Some in the media have already written the script for the Conservative conference – splits on Europe. It was a silly script to write during the Opposition years, when the Conservative party was happily united opposing the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties, opposing the Euro and resisting more powers to Brussels. It is an even sillier script now we are united in offering the UK people a referendum on our membership, with all enjoying the freedom to express their own view on what is wrong with our EU relationship and how we wish to change it.
The good thing about the Conservative conference is it offers the government an opportunity to remind other members of the EU that behind Ministers lies a party and a country that is far from happy with our current relationship. We have alerted people to the growing political union on the continent, and how the UK needs a new relationship with that emerging union as we have no wish to join it. Today those who want to stay in the EU agree with many of the current Eurosceptic criticisms of the current EU. They do not defend the present borders and migration policy or our lack of control over our own borders. They do not defend the dear energy policy which is hitting our industry, the lack of trade agreements with India, China and the USA, the high bills sent to UK taxpayers for spending elsewhere in the EU, or the mass unemployment being created by the Euro in many countries of the Union. They need to show us how the UK can negotiate a settlement from inside, as many of us are happy to leave to solve these problems once and for all.
Conference should be primarily about how we increase the prosperity of our country. It is time to explain and to develop the policies we need to offer home ownership to the many at affordable prices, to create more and better paid jobs, to rebuild industry and embrace new technology.