Jonathan Fryer

Murphy’s Law on Europe

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 16th January, 2008

jim_murphy.jpgBusiness for New Europe (BNE) hosted a crowded reception in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons this evening, in advance of the lengthy discussions that are going to take place in both Houses of Parliament over the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Jim Murphy, the Minister for Europe, gave an admirably brief and admirably on-message speech, which for once gave me hope that this government of ours might actually do what it should have done a decade ago, and make the case for Europe to the British people. Even Gordon Brown turned up and spoke positively at a BNE event the other day, so we pro-Europeans have a reason to be optimistic. Perhaps the fact they are both Scots helps; the Scots always knew better how to get on with the French and other Continentals than the English did. As if to rub it in, the LibDem speaker was Charles Kennedy, purring like a contented cat, at last enabled, as the new President of the European Movement, and unencombered by party leadership, to nail his European colours to the mast.

The Tory in the line-up was David Curry, MP for Skipton and Ripon, and a former MEP, living proof that there are still some sensible Europeans within that benighted party, despite David Cameron’s stated intention of dragging the Conservatives into the European far-right wilderness. I am sure that I was not the only person present who relished David Curry’s comment that several people in the Labour Party had try to solicit him to follow Quentin Davies in defecting to Labour, ‘but they are far too right-wing for me.’ Even better news is that at long last, the Conservative Group for Europe is going to join the BNE-led coalition for the Reform Treaty. Hooray! Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel, after all.

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