For most of 2013, David Cameron seemingly couldn't please anyone. The "we want out of Europe" wing of the Conservative Party didn't think he'd done enough, even with the 2017 In/Out referendum pledge, to further their cause. The British economy sputtered like an old engine on a frigid morning. And the Tories slipped up in by-elections that many political commentators viewed as an indictment of Cameron's leadership.
Barely a month into 2014, and Cameron must feel like the storm clouds have finally cleared. Unemployment dropped to 7.1 percent and the number of people out of work fell by 167,000 since November - signs that the UK economy is creating jobs and at last pulling out of its recent slump. Such figures undermine Ed Miliband's vague, unsubstantiated claim that "life's getting harder" for the average Briton.
Certainly, today's news that the House of Lords has sent the EU Referendum Bill back to the Commons for re-wording is less than ideal. But Cameron has proved his commitment to getting Britain a "better deal" in Europe by pushing the matter and, in practical terms, can do little more to satisfy Euroskeptics at this point.
Well, except maybe continuing to deliver speeches like today's salvo at the World Economic Forum in Davos. There, Cameron offered re-assurance to his Get-Us-Out supporters that the "fight is not yet won." He then took the EU to task for it's cloying, go-slow bureaucracy, claiming that if Brussels workers aren't producing regulations for regulations' sake they feel like "they're not doing their job."
After revealing his hopes that fracking would lower energy bills and encourage employers to move jobs back to the UK ("reshoring") to take advantage of cheap energy, the Prime Minister then shared his fear that such potential benefits would be strangled by "burdensome, unjustified and premature regulatory burdens" from Brussels. Such over-regulation permeates every edict the EU issues, Cameron stated, as what Daniel Hannan has called "euro-apparatchiks" view any attempt to simplify policy as "an act of self-harm."
Regardless of what people think of fracking, it's hard to argue against the key premise of Dave's diatribe: that the EU is a bloated entity that exists merely to further its own over-reaching power. Though Cameron was viewed as failing last year when the House of Commons said "no" to British intervention in Syria, even he recognized, in his gloom, that this was true democracy at work. The same would be the case with an EU referendum, which would give the British people our chance to be heard on Britain's future relationship with Brussels.
The European Union would never entertain such things. Back in 2008, we saw how it treats the voice of the voters with utter contempt when it dismissed Ireland's "No" vote on the Lisbon Treaty and forced a second ballot. As Rory Fitzgerald has written for the Huffington Post, Angela Merkel's vision for "political union" has nothing to do with the principles of elected government, or of representing the people of supposedly independent nations whom she and her ilk would deem to rule. Never mind that EU leaders have no mandate to do so - this is a minor technicality when it comes to the misguided puppet masters of "post-democratic" Europe.
So while David Cameron may not have reached the heights of Churchillian rhetoric this week, he should be applauded for telling the Artist Formerly Known as Frau Nein and her cronies that Britain will not be pushed around by the Brussels pen-pushing elites any longer. Let us hope that when the opportunity arises to take back EU powers, Cameron is ready to back up his words with deeds.Suggest a correction