Douglas Carswell’s defection shouldn’t light the blue touch-paper. After all, he was the wildest man on the fringe – and closest to losing his seat to Ukip, which he may now save. But what an odd time to go, just as an elemental shift turns the Conservatives into an out-and-out EU exit party, plunging headlong for the departure gate.
The influential grassroots organisation ConservativeHome has launched a pre-election manifesto calling for an end to EU free movement of labour, with reclaiming control of national borders as a red line in negotiations. A Times editorial yesterday supported it, as Murdoch would. This is a guided missile straight into Cameron’s renegotiation strategy, already rapidly disintegrating. ConservativeHome is deliberately demanding the impossible. Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform says there is no possibility of the other countries agreeing, and no new treaty would pass in referendums.
Article by Polly Toynbee
This is Polly Toynbee, so there is an obvious lefty bias. However, I think she is absolutely right that the Eurosceptic Right is leading the Conservative Party to self-destruction. I particularly like the point she makes about the interests of business. It is not in the interest of commerce for the UK to leave the EU. The Conservative Party should be supporting the needs of business, not ignoring them in favour of an ideological crusade.
And as Polly points out, when politicians talk about re-negotiating free movement of labour, they are really talking about leaving the EU. Free movement of labour is a fundamental principle of the EU and will never be given up.