Prime Minister David Cameron appears to be losing his grip on tactics in his fight against the appointment of euro-zealot Jean Claude Juncker to the top job at the European Commission.
Today saw the latest effort by the prime minister to persuade EU leaders not to choose Juncker. An article with Cameron’s by-line has appeared in what are meant to be “key newspapers” across the EU.
It argues that Juncker has no right to claim the top job at the commission because in the elections last month to the European Parliament: “Juncker did not stand anywhere and was not elected by anyone.” Cameron argues that choosing Juncker would be to ignore the voice of the voters and damage “democratic legitimacy.”
One of the newspapers chosen by Number 10 to run the article is the Irish Times, a euro-zealot publication so unlikely to have editors or readers sympathetic to Cameron’s arguments that the choice is bizarre.
The Irish Times is a humourless, self-important, left-wing newspaper read by civil servants, academics and NGOs, groups in Ireland who see their future advancement and prosperity coming from the EU institutions and budget.
The editorial staff are so contemptuous of what used to be called “the plain people of Ireland” that when the plain people courageously voted ‘No’ in the 2008 referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, a treaty bestowing vast constitutional powers on the EU, the Irish Times’s political correspondent wrote that the government should ignore the referendum result and force the ratification of the treaty through parliament anyway.
Cameron arguing in the Irish Times that the choice of Juncker would be in no way a reflection of the voice of any electorate is likely to be met among some at the paper with the reply: “Business as usual then, fine by us.”
If this article was supposed to be Cameron’s best shot, one has to wonder who is advising him on tactics.