Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cameron must be relieved that Lisbon will pass

Czech President and Lisbon treaty holdout Vaclav Klaus has more or less run up the white flag, pretty much guaranteeing that the treaty will come into force before the next UK election.

David Cameron, who opposes the treaty and had promised a referendum should it be unratified by the time he comes to power – a referendum that he would certainly have won - must be delighted.


Imagine you’re him. You know from your party’s experience (especially that of your shadow foreign secretary, William Hague) that while your Euroscepticism may technically have majority support in opinion polls, most people don’t regard the EU as a big issue and in fact have long found the Tories’ obsession with Europe off-putting. You’ve spent years trying to focus the party on other issues. Even now, one of your weaker PR points is your party’s position in Europe.

Then imagine you come to power next May and find yourself manifesto-bound to spend your first couple of months focusing very publicly not on the deficit, not on unemployment, not on reform of public services and not on cleaning up Parliament but on the pros and cons of the Lisbon treaty.

Much better to be able to say, regretfully, that the treaty is now a fait accompli and that you’ll certainly want to look at the matter in some vague way at some vague point in the future.

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