1. You know the government's position on Europe is broken when the US State Department is compelled to publicly comment on Dave's anti-EU posturing. As far as US interests are concerned, whether there is a Republican or Democrat in the White House they need their most steadfast ally at the heart of Europe. Partly as a Trojan horse to those federalists who would like the EU grow into a counterweight against overweening US domination, partly to promote the liberalisation of markets for the benefit of US corporate giants, and partly to ensure its interests have a place round the decision makers table. If UKIP and Europhobic Tories had their way, their hope for closer ties with the other side of the Atlantic will come to naught if the useful role they play in the EU ceases. One section of the Coalition understands this, but it seems lost on the traditional party of the rich and the privileged.
2. In the Manifesto, Marx and Engels define political sects as organisations that put their interests before those of the working class. In a different time and involving a completely different set of forces, the Tories are doing just that. Dave's clever-clever prevarication, his hints that he may go for an in/out referendum, the notion that the UK needs to renegotiate its relationship, all of this is giving some leading business people the jitters while undermining Britain's standing in the near-abroad. And for what? To try and win back disgruntled Tory voters from UKIP? For nicer headlines in the Telegraph and The Mail? To placate the has-beens and never-weres of the back benches? A purer example of a party putting its interests before the class it represents is seldom seen.
3. Dave doesn't realise it's pointless trying to out tough UKIP on Europe. Whether he favours a renegotiated relationship or not, he knows a UK exit from the EU would be an utter disaster. With all the arrogance of the ignorant, UKIP simply don't care. While it is true Dave got a poll bounce last winter vetoing an agreement that Britain had no intention of participating in anyway, support for UKIP is not specifically driven by anti-EU sentiment. It is about anti-establishment politics. No one really cares what UKIP stands for beyond an amorphous sense of patriotism and anti-political correctness. They have become the de facto middle finger for middle england. As such, UKIP is a symptom of the alienation between the electorate at large from the particular kind of professional politics that have become hegemonic in Britain. Tory repositioning on Europe is not going to stem the trickle of blood from their right flank.