David Cameron’s ‘grand plan’ to win back powers from the European Union was back in the headlines yesterday, with an in-depth article by Toby Helm, who suggested Cameron’s ‘winning’ plan had been thrown into doubt after ‘heavy weight’ countries like Germany said it would prefer to solve the euro zones problem without a European Treaty.
Cameron had pledged to renegotiate UK membership before calling an in/out referendum in 2017, as you will remember; but both Germany and France have said they would be against opening up the rulebook, and especially within the times scale outline by Cameron.
In a blow to the prime minister, who has pledged to renegotiate UK membership before calling an in/out referendum in 2017, both Germany and France are now coming out against opening up the EU rulebook again in the timescale envisaged by Cameron.
Clearly the two countries are frustrated by Cameron’s approach and have, in Helm’s words, ‘snubbed’ an offer to participate in an exchange of views with the foreign office on whether some EU powers should be returned to member states as part of a ‘review of competencies’-it emerged last week.
In addition to being complex and short sighted, it is now emerging-hardly surprisingly-that Cameron is likely to get very little support when he starts his next round of renegotiation rhetoric. You can read the article by Toby Helm in full, here.
Meanwhile, a couple of Saturdays ago Andrew Grice travelled with Labour leader Ed Miliband to Carlisle, where he observed a steady flow of passengers stop the Labour leader mid conversation with Grice in order to meet him. So struck by the general interest they had in him, Grice even pondered that these people had been planted by the party! They had not of course, but were genuinely interested in Miliband who sat in second class with other passengers.
Writes Grice, “They were genuinely interested in this politician in crowded standard class; some passengers even noted the contrast with George Osborne, whose staff had a well-publicised spat with a ticket inspector when he sat in first.
“A steady stream of passengers wanted their picture taken with the Labour leader on their phones – and of him with their children.
“Mr Miliband gave everyone time, even though he had work to do. I wondered if it was all an act but, as our three-hour journey to Carlisle progressed, it was clear that he really does like meeting people far from the Westminster bubble.”
This was a great few paragraphs, truly capturing a man who is on a mission to reach out to the public and to regain their trust. Miliband also described that the mission for Labour now is to ‘deliver real change.
“There is a quiet revolution happening in the Labour Party. It is no longer about approving the minutes of the last meeting, or delivering leaflets. It is about delivering real change on the doorstep,” he said.
It was an intriguing insight into the Labour leader, capturing moments that many would overlook, but it’s small things such as taking time to speak to people-rather than paying them lip service that makes a real difference.
As Miliband travelled up to Carlisle, so David Cameron rewarded his rich backers with a generous cut in their tax bills.
Vincent Moss covered this yesterday and said: “Three of the PM’s wealthiest cronies will have their tax bills cut by £500,000 a year, while millions of ordinary people endure a crippling benefits squeeze.”