We have so many Deja vu moments with the current government, however, last night was perhaps one that David Cameron would have preferred had not have happened.
The spectre that is Europe on the shoulders of any Tory leader is a heavy burden. Sadly for the British people, it has again weighed heavily on the shoulders of yet another Tory leader. David Cameron, known for his clever political manoeuvres in the corridors of the Tory party and Westminster decided to politically take on a fight which has left him embarrassed, undermined and left his own power within in his party dented.
Instead of allowing a free vote and playing down the significance of the outcome of any vote, he decided to take on the euro sceptics and in the process has lost two ministerial aids; suffered the biggest backbench rebellion in 30 years and opened up old festering wounds that the Tories have been trying to heal for 13 years.
It reminded everyone of the catastrophic Major years – 81 voting against the government (half of the back benchers) not counting those that abstained and has prompted the euro sceptics to ask – Is Cameron one of them?
The longer the Euro sceptics look at David Cameron and his rhetoric the more they feel that actually he will dither and give bluster, but in the end is unlikely to repatriate much power back to the UK Parliament and certainly not in this parliament.
What could force his hand however, is a) that the back benchers will now put far more pressure on him and to placate them he will have to act to stop the inevitable split and back biting that will occur and b) Any systemic Euro zone restructuring to solve the ever growing crisis WILL inevitably require changes to the European treaties.
What is curious is why Cameron bothered to risk the stoking up of the hornets nest in the guise of Tory Euro sceptics? He showed is political manoeuvres with the Liam Fox issue, delaying taking action so he was seen to be giving him every chance so as not to anger the right wing. He could have done the same this time but decided not to.
The art of being a leader in politics is knowing the fights to take on and when to do it. The judgement on this occasion was most certainly wrong.
David Cameron’s position is now clear, his problems of keeping his coalition together has just taken a turn for the worse. He has been concentrating on keeping his coalition with the Lib Dems on track, but in doing so has angered the right of his party AND the Euro sceptic wing.
He has clearly damaged himself and will find going tougher in the months ahead and the coalition has suddenly been made harder to keep together.