It is an odd idea for the EU to hold an important meeting at Ypres and then to say the participants cannot have a good row there because of the past tragic history. Surely the whole point is to pursue disagreements by words and politics rather than by shells and machine guns?
Mr Cameron has every right to dig in over the appointment of the next EU President of the Commission. This post is not the same as choosing a new Cabinet Secretary. The President is more than a very senior official. The President has direct powers to act, and will help shape EU policy and laws for the next five years. He will also have a face and a voice in EU politics like a senior politician. The fact that he is digging in when he may well lose the vote just shows how far apart the EU establishment is from reformers and the UK.
Mr Cameron represents an important country in Europe which has no wish to go the federalist centralising route. In the recent EU elections more than half the UK voters voted deliberately for anti EU or anti federal government parties. The socialist/Labour federalist party deliberately avoided all discussion of the EU agenda and future EU laws, and of their candidate for the EU Presidency. They realised to talk about them would make them more unpopular. In no sense did the UK vote for or against Mr Juncker or any other candidates for the Commission Presidency.
The problem for the UK is the European Parliament was given co decision powers at Lisbon which mean that if a majority of the Parliament agree about who should be President of the Commission they can hold out until the Council has to propose him. They have a veto on any candidate they do not want. Mr Cameron wishes to defend the right of the Council to propose and decide the Presidency of the Commission, on the reasonable grounds that the Heads of government have a better mandate and more popular support than the MEPs. The trouble is, that view requires the modification of the Treaties to reflect it fully in legal reality.
All this just goes to show the UK cannot be part of the emerging superstate. The rest of the EU is a single currency busily creating a country to back its adolescent money. The UK needs a new relationship with this grouping as soon as possible. We want to trade with them and be friends with them, but we do not wish to be part of their political union. Lisbon was the wrong Treaty for us.