At the top of the PM's priority list — a priority voiced by Michael Howard on the Today Programme earlier — is avoiding the collapse of the euro. The consequences of a collapse on Britain's economy are incalculable, but everyone knows they would be profound.
Second comes the protection of the City. A Euroland tax on financial transactions would damage the City and thus Britain (as well as the EU) — avoiding it is key.
Third is keeping the 17 from deciding over matters that are the jurisdiction of the 27.
Fourth is the liberalisation of the European market.
And only at a distant fifth is a repatriation of substantial powers from Brussels. I say substantial as the PM will still pursue some repatriation — as he should — but knows it will be far less than most Tory MPs will want.
Crucially, the PM seems to have adopted the idea floated here weeks ago of an ‘Open Europe’ protocol enshrining the rights of the 27 (over the 17) and pushing the liberalisation of the European market.
This is not just a sensible policy, it is also doable. Some MPs and even Cabinet members can be expected to complain. But while Cameron may have been rattled in PMQs yesterday, he now has a plan. And with that plan in hand, the PM needs — as a US general I worked with in Bosnia once put it — as much ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ as he can muster.