No wonder UKIP is doing well, the three main parties are in bigger crises than many people realise.
If you define leadership by who’s got the authority,who’s making the running, then the Tories are not being led by David Cameron but by a bunch of anti EU fanatics.
The problems of the Lib Dems are well known. They are paying a heavy price for being in Coalition with few people giving them credit for restraining the worst excesses of the Conservatives.
But Labour’s difficulties get less publicity. I was at a conference of one of the party’s main think tanks last weekend. Gloom and pessimism were all around. There was discontent with Ed Miliband and a recognition that their performance in the county elections had not provided the springboard for government. Commenting on the Labour leadership spin put on the results pollster Peter Kellner told the Progress gathering “If a 29% share of the poll is called a success, I’d like to see what failure looks like.”
Although I wasn’t around (just) British politics has the appearance of the 1930s with weak leaders, a disillusioned electorate and a few people with dangerous ideas about how to sort it out.
I am not for a moment equating those that want to get out of the EU with the fascists of the thirties. Wanting Britain to sever its ties with the EU is a perfectly legitimate political position. However it would be a dangerous gamble with our economic prosperity.
What is more worrying is the complete obsession Tory eurosceptics have about the subject. Warned by Cameron not to bang on about Europe, they do nothing else. They care not a jot for the damage they do to the credibility of the Prime Minister.
Just look at the events of this week. While Cameron was in America negotiating a EUROPEAN trade deal, he was forced to offer concession after concession to the Euro clowns back home. What good did it do him publishing a draft Euro referendum bill? None, and we end the week with 116 Tories regretting its absence from the Queen’s Speech and the prospects of a Tory backbencher introducing the bill through the Private Members’ Ballot.
When will Cameron learn there is no appeasing these people. They will take every concession and up their demands. The Tory MPs who are making the running on this issue aren’t interested in renegotiating terms, they’re not really interested in a referendum. They want us out of the EU.
Why don’t pro European Tories speak up? I had an interesting conversation with a senior pro EU Minister in the Commons this week. The gist of his answer was that that pro European Tories value party unity. If they were to confront the Euro sceptics, it really would be civil war in the Conservative Party.
I’m afraid that smacks of appeasement.
What everyone needs to remember is the finding of IPSOS/MORI, one of our leading pollsters on this matter. Unprompted, British people, when asked what their top priorities are, reply health, jobs, immigration and education. Europe is not in the top ten.
The out of the EU mob are trying to whip up a frenzy, so that we all come to believe that leaving the EU will solve all our problems. It wouldn’t and some of us are going to stand up against them with as much vigour as they display. Viva Europa!