It's been, what, a couple of days and already Ken Clarke is in the headlines for his apparent diversion away from the Tory leadership:
In comments made in December, less than six weeks before his return to David Cameron's mainly Eurosceptic shadow cabinet, the Europhile Clarke told a conference his party's position on Europe was "silly" and warned that Barack Obama could turn to Germany or France if the UK is too isolationist. He held out the possibility that a desire to get on with Obama may soften his party's Eurosceptism.
Nice. We have a business secretary who thinks that democracy and accountability are 'silly'. No doubt elections are 'a nuisance' too.
Let's have a look at what he said in more detail:
I think the need to be working with Obama will influence my party on Europe. It is still firmly Eurosceptic but it's now moderate, harmless Eurosceptism. It's a bit silly sometimes, like which group do you join in the European parliament, but full-blooded stuff like renegotiating the treaty of accession is as dead as a dodo. We've got lots of ideas on European policy on energy, security, relations with Russia, climate change, all that kind of thing [but] somebody like me is far more relaxed about all that [and if the Tories] get into office the pressure of the American alliance will make them more European."
This Obama stuff is already really fucking tedious. Have the major religions been informed that the Messiah (first, second, take your pick) has returned?
How many people who sat there, eyes glued to their TV screens watching Him and his wife, resplendent in soft furnishings, unaware of his support for the death penalty, for protectionism and big government?
Skipping back to our side of the pond, it's pleasant for someone like me who knows the true nature of the Tories when it comes to the EU actually seeing someone standing up and saying it. Oh, their MEPs do when they're in Brussels, but there's nothing so tedious as seeing a voter putting a cross in the box of a party who has misinformed them about their true views on a topic.
It's also reminded me of something which should concern anyone who hates the CFP; another policy where the Tories were trying to sound eurosceptic without actually informing the British public that to remove Britain from the deal would require either unanimity or withdrawal, the latter being more plausible.
Brussels wants sea anglers to be subject to the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy, imposing quotas on recreational fishermen limiting the number of fish they are allowed to catch. This is the same policy that has crippled British commercial fishing, reducing the number of fishermen 18,600 to 12,700 in a decade.
I don't fish but here's an opportunity for everyone to try stop another industry being fucked over royally by the EU.
Your MEP/colleague will get a vote on it in committee and all will in plenary. The fisheries minster has a vote in the Council of Ministers and there are EU elections coming up in a few months.
If you think that someone should be able to recreationally fish without having to license a boat or fill in endless quota forms and regulations then get sign up and get moaning.
It's already suffering because of the EU and it's a genuine opportunity for you to particularly help seaside towns devastated by quotas and those pesky Spanish and French fishermen with their subsidised fuel.
Or, you could not. Maybe shove your thumb up your arse instead.