Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Strange Death of Tory Euroscepticism

The Wall Street Journal has an article today that adds a little more to the view that Tory eurosceptism is nothing of the sort. I like to 'bang' on about this subject because out of all the main parties, the Tories are the most disingenuous on the issue of Europe and it needs chipping away at. Iain Martin writes:

When David Cameron was leader of the opposition it was the widely accepted wisdom that he would, if he became Britain's prime minister, have the most terrible difficulties with the European Union...[but] absolutely none of this has happened. Why?

Almost unnoticed, his MPs have voted for a list of measures that would a few years ago have triggered full-scale Tory war.

And we know what those are. The Tories (and Tory Bloggers) of course blame the coalition for this and by extension UKIP for 'stealing' Tory votes. But Iain Martin is having none of this:

But that is the myth 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.

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.

Indeed, Tory enthusiasm for Europe was there long before the election. Martin spots another myth:

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 [sic].

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."

The article concludes:

A subject on which Conservatives fought a civil war has faded into the background. If it is not the death of U.K. Tory Euroskepticism, it looks a lot like it.
Exactly, just because a party has a whacking great label on it saying eurosceptic doesn't necessarily make it so in the same way as saying a food has lower fat doesn't mean it's healthier. You have to look at the detail on the packet, and when you do, as Martin has, you'll find that the Tories are raving, rabid enthusiasts for the project. The facts speak for themselves.

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