The European Union has had a monumental week this week, yet again. A summit on Thursday and Friday, December 8 and 9, 2011, was supposed to be a make or break affair. The future of the Euro was to be decided and its problems solved once and for all.
In the end the summit will go down in history as the day that UK Prime Minister David Cameron told EU leaders enough was enough. As the 27 EU countries gathered to agree on a deal, primarily orchestrated by Germany and France he said NO. Whilst many back home shouted hooray, that at last the UK had stood up to the German Franco alliance, others were more worried.
The UK now appears to be out on a limb and perhaps its future is uncertain. However David Cameron has more pressing fish to fry at home right now, as the fragile coalition between the Lib Dems and the Tories wobbles and looks set to tumble.
As usual it will depend where you stand on the EU and which country you live in as to what opinion you may form about his no vote. Those on the continent may believe that the UK acted in a an isolated manner and so deserve isolation. The EU is supposed to be a Union when all is said and done and the UK proved that when its fellow countries are in trouble we will not go that extra mile.
As a UK resident my slant is different.
Countries such as Greece are experiencing swingeing cuts and austerity measures. Their retirement age is set to rise. It will rise to what the UKs has been for years. In the UK employees will be expected to work until they drop. We have experienced increased back door taxes and galloping inflation that is crippling this country. If we give any more we will be no better off than countries such as Greece. As always there is wealth in the country but not fairly distributed wealth.
The EU has dogged the UK for years. France has continued to go its own way and often cause the UK problems. We have continued to roll over and play dead. For once we decided to fight on our feet.
Whilst isolation in the EU is not ideal Cameron had his back to the wall. The other countries, and especially France and Germany knew his stance. Sarkozy had his eye on the City of London and utilising its wealth to cure EU ills. For once this blogger believes that Cameron acted correctly. He was in a lose lose situation as far as the vote went. Whilst his Lib Dem political bedfellows may believe that he could have engineered reforms from inside the gang of the EU he chose not to chance it. Can you blame him?
However, where the UK coalition goes right now is not clear. The Lib Dems support the EU more widely than the Conservatives. The Tories have been EU secptics who want powers returned to the UK. If polls are to be believed many UK people would agree with that.
David Cameron has pussy footed around in order to remain in government. He has paid lip service to the Lib Dems as they were necessary for the Tories to stay in power. Perhaps now we will see a return to his true right wing politics. Lord help us if we do.
Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Lib Dems Nick Clegg has many believed in effect, "sold his soul to the devil" by tying his party to the Tories. Nick Clegg has been at pains to deny a rift between the parties is developing telling Skynews the coalition, "was "united" on Mr Cameron's demands for "modest and reasonable" safeguards to protect British interests".
He went on to say, "I think any eurosceptic who might be rubbing their hands in glee about the outcome of the summit last night should be careful what they wish for, because clearly there is potentially an increased risk of a two-speed Europe in which Britain's position becomes more marginalised, and in the long-run that would be bad for growth and jobs in this country."
With an increase in calls for a UK referendum on whether the UK should now leave the EU or stick with it, Mr Cameron is in for a few sleepless nights it seems. Nick Clegg may talk of a unified coalition but his party members and politicians will disagree.
Perhaps the Tories will let the people vote in more ways than one. If the coalition breaks down a general election will follow. David Cameron will have gone up in the estimation of many in the UK, for blocking the EU treaty, but could he win an election? Doubtful.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog