Tory Eurosceptics need a Wellington to see off the EU
Opinion Digest: Cameron's referendum pledge, Spain's magnificence, Chloe Smith's debacle
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EUROSCEPTICS NEED A NEW LEADER
TIM MONTGOMERIE ON AN EU REFERENDUM
It looks as though the Eurosceptics will get a referendum on our relationship with the European Union, but they will need a strong leader if they are to win, writes Tim Montgomerie in The Times. Twenty years ago, when Margaret Thatcher was "forced out", the Conservatives were split between powerful supporters of the EU, and mild sceptics. Today there has been a marked shift towards the Eurosceptic position. Conservative MPs "are nearly all sceptics" and there are over a hundred who take "a hardline view". But don't trust Cameron to lead a charge for Eurosceptics: what is needed is a new leader, like Matthew Elliot, the "genius behind the TaxPayers' Alliance", to pull the Eurosceptics together and prevent the "out now" brigade from taking control and blowing it. Better a master tactician like Wellington to lead a smart exit from the EU, over time, with sizeable concessions.
END BANKING CULTURE THAT REWARDS ROGUES
WILL HUTTON ON THE BARCLAYS SCANDAL
Investment banking is an organised scam masquerading as business, writes Will Hutton in The Observer. If we had proper regulation and if the Serious Fraud Squad had not been "emasculated" by Chancellor Osborne, many senior banking figures would be "serving prison sentences". The £290 million fine for Barclays for attempting to rig interest rates should be a defining moment. That Barclays did not know what measures to take beyond lying about the rates it was paying to borrow money "beggars belief". The lying came easily "because it had become habitual". Managers have little incentive to control rogue traders because their bonuses depend on their success, and this must stop. Banks need better, engaged ownership – and fast. The British government, owning RBS and Lloyds, "should give a lead in what it expects from banks. In particular, it should take a lead on remuneration." Then, there should be arrests, trials and imprisonment.
SPAIN CAN WALK AMONG FOOTBALL'S GIANTS
JAMES LAWTON ON THE EURO 2012 CHAMPIONS
Spain's 4-0 triumph over Italy in the European Championships will be remembered for the victors' remorseless brilliance, writes James Lawton in The Independent. In destroying the formidable threat of Italy, the Spaniards "made a mockery" of the suggestion made by many that they were a diminished force. They have now completed the unique hat-trick of two European titles and a World Cup. Before the game it was predicted that Italy's Andrea Pirlo would be the man to dismantle the Spanish. This idea was not just rejected from the opening whistle "it was ravaged". Spain have staked a claim on being not just one of the greatest, but the greatest team in football history. Dismiss all talk of a stay of execution – this performance marked a new lease on "a fabulous football empire".
CHLOE SMITH DESERVES CONTEMPT, NOT PITY
CATHERINE BENNETT ON THE NEWSNIGHT DEBACLE
The terrible performance of Conservative junior Treasury minister Chloe Smith on Newsnight last week deserves our contempt, not our pity, writes Catherine Bennett in The Observer. John Prescott and Alastair Campbell have tried to defend Smith on the condescending grounds that she is a woman, which is depressing and reveals much about attitudes towards women in Tony Blair's government: they condemn Smith's boss for "letting a women out at all", and in this are far more condescending than George Osborne. And let's not excuse the ill-prepared Smith, who once famously advised jobless residents of Bolton to look for work in "nearby" Sunderland, or condemn Jeremy Paxman for simply doing his job, less the legacy of the Smith appearance "applied equally to all interviewees, could be to spare vast audiences the bother of political engagement".