Richard North, 21/11/2012  

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The noble Mr Cameron, it seems, is hankering after keeping a limit on the size of the EU budget, although this might result in increased UK payments of about €700 million a year.

Given that the "colleagues" are working on a formula that reduces headline expenditure but actually results in increased payments over term, we are rapidly approaching a situation known technically as "the worst of all possible worlds".

All we are getting from the government spokesthing though is the usual fluff. "We are looking to get the best deal for the UK taxpayer. That means holding down the total level of spending and protecting the UK's rebate", it says – leaving open the possibility of increased net payments.

When the day finally dawns and Mr Cameron walks away from Brussels with higher UK payments AND a larger budget, we are going to have a problem. Politically though, I suspect that Cameron himself might have a bigger one. This is going to be very difficult to sell to the great unwashed.

On the other hand, if he really does deploy his veto, he is going to be is the deepest merde - and still end up paying more. This is not a position any politician can defend, and it is going to be very interesting to see how Cameron handles it. You almost begin to feel sorry for him.


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