US diplomat: "dubious" Cameron should be "ditched at the altar"

Tories' shady EU alliance causes further distancing by Washington

The excellent Will Straw has posted a crucial article on LabourList, highlighting the latest verdict from Washington on David Cameron's Tories, this time from David Rothkopf, the respected American diplomat and foreign policy expert.

Appalled at the British Conservatives' new connection to a man - Michal Kaminski - who has caused outrage in the European Jewish community for a long history of neo-Nazi anti-semitism, Rothkopf, the former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade under Bill Clinton has said:

I used to think David Cameron was just an empty suit. But it is increasingly clear that the former PR guy, is a spin-ster who ought to be ditched at the altar both by the British people and by the Obama administration.

The decision of the Tories to be led in their new Euro group by Kaminski

makes him [Cameron] an even more dubious choice to be Britain's next prime minister than he was before and, should he attain that post, someone about whom the Obama administration ought to be very cautious. A pillar of leadership acumen he ain't.

Perhaps the part-time Tory spin doctor, and passionate Atlantacist Daniel Hannan will reflect. It is increasingly clear that President Obama does not want any kind of alliance with a man - Cameron - who he regards as a "lightweight".

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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What Jeremy Corbyn gets right about the single market

Technically, you can be outside the EU but inside the single market. Philosophically, you're still in the EU. 

I’ve been trying to work out what bothers me about the response to Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on the Andrew Marr programme.

What bothers me about Corbyn’s interview is obvious: the use of the phrase “wholesale importation” to describe people coming from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom makes them sound like boxes of sugar rather than people. Adding to that, by suggesting that this “importation” had “destroy[ed] conditions”, rather than laying the blame on Britain’s under-enforced and under-regulated labour market, his words were more appropriate to a politician who believes that immigrants are objects to be scapegoated, not people to be served. (Though perhaps that is appropriate for the leader of the Labour Party if recent history is any guide.)

But I’m bothered, too, by the reaction to another part of his interview, in which the Labour leader said that Britain must leave the single market as it leaves the European Union. The response to this, which is technically correct, has been to attack Corbyn as Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are members of the single market but not the European Union.

In my view, leaving the single market will make Britain poorer in the short and long term, will immediately render much of Labour’s 2017 manifesto moot and will, in the long run, be a far bigger victory for right-wing politics than any mere election. Corbyn’s view, that the benefits of freeing a British government from the rules of the single market will outweigh the costs, doesn’t seem very likely to me. So why do I feel so uneasy about the claim that you can be a member of the single market and not the European Union?

I think it’s because the difficult truth is that these countries are, de facto, in the European Union in any meaningful sense. By any estimation, the three pillars of Britain’s “Out” vote were, firstly, control over Britain’s borders, aka the end of the free movement of people, secondly, more money for the public realm aka £350m a week for the NHS, and thirdly control over Britain’s own laws. It’s hard to see how, if the United Kingdom continues to be subject to the free movement of people, continues to pay large sums towards the European Union, and continues to have its laws set elsewhere, we have “honoured the referendum result”.

None of which changes my view that leaving the single market would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom. But retaining Britain’s single market membership starts with making the argument for single market membership, not hiding behind rhetorical tricks about whether or not single market membership was on the ballot last June, when it quite clearly was. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.