Since the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, exercised the UK veto to prevent the EU plunging into further fiscal and political integration much has been said about it achieving nothing.
This view, that the UK veto damp squib or that Cameron was firing blanks, was neatly distilled by the remarks of the three guest politicians on the Andrew Marr Show this morning.
First up was Lord Mandelson, who said that since the veto had been used the proposals for treaty change now surfacing posed no threat to the City and questioned why they had been vetoed by us in the first place.
He was followed by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who said that while he supported the PM’s use of the veto he also said that the City’s position was unchanged, to which Andrew Marr replied ‘So nothing’s been won?’ But to be fair he also went on to ask Boris what all the hoo-hah of the veto had been about, to which Boris said it was about the UK not wanting to be part of a more federal Europe.
Lastly Vince Cable said that it was a largely political move that gave the PM a short term boost that left things unchanged.
And behind it all was Andrew Marr himself strongly espousing the view that the veto changed nothing and hinting even more strongly that it was therefore a waste of time.
Well, let’s just sit back and take another look shall we? Not one of them stated the obvious truth and you have to ask yourself why not.
A veto is exercised to stop something happening. Let’s say that again, a veto is exercised to stop something happening. Therefore, when a veto is exercised, guess what, whatever was there before remains afterwards. It stays unchanged.
Therefore people are trying to mislead the public by trying to convince you that something should have changed and therefore Cameron failed.
The real truth is that the veto did exactly what it was designed to do; it preserved the status quo! In the face of massive pressure to cave in and sign up to a more integrated EU the veto kept things as they are. It was a complete success.
So how can it be judged as not achieving anything? Well only politicians can twist things like that.
And as to subsequent proposals not threatening the UK’s interests, well that’s just good politics by the EU to try and convince us that we needn’t veto anything next time.