So the Lisbon treaty has been ratified. It is now the political landscape in Europe.

Already William Hague had said the Tory referendum pledge has gone (BBC interview). Circumstances have moved on since Cameron’s “cast iron” pledge.

It is probably blindingly obvious that the Tory fringes will be foaming. This unfortunately is probably good for Cameron provided he keeps his nerve: he can appear statesmanlike against the extremes of his party.

The downside is that the new landscape makes allies in Europe even more vital. The Tories in opposition have alienated their natural allies in Germany, France, Italy, …

I can’t see this being a boon to UKIP: Cameron’s quick u-turn whilst the issue is fresh will prevent traction. The issue needs to stay in the headlines for over a week for that to happen. Expect several press releases on domestic policy this week.

The joker in the pack is now that of the Westminster parties only the most pro-European is offering a referendum: if the LibDems stick to the in-out vote pledge we could pick up some votes. There is also the chance of discomforting the Tories, helping keep the story alive. Basically proving my early claim wrong.

If we campaign on it, we can win on it.

So I’m watching our front bench. What next?

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Filed under cameron, clegg, Europe, Lisbon treaty, Tories

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