When David Cameron came clean about his preferred approach to a referendum Lisbon Treaty, namely not holding a referendum despite promises and assurances, he was able to claim Conservative hands had been tied by the treaty already being ratified by Gordon Brown’s Labour government and other EU member states.
But what will be Cameron’s excuse when the deeply unpopular plan for the Royal Navy and French Navy to share aircraft carriers and integrate operations is confirmed? After all, as EU Referendum reminds us, this is nothing more than the realisation of a long standing European military cooperation agreement signed by the Conservatives under John Major in 1996.
The 2010 gloss painted on this plan will be the pressing need to reduce public spending in this era of austerity. But only a fool would buy that line. Are we to believe Major and Co. knew some fourteen years ago that more than a decade of Labour government was forthcoming and the Treasury would be left empty and liable for billions of pounds in debt, requiring us to resort to such humiliating measures? Thanks to the reaction of some in the military and the mainstream media, Cameron would rather we didn’t notice this was a plan hatched by Tory wets in government that is about to be executed under this new group of Tory wets, in cahoots with the Eurofanatical Liberal Democrats.
This time Cameron can’t claim he has been painted into a corner by Labour. This idiocy was Tory in origin and design. And it won’t be a matter of this going ahead just because it’s too difficult to reverse, it will go ahead because this is what cast-iron Cameron and his band of ‘power not principle’ hangers-on want. Perhaps the vichy Tories will revert to their usual refrain… never again, until the next time.
You can be sure the only thing that will shift here is the line in the sand the Tories keep re-drawing every time they promise absolutely no more European integration, before doing the exact opposite. Maybe this is the reason why Tory MPs like Douglas Carswell struggle with issues such as these and miss the point entirely.