The Nucoalition fails to spot etc

The Deputy PM and Foreign Secretary make us laugh (intentionally?)

They're laughing now,but later? They're laughing now,but later?
"Are we nearly there"? The cry of the bored traveller who has not kept alert on the journey, disappointed to be still on the train but not at the destination. When Nick Clegg, with an almost child-like approach, asked us to say which laws we wanted him to magic away he had not been more then half awake.

Perhaps like a child on the way to the seaside he had nodded off, lulled by the motion, and had dreamt all was well. Poor man! His plan was for us to direct our attention to the pettiness of government, he would do the rest. What happened was that many people, well aware a lot of government is awful, said they were more than happy to let this stand, for a while. But what they would really like would be for large chunks of legislation that have come from the EU to be removed first. Clegg, as an ex-MEP, had only himself to blame for this pratfall. Is this the sort of mistake the Deputy PM should be making?

However, the devoted EU supporter is always of the opinion that the UK public is further on than 'nearly there' when it comes to the EU. They like to think that 'the journey', the act of acceptance, is over. We have arrived and we are all so happy with out lot.

William Hague, or some journalists on his behalf, tried something similar. Hague was due to make a speech with the theme 'Britain's Foreign Policy in a networked world'. So out went the feelers: what should he say? Again the humorists got in first with suggestions such as "being in Europe but not ruled by Europe" typical. Others suggested he say or promise whatever he likes as he does not have to be bound by it, just like a promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Hague, normally thought of as having a sense of humour, either failed to see he was setting himself up, or did not care. His speech was full of waffle about the way of the world, Turkish membership of the EU being typical. It was if a speech by Tony Blair had been found in a drawer dusted off and trotted out. There was more buttering-up to Turkey by way of giving Israel a telling off for not allowing the 'peace convoy' to do as it pleased. Alongside all the guff about security it was if Hague has failed to spot that Turkey is part of the problem.

But the best bit of Hague's speech was bemoaning the lack of UK born officials working in the EU.

It is mystifying to us that the previous Government failed to give due weight to the development of British influence in the EU. They neglected to ensure that sufficient numbers of bright British officials entered EU institutions, and so we are now facing a generation gap developing in the British presence in parts of the EU where early decisions and early drafting take place. Since 2007, the number of British officials at Director level in the European Commission has fallen by a third and we have 205 fewer British officials in the Commission overall. The UK represents 12% of the EU population. Despite that, at entry-level policy grades in the European Commission, the UK represents 1.8% of the staff, well under the level of other major EU member states. So the idea that the last government was serious about advancing Britain’s influence in Europe turns out to be an unsustainable fiction.

Naturally Hague would want to have a poke at Nulabour. However, the above does not read like a follow on from "we shall not let matters rest", the statement from a political party alarmed at the possible outcomes of the Lisbon Treaty. It reads like the wish-list of a eurofanatic LibDem. It also gives another opportunity to the humorists. Perhaps all the civil servants sacked as part of the austerity plan can be employed in the EU!

So far the Nucoalition has surprised many people, possibly itself too, by being so successful. Why is this? I would suggest that the tricky subjects, anything to do with the EU for example, are being hidden. This will work for a while. But a bit like the attempts by Nulabour to hide the deficiencies of Gordon Brown; when it goes wrong it will do so in a big way.