Its always nice to learn that the Tories are the same old lags they always were, even if we're all supposed to be pally with them. Switching channels last night, I happened on Newsnight, which I try to avoid as the presenter is a pompous oaf lacking the wit to spot a news story even if it were 12 feet tall and painted purple, with 'this is a serious news story' tattooed on its forehead.
But I digress...The reassuring sight was a Tory backbencher - name of no consequence - arguing with an eloquent Dutch MP about the merits of the European Union. Yes, Dave, it hasn't gone away for your party, regardless of how much whitewash you splash over the issue. Faced with the absurdly reasonable approach of the Dutch MP, pointing out the many areas where combined action at a European level, such as investing in green technology and setting up a single office for the EU countries in Benghazi as opposed to 27 (sic.) separate missions, benefits us all and saves us money, the Tory simply blathered about how these things should not be done at a European level.
This is a shame as there is a serious discussion needed about the ludicrous French-inspired European model, the waste within that bureaucracy, the shocking scandal of unchecked expenses for MEPs, the disaster of the monthly trudge to Strasbourg to soothe French egos [the capital of Europe is Brussels, now get over it, mes amis] and the crime that is the copper-bottomed pensions for former Eurocrats like Lord Kinnock of Gravytrain.
The problem is that Blimpish Tories fail utterly to engage with these real problems, with their ostrich-like denial that there is anything good about Europe. There is: co-operation, a blissful lack of war since 1945, the promotion of democracy across the globe, the opportunity to be heard in international forums as a group of 28 countries and to make big decisions in the world over issues like supporting Arab democracies, which is good for everyone. Europe is a 'good' in principle but a failure in practice. The British government should be working to change it and make it successful, something bleating Tories will never do.
Good on Nickers and the LD MPs for their continued support of the coalition. We are playing with a straight bat but, my word, how glad I am that I don't have to cosy up to that lot.