Going to extremes
Incidentally, ever since David Cameron announced his intention to leave the EPP in search of a non-federalist grouping, I have been continually irked by one line of argument perpetually wheeled out to criticise this. This is that, because some of the parties the Tories will sit with in the new grouping have political views significantly at odds with mainstream British politics, this redounds to the Tories discredit.
To which the answer is, yes possibly. But consider the alternatives. In the EPP currently there are plenty of fruitcakes and loons. In the PES, where Labour sit, there are worse.
Its eastern European members include ex-secret policemen, communist apparatchiks and party bosses, who spent their Cold War repressing dissidents with great savagery.
The other point that this raises is just as pertinent. The real problem for the Tories is that there are very few real equivalents among the mainstream European parties for a centre-right, anti-federalist Euro-sceptic party. Doesn’t this just go to show the continuing incompatibilities between Britain and continental Europe? Given that centre-right, anti-federalist Euro-sceptic parties are almost certainly going to win the largest share in the European elections – and possibly even an outright majority – isn’t it clear that the British political scene is irreconcilably different from the European?