Thursday, January 17, 2013
Hostages to fortune
David Cameron has postponed a long-awaited speech on the UK's relationship with Europe to respond to the hostage crisis in Algeria.
Well, that was lucky for him - a jolly good reason not to make that speech yet, but he'll have to do it some time. Cameron is like a man in a mire. If he stands still he sinks slowly but if he tries to move out, he may sink faster. If, as we all expect, he promises a referendum after a negotiation to make the UK different from every other member-state, then he will be a hostage and so will we all. Cameron will be a hostage to a negotiation that he cannot win and we - the whole country - will be hostages to the prospect of the referendum and the uncertainty of our membership of the European Union. Investment in the UK will fall and some firms may even move their work to less ambivalent member-states.