Alphen, Netherlands. 14 January. What a mess! On Friday the Austrian Chancellor Werner Feymann said he can no longer trust Cameron because he says one thing in the European Council and another when talking to the British people. On Saturday Cameron's former strategy advisor Steve Hilton said in the US that Downing Street is not only dysfunctional but only learns much of its news from BBC radio. Today, Cameron suggested that his long-trailed, 'definitive' 22 January speech on Europe will now take place here in The Netherlands. This was news to Dutch Prime Minister Rutte who up to an hour or so ago had no idea Cameron was about to pay a visit.
Cameron's incompetence is breathtaking. The PR-Meister had originally planned to make his great EU climbdown (sorry, speech) in Germany. However, Cameron's advisors had forgotten to tell him that 22 January is the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, which not only sealed Franco-German reconciliation but established the basis for the British-excluding Franco-German relationship upon which the EU is built. Not surprisingly my contacts tell me Berlin is not all happy with the date Cameron has chosen for his speech and emboldened by their new relationship with Washington (a sign of things to come?) is telling the PR-Meister to move the date of his speech.
So, expect a 'technical reason' over the next 24 hours as to why the speech has to be shifted so as to comply with German demands. In fact, it would make much more sense for Berlin to simply write the speech for Cameron. At least it would make sense and we would all know Britain's fate without having to watch two more years of Cameron's amateur dramatics pretending he is fighting Britain's corner.
Sadly, watching PR-Meister Cameron trying to climbdown over Europe as per Washington's instructions of last week leaves a bad taste in the mouth. My once great country is now led at a critical juncture in its history by the most lightweight, pusillanimous and downright disingenuous prime minister in modern British history, and that is saying something.
There is an old saying that suggests countries get the politicians they deserve. Nothing from my copious knowledge of British history suggests we were that bad.
Winston Churchill he ain't! You could not make this stuff up!