Monday, October 05, 2009

Double standards

According to The Guardian, Kenneth Clarke today suggested that he would campaign for a "yes" vote if the Tories were to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty (not that they will).

The shadow business secretary said that although he accepted that the Conservative party had a "clear and settled policy" on the Lisbon treaty, he had not changed his "pro-European" views. He also hinted that he would be opposed to any proposal for a separate referendum on Britain's relationship with the EU.

So ... although the Tory line on Lisbon is "clear and settled policy", a Tory shadow minister can contradict it in public. And that's alright! Little Dave doesn't mind one bit.

Meanwhile, William "here is the paper" Hague - in his speech to conference (pictured) – said the Tories were "right" to call for a referendum on the treaty and right to "stick with" this commitment. He said the "explicit consent" of the British people was needed for such a major change in the UK's relationship with Europe. (NB: we do not have a "relationship with Europe". We are part of the European Union.)

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling says there was "a very strong sense ... that we simply cannot accept what is on the table" with the Lisbon Treaty. But he urged the party not to become "obsessed" with Europe in the run-up to a general election "when the rest of the country want to be debating health and education and how we are going to balance the books".

No chaps! Winning is everything, and then we can quietly forget about "Europe" as it will be a done deal. We can wring our hands, agree how terrible it all is and go on pretending that nothing has changed.