It is fair to add one more link and that is to George Eustice's self-serving column on ConHome in which he calls on all "Conservative eurosceptics" to make one last effort "to break the power of centralized European institutions". Then again, one cannot take anyone who writes this sort of bilge seriously:
We now have a genuinely eurosceptic Prime Minister who is better placed to deliver than any of his predecessors, including Thatcher. He means business, can be ruthless when necessary but enjoys good relations with other EU leaders and does it all with a smile. The role of the Conservative Party should be to urge him forward to the challenge and, most of all, help him devise that plan for a radical overhaul of the EU.I thought we have finally got over the mantra of Cameron being a real eurosceptic even if his euroscepticism is so well hidden that nobody, not even Iain Martin can see it any more. To be fair, even those commenting on the piece and, therefore, loyal followers of ConHome, have found that hilarious.
The Oracle? Well, naturally, the Oracle is self-explanatory. It is, indeed, the author of EUReferendum and the onlie begetter of the latest ISM, on which we disagree as I have a fervid hatred of all ISMs.
Anyway, what of this curious campaign we asked each other. Let me point out immediately that we both dismissed the notion of it being true that the Conservative Party is the real home of genuine euroscepticism. Experience, both old and new, tells us otherwise. Far otherwise.
Could it be, I suggested tentatively, that they have realized the errors they made in the past, strategically speaking, by dismissing the eurosceptic vote as being of no importance (despite Mr Hannan's valiant and hopeless efforts to bring them all into the Conservative fold) and are laying out a long-term campaign here for the next General Election, whenever that might be. Hmm, said the Oracle, that would presuppose that there is an intelligence at work somewhere in the depths of the Conservative Party. I admitted that to be a difficult proposition to accept but pointed out that Steve Hilton, whose name does keep cropping up in these articles, is of Hungarian origin. That's my best argument - take it or leave it.
So, let us suppose that somewhere in the depths of the Conservative Party there is some intelligence that is thinking ahead of the game. It might appear to that intelligence (hereinafter known as CPI, Conservative Party Intelligence) that the Coalition is even less stable than it seems to those of us who have been watching the shenanigans that would enshrine in law their position as government. In other words, however much Clegg, Huhne, Cable et al might like to cling on to their positions in the government, the party might stop supporting them completely or the next falling out between the Boy-King and his Deputy will be bigger and more fatal than the last one.
If that happens the parties will have to go to the country and the Cameroonie strategy of ditching right-wing and eurosceptic voters in order to get the Lib-Dim ones cannot be said to have been a success. Should the Lib-Dims implode most of the votes will go to Labour or the Greens, not the Conservatives. Therefore, it may be a good idea to turn to those who have been discarded in the past and who have been reluctant to accept the leader's contempt though, to be fair, they have not been terribly anxious to vote for UKIP either.
We can, perhaps, assume that the CPI has understood that haphazard reaction to whatever comes up in the opinion polls or focus groups may not be the right way of going about things if a real election victory is wanted, rather than a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Furthermore, it is entirely possibly that the CPI has also grasped that attacking UKIP is counter-productive (we have yet to find out whether it has grasped that) and a general build-up of the Conservative Party as the one to deal with the EU without mentioning the alternative might work better.
Could there be some other plans laid by the CPI? What of the Boy-King and his coterie (though if we postulate that Mr Hilton is one of the begetters if not the onlie one of the CPI then we must assume that some of the coterie is behind this). All the same, can one seriously present the Boy-King as the true eurosceptic after his one year as Prime Minister anywhere except the hysterical minds of the Independent? As we saw above, George Eustice tries that trick but it is not one that will get much applause or, indeed, anything except derisory laughter.
James Forsyth of the Spectator is pushing Hague's credentials as a eurosceptic, credentials that have long ago disappeared in his dismal performance as Foreign Secretary. There was a time when I thought it would be a good idea to give Hague another chance as his leadership was all such a ghastly mistake. No longer. As soon as Hague became Shadow Foreign Secretary I predicted that he would be a disaster and he has been both in Opposition and in Government.
Nobody seems to be mentioning David Davies, the man who was Government Whip when the Treaty of Maastricht was pushed through the Commons and Minister for Europe when the Treaty of Amsterdam was negotiated. He is now a man whose bright future is all in the past. Georgie-Porgie Osborne? I'd like to see the arguments in favour of his euroscepticism or courage in the face of the colleagues in Brussels. So far they have not appeared but, surely, it is only a matter of time.
That leaves Liam Fox, whose record as Secretary of State for Defence has been less than stellar (the Oracle puts it a little more strongly, saying that the man has been a f***ing disaster) and whose eurosceptic credentials are taken a little too much on trust. He is, as we know, seriously ambitious and has positioned himself more or less on the right of the party. Will he now emerge as the Leader-In-Waiting for when the party becomes its true eurosceptic self and will the CPI dangle that possibility in front of the bemused eyes of those formerly known as Tory faithfuls and other eurosceptics? Watch this space.