Cameron appointed Lord Hill as his Commissioner prospective, a pro-European Tory and a former special adviser to Kenneth Clarke. After the isolation, the Prime Minister may have viewed this appointment as an ameliorative measure. It cut no ice with the head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. Forgetting the limits of his constitutional power under the treaty, Schulz thundered that Hill would never become a Commissioner because he was a Eurosceptic Tory. Having only the power to vote down the entire set of Commissioners, Schulz soon sulked and backtracked muttering that gender balance was more important. Yet, for Britain, an important moment, reinforcing the Juncker moment. The visceral dislike and instant assumption of British Euroscepticism as an ideological taboo for EU positions means that negotiation for reform is unlikely to happen.
Now, Juncker is seeding the press with further comments on the British position and possibly preparing to render Lord Hill a non-entity. The choice of portfolio marks a clear sign of European perceptions in regard to the position of the UK in Europe. A minor portfolio suggests that Brexit is considered a positive option and there will be no compromise on a halfway house. A decent portfolio marks a negotiating concession. And if Britain doesn't leave, we are then sidelined as a walkover: this is known as the Miliband option and is the preferred future of the supine Liberal Democrats (the party without a backbone so they can U-turn as fast as possible).