On February 19th 2016 we had the spectacle of Mr David Cameron negotiating the UK’s position in the European Community. After two days of wrangling with the other 27 leaders of the EU, they came up with a declaration, which was the culmination of Mr Cameron’s extensive tour of Europe as he tried to persuade the other leaders about the renegotiated terms for the UK.
Without going into the details, which have been picked over for more than a month now, I would like to comment on the spectacle that unfolded before our eyes. Being in the UK gave us a grandstand view with the media in a frenzy.
Large luxurious limousines glided sedately towards the entrance to the conference hall with the usual carpet in full view. Some leaders addressed a huge press corps, and others just went straight into the hall. The size of the media presence was mightily impressive.
Of course, I have no idea about the sincerity of any of the players in this drama as only God knows the heart of each one of us, and it was plain to understand that getting all 28 leaders to agree was not going to be easy. However, these leaders and all of their support staff became much sought after for their views about how negotiations were proceeding and what their particular country’s views on the UK’s demands were. It became a media circus reminding me of that song “There’s no business like show business”.
It was all so very carefully orchestrated, there was a sense of theatre, egos were out in force, celebrity status afforded all the players and it was the best show in town.
In spite of all of this posturing and positioning, it is God who will work out all of the details according to His purpose, not the politicians who always have to compromise on their beliefs and requirements to obtain agreements. But God never compromises!
Sir Winston Churchill once said that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” and in human terms that may well be correct. There may be many more such conferences when the strong, charismatic leader in Europe emerges, and then there will be an even greater sense of theatre. It will be a time when there will be no negotiations, just the use of raw power.
That time may not be that far away.