Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Well, there's a surprise

Earlier today, Nick Clegg met Liberal counterparts from other EU countries to discuss what he described as an "ambitious agenda" for economic reform in the EU which would have competitiveness at its heart … rather similar to the Merkozy rhetoric.

But somebody else was listening. "While the surrounding rhetoric was pro-EU in tone", says europlastic mastermind George Eustice, "a willingness to accept reform is an encouraging sign and we Conservatives should give him the benefit of the doubt".

Meanwhile, that self-same Nick Clegg has called for the intergovernmental treaty to be "folded into" existing EU treaties. He does not want permanent, parallel treaties "working separately from each other".

So the game plays out. The Lib-dims remain uncompromisingly pro-EU, while the Tory europlastic agenda is being used to keep them on board. There are two possibilities here … either they are trying to keep things together to avoid an early dissolution of parliament, or they want to keep the coalition intact for the 2015 election – or both.

Either way though, there is no difference in principle between the Tory and Lib-dem agenda on "Europe". A "constructive part in real reform" is the game. Euroscepticism, as in getting out of the EU, is most certain not part of that agenda – never has and never will be. And the country drifts away.