Mrs Merkel’s intervention in the EU referendum debate was the one I wanted. There’s nothing like a bossy German telling us what to do to mobilise the Leave vote.
Her intervention was at one with many of the absurd predictions and threats that characterise so much of the Remain campaign. She told us we will get a better deal by being in the room, meaning we have to be a member to be able to do things we want with the rest of the EU. She clearly has no sense of irony.
The UK has just tried out the proposition that if you are in the EU you can get a sympathetic hearing for your needs. So how did Mr Cameron get on?
He wanted to control free movement to hit his immigration targets. He was told by Germany not to even ask for change on that, so he didn’t. The solemn and popular promise to the UK voters to control immigration does not matter to the EU.
He wanted to stop us having to pay Child Benefit t to children who do not live in our country. He was told we still have to in the EU.
He wanted to stop paying in work benefits to recently arrived EU migrants, asking them to work for four years before being entitled to such money. He was told this was impossible, and offered a modest change for a transitional period only.
He wanted to stop the movement to ever closer political union. He was told there might be some Treaty change to that effect in future, but in the meantime the UK daily loses powers to the EU as they merrily continue issuing more directives, regulations and court cases pursuing their objective of more centralised power.
As you will see, all those demands which were roundly rejected could all be achieved by leaving the EU.
I remember in the run up to the formation of the Euro I was asked to various lunches, dinners and meetings with powerful Germans. They had heard of my books, articles and campaign around the country to keep us out of the Euro, and thought they could persuade me to change my mind.
The conversations always started pleasantly enough. They thought I might be intelligent enough to see how right they were about the need for the single market to have a single currency and how it would be best for business. As the event wore on and I doggedly held to my forecast that the Euro would create either boom or bust or both in various countries as the Exchange Rate mechanism had done, their tone would change. They would then seek to bully me, telling me I was wrong. The City they said would be at risk and outside the Euro the UK would have no influence.
I feel this Merkel intervention is in the same spirit. Deja vu all over again.