It is an acknowledged fact that David Cameron has managed to keep the lid on his party's renowned ability to split itself asunder over the question of EU membership. He has also been successful, so far, in not having the 'EU subject' rear its head in pre-election speeches. One has to ask, however, for how much longer Cameron will manage to 'keep his finger in the dyke', especially when considering how many of the potential new intake of Conservative MPs may prove, in general, more eurosceptical than their predecessors. This obviously opens up another question and that is will this new intake be more interested in career rather than country?
It has long been a 'gut feeling' of this blog that the EU question will play a far bigger part in the General Election than most political commentators credit, a feeling that is shared by Iain Martin writing in the Wall Street Journal. Commenting on the dip in Conservative fortunes in recent polls, Iain Martin comments:
"Those Tory jitters are in part connected to Europe, with Euroskeptics saying that the dip in Conservative support can be traced to Mr. Cameron's announcement in November that if elected he wouldn't hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Conservative MPs report some dismay on the doorsteps and say that a portion of the core vote with passionate views is so disgusted at the alleged betrayal that it is pledging not to vote, or to defect to UKIP. Thus Europe could end up making a significant difference in an election that will be extremely closely fought. It might suit the Conservative leadership to pretend the EU is a subject of marginal interest. It could be anything but by polling day."