Saturday, May 30, 2009

Empty promises

A Populus poll for The Times has the Tories on 30 percent for the euros with UKIP in second place on 19, relegating Labour to third place on 16. The Lib-Dems get 12 percent, the Greens poll 10 and the BNP are on 5 percent (eight percent in the North).

What is interesting about this is that Cameron's speech about needing a "massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power ... from the EU to Britain ..." seems to have made no difference to UKIP's fortunes. Nor indeed has his apparently unequivocal pledge to give us a referendum on the constitutional Lisbon treaty.

No doubt this is because the majority of people did not believe that Cameron meant what he said, doubt that was – it appears – entirely justified from comments in The Daily Telegraph today.

In that paper, Andrew Porter interviews Mr Elastoplast, asking him outright whether he will "finally promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, even if it has been ratified elsewhere?" And the reply is the stock Tory answer: we will "not let matters rest" says the Boy. "I think everybody understands this, if the treaty is ratified by everyone and the election isn't until 2010 and the Irish vote yes then obviously I won't be content with that."

Thus, as we suspected all along, the apparent promise to hold a referendum come what may was not a promise after all. Mr Cameron was playing word games and nothing at all has changed.

By coincidence though, William Hague is interviewed by The Spectator, where he tells us that: "Trust in politics is now at an unprecedented low point; the shameless and deliberate abrogation of a binding manifesto pledge [on the treaty referendum] is surely one of the reasons why."

Another reason, young William might venture, is the Conservatives playing word games on the referendum. Empty promises, it seems, are the politicians' stock in trade – and people are getting a tad sick of them.