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Sealing the deal

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Where’s the beef?

We have heard often enough during the Parliamentary recess that whilst the Conservative Party has maintained a good lead in the polls they have not succeeded in surging past the 40% mark that would just about see them “sealing the deal” with the British public in the manner that Tony Blair achieved prior to his first election victory. Perhaps this has partially been due to a certain reticence to paint out some policies in black and white that the public can relate to in fear that (a) the Labour Party steal them, or (b) circumstances change so suddenly that a policy position needs to be amended or dropped in a hurry. There has been a deliberate strategy from David Cameron and George Osborne of keeping their cards close to their chests prior to the election timetable becoming known, but time is now running out fast both for Brown’s government, and what looks to be like the government in waiting. We need to be able to see flesh and meat being applied to the bare bones of Tory policy in the major areas, we need to see commitments, visions, and philosophies that resonate with the public mood and deal with our problems in the widest sense of national need.

One such area is the relationship between Britain and the EU, indeed it is probably the major area outside of  our dire economic position which needs to be addressed decisively and with firm resolve, and sooner rather than later. The EU is instrumental in forming law and public policy throughout most of western Europe now and it’s proposed constitution, if fully ratified, will increase the role that it plays within member states, emasculating the sovereign powers of our own legislators to make, amend,  clarify, or rescind our own laws. In so many areas of life the EU plays it’s part and our own national parliaments are pretty much weak and powerless to intervene, we even had the case a few weeks ago that now allows illegal videos to be sold legally because the EU had not been informed of our laws!

David Cameron and William Hague have argued for a long time that should the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty still not be finally ratified at the time of the next election then they would pledge to hold a referendum in Britain calling for it’s rejection, that position changes course markedly if the Treaty has been ratified before the Tories take over the reigns of government. Then, they say, “we will not let matters rest”.

This is where we need to smell and taste the beef – just what the hell, exactly, does “not letting matters rest” mean and signify? The Sunday Telegraph says the issue has the party in disarray, I’m not sure if that is quite true, it is just an issue that seems to be shied away from and not discussed often enough. It is also an issue which one doubts will appeal to Ken Clark despite his commitment to following his leader, it is also an issue which has helped propel many towards the comforting arms of UKIP at the last EU election and also to the less than welcoming arms of the BNP. In short there is a popular belief that we have ceded enough power to Brussels and that a line ought to be drawn, or better still some serious renegotiation of our relationship with the rest of the EU needs to take place. I’m all in favour of common trade agreements and the promotion of a huge free market for exporters, which is what we originally envisaged when we joined the Common Market. However a federal Euro superstate with it’s own foreign and defence policies and a constitution that gives more powers to it’s commission is not what many of us see as a utopian future.

I’m in agreement with Jonathan Isaby at Conservative Home, irrespective of the Irish vote or the party conference,

“I think the party is going to have to make its intentions clear some time before the publication of a manifesto next April.”

And if we ask “where’s the beef?”  We expect the answers to include, “it’s on the bone”.

A definitive policy position would surely help David Cameron “seal the deal”.

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Written by curly

September 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

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