Not a mention of his stand-up, knock-down row with President Sarkozy. (Why is Sarkozy not on paternity leave? Isn't that an EU obligation?) Ed Miliband accused Cameron of grandstanding from the sidelines. "He is surprisingly coy. He managed to write the European version of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People.
"He went in being rude to the Germans, and came out being shouted at by the French!"
This was greeting by bellowing Tory cheers. It's the most wearisome cliche of all from the sceptics: they're just against the EU bureaucracy, not against Europe itself. Except for the French, as they never quite get round to saying.
Then Miliband made his mistake. "Yesterday, Mr President" – he addressed Sarkozy as if he were in the public gallery – "you spoke not just for France but for Britain as well!"
Oh, dear. He might just as well have advocated telling the Germans that we'd cracked the Enigma code, in the interests of world peace. Cameron leapt at his throat. "He said an extraordinary thing. That the French president speaks for Britain.
"It's difficult for an opposition to sell out our country, but he's just done it!" He finished by sneering at Miliband's "complete absence of leadership". Meaningless, but this was him swinging a dead husky by the tail and flinging it to the ravenous wolves behind his sledge.
Moments later, Cameron tried to account for the spat with the French leader. "If you have good relations with someone, you can have frank discussions with them." Or, I reflected, the other way round: if you truly loathe someone, you can be courteous to them now and again.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Labour Leader Defends Sarkozy against Cameron
Ed Miliband (full disclosure: a former colleague of mine) stood up for President Sarkozy in his row with British PM David Cameron: