Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A leopard doesn't change its spots

So the odious Mr Clarke is trying to tell us that he got it all wrong and the euro wasn't such a good idea after all. Not a bad wheeze as it gets him on the front page of The Telegraph, which can't do his leadership bid any harm at all.

And, pushing at an open door, the self-same Mr Clarke – he who strongly opposed a referendum – is now exhorting Brussels to forget about the EU constitution, which has only been shelved after "no" votes in French and Dutch referendums.

But demonstrating his somewhat tenuous grasp of the issues, having described the constitution as "effectively dead", he is saying that it is pointless trying to push for closer integration unless public opinion across Europe demanded it. This assumes that the push for closer integration ever stopped and that public opinion ever demanded it in the first place.

That is the evil of Mr Clarke. Should he ever become the leader of the Conservative Party, he will continue down the path taken by leaders before him, of avoiding talking about European issues. He will present the comforting myth that, because the constitution has been halted, the process of integration is in abeyance. When pressed, he will chunter on about "reforms" in the full knowledge that nothing very much will happen and integration will go marching on.

The problem is, as the City Comment suggests, "We should rejoice at a sinner that repenteth…".

There are enough stupid people out there to be taken in by this nonetheless transparent attempt by an old warhorse to get the sniff of gunpowder in his nostrils. They should remember the old aphorism that leopards don't change their spots.


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