THE BLOG

Action on Bankers' Bonuses Show the EU Is More in Tune With Most Voters' Thinking Than This Government

08/03/2013 11:36 GMT | Updated 07/05/2013 10:12 BST

David Cameron has a Europe problem.

While the UK Independence Party's popularity is currently surging, as evidenced by the 27% of the vote they received in last week's by-election to the UK Parliament, he's feeling the pressure to lurch ever more the right and position the British Conservative Party as the Euro-sceptic 'voice of reason'.

Meanwhile, the EU is working towards progressive measures the majority of British people wish to see - and he's getting squeezed in the middle.

Take, for example, the Council of Ministers' decision this week to introduce a cap on bankers' bonuses. Finance Ministers from across the EU agreed to limit such bonuses to a bankers' annual salary - except in the case that shareholders explicitly agree to it being higher.

This is in line with the wishes of the vast majority of voters across the EU - and the UK - who blame, rightly or wrongly, the banks' culture of excessive bonuses for contributing to the economic mess we're all in - a mess which, as I have argued before, is reducing care standards and contributing to rising unemployment and weaker labour rights across the EU.

But the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne found himself isolated, arguing, unsuccessfully, against any limit at all.

Or take the recently agreed tax on Financial Transactions - or 'Robin Hood' Tax. Again, the UK argued against it, while 11 member states of the the EU has acted on behalf of most voters' wishes.

Environmental rules are another example where the EU has led and the UK, often reluctantly, has followed. The EU, for example, is currently redrafting its legislation on rules to protect our health from air pollution. The UK is seeking to water down these rules; pretty much everyone else wants to see them tightened up.

I could go on, but I think these examples illustrate why most UK voters, whatever they think about the relationship between 'us' and 'them' are supportive of the things the EU is actually doing.

And why the separatist voices of Ukip and the British Conservatives are so keen to withdraw from the EU altogether.