X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Blogs

Are the Tories united on Europe? Pull the other one.

15 February 2013

2:17 PM

15 February 2013

2:17 PM

Party unity is one of those things you can measure by the frequency with which the idea is mentioned. The more often it is talked about, the less it exists. When a political party is actually united there’s no need to mention party unity.

As Isabel notes, Sir John Major has long, wearying, experience of this. The speech he gave yesterday is full of sound advice. Like many other leading politicians, Sir John seems more impressive – and commands more respect – as the years roll on and the memory of his own time in office fades.

At Conservative Home Harry Phibbs responds to Major’s speech with a piece that notes, in its headline, this “strange outbreak of Tory unity on Europe”. Closer examination reveals, however, that this supposed unity is a Heath Robinson contraption constructed from gossamer. The Tories have agreed that there should be a referendum (at some point!) on Britain’s continued membership of the EU. And that’s it. There’s little agreement on anything else. The best that can be said is that the party leadership has bought itself some time.

[Alt-Text]


Mr Phibbs, like many other Tories, is quite clear on this. He will be voting to leave the EU whereas Sir John and, most probably, David Cameron will be voting to retain Britain’s membership. Or, as Mr Phibbs puts it:

[I]f staying members of the EU would mean staying in the CAP and the CFP then it’s lost my vote.

Well, if that’s one of the conditions that eurosceptics will make for any “renegotiation” of Britain’s membership then that renegotiation has no chance of succeeding. Or at least no chance of pacifying those Tories who want out. There will be no opt-out from the Common Agricultural or Common Fisheries policies. (At least, it is exceptionally hard to see how or why there would be.)

And, depending upon the polls you choose to cite, it may be that as many as 40% of Tory members already want Britain to leave. Most of the Tory leadership, including, again, the Prime Minister do not want Britain to leave.

If this is “unity” then lord alone knows what division would look like. Mr Cameron has not ended the Tory Euro Wars. He has merely delayed the final reckoning. But when it comes it will split his party and, assuming he is still leader, most probably end his political career.

 

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close