Heseltine challenges Cameron on Europe

Big beast predicts that Eurosceptic alliance will end

Today's Times reports that Lord Heseltine believes the Conservatives will have to ditch their far-right allies and return to the European People's Party if they win power.

Is there any chance of this happening? Almost certainly not. David Cameron's Euroscepticism continues to insulate him from right-wing dissent and keeps grass-roots Tories onside. Heseltine's prediction is a case of of the wish being father to the thought.

As I've noted before, the Conservatives' pro-European wing has been vanquished. It lacks the capacity to force a policy reversal. Cameron may well further alienate Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, but given his emphasis on political consistency, he is unlikely to cite Keynes's dictum: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

In fairness, it is doubtful that Heseltine himself believes Cameron will back down. It's far more likely that his intervention is designed to prompt Europhile dissent elsewhere in the party. In any case, such mischief-making proves that Hezza doesn't regard his position on Europe as a barrier to his return to government.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Word of the week: Michellania


Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

After brash Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paraded his family at the national convention, the word of the week is:

Michellania (n)

A speech made of words and phrases gathered from different sources, such as Michelle Obama speeches and Rick Astley lyrics.

Usage: 

"I listened hard, but all I heard was michellania."

"Can you really tell the difference between all this michellania?"

"This michellania - you couldn't make it up."

Articles to read if you're sick of michellania:

Do you have a suggestion for next week's word? Share it in the form below.