This is a retrospective from 23 January 2013, looking forward to 2017 titled "Europe The Great Begins And Snowballs In Hell". You win a few and you lose a few.
There are times when certain people might be taken aside by some wise person familiar with the ways of the wider world and have things said quietly to them. Preferably, the person concerned will have a command of language and ability to reduce things to brutal simplicities so there can be no misunderstanding.
David Cameron, increasingly our Boy of Tears (see Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”) ought to be told to lay off the history and concentrate on the future. One good reason is that so much of history is fiercely debated and open to differing interpretations. Another is that he invariably gets it badly wrong.
Cranmer in his blog talks of the speech yesterday on Europe as nailing 95 theses to the doors of Brussels when it might be more like leaving what is left of a bakers dozen of humbugs behind the settee. The worst insult to think of is that it is the sort of speech I might have drafted to get a politician into deep trouble.
By 2017 we may not have Cameron as a Prime Minister but at say HSBC, Clegg might have become a senior figure at Goldman Sachs, unless Tony Blair finds him a place at JP Morgan, but then Ed Miliband might have a word with Barclays on his behalf.
But by then Ed Balls and Harriet Harman may have fixed it for David Miliband to be Prime Minister. Also, there might not be a United Kingdom in which to hold a referendum but other entities in a monster muddle with whoever then will be in charge of Europe, a Graeco-Hispanic alliance perhaps?
Another is Prince Harry, officer in The Royals of the Household Cavalry. Someone might explain to him how the media works and the wonders that crafty editing can achieve in putting together features. Any camera following anyone for a few days can finish up with the choice of hero or villain, savant or idiot.
In the last couple of weeks, the elegant and intelligent Lucy Worsley has been telling us about the period of The Regency, 1811 to 1820 when King George III was finally allowed to have a quiet life because of his illness, but his eldest son, another bad advertisement for male succession, became Regent to fulfill the role of monarch.
Her coverage of Europe was very limited but to her credit did spell out the dire effects of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption across the world and Europe. In the last episode it dealt with the political instability and problems of the period that ensued after this and the wars.
This was one where Britain did have a part in dealing with Europe with less than happy results. Restoring the monarchy in France turned out badly, Spain went into major decline, Russia into manic autocracy and Austria thought the Holy Roman Empire had been restored. So there was nothing but trouble afterwards.
In the UK the revolting masses wanted substantial change challenging the control and ideologies of the ruling elite. A key demand was manhood suffrage, one man (not women alas) one vote and equal representation. Another was annual Parliaments to make sure the rulers were held to continuing account.
Also fair taxation, freedom of speech and information and a number of other things were on the agenda. They were reviled as liberals and democrats, terms of insult then. This might be why our present Liberal Democrats are against the notion of equal representation, want an elite of a long serving House of Lords, do not want freedom of speech and have given up any idea of fair taxation.
Where was Cameron’s speech made? It was not the House of Commons; that once might be the obvious place. Nor was it somewhere like the Manchester Free Trade Hall, Liverpool St. Georges Hall or Glasgow or even Deacon Brodie’s in Edinburgh.
Nor was it at a Conservative Party moot at the Blackpool Winter Gardens or Scarborough Spa or even Westminster Central Hall.
It was at Bloomberg, the media financial outfit who broadcast to satellite, 502 on Sky. This really says it all about his vision of government and Europe.
He was very lucky to avoid having a mid speech break of several minutes for advertisements for gambling firms, washing powders and male perfumes.
So; did I get Cameron right?