Commissioner Kinnock is unwell. Nothing too serious. Just that queasy sensation in the pit of the stomach which all politicians suffer when they realise they’ve blown it.
Theories abound as to why Kinnock rubbished the EU’s strategy for monetary union and enlargement to eastern Europe. The transport commissioner is said to be bored staring at toy planes in his office. He has no more to say about motorways and baggage handling deregulation. Our Neil wanted to make mischief. So he made a few “private remarks” to a Siemens seminar which accidentally-on-purpose ended up in the press.
This cover story is as scantily clad as a Page Three pin-up. Kinnock has been bursting to tell the world what he thinks about Emu and enlargement. A Chatham House speech had to be emasculated at the last moment because it contained heretical remarks about the EU’s top policy priorities.
The truth is that Kinnock is a sceptic when it comes to grand visions. He’s like an awful lot of the Labour party, in fact. He doesn’t feel the Euro-religion in his guts and after nearly a year in Brussels he shows little sign of changing. As one insider said about the Siemens speech: it was written in Ealing for an audience in Merthyr Tydfil. Nobody can accuse Kinnock of being a Little Englander, but his horizons don’t stretch much beyond the Welsh valleys.
Kinnock’s apostasy is a lesson to those na? souls who look to New Labour to help everyone out of a hole at next year’s IGC. Most EU leaders have given up on John Major and are waiting to strike a deal with the next UK government. They expect Prime Minister Blair to deliver. Even Deutsche Bank has caught on. Hilmar Kopper, its chairman, said the other day that he looked forward to the UK joining Emu under the “inspired leadership” of Blair. Kopper should have a word with Robin Cook or John Prescott.
Cook’s first speech in Brussels as shadow foreign secretary was so Euro-sceptical in tone that it could have been penned by Tory Central Office. Prescott is best known for his performance at the European socialists’s summit in Essen a year ago. The deputy Labour leader rattled off demands for amendments to a Euro-friendly draft communiqu?ith such gusto that comrades shook their heads in amazement. Madame Elisabeth Guigou, the former French European affairs minister, says Prescott’s dogged…