The issue that never dies

The Conservatives have always been divided when it comes to Europe.

More than any other issue, membership of the EU has driven a chasm through the party time and time again. The media of course, feed on these divisions and highlight them in print and broadcast over and over again, raking over past divisions like John Major’s Maastricht ‘headache’ and probably stoking the fire at the same time.

Reporting on the debacle that is the EU referendum debate, today’s papers rumour that the disquiet in the party over the way David Cameron has run the ‘In’ campaign could lead to a vote of no confidence in his leadership after 23rd June.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, one might think that rather than ousting their leader, the Conservative Party should concentrate on healing the very bitter divisions that have opened up (again) over the last few months. With key figures within the Government pitted against each other at the moment, this is a tall order to say the least, and will not be helped by backbench whisperings to the press.

With a relatively ineffectual opposition, surely post referendum would be the optimum time for the Conservative Party to pull together, show the electorate that they can rise above the barbs and insults of the campaign and get on with what they are meant to be doing – running the country. This could be a golden opportunity for the Conservatives to pass legislation which Cameron considers to be part of his legacy, make the most of Jeremy Corbyn’s inability to capitalise on poor decisions made by the Government and generally assert themselves as the party capable of running the United Kingdom. But if the rumours are to be believed it might be a completely different story which will turn disaffected voters off even more.

Sometimes, I do wonder why politicians can’t just grow up a little, perhaps be a little more altruistic and keep their gripes and moans to themselves – but then British politics would be much duller and the press would still be scrabbling around for stories to write.

The political landscape after 23rd June is impossible to predict. However one thing is for sure, this matter will not and never will be put to bed for the Tories.