Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to veto Germany's demand for a new European fiscal union will define his premiership.
More than that, Cameron has raised a banner for patriots everywhere fighting to retain their national independence.
With his no vote on fiscal union, Cameron declared to the EU: "British surrenders of sovereignty come to an end here. And Britain will deny Brussels any oversight authority of any national budgets or any right to sanction EU members."
The euro-skeptic right is understandably ecstatic.
"He Put Britain First," thundered the Daily Mail. "There is now a wonderful opportunity for Britain gradually to loosen itself from the shackles of a statist, over-regulated, anti-democratic, corrupt EU."
The Sun featured Cameron as Winston Churchill, flashing a wartime V-for-Victory sign over the banner headline: "Up Eurs -- Bulldog PM Sticks up for Britain."
The British left, however, almost took to bed.
"Cameron Cuts U.K. Adrift," wailed the Guardian. "The EU Leaves Britain," moaned The Independent.
Coalition partner Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats went weak in the knees, claiming the prime minister had left Britain "isolated and marginalized ... hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic."
Yet one imagines that Britain will somehow survive.
And while he may have been unaware of the firestorm that would follow his decision, Cameron has exposed the backroom game that is going on in Europe. The Germans have seized on the crisis caused by the fiscal promiscuity of Club Med -- Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal -- to effect a giant leap forward into European fiscal and political union.
Berlin is basically offering the bankrupts a bribe, saying:
"All right, we will bail you out. But, in return, all 17 members of the eurozone shall accept revisions to the EU treaty under which they submit their budgets to Brussels. And if their deficits and/or debts exceed permissible limits, those nations will be sanctioned and fined.
The Germans are exploiting the crisis to impose their model on the eurozone today and all of Europe tomorrow.
Well, some may ask, since Germany is the most successful economy in Europe, why not impose that model?
Answer: For a nation to submit its budget for review by a higher authority, and accept the right of such an authority to alter that budget or punish that nation, is to cease in a fundamental way to be free.
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