However, Guido reports that there might be a slight... um... hiccough.
On the tight-rope issue that is the EU treaty, the Tories are campaigning hard for a referendum, which Gordon will not concede. What Cameron has refused so far to concede to his own right-wing is a retrospective referendum should they be in power in 2010 - two years after the treaty will have been confirmed by Parliament.
Hague has been firmly evasive on this point, Tory EU-headbangers have also been, well, as headbanging as always on the same point. Tomorrow's new "CANCELLED" poster from the Tories has now muddied the waters. As soon as it appeared on ConservativeHome, UKIP supporting Chad Noble spotted that the poster implies "A vote on the European Constitution" is "now delayed until the election of a Conservative government".
Indeed. This could be somewhat embarrassing (unless of course, it is a firm policy commitment).
Guido implies that there might be dire repercussions in CCHQ, but why should that be? After all, David Cameron did seem to give a quite unequivocal promise, in The Sun, only a few weeks ago.
"Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations."
Well, Dave's been back-tracking a bit since then; there's all this talk of "assessments" and "context".
And, as Unity has pointed out, William Hague has also been extremely vague on the matter of a referendum after ratification.
Rather its the Tories who are still running scared of the propensity for Europe to open up divisions in their own party, divisions that would be all the more damaging to Cameron as they would come from pro-European Tories most closely associated with the very centre-ground that Cameron purports to be trying to capture and, therefore, cast doubts on his credibility as a ‘centrist’.
That’s why the Tory’s only substantive policy on Europe is to demand a referendum - because the only thing they have on the menu is Chicken Cameron.
That’s me on the Tories and the EU Reform Treaty—and now this…...
Mr Hague, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme yesterday, dodged calls from his backbenchers for a referendum even if the treaty became law.
He said: “We don’t rule out a referendum in the future, and our discussions will take place against a background that this treaty, if passed without a referendum, will lack democratic legitimacy.”
Unity invited me to pass comment, but all I can do is sit back wearily and say, "I told you so."
I, and others, have also pointed out that the "proper immigration controls" promised by this poster are also utterly unworkable; how can they be when we are not even allowed to ask why a large number of immigrants are coming here?
What the paper misses is that immigration officials are not permitted under EU law to interrogate entrants from the EU as to their intentions on entering this country, nor quiz them as to their activities or plans should they decide to leave. Any such move would be "discrimination" on the grounds of nationality and thus, again, contrary to EU law.
So it is that the immigration channels are set up to include British nationals and "EU citizens", so that anyone waving a passport from an EU member state can sail through the channel, on exactly the same basis as a British national. All the immigration officials can do is stand aside and watch.
It is that issue, more than anything else, which is so disturbing. Whatever one's views about the utility and benefits – or otherwise – about mass migration, the very fact that the government has no idea of the scale of the inflow of migrants taking up work, and no legal means of acquiring such information, means that any idea of controlling - or even predicting and thus managing the effects of – mass immigration, is strictly for the birds.
And, as we have pointed out, immigration from the EU member states does not just include indigenous Europeans. With the current EU rules – viz the notorious Directive 2004/38/EC – we are obliged to permit entry to recent immigrants from third countries, who have entered via any member state and acquired residential status – as well as giving free passage to their relatives.
It is this huge "back door" which further makes a nonsense of any attempt to craft a rational immigration policy – or any policy at all. As long as we buy into the European Union and its core policies of "freedom of movement" and "freedom of establishment", we simply do not have a policy, other than, "let them all come and go as they please".
But at least we control immigration from those outside the EU, right? Well, currently, that is the case but, as Timmy has pointed out, soon that too will be controlled by the EU.
A single European work visa, to be known as a Blue Card, will be introduced alongside a global advertising campaign to attract thousands of “highly skilled” migrants, EU officials announced yesterday.
The visas, coloured blue to match the EU flag, are intended to rival the American Green Card by offering permanent residency anywhere in Europe after five years’ work.
As Timmy points out, once again, we do have an opt-out from this but it is worth little.
Of course, the Govt says that it has an opt out from this: one that actually means nothing as once someone is in the EU and legally so for two years then they can move anywhere else in the EU.
As I have said many times before, I have mixed feelings about immigration and lean towards not really giving two shits, generally; however, if you are making a cornerstone policy, you really ought to tell the truth. OK, OK, I know that they are politicians but could they not at least make an effort to be truthful?
And as for the National Citizen Service... well... the was pretty widely fucking derided at the time. If it is compulsory then it is nothing less than state-sponsored slavery and if it isn't compulsory, then it would simply be a summer
Interestingly, there was a motion at the UKIP Conference this year, which proposed that school leavers should do national service—either in the Army or in Social Services (Health Care Assistants and that sort of thing). This is, of course, state-sponsored slavery, unequivocably; given the age of the greater proportion of the members there, I was quite surprised by how big a margin it was defeated by.
These things aside, I am actually enjoying the Conservative advertising pieces at the moment; they should a light touch of humour as well as imagination—a far cry from the stodgy, worthy, boring efforts of the recent past.