Here is, roughly speaking, a conversation one has had with them on numerous occasions. They tell one that life has become unbearable under the Blair-Brown government, which they oh so amusingly describe as Liebour, on the grounds that no Conservative politician has ever told lies. They then abuse one for wanting Brown to continue instead of going forward into the sunny uplands of Cameroonism.
One then points out that history did not start in 1997, that with the EU making 8o per cent of the legislation and Parliament either knowing nothing about it or not being allowed to throw it out, there will be precious little difference, whoever inhabits Number 10 after the next election. And, while we are on the subject, what about that cast-iron guarantee that there will be a referendum on the
They then variously get into a tangle trying to explain that a.) the Boy-King did not really promise a referendum, b.) there is no point in it and, anyway, it is all Brown's fault and c.) the Boy-King will mysteriously restore powers to the Westminster Parliament. Or they accuse you of being a nasty spoiler, a one-trick pony and inform you that the electorate does not care about "Europe". (If there is one thing we know about the electorate it is that the Conservatives do not know what it cares about. Three handsome Labour victories and pathetic showings in by-elections and opinion polls tell us that.)
One then explains to them why saying "Europe" is a red herring and how all the subjects that the electorate does care about tend to be part of the European question. So what is the Boy-King and others going to do about it?
Then comes the clincher: let us forget about the past, they say, and look to the future. Stop wallowing in past treaties and agreements - look towards those sunny uplands.
Well, now, in the first place, those who do not know where they have come from are not likely to know where they are going. In other words, the future is hard to work out if we do not know the past. Secondly, and most importantly, the future depends on the past in a more direct fashion. Those treaties that they so cavalierly dismiss will hamstring any attempt (supposing it will be made) to restore powers to Westminster because in order to do so, the treaties have to be renegotiated from beginning to end. If the Conservatives are determined to forget the past then they are refusing to change anything about the situation. To do nothing about what has been agreed alread but to concentrate on the few, very few things that might be salvaged is not precisely a recipe for successful government.