EUROPE has now become the most pressing issue for Prime Minister David Cameron, outside of striving to connect with the British electorate, and he is now gradually moving towards the holding of a referendum which will determine this country’s status within the Euro community.
Mr Cameron now leads a strongly Euro-sceptic Conservative Party much different from the Tory ranks which Edward Heath led when Britain joined the Common Market in 1973, and when John Major was leader in the 1990s when the Maastricht Treaty on our European role was being extended.
The presently constituted European Union, however, is a much more bureaucratic beast than the essentially fiscal-driven Common Market was in the 1970s and the EU’s intrusion into internal political, social and even security matters of independent sovereign states has built up a resentment, not just in the UK, that the modus operandi of decision-making in Brussels has got to change.
According to reliable senior Tory sources, David Cameron, while not totally convinced that it is in Britain’s economic interests to pull out entirely from the EU, is preparing to offer voters a referendum on whether or not to remain aligned with Europe.
Significantly, local government minister in the coalition government Eric Pickles said at the weekend that Britain should not remain in the EU “at any price”. And, while a proposed referendum is well beyond the next general election in 2015, his comments indicate a drift within the Tory Party that is not confined to backbench right-wingers.
Indeed, major players in Europe like Germany and France must pull back on more imperialist designs for the EU if the UK is to remain a fully-fledged member.