If you have never heard the rendition of this anthem of anthems (up there with “Jerusalem”) at the Last Night of the Proms you will not understand the British psyche and the glue that binds this nation together. We have been branded the pariah of Europe for rejecting the treaty amendments, proposed by Germany and reluctantly seconded by France, which, in the great scheme of things, will achieve the square root of very little.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, head of Germany’s FDP group, part of the European Liberals, says it was “a mistake to let the British into the EU”. Over here some of us would lay the blame for accession at Edward Heath’s door… “Britain must now renegotiate its relationship with the EU,” he said. “Either they do it on their own initiative, or the EU refounds (sic) itself – without Great Britain. Switzerland is a model towards which Britain can turn itself.” Bring it on!
Meanwhile Daniel Cohen-Bendit, joint leader of the Greens in the European Parliament has labelled Mr Cameron “a weakling”. That’s up there with being savaged by a lamb Geoffrey Howe style, although Danny la Vert is in all probability a vegetarian…
Surprisingly it was the French newspaper Le Monde, seemingly keen to avoid further damaging relations between the French and English, which spoke to its readers of all the things they love about the UK, which, it said, are “impossible to number”; but they gave it their best shot. “From the concept of habeas corpus to the BBC, to Elizabethan poetry to John Le Carre, from rock to the invention of the Sixties, from London springtime concerts to Wimbledon, via Liverpool FC.” And all that from a French newspaper! Well one thing is for sure; we will “never walk alone”!
That this meeting of small minds has been hailed as a triumph – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the European Union summit achieved a “breakthrough” to a “lastingly stable euro” – leaves me lost for words, but not expletives, although I will spare your blushes dear reader.
She would like you to believe, as obviously she does and presumably along with the 25 other governments that can find no other place to hide, that by March the “fiscal compact” will be in place. This includes a cap of 0.5% of GDP on countries’ annual structural deficits and “automatic consequences” for countries whose public deficit exceeds 3% of GDP. As of now, including Germany, not one EU country matches up to these targets and it’s all going to get resolved in three months?
The markets, expecting something approaching a frisson of decisiveness, spent Friday like stunned mullets. And with Christmas rapidly approaching may well take to the mulled wine and other festive “remedies” and call it a day until the New Year. At which time they will all realise that nothing, absolutely nothing has been done to address the solvency of the European banking system.
Which anthem will they play at the Last Night of the Euro I wonder? How about the Doobie Brothers and “What a fool believes”?
“But what a fool believes … (s)he sees” – a lastingly stable euro?