Sunday, June 17, 2007

Portillo: 'Wild-eyed Eurosceptics may torpedo the Tories again'

Michael Portillo writes that the Euro and the EU constitution were buried as "live issues" by Blair, Brown and "events". That meant that the Tory eurosceptic controversy died down for a year or two. The new Merkel-promoted EU constitution debate threatens to start those old fires again. However, Portillo reckons that Brown will stop Blair from getting too Euro-enthusiastic at the forthcoming summit, and subsequently dampen down any rampant Europhilia within the Constitution to which the UK commits.

Unlike the prime minister, the chancellor has his mind on the next election. He does not wish to upset the many voters who are indifferent to, or suspicious of, Europe. He will readjust our foreign policy not by resorting to Blair’s one-time enthusiasm for America and Europe but by being distinctly restrained about both. It sounds like an excellent stance.

Portillo sees more danger for Cameron in the forthcoming summitry:

If Brown views this summit with anxiety, then David Cameron awaits the outcome with dread. He fears a treaty change so fundamental that he will be obliged to demand that referendum. Such a call would unleash the feral pack within his party.

Effectively, the whole Merkel/constitution thing could unleash the Euro-obsessives in the Tory party:

Voters are not obsessive. Obsession is a condition that affects politicians only. Obsession creates a gulf between politicians and their public because it reveals them to be other-worldly. Cameron needs to keep his obsessives under wraps.

...If the summit forces Cameron to engage Brown fiercely on the European issue, the Tory Eurosceptics will have a field day. We shall go back to the 1990s when Bill Cash and John Redwood filled television screens. It would not take many such appearances for all Cameron’s patient modernising work over the past two years to be undone.


  1. I do wish Michael would stop nicking stuff off my blog! :)

  2. Good point! I read your original.

  3. You can already vote about the EU Constitution; vote online at