David Cameron’s Euro Luck?

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I think some Labourites were hoping that Europe was going to prove a secret weapon in the struggle against Cameron’s Conservatives.

Undoubtedly the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has made things awkward for the-one-they-call-Dave, but I still doubt that this is going to hurt him too much. After all, previous Euro setbacks have not inflicted serious wounds upon him.

In the Labourite dream, the Tory leader was supposed to undermine his moderate and pragmatic credentials by pandering to the most reactionary Eurosceptic elements in his party. Abandoning the EPP and forming an alliance with far-Right nationalists meant we could shout “Nazi” and “anti-Semite” at the Conservatives and their new friends.

Although the British public is unenthusiastic about the EU, Tory obsessing over the issue at the expense of voters’ more immediate concerns would lose them support. Hopefully the Conservatives would split over European policy as they did in the 1990s. Nobody likes voting for a party at ideological war with itself.

Even if all this failed to dent the Tory lead in the polls, at least it looked like Cameron would have to put up with Tony Blair becoming President of the European Council. How irritating it would be for a newly elected Tory Prime Minister to be overshadowed on the world stage by “an all singing, all dancing” former Labour premier.

But the secret weapon seems to be a dud. Less an explosive bang of Tory turmoil than a pathetic fart of misplaced Labour expectation.

  • Last week Poland’s Chief Rabbi clarified his views on Polish MEP Michal Kaminski by telling the Beeb that he does not think the bloke is a Jew-hating extremist. This doesn’t help David Miliband’s argument.
  • It now appears less likely that Blair will become truly presidential.
  • Thus far the Euro-hating headbangers are not in open rebellion. Dan Hannan MEP admits a referendum on Lisbon “might no longer be the most logical option”. The Sun is telling its readers that Cameron has not broken his referendum promise.

I can see something very much like the scenario predicted by Hopi taking place. The immediate situation should not be too hard for Cameron to manage: blame Gordon, make vague promises of renegotiating the terms of Britain’s membership at some point in the future, remind Tories that they should be focused on winning the general election.

Things may get tricky for the Tory leader again in the long-term but – as much as it pains me to say it – I think his Euro luck will hold for now.

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