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The Irish causing Cameron a major headache – the odds are 25/1 on

October 2nd, 2009 Posted in EU Politics by

irish-yes-postersFollowing the last minute surge in the No vote last time round, the pro-Europeans in Ireland are wisely taking nothing for granted as polling takes place today in the “re-match”. But I’m willing to stick my neck out and say that the Yes side will prevail, and with some considerable room to spare (I’m guessing a majority of about 10%). The bookmakers agree.

That’s a major headache for the Tory leader as his conference gets under way in Manchester this weekend. If the Conservatives do win the election next May, they will probably take office in a world in which the Lisbon treaty has been ratified. Some Eurosceptics are holding out the hope that the Czechs might drag out the issue  until next Summer, thereby providing a narrow window for a British referendum. But that’s fantasy politics.

David Cameron will have a lot of serious stuff in his inbox on May 7th. To invest enormous amounts of political capital in attempting to undo a done deal would be a pretty inauspicious start to his premiership. Hardcore Eurobashers would love it, of course, but it’s doubtful whether the markets would see a Tory programme consisting of a year-long fight over the already ratified treaty and the repeal of the fox-hunting ban as evidence of a government tackling the serious problems facing Britain.

So, Cameron will probably return to his strategy of “not letting matters rest”. But what on Earth this means is anyone’s guess. Unless he can get the different factions in his party to all believe that it means what they want it to mean, he is in for some internal strife.

The Conservative party is no longer divided on Europe in the way that it used to be. The pro-European faction has been decimated over the past decade. But there is a new split between soft and hard opponents of European integration. That could end up being just as bloody.

It’s a shame the LibDems dithered and dallied so much over a commitment to a referendum. Nick Clegg’s ability to make hay over this is severely curtailed.

2 Responses to “The Irish causing Cameron a major headache – the odds are 25/1 on”

  1. Pip Says:

    For a run-down of potential contenders for the EU Presidency see

  2. Cameron’s tail is firmly between his legs on the Lisbon treaty « Liberal Burblings Says:

    […] With the Irish set to vote “yes”, Mr Cameron has his tail between his legs on this one, as Mark Littlewood on Liberal Vision says. […]