The real difficulty arriving for Cameron is coalescing on the budget. He cannot say one thing to his fellow leaders in Europe: I hobnob with you but unless my parliamentarians swallow the biscuit, you can forget agreement of a budget. Still, it is a proud moment that the Mother of Parliaments rather than the Bundestag is forcing the pace in Europe for once.
Cameron is caught between a Europhile coalition partner, restive backbenchers and opportunistic Labour. Miliband has called for a freeze, co-operating with Mark Reckless and the neo-bastard wing of the Conservative Party. The Prime Minister's instinct for compromise has led him to be outflanked by Eurosceptic rivals and the Opposition. Voting paralysis on European developments is a real possibility.
If Cameron is boxed into a veto, this will give an impetus to set up separate institutions for the Eurozone outside of the EU. Integration will then take place outside of the current formal structures. The accepted given of British disengagement and withdrawal will come ever closer to reality. And faced with Janus administrations of pro and anti-Europeans, our influence will be weakened whatever governments do. Romano Prodi is correct: Britain will face grave difficulties if we opt to stay in the EU and attempt to maintain parity with an integrated core; we will be outvoted every time. This is not an option.
When the next election occurs, integration around a core single currency will leave us on the sidelines. The Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party will have severe difficulties explaining why they shoudl give up what little power they have left for the ability to squeak and be overruled. I think we can expect a further revolution in attitudes to Europe on the Left.