Cameron might need to wield the handbag

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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Is David Cameron banging his head against a brick wall in his attempts to convince the flinty-faced, obdurate Eurocrats in Brussels of the absolute need to grant major concessions to Britain over her membership of the EU?

Eurosceptics remain firm in their belief that Cameron will win some minor “concessions” on trivial issues, and then come back to Parliament boasting that he is well on the way to achieving a fairer package for Britain.

It seems to be fast becoming apparent that quiet, patient and logical argument does not work in Brussels. Many are of the opinion that Cameron should adopt more of what has been described as “foghorn diplomacy” as carried out by a handbag-brandishing Margaret Thatcher to scare the living daylights out of them. Whether that is true or not is arguable, but a leading Eurosceptic, Dr Liam Fox, a former Tory Defence Secretary, believes that we should go straight to Brexit rather than waste time and money trying to convince people who refuse to budge an inch.

He said that he would be voting for Britain’s withdrawal from Europe. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, Sir John Major, former Tory Prime Minister, claims that Eurosceptics are using bogus arguments to state their claim.

Cameron’s default position is to stay in Europe. But the sceptics are hoping he will get so frustrated dealing with these Sphinx-like figures in Brussels that he could be swayed into the other camp.

Meanwhile, this issue is causing deep divisions in the Conservative Party and had better be resolved quickly before things get worse.

At least Cameron has hinted broadly that the in-out referendum could take place in 2016, instead of waiting until 2017 which was the original plan. Bring it on!

Britain’s firearms police officers must have been dismayed to learn that one of their number has been charged after shooting dead a man during a police ambush on a gang trying to free two prisoners.

It is intolerable that the police, who have to make split-second decisions in these episodes, should have to face this hazard.

So it is not before time that the Prime Minister has stepped in to consider more safeguards for police marksmen in such circumstances.

Police doing a vital job to protect the public against ruthless criminals should not have this problem to deal with as well.