Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Cameron?

This line (with only the last word changed) from a popular TV programme, now a major film, is memorable because it celebrates defiance in the face of an all-powerful conquering foe. Actually in the summer of 1940, Britain had very little else going for her except the four great, but far away Dominions, as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were then referred to, plus of course our untested, but soon to be vindicated, air-defence system.

Today Britain has a great deal going for her, but that does not prevent her Prime Minister, David Cameron from trailing round the 27 EU capitals as a supplicant, begging for a scrap of paper he can bring back to London pledging EU reform “in our time”. Will they reopen Heston airport later this month so that Cameron like Chamberlain can come down the steps from the aircraft in a blaze of press cameras waving his wretched little agreement with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (lately Prime Minister of Poland) and the other leaders of “Europe”?

The form of Cameron’s Agreement is a repeat of Chamberlain’s in 1938

This whole gruesome episode of “negotiating reform of Britain’s relationship with the EU” is, in form, almost precisely a repeat of Chamberlain’s ill-fated appeasement negotiations with Hitler which culminated in the Munich agreement of September 30th 1938.  Three humiliating visits to Germany to beg Hitler for trivial amendments to his plans for dismembering Czechoslovakia, is just like the EUs’ pressing on with a new Treaty to tighten still further its grip on its member states, while pretending to treat Cameron’s modest requests seriously.

David Cameron recently publicized the scare-mongering view that if the UK votes to leave the EU, then the French might repudiate our current reciprocal Agreement that travellers from the UK to France are checked in the UK and travellers to the UK from France are checked in Calais. This, in his view, could lead to refugee camps moving from Calais to the South of England. Such alarmist talk is exactly analogous with the alarmist talk in 1938 about hordes of German bombers terrorising England if war broke out: “the bomber will always get through”. Sure enough on the BBC Today Programme of 9th February up popped a Foreign Office functionary to say he felt Mr Cameron was right and the French might well repudiate the Agreement.

Cameron has humiliated this country by his behaviour, as did Chamberlain. As with Chamberlain’s cabinet (split about 70 : 30 for appeasement), so with Cameron’s.  None of the Cabinet opposed to Chamberlain’s policy of negotiating with Hitler resigned over Munich; none of Cameron’s opponents in the Cabinet has so far resigned because, they claim, they don’t know the final terms of the offer.  These cannot be better than the “Tusk proposals” with their absurd, unmanageable concept of an emergency brake on certain in-work benefits for a limited length of time, to be agreed by all 27 other EU member states: about as likely as 27 people tied at the ankles getting over a six foot wall.

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