For years it has been the Tory policy which dared not speak its name – but there are increasing signs it can no longer be denied.
David Cameron may not like it but a Euro-sceptic momentum is building deep within his party. In what looks like the beginning of a suspiciously well-orchestrated campaign, Conservatives at all levels no longer seem wary of making their feelings known.
They have become heartened by circumstances which are beginning to stack up in their favour. The financial disarray in Europe has shown the union to be a financially unfeasible and politically unwieldy conglomeration of the strong, the weak and the hangers-on.
It’s a ramshackle structure which was never built to last and the UK will be better off getting out before becoming trapped in the collapsing rubble.
Also, it’s no longer possible to ignore the correlation between the growing number of unemployed and the unrestricted flow of EU nationals clambering over each other to get here.
Sophisticated sniffers of political blood within Conservative ranks – like William Hague – realise David Cameron’s authority over the party is diminishing.
That’s why the Foreign Secretary tested the water with his recent newspaper interview, in which he said Britain would be better off ‘in a more distant relationship with Europe.’
He added: “It’s true of the euro, it could be true of other areas in the future.”
Hague can hardly put down a more obvious marker in the political sand when it comes to a future leader. His resurgence of confidence has cheered the right in the party, 80 of whom made their views clear at a meeting to ‘discuss possible reforms.’
One of the convenors, George Eustice, said, “The aim of this new group is to promote debate about creating a new relationship with the EU and reversing the process of EU integration.”
This is politico-speak for, ‘We want out!’
To this group may be added the many other Conservative MPs increasingly worried by the left-leaning direction of Cameron’s alliance with Nick Clegg. They now regard the leadership of the coalition as conjoined twins rather than the Tory-led alliance they believed it would be.
Worse still as far as they’re concerned, Cameron doesn’t appear to mind being the dog at the mercy of its own tail.
It says a lot about law and order in this country that the newly-appointed Metropolitan police commissioner is renowned for his zero tolerance on gun and knife crime.
Surely this shouldn’t mark him out as special? Surely every police chief in the country should be similarly disposed?
Sadly no, which is why Boris Johnson and Theresa May must now ensure Bernard Hogan-Howe is free to get on with the job in his own way.
This means supporting him unflinchingly in the face of politically-motivated sniping and carping from self-righteous ‘liberals’ and others intent on undermining his authority.
In return, he must prove himself a dedicated crime-fighter and not be seduced by the prestige of the post like some of his predecessors.