David Cameron is one hell of a lucky guy. He will go down in history as the British Premier who ended the European Union and created the United States of Europe by just one veto. But his real luck is the chance he has created for the United Kingdom to resurrect like the Phoenix to its 'Rule Britannia' glory by his veto of the EU treaty. All he has to do is to look in the eyes of his challenge and don his mantle of true leadership.
His veto of the EU treaty which evaporated overnight, while midnight candles were being burnt in Brussels to save the EURO, has turned out to be a fiasco for the nation. The whole episode smacked of David, the school boy, the neighbourhood bully, who found himself thrown out of the team his mates decided to form secretly. His European hosts somehow made him look more like a callous neighbour who was trying to protect his own fence while the house next door was in a raging fire.
Tact and diplomacy:
If a soft spoken, charming and affable David Beckham, who everyone in the summit room had an adoration and liking for, represented the United Kingdom, there is no doubt that the outcome would have been different. Even Nicolas Sarkozy would have found it difficult to behave beneath his dignity as a French president.
A dertmined and abrasive sounding David Cameron, who had declared weeks and days before what he is going to do, through the British and international media, was not certainly someone the rest of Europe's leaders were ready to put up with, in the wee hours of a protracted discussion, which resembled a pressure cooker ready to blow up. We don't know what transpired in the summit hall for sure. But those who know the Europeans may suspect that David Cameron's style, command and his powerful delivery, all of which are admirable, might even have worked to project his legitimate arguments as intimidation.
Any school student will tell you that 27 minus 26 is practically zero. At least this is the arithmetic that worked in the summit room and the way David Cameron appeared to be treated with, despite assertions of William Hague and Osborne about the heroism in the veto. David Cameron could have avoided the fait accompli his Euro sceptic colleagues and the British press despatched him to if he trusted more in the real world status and clout of the United Kingdom as the third largest economy, a major contributor and trading partner for the EU, a bold NATO partner willing and able to act decisively in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya against terror and for democratic values and to take difficult fiscal policy decisions in time to save its economy. The people of the United Kingdom certainly deserved better treatment than what was meted out to its Prime Minister in Brussels. At the end of the day the European Union in which the UK is a member is dead, or will be soon.
While the blame is inevitably being piled upon the Prime Minister, the responsibility for the diplomatic fiasco lie at the door step of his euro sceptic colleagues for building up the pressure on him, without asking themselves whether a veto would have been in the interest of the country. If there is a hidden hand of the City in it, it looks like the outcome is grossly miscalculated, judging from the ambiguous gain of control in manipulating the financial services regulations to its liking.
No one can blame David Cameron, the Prime Minister from fighting for the good of the country. No one can blame him or the United Kingdom if the EU leaders chose not to see the crisis coming their way back in 2008 and take some bold actions like the UK and The USA did to restore order. In reality no one can even blame the Euro Zone because other than its very reason for etre, a strong desire to avoid another war, there is hardly any common ground. No one could impose risky and unpalatable fiscal decisions on its member nations. Despite the criticism of his handling of the summit springing up from his partners and opponents, the British public at large is bound to accept the veto of David Cameron, at least in part for the mistreatment he has suffered on their behalf.
However this can last only if he grabs the opportunity and redeem his pledge to take the United Kingdom forward as an influential nation. For this, he needs to act urgently and decisively to gain the independence from the European Union so that the United States of Europe cannot impose any thing on the United Kingdom that will stifle its growth.
Opportunity in reconstruction:
There is no doublet that the EU nations are jealous of a United Kingdom's thriving financial services sector which attracts international capital and generates revenue. There is no doubt that every effort to grab at least part of the pie will be made vigorously and aggressively. This makes it imperative for the UK to urgently look in to other means of generating income. It is time to look at rebuilding the UK Industry, neglected for half a century and do everything to revive it. This is in fact the big opportunity presented to David Cameron and the United Kingdom from the lessons of the summit.
Unknown and unseen, the 21st century has dawned on us as a century in need of demolition and reconstruction and thereby one of great opportunities. Infra structure from Dams, bridges and roads to numerous power plants including nuclear plants, huge military vessels to oil tankers and even passenger jets built in the centuries before are all fast approaching their safe and useful life and needs to be rebuilt. For The United Kingdom where some of these were built before anywhere else, this situation represents great opportunity to boost its industry and employment and national economy.
The New Japan of the west:
Despite the lacklustre and often criticized foreign policy of the UK over the past decades, there is a dormant fascination and appetite for many things "british" which has time and again been proved by the number of viewers of televised events. From the Beatles to Beckham and the Royal family to Rolls-Royce, British goods are sought after worldwide. With the Indian and Chinese companies who see the opportunity and are willing to invest in the UK who will aggressively grab this advantage, the British government has certainly an opportunity to be proactive and to show the Europeans its resolve to succeed without them.
This after all is the call of David Cameron, the creator of the United States of Europe.
Follow Sreedhar Pillai on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lastingrose