservative prime minister ever to be re-elected there.

So it was no surprise, earlier this week, when Cameron’s Conservatives also declared themselves to be ‘the workers’ party’. The next slogan to look out for is ‘People, Not Billions’ — this was the war cry of Erna Solberg, nicknamed ‘Iron Erna’, who became Norway’s second female prime minister last October. Her slogan was intended to assure voters that Norway’s Conservatives think individuals are every bit as important as fiscal matters. She won on an agenda of privatisation, lowering top tax rates, and supply-side reforms.

At times, it seems Cameron is trying to make Britain an honorary member of Scandinavia. For the last three years, he has convened a UK-Nordic-Baltic Conference, now known as ‘Northern Future’. This has the benefit of involving another reformer, Estonia, whose solution to the economic crisis was a substantial cut in government spending while keeping taxes at a flat 21 per cent. Its reward was almost four straight years of extraordinary economic growth. Its experience does help remind Cameron that the conservative formula of sound money, regulatory restraint and low taxes works.

At these conferences, Cameron’s self-styled Northerners discuss everything from green energy to childcare provision. But the fact they’re discussing anything at all is significant. The left-leaning Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter smelt a rat: ‘Behind the scenes, this Northern Alliance will debate ways to frustrate a “French model” for the European economy,’ it wrote. Cameron was taking a risk, it said, in setting up a group that could be seen as a splinter group from the EU.

He is guilty as charged. The Prime Minister does not share Blair’s fantasies about somehow ‘leading’ Europe. His Europe is one where countries have the freedom to adopt whatever policies they like. If the old Protestant, now secular Europe wants to focus on work, smaller government, jobs and personal liberty then it should be free to do so. Just as the old Catholic, now secular Europe (France, Spain, Italy) should be free to adopt dirigiste politics, and see how they work out. If M. Hollande wants France to join Club Med, and to tax the wealth creators all the way to Russia, good luck to him — but he must leave the northern countries to pursue a different path.

The Prime Minister should, however, be careful what he wishes for. The Nordic model is not without its problems. Free schools mean the occasional school failure, which brings bad headlines (rumour has it that a Swedish-run free school in Britain is soon to be judged by Ofsted to be ‘inadequate’). And because Scandinavian workers enjoy substantial protection (it’s very expensive to fire anyone), employers are reluctant to hire. Newcomers to the jobs market — young people and immigrants — find themselves on the wrong side of a wall built around the world of employment. When immigrants ended up rioting on the streets of Stockholm last summer, it was a fairly clear sign of trouble in this Nordic paradise.

What’s more, Reinfeldt may have pushed his tax-cutting agenda as far as it can go in Sweden. Voters now seem more concerned about Sweden’s public service provision, and Anders Borg, who recently chopped off his trademark ponytail, spent last week outlining plans to raise taxes (on booze and tobacco). There is no sense of economic crisis in Sweden, but there is a feeling that after eight years of Reinfeldt it might be time for a change. Opinion polls suggest he’s on course to lose the September elections.

In the Netherlands, Mark Rutte faces similar problems: the coalition he leads is volatile, and he may struggle to last another three years. Even Estonia’s supply-side magic seems to be fading — it said earlier this month that economic growth has unexpectedly ground to a halt. Mrs Solberg, whom Cameron entertained a few weeks ago in No. 10, is of limited strategic use as Norway is not an EU member.

There are some Conservatives who believe all this is too important to leave to personal chemistry, and that a British negotiator should be appointed to start work on the deal that would be put to the country in a referendum. Sir John Major has openly made this case. But Cameron, I understand, is less certain — believing that making such an appointment would be to delegate too huge a responsibility. In the end, he believes the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary will have to renegotiate British membership — and it will occupy their time if the Tories should win the next election. Besides, who knows what Europe will look like by 2017?

Here lies Mr Cameron’s problem. He has gathered together a group of like-minded Europeans, who have a plausible and radical agenda to reshape the EU. He has successfully built a Northern Alliance — but he doesn’t need it now. He needs it in the run-up to his 2017 referendum. Between now and then lie the Swedish, French, Dutch and UK elections. It could well be that Mrs Merkel is visiting Britain at a rare moment in history when conservative stars are aligned. By 2017, as Cameron knows, things may look very different.

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  • saffrin

    Ha, three years down the line and all Dave can do is produce a like minded Dutchman.

  • Kitty MLB

    Oi You. Who art thou calling a basket case ?
    I have a we drop of Roman blood flowing through my veins,
    in the words of Monty Python, ask yourself , what did the Romans do for you? a lot.
    mind you Italians have indeed gone to pot.
    So Dave & Angela or on a moral crusade to build their new Europe
    with the good guys after defeating those wretched southern countries ,and
    dealing with the poorer eastern European countries.
    Maybe if one were a little bit sensible about who joined in the first place,
    also who will be in control with this new Europe.

    • Fergus Pickeranus

      Good morning Kitty Kat, you shouldn’t have said you have a wee bit of Roman blood pumping through your veins, the Right wing loons that post here will be insisting that you should be deported and pay reparations for plundering all of Englands mineral wealth and enslaving its people

      • Kitty MLB

        Good morning man
        with the sir name that Catullus or Martial would approve of.
        The Romans brought civilization to a bunch of savages,( we all
        were savages, people, even the Celts)
        yes they did plunder Englands mineral wealth, but they
        they gave so much more, and just look what happened when they left! We are not safe even now, how would poor King Harold
        feel if he knew we were still under siege from wretched Europe.
        I shall not be deported, as I only have a we drop ( not wee,
        as in a scatological wording- honestly you cannot help yourself)
        of Roman blood- makes me a better warrioress- half Roman
        and half Anglo Saxon.
        Also why do you assume that I am not a right wing loon,
        for all you know I could be a total fruitcake.

        • Rocksy

          Scotland was not defeated by the Romans. and the Romans did not build Antonine’s Wall and Hadrian’s Wall so they could have a better view of the scenery.

      • Kitty MLB

        Forgot to say, Mr Picksomething, if you have any trouble
        with what you call ‘ Right wing loons ‘ and you will by saying that,
        let me know and I shall encourage you.

  • alabenn

    So all the political examples used in this article are in danger of being voted out, just like Cameron, is this an article about lemmings.
    The idea that he has a secret alliance that is poised for a breakthrough in the EU is far fetched, it if it exists, it seems to have the right way forward, but the current lot driving it are supposed to be dead in the water politically.
    Nothing here then.

  • Bonkim

    Broad split between Catholic and Protestant Europe.

    • Tom Tom

      Always was and always will be even if Protestantism is barely visible on The Island

      • Bonkim

        Man-made Christianity as a religion is defunct but the cultural and historical roots are part of British psyche as in the rest of Europe.

  • rtj1211

    So New York and Massachusetts are set to conspire to keep those lazy ignorant Southerners down where they belong.

  • Fak_Zakaix

    Smart idea. Let’s do it. Maybe we should talk more about it at the pub over a pint of beer. The Spectator should stand a round 😉

  • allymax bruce

    This is what I said two weeks ago; (Osborne nixes currency union; Salmond hops around claiming it’s only a flesh wound)
    Youreplied toPootles14 days ago
    Pootles; “Scotland’s monetary policy will be decided in London; there will
    be no policed border between Scotland and England; mass immigraton from
    outside the UK and EU will continue. What’s the bloody point?”
    Ally; “Ok, so I’m not really counting your rhetoric last point. (1) In our iScotland, Scotland’s monetary policy will NOT be decided in England. (2) Borders will be policed … (3) mass immigration will not be accepted in iScotland. (4) EU will continue, but not in its original form; we are looking at the abroggation of the EU from its original ‘usury’ owners, to a 21st century federation of Nation-States. That’s
    the bloody point. Sincerely, Ally.”

    I told you ‘change’ was coming. You all should believe me when I tell you these things; the clever people in politics do.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “He wants to put Brussels back in its box, giving national parliaments the power to veto EU directives they don’t like. If more than a third of member states dislike an EU idea, he says, it should bite the dust.”

    That’s nowhere near good enough: in the 1975 referendum we were promised that our national Parliament on its own would always be able to veto any EU proposal, without any need to get even a single foreign parliament to concur with that rejection in what is just another form of transnational majority voting.

    That is what we were promised, and nothing less than that will do.

    • Tom Tom

      Forget it Denis, you cannot call Westminster a “sovereign parliament”with the Dwarf in the Speaker’s Chair and the poorly educated rabble with no sense of history as opposed to TV soaps sitting around him

  • Denis_Cooper

    “This pageantry is all the more surprising given the fact that Cameron doesn’t have any favours to ask – at least, not now.”

    That will change if the Scots vote for independence in September.

    If Scotland voted itself out of the EU, which under the present EU treaties would be a natural and automatic consequence of voting itself out of the UK, then Scotland would have put itself outside the EU Single Market while the continuing UK would remain within the EU Single Market; for over three centuries there has been unfettered trade and movement between Scotland and the rest of the present UK on the basis of the 1707 Treaty of Union, but once that treaty was terminated and Scotland had broken away that internal trade and movement would revert to being international trade and movement, and as that would lack any legal basis in the present EU treaties there would either have to be EU treaty change or there would be major problems.

    • MichtyMe

      Scotland will not, in September, be voting itself out of the UK or the EU, it is just a big opinion poll. It will be the parliament of the UK that will act to change its constitution and create two sovereign states from the one. That act in itself cannot remove Scotland from the jurisdiction of the EU, unless you also think that it could remove the other half of the Union.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Would that it was just a big opinion poll.

        But if you recall the UK government has promised that if the Scots vote for independence they will get independence, and Cameron has even put his name to that:


        “The governments are agreed that the referendum should …
        deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect.”
        So the Scots should fully understand that if they do vote “yes” in September they will not be expressing their views in a “big opinion poll” without any consequences, they would be voting for the Union to be dissolved and it would be dissolved.
        Not necessarily by the arbitrary day set by Salmond, and there could be some delay until he agreed that the Scots would not walk out of the restaurant to avoid paying their share of the bill, but in the end the Union would be dissolved by an Act or Acts of the UK Parliament.
        And then Scotland would no longer be part of any EU member state, and under the present EU treaties it would not be in the EU as a member state in its own sovereign right, while the continuing UK would be recognised by the governments of all the other EU member states as still being a member state.

        • MichtyMe

          There is a contradiction in your argument, you say “the Union would be dissolved” and “the continuing UK would be recognised”.
          I do not accept that an act by a member state could exclude territory or citizenship from the jurisdiction of the EU without the matter procreeding through the institutions of the EU and I cannot believe that its members would unanimously agree create such an unneccssary problem by doing such a thing.

          • Denis_Cooper

            As far as I’m aware there has been no indication at all from the government of any other EU member state that it would object to the continuing UK being accepted as a continuing party to the EU treaties. It would of course be necessary to make adjustments to voting weight and number of MEPs and budget contributions and so on to reflect the diminution of the UK by about 10% on important measures such as population and GDP, but among all those adjustments I believe there would be only one which required any change to the EU treaties, and that would be an unimportant matter which could wait until the next time there was a need to amend the treaties for other purposes.

            The position of Scotland would be entirely different. Not only is Scotland not listed as being one of sovereign parties to the present EU treaties, its very name does not even appear anywhere in those treaties. Therefore there would be no possibility of any kind of fudge to wangle Scotland in as a new member state without changing the EU treaties, and as Scotland would no longer be part of one of the member states, the UK, it would no longer be in the EU by virtue of that as it is now.

          • MichtyMe

            There is simply no provision for a territory to be automatically removed from the jurisdiction of the EU. There is a precedent of sorts, with Greenland, a territory, subject to EU jurisdiction which wished to exclude itself and which took the EU several years to effect the change.

          • Denis_Cooper

            There is simply no need for any such provision.

            Why is Scotland in the EU at present? For one reason and one reason only, that it is part of a member state, the UK.

            Unless the present EU treaties were changed beforehand, if Scotland ceased to be part of the UK then it would follow as a natural and automatic consequence that it would no longer be in the EU, nobody would need do anything to make that happen and they would only need to note that this was now the case.

            Unless Scotland became part of another EU member state at the same time as it left the UK, for example if the UK ceded Scotland to Sweden, but of course that is not what is wanted.

            Your Greenland analogy is flawed insofar as Greenland remained part of an EU member state, Denmark, but wanted to be specially exempted from (most of) the EU treaties and laws; that was a far more complicated situation than the simple situation where a territory which is in the EU only by virtue of being part of a member state ceases to be part of any member state.

          • Rhoda Klapp8

            Simple, the EU membership passes to the independent Scotland, who want it. England, Wales and NI, whatever they are to be named, who maybe don’t want it, will be thrown out of the EU and have to re-apply if they care to.

          • Randy McDonald

            Simply wanting EU membership isn’t enough to get it.

          • Tom Tom

            It would get a seat at the UN however and could leave NATO and could build coal-fired power stations and sell passports to Chinese who could then drive into England. Rebuilding Hadrians Wall would be costly and the East German specialists are too old to advise now

          • global city

            Are you lying, or just lying to yourself.

            That argument is ridiculous.

          • Tom Tom

            It does not need to be….China is not a member but has a huge trade surplus with the EU and is buying up German companies wholesale

          • Denis_Cooper

            China is a third country with trade agreements with the EU.

            As the EU treaties stand an independent Scotland would be a new third country without trade agreements with the EU, within which would be included the continuing UK.

          • Tom Tom

            I agree with you here if only because the 1975 referendum result would be questionable also

    • global city

      Scotland would be outside the hideous customs union, so the UK would be obliged to impose the CET, just as we have to with our other friends across the Anglosphere.

    • Tom Tom

      Scotland could join the new Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and become a Northern European hub for China and Russia with port facilities and naval bases. Since China has unfettered access to the Eu and Bank f Scotland could peg its currency to the Yuan or legalise Bitcoin……it could become an interesting economic area

  • JG

    ‘Precisely the sort of package that Cameron would like to offer in a referendum’ – if so why doesn’t Mr Cameron tell us?

    If there is an alliance now, whether Mr Cameron, or the others, will be in-charge in 2017 is unknown, surely then: THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. Cut the coalition as seems to be happening anyway, press for renegotiation which is what citizens want. Win win.

  • Peter Stroud

    I agree with JG, Cameron must act now. Negotiation, at a civil service and ministerial level should start ASAP. Ignore Clegg and the LibDems; get on with it. Three years is no time at all, when the stakes are as high as the reinvention of the EU.

    • Conway

      Negotiation should have started about two years ago to have had any chance of being completed in time for a 2017 referendum. Cameron doesn’t really want a referendum because he doesn’t want to leave the EU. It’s only a token to try to con UKIP voters.

  • Richard N

    What a stupid piece of pure propaganda and lies! Cameron’s two bosses – the EU gang, and the big business Tory party donors – all want Britain to stay in the EU. And their puppet, Cameron, has promised to do everything possible to obey these demands.

    End of story.

    • mikewaller

      This seems to me more like psychosis than real world politics. It’s 2014 not 1815; we are a once great country on the way down in a world in which globalisation is heading for a major collision with western democracy. By this I mean that folks living in first world economies are going to rebel against a global economic order in which their incomes will be continually undermined by ever increasing numbers of increasingly skilled workers in the developing nations. This is going to result in a reversion to trade blocks, a backdrop against which seeking to set up as a wholly independent trader would be an act of lunacy.

      • jonlivesey

        Admirable declinism, but in fact, since 1980, we have gone from 60% of Germany’s GDP/head to around 95% today. I’d call that way “up”, not down.

        And your phrase about “wholly independent trader” is just a straw man erected to be shot down. There is a perfectly possible third way, the Norwegian option, and the Norwegians are hardly lunatics.

        • Daniel Maris

          You seem to have forgotten to mention Germany’s absorption of much poorer and rusting East Germany following the fall of the Wall. I think that will account for any such change.

        • Tom Tom

          On what basis are you calculating that ? Per Capita is a joke when you consider how far the UK is behind little Luxembourg

        • mikewaller

          Regarding GDP, I would very much like to believe what you are saying; but is not GDP that ridiculous economic measure that counts any form of paid economic activity as a contribution? If so, and please, correct me if I am wrong, this means that the millions of poorly paid jobs that have been created, often in the service sector, are seen to be as good as the jobs of folks making cars for export. Frankly I simply don’t buy into it and have always considered that productivity was a far better measure. How, pray, have UK/German relativities changed in that area over the past couple of decades?

          Regarding Norway, please pull the other one. Two things: first as a result of some idiot chairman (I think of BP) telling the UK government something like “If there are more than 3 teaspoonfuls of oil in the North Sea, I’ll eat my hat” we agreed to a mathematical sub-division of the North Sea rather than one based on the continental shelf. As a result, Norway got the lion’s share of the oil and, with a much smaller population, is now mega-rich. This encouraged it to stay out of the then EEC and instead they went for the kind of arrangement you are recommending for us. However, even they have advised us not to do it simply because you have to obey all the rules including making substantial contributions to Brussels whilst have absolutely no say over what the rules are or are to be.

          And regarding the usual nonsense that the other countries would be fully co-operative because they want to trade with us, just imagine for a moment the unbridled joy of European car manufactures if they had the chance of blocking what they see as the Trojan Horse role we play in respect of the Japanese car industry.

    • Pip

      Clearly Fraser was watching a different speech by Frau Merkel than the one I saw, Fraser takes disingenuous blinkered Political Commentary to new levels, I don’t know who he thinks he is fooling except himself and he has no credibility in my eyes.

      • jonlivesey

        Oddly, he seems to have been watching the same speech I saw.

      • Tom Tom

        Merkel probably watches “Dinner for One” every year and sees Cameron reprising Freddie Frinton’s role

      • Weaver


        The evidence is overwhelming that the Germans simply are not going to help on this. Even when they say it to our face point-blank like Frau Merkel we get these perenniel pieces saying how Britain has new allies in Europe which will enable us to re-cast it….. etc. etc. Huge cognitive dissonance.

        Reform of the EU will not happen, and people like Fraser must think we have goldfish-level memories.

    • jonlivesey

      Sorry, but this is far too sweeping. I think you can persuade just about anyone except extreme UKIP members that there is some merit in the UK staying in the EU as long as a new relationship can be negotiated.

      Now Merkel didn’t come to London and say “Here is your new relationship on a plate”, but she did make it pretty clear that Germany wants some things that are complementary to things the UK wants.

      The UK wants a looser relationship. Membership of the Single Market, but no inclusion in moves towards federalism, and repatriation of some powers. Control over immigration and benefits. Control over its own legal system.

      Germany wants consolidation of the euro area, and maybe a euro area Parliament. It wants central control over euro area budgets.

      There is the making of a deal here. What the UK wants does not stand in the way of what Germany wants, and vice versa. It’s not hard to imagine a future summit at which Cameron gives his blessing to euro area consolidation, and Merkel gives her blessing to the creation of a formal Single Market, but not euro, relationship for the UK

      • Tom Tom

        Cameron will do as Washington tells him. The prospect of a EuropeZone without NATO as a US overlay terrifies the US……inevitably the EU-Russian Union will lead to control of the Eurasian land mass by polities outside US control

        • Terry Field

          Big thinking there, weedwort – the old cerebellum must need a Paracetamol!

      • xDemosthenesx

        Jon – what we have is Merkel dangling the carrot of a deal to keep the UK in line.

        What we don’t have is any sort of indication that the UK will be any more central to the EU’s grand strategy. Will the EU side with a solid British interest over a French or German one?

        It was a rather half hearted going through the motions by Merkel to a surprisingly fawning Europhile audience. I’m amazed at how little she seemed to really be bothered – as if our acquiescence was a sure thing.

      • Terry Field

        Yes – a bit of sense at last.
        Good man.
        Like a lily growing in a bucket of sh1t!!!!

  • ryeatley

    Time to reshape the “EU” by leaving it.

    Note: The “EU” is not Europe.

  • Redvers Cunningham

    In his 4 years as PM there has not been a shred of evidence that Cameron has a radical bone in his body. One despairs that there are nations out there cutting spending, cutting taxes and delivering dynamic, innovative economies whilst here all we see is dithering and surrender in the face of protest from vocal interest groups.

    • Terry Field

      Yep – I would suggest you do what I did -leave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – best decision I ever made!!!!!!

    • Shane Warne

      That’s because Cameron was in a coalition. He didn’t have a majority so basically couldn’t do anything without concessions from the Lib Dems.

  • UNF

    Has the Editor of The Spectator consented to have his work published in a bastardised form on http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/02/27/352498/british-pms-new-northern-alliance/ ?

    If not, what does he propose to do about this unauthorised reproduction?

  • Rocksy

    Cameron needs to stop acting like a teenage boy on his first date when meeting Angela Merkel. It’s pathetic and humiliating how he touches her and gazes at her when she speaks. Don’t his PR people teach him about body language. If you want something never let them see you sweat.

  • Conway

    You could have the Protestant North and the Catholic South going their own ways and doing their own things if only the EU reverted to being a simple trade agreement (which we thought we were voting for back in ’75). You won’t get it in the EU, which is h3ll bent on ever closer union.

    • Randy McDonald

      Why would the Bavarians want independence?

  • jonlivesey

    You know, you could write a column about chocolate versus vanilla ice-cream, and within five minutes the comments column would be hijacked by people who only want to wrangle about Scottish Independence.

    Give it a rest, guys. It isn’t always about you. Come to think of it, that’s the whole point of the referendum, isn’t it. Not to vote for Independence at all, but just to make sure it is always about you.

  • drydamol1


    Under Honecker in East Germany Merkel was a Politician in
    his Government . Following German reunification, Honecker escaped to the
    Chilean Embassy in Moscow in 1991 but was extradited back to Germany a year
    later to stand trial for his role in the human rights abuse committed by the
    East German regime .So if any Briton is expecting any sympathy concerned with
    Draconian Benefit Reforms the ‘Queen of Europe’ is not listening .

    Merkel’s visit here yesterday was quite refreshing in the
    sense she said it as it is “no renegotiations to alter existing treaties “ .

    How does an East
    German Politician under a cloud of Human Rights Abuses become the Voice of the
    EU which 70% of our Laws are dictated by them .The EU is an Unelected Body that
    is now Dictating to 28 other Countries which are supposed to be ‘member states’

    Barroso the interim President of the EU has also
    categorically told Cameron “Open borders will remain an EU policy “ so what do
    our Politicians get paid for – it looks like to submit to the EU Dictat and do
    their bidding while we pay them to ignore our representational requests .

    Have the Poverty Countries that have joined
    the EU had their standards of living improved – No and we will end up on a par
    with them if we don’t get out .


  • slyblade

    Sorry to say Faser i simply cannot see all 27 EU countries accepting this, and Merkel has now told us much the same as Wolfgang Schäuble German Federal Minister of Finance, as have monsieur Hollande and Mariano Rajoy prime minister of Spain.

    So Cameron can look to Holland and the Scandinavian but it will only amount to a wish list. There is no political will in the rest of the EU to change. Why, simply as they are net receivers and we are the net providers.

    • Terry Field

      The Krautieboys know that unless the givers are treated reasonably and the receivers get less and have to do a touch more work, the givers will, in the end b*gger off – and it will not just be the UK that decides to leave. Brunhilde has no real interest in subsidising the frogs. She knows they are yesterday’s place; she just wants to offload a bit her surplus production in their market; that is it.

      • slyblade

        just about spot on. She looks after her own.

  • Terence Hale

    Wotan locally known as Mr. Cameron meet Brünnhilde locally known as Angie. At home in Angie’s job is to decide a fight between two kings, Hjalmgunnar (Sigmar) and Agnar (Horst). Wotan’s main problem is he gives too much time to mortals and Mime’s. A marriage between Wotan and Brünnhilde is unlikely because of the too many dragons and kebab stands.

  • Michael Schachter

    You don’t believe this rubbish, do you?

  • Nicholas_Keen

    No, I’m sorry Mr. Nelson, but Mr. Cameron’s vision is not ours. Ours is not a European vision.