Richard North picks up David Cameron for making promises about controlling immigration, which are impossible according to EU Rules. Cameron recently accused Brown of ‘taking us for fools’ with his statements about the EU Constitution, and Richard North quite rightly sees that Cameron is in danger of committing the same moral offence. But is he really?
Cameron, in the opinion of many took us for fools over the EPP. During the leadership election in 2005, he promised immediate withdrawal from the EPP to match Liam Fox, and then, once he had secured the leadership, month on month the promise was watered down, and seemed to have been quietly abandoned. And yet, two years later, the promise will finally be honoured, it now seems certain, in 2009 – Cameron telling Merkel recently, ‘we will make better neighbours than tenants’.
All through the intervening period, supporters of the ‘quit the EPP’ policy like Helmer and Hannan have kept repeating the original Cameron promise, and refused to give up on it. At the time, you wondered if they were myopic. Most felt they had been conned. But the Helmer/Hannan (like many in the Parliamentary Party) tactic of believing Cameron and supporting him has paid off.
It might pay off again. If ‘being taken for fools’ is part of the process of change, then let’s be taken more often.
The approach adopted by Hannan, Helmer etc on the EPP, (and now again they are repeating Cameron’s Referendum ‘cast-iron’ promise of a referendum on the Constitution from The Sun on the 26th September, and expressing no doubts about its future delivery) – is to keep repeating Cameron’s promises, not point out their impossibiity or unlikelihood, but use them as a statement of which direction the Party wants to go.
Over time the impossible becomes possible. In the meantime it is positive thinking that moves the ‘where we are now’ to ‘where we want to get to’. Those who attack Cameron for allowing his promises to be watered down or delayed, while quite correct in what they say, are, according to the Helmer, Hannan ‘positive thinking’ strategy, not helping the Party to get to its destination.
It’s not a simple system to understand. We’d all like a brand new Mercedes to carry us forward rapidly and smoothly, but instead what we actually have, is a dilapidated rusting old banger handed down from a series of previous owners, some more careful than others. That vehicle is The Conservative Party.
It still delivers the goods – often a little late, but they do eventually arrive. Dick Van Cameron’s a viable driver. He knows how to keep the old banger moving and on the road, and how to cope with its temperamental nature. In any case, unless we have another vehicle available, it’s best not to write off the one we’ve got as a wreck, much as it has resembled one on occasions.
The Conservative Party is like the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang of British politics. Patience, positive thinking, a bit of TLC, and the story, unlikely though it seems at times, as if by magic, has a happy ending.
Cameron’s detractors might like to stop standing around moaning, and help push us up the hill. They don’t seem to realise they’re taking part in an Ian Fleming adventure, where right is fighting wrong, and doubters add little to the equation. Wrong must not be allowed to win. That’s all we need to know.