I just came across this rather interesting news story on the BBC website, from December 2005, in the first week of David Cameron’s appointment as leader of the Conservative Party.
It quotes Kenneth Clarke, currently Cameron’s shadow business secretary, on the latter’s proposal — now fulfilled — to withdraw from mainstream European politics, made in order to secure the Tory leadership.
As Clarke said: “I hope he will . . . perhaps decide that being a more extreme Eurosceptic than any of his predecessors is not the best way to launch himself on the international scene.”
Here is the juciest bit:
Some of our really hardline people apparently have persuaded him that he must break ranks and leave all these Christian Democrats, these Scandinavian Conservatives and Gaullists and people and start waltzing off looking for allies amongst the ultra-nationalist right in central Europe.
Clarke added: “Given all the goodwill that is surrounding his taking over and the optimism everybody has for him, I really think what a pity to insist on finding some new, slightly headbanging European Eurosceptic decision to take up as his first act in the leadership.”