There’s an interesting piece at Centre Right on Conservative Home that looks at Cameron’s posturing on the EU budget last week (making a similar point to mine about his ‘win’) but also looking more broadly at whether the EU is an important political issue for voters, and what that might mean for the future.
The main argument is that the EU is seen as such a monolithic, unchangeable beast that voters cease to care about it – it’s impossible to alter, impossible to fix, so henceforth impossible to care about. There’s an element of truth in this, but it’s exacerbated by the very sort of approach the Tories (including the author of the Conservative Home piece) advocate – that the way forward is for the UK to renegotiate, for the UK to leave the EU, or for the UK to in some way not cooperate.
The first line of the final paragraph is the important one: “Voters need politicians that lead them, that tell them what matters, what can be changed and what to simply sit back and accept” – yes, precisely, particularly at EU level. So isn’t it about time Cameron got together with Merkel, Sarko, Berlusconi and even Barroso to try to work that out? I suspect that would require a cooperative pragmatism that Cameron’s rather incapable of just now.