Friday, January 30, 2009
Will Cameron Go Hard Euroscpetic on the EU Workers' Issue?
But I'm also interested in the EU aspect of the dispute. EU workers are here because EU law says they can be. They are competing for diminishing jobs as the recession bites ever deeper. Labour is officially in favour of being in the EU but the Tories are not; well not so much anyway. They are now offered a rare opportunity to exploit a weakened flank of the government by going in with a hard and critical Euroscpetic line. But if they do that, they will open up traditional lines of division and will they not risk unravelling one of Cameron's latest successes: bringing a big beast back in from the cold?
Ken Clarke has promised to accept the party's mildly critical line on the EU as the price he's paying for being back in the front line he loves and I daresay has desperately misssed. But Ken, which is why I can't dislike the man, is wonderfully honest for a politician. Should he be asked to opine on EU workers, I reckon he'd support and justify the situation which is making the strikers so angry. Then he might have to face resignation if Cameron has hoisted up a sceptical banner. Should Cameron not exploit the issue, then he in turn will open up a flank to UKIP and the BNP, already seen campaigining in the refinery disputes. Should be interesting to wait and see.
As for the European issue. Clarke knows the score. I still remember how he held the last Major Govt to ransom. Things have changed now, both in the party and Europe generally. Only the most stubborn still hanker after entry into the Euro. His attitude to the EU is one of the few things that unites (virtually) the whole party behind Dave.