There’s a really interesting quote buried away in Mark Mardell’s column on the BBC News website – read it here. Mardell asked Tony Blair whether an EU tax was a way out of nasty negotiations on the budget every few years. Blair’s reply was:
“We’ve never been in favour of Europe taxes. But you’ve got to raise the money and the question is: ‘What is the best way of raising the money?’ But if you’ll forgive me I’ve got enough my plate without arguing for Europe taxes, right at the moment.”
Now, that might not sound too major, but it is very far from the categoric rejection that we would otherwise expect from the UK government. You might say that this is just Blair being tired after the negotiations, or maybe it is Blair knowing he will not be Prime Minister the next time all of this has to be negotiated. But with Barroso and also even Merkel not seemingly opposed to the idea – see this from EUObserver – there are some small grounds for optimism.