Britain's David Cameron: on the outside looking in


David Cameron heads off to Brussels for the EU summit.



As the EU summit gets underway spare a thought for the leader of Europe's perpetual odd man out, Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron is marginalized by the facts: Britain is not part of the Euro. This gives him precious little influence in shaping a solution to the euro zone debt crisis, but whatever happens, if the euro breaks up Britain will pay as high a price as any euro zone member for failure.

The euro zone is Britain's biggest trading partner.  With British economic growth heading to negative, the prospect of euro zone collapse can only mean deep recession for the U.K.

In the midst of this crisis Cameron's backbenchers want him to use the occasion of the re-negotiation of the Lisbon Treaty - an accepted part of the Merkel Sarkozy plan to save the euro - as an excuse to re-patriate powers from Brussels and hold a referendum on whether Britain should even stay in the EU.

It's an impossible situation and Cameron is receiving gentle criticism today from the left - about his inability to break the British economy's dependence on the financial services industry - and surprising sympathy from one of his fiercest critics on the right who realizes that in doing what is necessary to save the euro and the world economy, Cameron may ultimately be devoured by his own party's far right wing.