Tuesday 23 June 2009

Dave's dodgy Euro-allies

I'm pleased that John Bercow was elected Speaker, though the mutterings from the Tory backwoodsmen about deposing him suggest that Cameron's efforts to modernise his party have not permeated very far into the party's psyche.

And that wasn't the only indicator. For yesterday was also the day that the Tories unveiled their 'odds and sods' European party. Instead of joining mainstream conservative opinion in the EPP - where Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy sit their parties - David Cameron has proceeded with his mad collection of Latvian Nazi enthusiasts, Polish gaybashers and Czech doubters of climate change.

I agree with Alastair Campbell that this event has the more long-term significance. The BBC extraordinarily sought to portray this motley crew as being on the centre right on politics. They ignored the eccentricity and extremism of his new allies, surely something that would have merited attention in other circumstances and pretended that this madcap group will actually have any influence in the European parliament.

Given that Libertas, the party that sought to make Euro-scepticism a European force suffered a spectacular failure in the European elections and has collapsed into farce, and that Ireland is now set to accept Lisbon by a 2-1 majority, the spectacular stupidity of the Tories' stance will become the more pronounced.

Europe is going to become more integrated whatever David Cameron says. The issue is how it does so and in what areas. Throwing a hissy fit against the EPP in order to join forces with the Latvian Waffen SS commemoration committee is hardly the best way to exercise that leverage should Cameron occupy No 10 in the future.

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