David Cameron’s cowering reliance on the City was exposed for the world to see this morning when he vetoed a treaty change to save the eurozone because of his unsurprising unwillingness to bring the City to heel with a progressive, redistributive Financial Transaction Tax.
Watch Cameron’s remarks early this morning, in which he claimed ”what is on offer isn’t in
the one per cent’s Britain’s interests”, here. His refusal to sign up to a full treaty was described as “unacceptable” by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling Cameron’s alternative proposal a “rotten” compromise.
Cameron’s siding with the one per cent, with the fat cats who, lest we forget, got us into this mess, should come as no surprise. As we reported earlier this year, Tory dependence on the City doubled from when Cameron became Tory leader to when he became prime minister, the amount of money the Tories received from City money more than quadrupling.
More recently, the GMB revealed 37 Tory donors with a combined fortune of more than £10 billion – linked to finance, hedge funds, private equity, property and other City activities – donated 60 per cent of the Tories’ funding in the last quarter.
As GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said:
“Never in the history of political party funding have so few bought so much political influence for so little. The Tory Party is increasingly being funded by the asset strippers and predators…
“They are the same old nasty Tories now in the pockets of the predatory elite. This is why they have yet to lift a finger against the bankers who caused the recession in 2007… The Tory party is the political wing of the rich and the elite – the 1%.”
Is it any wonder then that Cameron refused to sign up to the deal, refused point blank to even countenance any scaling back of the City’s power? Who runs the government? Who’s pulling the strings? Whose money influences Tory policy? Even if he wanted to do the right thing, the gun to his head from the Tories’ biggest donors meant he couldn’t.
On the wider political point, if Cameron believes he has sated the Eurosceptics with this ‘non!’, he can think again. He appears as in hoc to them – and after all, it is only with their support he became Tory leader (see here and here for the details) – as the City. And, just like a predator who scents blood, they will demand more, and more, and more, more renegotiation, more withdrawal, more grandstanding which their increasingly weak leader will be powerless to resist.
As the Telegraph’s Ben Brogan wrote in his Morning Briefing:
“Mr Leigh [arch-Eurosceptic Edward Leigh] and his friends are unlikely to waste time clapping Dave on the back. They will demand more, no doubt a comprehensive renegotiation of British relations with the EU.
“How will Mr Cameron manage those forces? He is meeting a group of his backbenchers at Chequers tonight, but he won’t be able to ward off the demands for a referendum before his statement to Parliament on Monday.”
And as for the deputy prime minister, if it’s true he approved Cameron’s veto, many Liberal Democrats, and moreover most Europhiles may be asking themselves this morning:
‘What is the point of Nick Clegg?’
• How bankers’ bonuses are contributing to the new credit crunch – Cormac Hollingsworth, December 6th 2011
• Osborne starts to panic about the chance of a Robin Hood Tax – Owen Tudor, November 9th 2011
• On the Financial Transaction Tax, why is Osborne on the side of the one per cent? – Shamik Das, November 2nd 2011
• Farage should check his own funds before accusing others of being in it for the money – Alex Hern, October 24th 2011
• Tory dependence on City money should come as no surprise – Shamik Das, February 9th 2011