This post over at ConservativeHome really says it all about the Tory stance on the European Union. It reads rather sadly, as anti-EU grassroots Tories make incomprehensible, mixed up claims in an attempt to convince themselves as much as anyone that the Conservatives once elected will fight for Britain's independence from the EU. Unfortunately for them, the Conservative Party, when it comes to European Elections, are obsolete. If you are europhile then you can vote Labour, if you are euro-fanatic then you can vote Liberal Democrat and if you want send MEPs to Brussels who will stand up for Britain's interests then you can vote UKIP.
The most commonly used argument by anti-EU Tories (of whom there are are lots) is that the Tory contingent includes legitimate and credible eurosceptics Daniel Hannan, Roger Helmer and Syed Kamall. These however are merely 3 MEPs from the 27 strong contingent of Tories that were elected in 2004 and for Tory activists to believe the three are viewed as anything but looney mavericks by the leadership of their party are deluded. The likes of Hannan, just like MPs like Douglas Carswell, have had their day in the Tory Party. Libertarians and Better Off Outers have no long term future in a Party which is copying the New Labour project of 1997 - a project which is still going strong some 12 years later. Pure conservatives - just like pure socialists in the Labour party - will be viewed as annoying and unwelcome fundamentalists. This feeling will only increase once Cameron becomes Prime Minister as I believe he will.
The Tory contingent in Brussels is already far more europhile than many Conservative Party members realise, or perhaps they are trying to turn away from the truth that is staring them in the face. UKIP MEPs are well known to pull their hair out at the actions of MEPs like Geoffrey Van Orden who talk tough while on British soil, but then strangely become plainly europhile during the flight over to Brussels. Recently Christopher Beazley, a Tory MEP since 1999, has begun saying what he really thinks now that he won't be standing for election in 2009. His outbursts (here and here) are far from isolated sentiment among the Conservative Party, either.
While it may be another comfortable delusion for Tory members to believe that David Cameron's failure to live up to his promise of leaving the federalist EPP was due to his lack of backbone, it was more down to the consequence. Yes, Cameron has indeed annoyed a handful of Conservative MEPs, but the number of strongly pro-EPP MEPs under Cameron tops a dozen. You can be sure that if Cameron does ever withdraw the party from the EPP, which I personally do not think he ever will, it will be straight into a group that seeks to deceive members as being eurosceptic rather than actually delivering any measureable change in Tory attitude.
My point is this: while anti-EU Tory activists and supporters may see UKIP as a threat, in reality we are their party now. The Conservatives under David Cameron will never leave the EU. They will never threaten to leave the EU. They may perhaps pay the issue a little more lip service and use slightly tougher language when discussing the issues. But the end game will be the same. The EU is not an issue that I believe will drift on for decades more. A federal European superstate is being built and if we do not leave soon then we will be part of it. Indeed, we are already partly consumed by the beast that champions supranationalism wherever it can and wherever it dare; 80% of our laws now come directly from Brussels. The EU issue is more important than party loyalty, sound bites or cheap point scoring. Those who believe in an independent sovereign Britain need to look past the rosette and branding and elect MEPs who will oppose the European Union whenever they can. For goodness sake, if you are a eurosceptic then vote for a eurosceptic party. If you want your views accurately reflected in the EU's clown Parliament, then vote UKIP. No other party will deliver.