Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here we go again (and again)

One would like to think that the myth of Conservative euroscepticism was killed some time ago but it appears to be a latter-day hydra. For every head that is cut off nine more appear in the shape of bloggers, commentators and activists who assure us, the rest of the world, that the party has become, if anything, more eurosceptic. So why cannot we see it? Well, Cameron and Co will not listen to them. Really? Why is that? All the fault of the Lib-Dims. He has to be nice to the Cleggeron Coalition partners. That begs a question or two, such as why should the Boy-King go for a coalition with the electorally unsuccessful Lib-Dims instead of forming an all-Conservative and, if we are to believe the bleaters, eurosceptic minority government.

Iain Martin, Deputy Editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe, has written before about the "strange death" of Conservative euroscepticism, to which this blog replied by pointing out that in order to die one has to be born first.

He is at it again and so are the excitable ToryBoys. His clog blog posting today is all about the Tory dog that didn't bark over Europe. Well, if you have a cardboard cut out dog it will not bark not if it were ever so.

To be fair to Mr Martin he has understood the Tory leadership and, indeed, the party.
Euroscepticism, a strand of thinking that once divided the Tory party and which it was predicted would cause David Cameron trouble in government, has all but disappeared from view. In Birmingham, at their annual gathering, it was barely mentioned. A couple of weeks ago, at the start of the party conference season, I wrote a column for the paper on the “Strange Death of Tory Euroscepticism”.

Ask senior Conservatives about all this and they point to the coalition with the Liberal Democrats–enthusiasts for integration. It necessitates compromise.

But that is talk designed to make Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg feel good. Mr. Cameron had decided long before he failed to win an overall majority at the general election that he was not going to die in a ditch over Europe. He prepared accordingly, removing his commitment to a referendum on the Lisbon treaty on the grounds that it was too late and would look ridiculous.

Mr. Cameron also put in a lot of effort into wooing Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy ahead of the election, reassuring them that he would be a good member of the European leaders’ club. This work has continued since he took office.

He is aided by having William Hague at the Foreign Office. One of the most enduring myths of public life in Britain is that of Hague as Euroskeptic. He was once so minded, when he lost the 2001 election heavily pledging to “Save the Pound”. Since then he has kept the reputation while moving steadily onto mainstream establishment territory. As a fellow Conservative puts it: “William has a couple of years ahead of him doing an agreeable job, and then a lifetime of book signings and profitable speech-making afterwards. He’s not going to do anything confrontational that puts all that at risk.”
Mr Martin thinks that Mr Cameron (he clearly rates Mr Hague about as highly as this blog does, though the chances of Mr Hague having an agreeable couple of years are slim) wants to concentrate on reducing the deficit and does not want to be distracted by arguments about "Europe". If the Boy-King really believes that he can separate the two he is stupider even than I have always believed.

1 comment:

  1. What you mean the "myth" of Conservative party opposition to the E.U.

    There is me - and my M.P. and ...... errrr, I will get back to you.