Tories spin right round on Lisbon….
Europe remains a constant thorn in the Conservatives side; in the Major years the factional fracas epitomised a government in decay. Now, it stands as a symbol of how little and how skin deep the changes the Conservatives have undergone actually are; while saying ‘compassionate conservatism’ and modern values are the Conservatives creed they are aligned in Europe with a rag-tag of right-wingers of questionable repute. Meanwhile, even mainstream conservative parties in Europe shun Cameron and his new Euro-crew.
Not that this goes far enough for alot of people; Conservative Home found that a majority of Conservative members obviously want to withdraw totally from the EU. This is the logic behind Cameron’s position of not rocking the boat if other countries have ratified; he is running scared of his own unreconstructed membership and core, the slavering Thatcherites that comprise of the new intake of potential Conservative MP’s who have found a faithful mouthpiece in Boris Johnson who, firing the starting gun of rebellion told The Times;
“I think the British people deserve a say on it. I think it would be right for such a debate to be held,” he said. The Lisbon treaty was ratified by parliament after Labour decided not to hold a referendum.
I agree with Johnson; the Irish have had their say and I think that once the arguments are played out in the public gallery the voices of Euroscepticism will lose the debate with those in favour of Europe not just as it is but fighting for as we want it to be. David Cameron is a fickle friend of basic democracy which demands a referendum as he has proved in another context by calling for Alex Salmond to be excluded from the planned leadership debates.
However, our maximilaist ‘in or out’ vote isn’t much better and was a tactically naive decision at the time and remains so; we want to hold a gun to peoples heads and say ‘accept Lisbon and Europe as it is or pull out’; the result of this would be a no-brainier and people would not be given the opportunity to keep in Britain in Europe but clearly state their preference to go beyond what Lisbon offers in terms of greater democracy with integration.