Simon Carr: Eurosceptics wanted red meat but they got tofu

Sketch: Liam Fox looked leaner and hungrier than for years; it rather suits him

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The Independent Online

Clear, concise, honest. General Galtieri I think it was, when asked "Have you stopped beating your wife?" answered: "No. Why so curious?"

David Cameron was asked a wife-beating question by John Cryer: "Will you sacrifice democracy in Greece to save the euro?" He replied: "I wouldn't put it like that." And more's the pity because the way he did put it eluded understanding.

An in/out referendum wasn't the answer. Ruling out a referendum forever wasn't the answer. What was the answer? "Reshaping our relationship"? That doesn't sound like an answer General Galtieri would understand.

The Tory right had been promised red meat, they ended up with cochineal-coloured tofu. When their leader had revealed all, the promise was, apparently, to "seek fresh consent" from the people.

He began with the three objectives. I forget what they were. Foxing the right. Boxing the left. Coxing the centre. Urgent action to implement tactical patience. And always, his view that we should stay in a "less Europe" Europe that had been remorselessly integrated. The Tory right looked unusually detumescent. Even Nadhim Zahawi found it hard to claim victory.

They couldn't even summon the moral energy to jeer Ed Miliband. It's that serious. "He told his party to stop 'banging on about Europe'. Now he's the man getting out the drum for a referendum he can't explain." Silence. Miliband had silenced them.

Mark Pritchard pointed out that the PM had promised a referendum if there was fundamental change; and he'd just said the EU was changing fundamentally. He was given tofu, rubbed with a bit of bacon fat.

Liam Fox sat up in the furthest back bench, up there in the Jackal seat, tapping his fingers together one by one. He's leaner and hungrier looking than for years; it rather suits him.