The Corner

Dan Hannan Scores Last Night’s Debate

Here’s a selection from Hannan’s blog post in the Telegraph today, in which he urges Tories to go after Clegg as “a Eurocrat’s Eurocrat”:

Nick Clegg is no trougher. In the six years that we sat together in the European Parliament, I don’t remember him ever playing the expenses system – something that put him in a laudable minority under the unreformed pre-2009 regime.

Instead of trying to paint him as sleazy, his critics should concentrate on what he is saying. Cleggie is a Eurocrat’s Eurocrat: a supporter of the European Constitution, the euro, an EU seat at the United Nations and the rest of the apparatus of Euro-corporatism. He is always quick with the national depreciation that EU officials like to hear from Brits: we-haven’t-got-over-the-loss-of-Empire, we-should-have-joined-at-the-beginning, why-are-we-so-bad-at-languages etc etc. In an interview with a German newspaper this week, he described British Euro-sceptics as “nasty” and “insular”.

In last night’s leaders debate, though, he whistled a different tune. When David Cameron pointed out that the Lib Dem manifesto contains a commitment in principle to join the euro, he rolled his eyes in theatrical astonishment. Join the euro? Moi? How desperate of the Tories even to suggest such a thing!

It was in that instant that my respect for Cleggie crumbled. His unhesitating support for all things European, mistaken and narrow-minded as it was, was at least honest and, after its fashion, brave. But the moment he denied his beliefs, he joined the long list of dissembling Euro-phile politicians who hide their intentions while seeking office.

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