Home > Uncategorized > Cameron – Leader of the Party, Leader of the Coalition or Leader of the Country?

Cameron – Leader of the Party, Leader of the Coalition or Leader of the Country?

The flip-flopping this weekend of David Cameron regarding an in/out referendum on the European Union is a been there, done that situation. We’ve heard about referendums before on Europe, most notably regarding a European Union Constitution under the Labour Party. We’ve even had an in/out referendum one time before in 1975 (one of only two national referendums) and the public voted to stay in the European Economic Community at the time. Times have changed. The European Union has developed and become a far more political beast than it ever was planned to be when the European Coal and Steel Community was created. It has a far bigger political role and the development of the Euro zone and the Euro as a currency has brought many countries closer together. Personally I believe that we are too invested within the European Union and it would cause a much bigger negative impact to pull out of it. The European Union can still be a positive force in terms of unifying Europe and bringing about positive developments. However, this issue of the European Union is causing a lot more problems for David Cameron in terms of his position.

One reason why David Cameron has called for a referendum has to be the fact that he is struggling to unify his own party, especially the backbenchers. It’s almost a weekly occurrence to hear of unrest among the backbenchers on a range of things and this has to be taking its toll on the Prime Minister. Arguably, if the Conservative Party had won the General Election outright, this would not have been as big of an issue as he could be far more accommodating of many of the right-wing conservative ideas that fall behind him. One of the big ideas from those backbenchers is that the European Union is taking too much power away from Britain, eroding at its sovereignty, and that the British government should pull itself away from Europe. There have been many calls in the press that UKIP actually convey more of the traditional Conservative Party ideas than the current leadership of the party, even so far as being said by chief Cameron/Osborne tormentor Nadine Dorries this past weekend. There is a very small chance that there may be a defection of Conservative Party members and supporters to a party that better represents their views. That’s why this claim by Cameron seems to be a token acknowledgement of the backbenchers to try and maintain their support and keep his party under him. Cameron is trying to be the tamer with his whip trying to tame the lion that is the Conservative right.

However, it was the phrase “when the time is right”, which really got me in the press. Firstly I hate that phrase. That almost always means that it will never happen and I wonder why it can’t be said outright that it is not wanted or that it will not be done. It wastes time and it wastes people’s’ opinions (even though I am spouting about it at the minute). The problem in this case though is that David Cameron has to tame his coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, as well as his own party. I think it’s very well-known that the Liberal Democrats are very much pro-European Union and very much pro integration. The members of the party will detest an in/out referendum and will fight tooth and nail to stop it. So it looks as though with the phrasing of Mr.Cameron’s words in the Sunday press are merely a way of trying to appease both sides of the Coalition. It is again a regular occurrence to hear David Cameron listen to his Tory backbenchers wanting to “ditch the Lib Dem menace” or “to get rid of the evil Lib Dem menace”. This would not be helpful to the Tories. Cameron knows this. One thing he isn’t is stupid. Hapless maybe but not stupid. He needs the Lib Dems because he knows that a Tory minority government would not be able to get bills passed and he will be held to account for these failings. It will be interesting to see how the next week will shape up with both parties of the coalition flexing their muscles with their differing views on Europe.

The other beast that David Cameron has to tame is the public. Ultimately his government is held accountable on their actions by the public. We are a democracy and we judge politicians on whether their actions help, aid or suit us. Now there is a broad mix of opinion on the European Union with a lot of people supporting our role in the European Union and many opposed to it. Many people want us to have a say in Europe and don’t want us to be isolated in terms of decision-making from the rest of Europe. Others believe that the European Union has taken too much sovereignty away from Britain and that we ourselves should pull out of Europe to regain sovereignty both politically and legally. As mentioned earlier, I fall into the former category. Part of the groundwork for European integration was trade agreements and preferential trading arrangements and I believe that is important especially when in an economic situation that we are in at the minute. We should be boosting our industries by focusing on these trade arrangements and putting money into them, which could in turn lead to creation of jobs. Have the government not learned from the austerity of the 1930s (surely that’s under Michael Gove’s History curriculum) that had us suffering  greatly until we boosted our military economies in 1938/1939, which led to unemployment beginning to go down. At the same time the USA and Germany spent money on their economies and they moved out of recession quicker than our National Government. I fear for these trade arrangements and businesses if we were to pull out of the European Union. Aside from that, David Cameron faces the eternal struggle of trying to appeal to all of the electorate on an area where they are so divisive.

So David Cameron faces his own Cerberus. Does he tame his party, his coalition or the country. This is why he is flip-flopping and sitting on the fence regarding the issue of the European Union and the mythical in/out referendum. He is the leader politically of all three of these bodies and has to tame them all. It’s a case of option A, option B or option C. However, this will not be resolved until he decides which of these bodies that he leads is his priority. That is the key. Then we will get an answer, an opinion, a decisive response from the Prime Minister. Either way he goes, he is going to face praise, and in turn face criticism, that’s the natural way with Politics. However he will show a backbone, which is something lacking at the minute.

Ed Miliband this week should be jumping all over this. He needs to be constantly pressing the Prime Minister, The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats over this. He needs to be constantly pushing to get Cameron to give a decisive answer on this while offering up a unified Labour viewpoint. This is how he needs to demonstrate to the electorate that he could be a strong a decisive Prime Minister and that he could run a Labour government to help the people. Whether he does this though….

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: