David Cameron has done the only thing he could do and said ‘No’ to the French and German attempt to filch billions of pounds from our financial services sector to prop up their own failing currency.
However, in reality, there was nothing else he could do. If he had said ‘Yes’, Cameron understands that the fall out at home would have carried serious political consequences within his own party.
The next few days will be full of praise for his decision and rightly so, he finally displayed a degree of courage, even if only because the back benchers held his feet to the fire in order to get there.
However, the prospect of a trading block of 23 countries is a far greater threat to British interests than the seventeen we were facing yesterday and this will raise new questions in Parliament.
To continue on the periphery of Europe, not part of the club but bound by its pernicious rules and regulations, is not an attractive position for UKPLC to be in. An inner group of 23 rather than seventeen makes the case for a referendum greater than before. 23 are much more likely to seek to protect their own interests, particularly when it comes to trade.
This raises our need to become more competitive than ever before and the only way to do this is to repatriate many of the powers we have already conceded to Europe, including employment law. The only way to achieve this is via a referendum and hopefully an out vote.
Cameron may have wriggled away from the fire, however, when he returns to Parliament he will be walking into a very hot kitchen.