Sketch: While the inmates riot, leaders swap taunts

Share
Related Topics

Sir Peter Tapsell was clearly disappointed. Rising from his seat with all the inimitable authority of a man who was working for Anthony Eden a decade before the present Prime Minister was born, he had asked what Angela Merkel's reaction had been when David Cameron had made it "admirably" clear that the Bank of England, and not some alien European body, would have oversight over British financial services.

A great figure like Sir Peter does not do crestfallen. But he was stony-faced when Cameron failed to answer, merely sticking to his line that while Britain would not be party to any European Banking Union, it was in British interests to help one be created for the eurozone.

No doubt he had been hoping to be told that the German Chancellor had foamed at the mouth and uttered some Teutonic scream of rage, adding for good measure that the schweinhund Cameron had foiled a cunning plan to control the British banks from Berlin.

He was not alone. You only have to see the majority of Tory backbenchers in full cry on Europe to sympathise with Cameron's struggle to persuade them there might even be some benefit in staying in the EU.

Shipley's Philip Davies led an onslaught on Cameron's plan for a referendum on a renegotiated settlement with Europe. "Only an in/out referendum will do for the British people," he said, before adding, in the style of a Mafia don telling another that a horse's head in his bed would be the least he could expect: "It will be in his very much best interests if he would stop resisting it."

Against this background the almost routine exchanges between Ed Miliband and the Prime Minister boiled down to the Finn versus the Bulgarian. Miliband taunted Cameron with the "Anglophile" Finnish Europe minister who had complained that the UK was "saying bye bye" to the EU. And Cameron countered with the Bulgarian head of the socialist bloc in the European parliament who was opposed to gay pride marches.

At one point Miliband remarked of the noisy Tory backbenchers that "they don't like it" when he tells them how little influence Cameron has in Europe. The problem with this line of argument is that many of them seem to like it quite a lot.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Accounts Assistant, Hammersmith

£25000 per annum: Charter Selection: Exciting sports company with a strong bra...

Financial Accountant-IFRS-Gloucester-£300/day

£250 - £295 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountant - IFRS - Glouc...

Technical Support Engineer - Central London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Central London...

SharePoint/C# Developer - Aberdeen - Circa £40K + benefits

£30000 - £40000 per annum + excellent benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

This is why I am among the thousands leaving teaching this month

Chris Sloggett
 

The daily catch-up: Neigh-Drama Obama, changing welfare and how to tell if you are a journalist

John Rentoul
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil