I like Eric Pickles; he's one of the less embarrassing Cabinet Tories. I'm sure his bluff Yorkshire straight talking appeals across the political spectrum. So it's a bit surprising when he starts waffling and obfuscating as badly as he did with Andrew Neil over the weekend:
Idle posted on this issue last month, but makes no apology for raising it again. Cameron, on the radio this morning, ruled out an In/Out referendum (disingenuously referring to it as a 'false choice' - ie, uncomfortable for a confirmed Euro fan like Dave). His much-awaited speech, which has been so long in the making and the hinting and the leaking, threatens to backfire on him. And with good reason - here we have, within a couple of days of one another, a Cabinet member making clear that another wave of (let's face it) undesirables are headed our way, almost certainly in the hundreds of thousands, yet the Prime Minister won't consult his electorate on the issue.
I often think that Dave is interested only in power, such is his rootlessness in conservative intincts and traditions. Yet on the subject of providing houses, schooling, health provision, rubbish collection, benefits and motability cars to Romanians and Bulgarians, he seems all for it, despite its great electoral unpopularity. Given that the current working class (black or white, recent immigrant or not) doesn't want to let them in any more than the middle class of potential Conservative voters, this seems to be either utter stupidity, or a blinkered devotion to the European cause, come what may. I suppose it is the latter, but there is still time for him to prove me wrong.