When is a veto not a veto?

Courtesy of The Guardian

When David Cameron says it is.

In spite of what the Tories and their allies in the press tell us, David Cameron did not exercise a veto. A veto is a legislative mechanism that is designed to stop or forbid something. Cameron stopped and forbade nothing. He took his bat and ball and stormed off the pitch. Even the Torygraph’s Christopher Booker admits that this wasn’t a veto,

After the recent dramatic European Council meeting in Brussels, many people’s thoughts have been moving a similar direction. But it cannot be said forcefully enough that the events surrounding David Cameron’s supposed “veto” were not what they seemed. In fact, it is hard to recall any recent political event having been so widely misreported and misunderstood.

The general belief is that Mr Cameron somehow “stood up for Britain” by vetoing a treaty that everyone else wanted. (Put “Cameron veto” into Google and it returns more than 80 million results.) But there was no veto, and there could never have been one, because a veto can only apply to the final text of an EU treaty, following lengthy negotiations. No such treaty exists.


So the euro is not going to be saved. Mr Cameron did nothing to protect Britain’s financial sector from the deluge of EU legislation which threatens to inflict such damage on the City.

Cameron says that did this in the “national interest”.  But what Booker doesn’t explain here is how this will “damage” the Cittie. I mean, hasn’t the Cittie damaged those of us who don’t work in international finance? I heard some Tory on television say how the Cittie “generates £53 billion of income”. What he didn’t explain is how this “income” stays within pockets of the Cittie of London’s venerated wyzards and alchemystes.

Cameron is a PR man but he isn’t a very good one. He thinks that by saying he “vetoed” the EU and if he repeated it, we’d all believe him. We don’t. He also thought that none of us would actually know what a veto is and how it works. Again, he’s wrong and it’s only those people who read The Sun who are likely to be swayed by his guff.

Dan Hannan, a man known for his antipathy towards the EU said that the “Rats are gnawing” at his non-existent “veto”. Noting that,

Most Britons wanted that something to be a repatriation of powers from Brussels. We all have our lists of what we’d like back: farming, fishing, diplomatic representation, criminal justice, regional policy, immigration, trade with non-EU states. One item that is on almost everyone’s list is employment law: Britain cannot escape from its economic problems while burdened by Brussels regulations in this field.

Disappointingly, David Cameron took no such list to Brussels. He didn’t even seek a repeal of the 48-hour week – a proposal that was in his manifesto and which made it, in a slightly diluted form, into the Coalition Agreement. Instead, he focused narrowly on the area of financial services.

These are the same financial services that are actually – though Hannan and others wouldn’t admit it – dragging the rest of us down.

All Lord Snooty has done is to temporarily appease his restive Europhobic backbenchers, who want a full withdrawal from the EU. As far as the EU is concerned, nothing has changed.


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Filed under Conservative Party, Europe, Government & politics

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