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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

After all the hype, Cameron remains impaled on the fence on Europe

I am not sure about everybody else, but I was left massively deflated by Cameron's speech on Europe this morning. That is because, despite the hype, he said nothing new or immediate about the issue and gave the strong impression that he is trying to face several ways at once.

The Guardian sums it up well with an article that seeks to analyse who the Prime Minister was sending his message to. The list they come up includes Eurosceptics, hardliners demanding an immediate referendum, pro-Europeans, European leaders and Washington.

What is more they believe that he wanted all of these groups to take away something positive from the speech. I wish the Prime Minister luck in disengaging himself from that very prickly fence.

In many ways Cameron is fortunate in having such an ineffectiive opposition. The real Euro-enthusiast is his deputy Prime Minister and there is no doubt in my mind that Nick Clegg is using that position to keep Euro-scepticism under control within the Government and to limit David Cameron's room for manoeuvre.

The verbal gymnastics the Prime Minister engaged in this morning were determined by the constraints put on him by the Liberal Democrats.

Other opposition comes from the barely-credible Nigel Farage and a Labour leader who appears to be floundering in search of an adequate response.

In short, the Tories have sought to set out a position for their next General Election manifesto that will not be worth the paper it is written on.

What is worse from their point of view is that having opened Pandora's box, David Cameron will now have to spend the next five years trying to prevent his Euro-sceptics delivering a long-anticipated Tory shipwreck.
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