A Triumph for David Cameron
That’s the blog post I would like to write – not because I am a cheerleader for the Prime Minister but because it would be a challenge. But, despite Dan Hodges’ best effort to explain why Ed Miliband has blown his chance (Times, pay wall), it doesn’t seem possible to explain how this week’s EU referendum positioning has been good for Cameron.
Benedict Brogan wrote the other day that, although the Conservative Party had gone crazy over Europe, it was all the Prime Minister’s fault. Which is an interesting analysis, but the only example of what Cameron should have done differently was that he shouldn’t have hinted, just before the local elections, that he wanted a Tory Bill for an EU referendum in 2017 brought forward soon.
I am not convinced. The Tory party seems beyond reason. When Douglas Carswell appears to be the sensible wing of the Eurosceptic movement, you know something has gone wrong. (Carswell briefly suggested yesterday that Tory MPs should not vote for today’s Bill, but found himself in a minority among the Eurosceptics.)
That said, Cameron has conspicuously failed to turn his challenge into an opportunity. But you have to wonder if the greatest political leaders in recent history (Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair) would have been able to do a much better job. The party is so deeply divided between the inners and the outers that the compromise position – negotiate better terms and then decide – cannot hold, and the party has become close to unleadable.
Update: Mind you, if the Ipsos MORI poll putting Labour’s lead at three points is not an outlier, perhaps letting the Tory party bang on about Europe was Cameron’s judo plan all along.Tagged in: david cameron, eu, euroscepticism
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