The answer to that is no. Chris Grayling is more likely to be reshuffled to Minister for Equality.
The Prime Minister has always vigorously argued that
Britain is better off in Europe, at the
negotiating table than outside of the Union.
Indeed Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg would share that view - so on this one, Dave agrees with Nick, Ed agrees
with Nick, Nick and Ed agree with Dave and Dave agrees with Ed. In other words,
they all agree with each other, and they ALL disagree with a large chunk of the
Reputable polls have consistently shown the public's scepticism towards the EU and a number of polls reveal that half of Tory MP's think we'd be better off out of the EU (Youguv in Oct 2011 for example) - and only 38% trust David Cameron "a lot" or a little (10% & 28% respectively) to look after Britain's interests in Europe, and 54% don't trust him at all in this regard - according to another Youguv poll for the Sunday Times in November 2012.
But there was some good news for Mr Cameron. When asked who people most to look after
interests in Europe, 25% chose him compared
with 18% trust in Mr Miliband. All party leaders should be concerned however
that 40% distrusted all of them.
Europe then has caused particular headaches for the Prime Minister, with the now infamous rebellion of his own backbenchers and the public's vocalisation of frustrations through the ballot box for action on
Europe. And the much anticipated, much put off speech is
only going to open up this Pandora's box further... Aspirin on standby Prime Minister!
David Cameron then will talk of offering the public "a real choice" on
relationship with the EU - something the UKIP Leader brands as "begging for
breadcrumbs at the top table" or a fantasy wrapped in the Unino Jack according
to Nick Clegg. Inspiring language will be used. Promises will be made... a referendum
on renegotiating our relationship will be delivered if the Conservatives are re-elected, and nothing
will happen. Sorry to seem cynical - but as angrily pointed out by the EU high command,
you can't cherry pick the pieces you like. You're either united or divided - in,
or out. Britain
But what the Conservative party will hope to do in the PM's speech is use
Europe as a springboard for
their re-election campaign. Yes, these kinds of tactics really do start to get
employed at this stage of a Parliament... but will it work?
It's true to say that the public sometimes have short memories - and as Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North once said to me, "there's always a disaster in
and then suddenly there's not" - but all parties promised a referendum on at the last
election and all parties failed to deliver. Granted, the Prime Minister has
often made the point that his "cast iron guarantee" was only ever
meant to apply if Lisbon
wasn't ratified by the time he was elected... and actually on that point, I
believe him. After all, you can't un-sign a treaty, even if it was really a
Constitution by another name. But the fact of the matter is the public remember
that "guarantee" and they remember the promises made by all political
parties on Lisbon .
So I predict a sceptical reception and a consequentially escalated amount of
rhetoric coming from all. Lisbon
Incidentally, this writers view on
isn't important, and in point of fact, probably quite neutral - but by way of a
professional observation and judgement, all politicians are beginning to cop on
to the strength of feeling on this matter, but is the time for talking over?