Oborne's Punts

The Telegraph's Peter Oborne has stuck his neck out again this week. He dares to suggest that the Coalition is one of the most revolutionary governments Britain has seen, comparable to Asquith, Attlee and Thatcher - potentially. And he thinks the Tories' civil war on Europe has been laid to rest, citing the extraordinary events of this week -

Last weekend, David Cameron opened the way for a sharp increase in our budget contributions to Brussels, while giving the green light for a new treaty to save the eurozone. On Monday, he announced a new era of defence co-operation with France. The Prime Minister has developed an easy, relaxed and mature relationship with both President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel. Until very recently indeed, there would have been uproar had a Tory leader countenanced any of this. Last week, there was scarcely any reaction on Conservative benches. The spectre of Europe, which has engulfed the Tories since the assassination of Margaret Thatcher exactly 20 years ago, may have been laid to rest.

He may be right on his first punt, but given the grumblings of the Tory right about the European issue, I'm not sure he's read those runes correctly at all. Never mind the predictable over the top outrage of his Telegraph stablemate, Lord Tebbit (who called Cameron's negotiation to reduce a 6% spending increase to something like 2.5% a 'Vichy like betrayal'). His own former employers at the Spectator have been determined to remind us of the Eurosceptic make-up of the Conservative parliamentary party - see James Forsyth's blog post here. That war is going on I think.


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