Since returning to government the Tories have rediscovered their EU hobby horse and penchant for internal party cannibalism. Never has Witney tasted so good! The constituency, that is!
Say 'votes for prisoners' and David Davis looks like he's trying to digest a brick (from Herman Van Rompuy's house) and say 'employment rights' and Peter Bone looks like he has just learned he is to spend Christmas pulling Eddie Izzard's cracker.
In fact, so incensed are Tory backbenches with the EU, the ECHR and the EEAS, rumour has it that Jacob Rees-Mogg has banned alphabet spaghetti from passing over his dwelling's threshold.
Frivolities aside, since taking up the reins of power, Europe has become such a toxic issue for the Conservatives that relations between the government and the backbenches resemble that of the US and USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis. With any hope of an in/out EU referendum apparently obliterated, Tories feel Cameron has parked his nuclear warheads upon the sphere of influence they most jealously guard.
This means war, as many Tories believe Cameron has become too big for his boots. He has broken his sacred referendum promise and is using government as nothing more than a vehicle for his own advancement.
This, too, was the feeling of the Roman Senate that precipitated Julius Caesar's death. In contrast, though, it was only 60 senators that brought a swift end to Caesar's political ambitions; Cameron has to contend with 200 backbenchers.
The latest taster of the impending bloodbath is that 71 Tory MPs have indicated they want to join a new Eurosceptic parliamentary group, being established by Andrea Leadsom MP. Officially, its mission is to offer "helpful advice" to the Government on UK/EU relations. In the same spirit I understand Jeremy Clarkson is offering 'helpful advice' to his local marriage counselling service.
The sense of betrayal on the Tory backbenches is growing. They are becoming more intransigent and that means it is almost certain there will be at least a roadmap to an EU referendum before the next election.
But this bitterness, distrust and simmering spite pervading the Conservative Party is disguising a much weightier issue that is vital to us all - that any referendum is fair and well informed.
And, as it stands, it is impossible that any referendum could be fair or well informed, because Conservative MPs are putting the EU cart before the referendum horse. This has the potential to wreak havoc upon our democracy and our national interest - both things they purport to have paramount concern for.
To prove the inadequacy of the current referendum set-up, one has to only look at the recent AV poll. Initially, people were in favour of electoral reform, but the Yes campaign was outspent and outgunned by the No campaign and the referendum ended with a resounding 2/1 against. Such a chasm opened up largely because the No campaign was laden with cash and the press peddled a number of mistruths. And I'm saying this as someone who voted against AV!
The question of our EU membership is so much more important than any on voting systems that we cannot allow this to happen again. Whether we are in or out, our relationship with Europe will have a profound impact upon the future of our economy, defence policy, foreign policy and social and employment law.
Therefore, I implore Nick Clegg - who has responsibility for constitutional issues - to reform referendums. They should be state funded with expenditure capped at a low level. No private money should be allowed and an independent panel needs establishing to adjudicate on the 'facts' that opposing sides publicise, so that myths cannot be peddled.
It is only once reforms, such as these, are made that the people of the UK will be placed to make any judgement on our future relationship with the EU.
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