Tuesday 5 October 2004

'So...scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen...'

At the risk of being political (again), I see that the Tory party have conclusively lurched to the right. Michael Howard has said that a date would be set for a referendum on Europe on his first day in government, should the Conservatives win the next election. They also want out of the European Social Chapter and the Common Fisheries policy.

All this on the same day that Paul Sykes, a major donor to the UKIP stands up and says that he will be voting Conservative at the next election because he sees them as this country's best chance of pulling out of Europe. That must have made Kilroy-Silk choke on his breakfast, but will presumably make lots of potential UKIP voters seriously consider a vote for the Tories (and let's not forget that they beat the Conservatives into 4th in the Hartlepool byelection)

I can't help but wonder if this is a sensible move by Howard. Certainly it will secure all ground on the right, but will it be a net vote winner, I wonder? If the Conservatives are to win the next election, won't they be needing voters to defect from the Liberal Democrats and Labour? Are they likely to be persuaded to move to the right on that kind of a platform? I'm not sure.

I have to say, I also think that the Great British public isn't given much credit when it comes to Europe. It's generally assumed that in any referendum, we will all vote overwhelmingly against Europe and the Euro. I think that we hear a lot of noise from the "no" end of the spectrum, and nothing from a lot of quieter "on balance, yes" voters.

Don't forget that in the 1975 referendum, Britain voted to stay in the Common Market with a substantial majority of 67%. Mind you - I was shocked to find out that my mum voted "no" in that referendum, and is still quietly anti-European.

Oh, and am I alone in thinking that Michael Howard's reference to his family's escape from the Nazis was a touch cynical? I haven't seen the speech myself, and I hear it was done with great dignity, but why did he feel the need to bring that up at all?


To completely change the subject - the famous Nottingham Goose Fair opens its gates tomorrow. I imagine that the Chav population of the rest of the nation will be seriously depleted as they make their Burberry attired way to the East Midlands. I am proud to say that in 7 years of living in Nottingham, I have never managed to make my way over to check this out. I bet they don't even have any geese.

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