I think the Conservative high-command will soon have to wake up and smell the coffee. A poll commissioned by Channel 4 News from ConservativeHome has found 70% of Tory members would vote “Out” in an In/Out referendum on Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union.
This is not new information – most commentators would have reached for the 70% figure if not higher. But it is interesting how polls on an EU referendum are now being seriously reported on by the broadcast media and by an outlet – Channel 4 News – not exactly renowned for being on the Right of the debate. It is also a timely reminder that the Conservative leadership, especially after the decision by Cameron to jump into bed with Clegg, is way out of touch with its base. Unless something is said by David Cameron along the lines of “You know what? You’re right. I am off to Brussels to negotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU tomorrow”, then we can expect a haemorrhage of Tory supporters to UKIP in the European Elections in 2014. If that happens, then UKIP will overtake the Conservatives and come first in the poll. By then it may be too late for the Conservative Party to save their credibility on the subject as Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon reports here.
Polls also show the general public split 50:50 on the In/Out question. It is a British political fault line which has to be tackled by our political servants at some point and that time is fast approaching. You have to be over 55 years of age to have been given the opportunity to vote on our membership of the EU or the EEC as it was cunningly called in those days. To be denied a referendum despite 1975 being a generation ago is wholly unacceptable.
The EU is a political organisation and has a highly undemocratic Commission which makes 70% of our laws, stripping away the ability to run our own affairs. The technocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg (where the EU Parliament decamps to every month to appease the French) would rather the birthplace of democracy – Greece – go to hell in a handcart than admit the European Single Currency was a mistake with no economic grounding. I don’t want to be part of this “club” and would rather look out to the world to do business than primarily looking into the slowest growing economic bloc (the European Economic Area) in the world. At present our trade outside of the EU is heavily restricted by Brussels rules – once we had extracted ourselves from her clutches we could leverage our language (the world’s business language of choice), our historical links with the Sub-Continent and represent ourselves in the World Trade Organisation rather than be hidden under the banner of the EU.
That’s a Britain I would be proud to be part of: an independent country doing business across the world in the world’s language.