Guido still doesn’t know what the Tory policy is on ratifying the EU Treaty. They want a referendum now, that
at least is clear. Gordon is not going to “listen to the people”
is also clear.
So what therefore would a Tory government do in power in 2010, two years after the treaty could be ratified? That Tory poster promising a Conservative government would hold a referendum was, we were told, incorrectly interpreted. Well that was the line last week…
Hague however said yesterday
“If we don’t succeed in forcing a referendum in this House and if we fail to win in another place (the Lords) and if all EU member states implement the treaty and if an election is held later in this Parliament, which is a lot of ifs … then we would be in a situation where we had a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. This would not be acceptable to a Conservative government and we would not let matters rest there.”
Now this could be a popular position, standing up to European meddling is always popular in Britain. So what if the continent is isolated from Britain? It would not be the first time that Britain has stood alone against a continental threat, would it?
Apart from Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine, no Tories that people have ever heard of would have a problem with this stance. So why not state the policy unambiguously? The Brownies are hoping to open up Tory divisions on this issue. The way to avoid that working is to clearly and decisively state that a Tory government will not be bound by a treaty not approved by the people. Ken and Hezza can be thanked politely for their opinion, they would no doubt still try to piss on the Eurosceptic parade, but so what? Ambiguity gives the press a story, clarity will kill the story and Brown’s divide and conquer plan will come to nought. Given that Cameron was elected to the leadership on a rock-solid Eurosceptic platform he can hardly be said to have given in to his Eurosceptic right-wing. He is a Eurosceptic right-winger…