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Sunday, 11 January 2009

Should we talk about Europe?

The Telegraph reveals the new YouGov poll today showing 64% of us want our relationship with the EU renegotiated. Earlier polls have shown over 70% of us want a referendum on the Lisbon Constitution Treaty.

The 2005 election (and how distant Michael Howard's campaign seems now) led the Conservatives to learn not to talk about immigration, welfare reform or Europe, a lesson Cameron has applied effectively. But four years is an eternity in politics. Immigration and welfare reform are now respectable subjects of debate, and it is Labour who are increasingly being seen as the nasty party in their efforts to capture the readership of the Daily Mail. Only Europe remains out of bounds as a subject of open Conservative debate.

If I were Cameron, I'd be inclined to leave things as they are. So natural Conservatives like me are going to vote UKIP in June for the European elections? So what? This should not be a reason for Cameron to declare a harder line on Europe if this would mean losing anti-Labour votes.

The best line to take is the one emerging at the moment; we're all equivocal on Europe, but Labour are slavish and devoted Europeans. Vote for whoever you feel comfortable with, just so long as it's a vote against Labour.


BrianSJ said...

Good approach. So long as Daniel Hannan gets elected, the rest of the Conservative MEPs can go hang. They seem to be quite snouts in troughs. UKIP is not going to be a success as a party but winning votes is going to send the right message.

John Page said...

Iain Martin had an interesting piece about a possible undoctrinaire way forward for euroscepticism in yesterday's Telegraph - - I haven't got round to writing about it yet.

The Taxpayers' Alliance talk about it at

Anonymous said...

No need for party fallout.Make it an election pledge to hold a referendum with a short list of questions
1.Do you want out. you want less involvment,ie,an economic union,what we originally supposedly signed up for before being lied to by heath.
3.Carry on as now.
No damaging infighting and shows brown up for what he is,a liar for promising a referendum.