“I’m not coming to bang the table,” said George Osborne, addressing what promised to be a bruising first encounter in Brussels between the new chancellor and his European colleagues. “That’s not how I want to do business.”It's the opposite of the approach that Daniel Hannan and I had hoped for.
The relief round the table was palpable. For weeks diplomats have been braced for the likely election of a Conservative government in Britain, with a bust-up about hedge fund regulation expected then swiftly to top the agenda.
Under Britain’s “new politics”, it seems that the Conservatives are not just being nice to their new Liberal Democrat partners in government but constructive also in their approach to the European Union.
The Con-Lib coalition agreement has given the Tory leadership an excuse to ditch surplus Eurosceptic baggage, with Mr Cameron quietly dropping his plan to seek the repatriation of various powers from Brussels.
Mr Clegg wants input from the public on "which laws [we] think should go" as they "tear through the statute book".
In addition to the obvious candidates (Race Relations Act, Sex Discrimination Act, Disability Discrimination Act, Equality Act, Racial and Religious Hatred Act, Human Rights Act), I suggest one more: the European Communities Act 1972.