David Cameron's decision to veto a proposed revision of the Lisbon Treaty in Brussels this week to save the euro marks a low point in Britain's relations with the rest of Europe. Shamelessly, he cited the national interest as his objective in the stance he was set on taking prior to the Brussels Summit, when all along his priority has been to protect the interests of the City of London and appease the eurosceptics in his own party.
In effect he was not in Brussels as prime minister of Britain but as chief negotiator for the banks and financial institutions, whose determination to block any regulation of any kind illustrates the extent of their mendacity and gall after taking the economy into freefall precisely as a consequence of poor regulation over their operations.
The net result of his stunt in vetoing a revised Lisbon Treaty is Britain's isolation and the formation of a two tier European Union, with France and Germany leading moves towards a new agreement between the 27 nations that are resolved to pressing ahead with reforms that will save the eurozone from disintegration. This will have a deleterious impact on the British 'real' economy, as any new agreement will inevitably embrace a new trade relationship between the nations concerned, with British manufacturing, already suffering as a result of the recession, finding itself on the outside looking in.
Saving the euro is absolutely critical to the welfare of millions of ordinary British people, whose pensions and savings are heavily invested in southern Europe through British banks and financial institutions. If Greece for example was forced out of the euro its national currency would plunge in value, leading to a write down in Greece's debt, which at a stroke would decimate those pensions and savings of millions of people in the UK. Yet Cameron was willing to risk this eventuality in order to protect the interests of the fatcats in the City and placate the Little Englanders who sit on the Tory backbenches.
European integration, despite its challenges, has overall produced far more benefits than negatives. It has ensured six decades of peace in Western Europe after the cataclysms of two world wars, and from it has come the most progressive legislation impacting on the lives of working people, specifically with regard to the Social Chapter and human rights.
We need more European integration not less, especially in a period of deep economic crisis. When is Cameron and his like going to wake up to fact that Britain is no longer a major power in the world? That they can no longer draw on the exploitation of an empire to maintain the UK economy?
On the contrary, Britain is a third rate power whose continued inflated image of herself as a first rate power is a result of our slavish attachment to America's coattails.
Isolation in a time of global economic crisis is madness. Now, in order to compete within the global economy, working people in this country can look forward to even more attacks on their wages and conditions - or at least those fortunate enough to still have a job by the time this crisis reaches its nadir.
Cameron's attempt to wrap himself in the Union Jack in Brussels in order to conceal his true purpose of protecting the interests of the City will go down as one of the most shameless examples of rank opportunism of any British prime minister in the nation's history.
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