Last Friday, the UK Prime Minister pulled off a spectacular victory in Brussels, a 'smasheroo', a Messi/Gareth Bale flash of brilliance. Not only was the EU's next seven years spending budget (2014-2020)reduced for the first time ever (as he's been negotiating over the last two years) but he achieved this by creating alliances with other EU members, notably Germany's Angela Merkel. This was not supposed to be possible. After the way the then rather rude French President tried to humiliate David Cameron last year, it does give an added tittle of pleasure to see the current French President being outmanoeuvred.
This is of course 'old news' - the agreement having been reached almost three days ago. But I feel the need to make something of it - because the media have virtually ignored it. Its treated on the same scale of importance as if Burkino Faso win the African Nations Football Tournament! From a UK perspective the EU budget deal is a very significant event - historic even. Beats me why David Cameron has not been lauded from every rooftop - except those that belong to the anti-British of course. Their churlishness is understandable. I suspect its partly because of the redefinition of marriage issue. Those who would have been praising the Prime Minister loudest are still feeling bitter about the way they were so dismissively treated last week.
Lets consider what the PM achieved. For years its been assumed that the UK/EU relationship is a one-way street, ever closer union, ever rising spending power. Whatever the EU Commission agreed should come to pass - after a bit of fuss perhaps - has always come to pass. Until last year's UK veto. Suddenly the reality is apparent to other member states. It doesn't have to be that way. Scales have fallen from their eyes. The necessity to consider major change to cope with Eurozone failure, the comparative fall in international competitiveness, the dangers of public disorder arising from a democratic deficit. These issues are now being discussed around polite Brussels tables - and its all down to David Cameron. Even Ukip's Nigel Farage was forced to admit that DC had done well, until he quickly switched back into 'Eastleigh' mode. The last 7 years budget was a Euro or two short of a thousand billion Euro. The next 7 years budget is around 50 billion Euro less. That's money that would have left a big hole in taxpayer's wallets.
Its a different story in Wales of course, where we have a Labour one-party state. Inevitably, the First Minister was first on the airwaves with his pre-prepared criticisms. Inevitably, if the EU budget is reduced, there is less money for the EU to redistribute in various forms of subsidy - so less EU subsidy for the Welsh Government to distribute. The fact that its recycled British taxpayer's money is simply ignored. For the last 14 years mega-millions of regional development money has been pouring into Wales as subsidy. Ironically, the performance of the Welsh economy has gone backwards during the same period. But spending other people's money is part of Labour's DNA - so less taxpayer's money to the EU has to be bad. And the logic of this position is that the bigger the EU budget, the better. Even Labour in Westminster can see that policy is economic lunacy. But that doesn't stop the First Minister repeating the mantra over and over - usually unchallenged.
So let's hear it for David Cameron. He's achieved something that no other British PM has achieved before. And I say to all those Europhiles who don't like it, he may just have helped save the EU from itself. I think the mood is changing and there's a genuine chance of a significant repatriation of policy to the UK. My money is on a Yes vote for 2017, which is perhaps another reason why the voices of congratulation are more muted than they should have been.