Could he open up some of the old wounds?
I wonder whether all the focus on the prospect of “President Blair” and the continued attacks by Labour on the Tory EU partners is actually overshadowing what could be the biggest UK-EU political development of them all – the rhetoric which is coming from David Cameron?
This was looked at by the BBC’s Nick Robinson who today has also written a piece about it.
Robinson writes: “..The new Conservative approach to Europe will not be to the liking of those Eurosceptics who believe that only a full-blooded battle with the EU will deliver change. .David Cameron spoke this week of a policy based on “realism not isolationism”. His allies shudder at the memory of John Major’s beef war with Europe. They remember it producing not victory, but messy face-saving compromises.
Their aim, one shadow cabinet minister tells me, is to avoid idle threats “to bring the whole temple crashing down”. Instead, the Tories are working on a list of changes they want to see and a list of changes others want which they can block if a Cameron government doesn’t get its way.
Those who are demanding a referendum to strengthen the government’s hand or to ensure that they do not “sell out” to Europe look set to be disappointed too…
David Cameron’s “cast-iron guarantee” to Sun readers of a Euro referendum expires, I’m told, once there is no further chance of stopping the Lisbon Treaty. In its place comes a different cast-iron guarantee of a new law to force any future government to put any future EU treaty to a popular vote.”
Clearly before the election the Tories will maintain the discipline on policy that we saw at the Manchester conference which took place just after the Irish referendum. But will that continue after, as seems very likely, they win the election and then have to start dealing with Brussels?