Ken Clarke has told the Conservative Party conference that he will introduce a nightclub-style "one in, one out" policy on new rules on business, vowing that a Tory government would introduce no new regulation without getting rid of an old law.
"We will introduce a system of regulatory budgets across government, that means no new red tape will be introduced without a compensating cut in the costs and burden somewhere else," he says, promising to serve as a "bouncer" to prevent red tape from reaching the statute book.
Now, this may be the man who had not read the Maastricht treaty, but he is no fool. He cannot, just cannot be unaware of the torrent of law coming onto the statue book from the EU – much of it in the form of EU Regulations, which have "direct effect" coming nowhere near parliament.
If he not so stupid as to realise that there is nothing he or a Tory government can do about this EU law – without, of course, pulling out - then he obviously must think we are so stupid that we do not realise he is talking utter tosh. The idea of "one in, one out" is utterly preposterous.
But he is also suggesting that the public would also be able to nominate unpopular laws for parliament to debate. And if they are EU laws? What then? When are the Conservatives going to stop rushing out these meaningless gimicks, treating us like idiots, and get down to some serious business?