Over the last few days David Cameron appears to be giving the impression of digging his own grave knowing that he will shortly be forced to occupy it before he has taken his last breath. This frenzied activity is undertaken by Cameron with the assistance of an additional shovel, namely his mouth.
Four years ago he talked about a referendum - dropped. Then about two years ago he talked about the repatriation of powers - dropped. He has also stated that there would be no need for a referendum - dropped. In fact this man drops more things than a trainee juggler! More recently he talks about using the veto if a new treaty is a requested, yet it is his avowed intention to help bring stability to the eurozone so how can he contemplate using the veto option? He talks about 'leverage' - the more the eurozone countries want, the more he will want in return - yet just what 'leverage' does he have? Moreover if the other Member States say 'No', just what the hell can Cameron do? He has boxed himself into a corner from which there appears no escape.
At Prime Ministers Questions, in answer to Steve Baker proposing that the UK would be better leaving the European Union, David Cameron maintained that it is in Britains interest to have access to the single market; that we are a trading nation; that there are opportunities for Britain in Europe. The obvious answer to that would be: right, take us out, we can still have access to the single market; we can still make use of the opportunities that exist; after all, are we not a trading nation?
Of course, the 'bravado' that Cameron exhibits is the same as all British Prime Ministers before him when about to attend a Heads of State meeting. It is for public consumption, yet history shows us that what transpires behind the 'locked doors' is invariably not 'bravado' but 'surrender'. In fact it is what transpires behind the scenes, prior to the Heads of State meeting, that is important - and as Mary Ellen Synon reports, one nameless diplomat informed her that the British are being 'much more conciliatory behind closed doors.' The reported hope of Van Rompuy that something could be done 'on the quiet' with a revision of Protocol 12 appears not to be possible, at least where the United Kingdom is concerned - as Richard North explains here. Also, on the repatriation of powers thingy, Helen over at Your Freedom and Ours weighs in with two well-crafted posts, the second here.
That Cameron could not dig his hole any quicker were he to use a JCB is today undeniable - I suppose the best that we can hope for is that he does not return clutching a piece of paper!
Afterthought: Richard North has a copy of the letter Merkozy sent to Van Rompuy ahead of tomorrow's meeting.
Afterthought (2): And here is Van Rompuys letter to the Heads of States.