EU Referendum

UK politics: a Conservative majority?


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On Thursday, Britain faces an unambiguous choice, says The Sunday Telegraph. Not since the Eighties has the distinction between Labour and the Conservatives been so clear; not since that turbulent decade has the ideological divide between Left and Right been wider.

It would be comforting to think that this was anywhere close to reality – but the state of our politics is now such that, on all the main issues, the main parties are separated only by small differences – except for one thing. Mr Cameron has pledged an EU referendum.

There are those who have expressed doubts as to Mr Cameron's good faith but, as the election campaign has progressed, it seems to me that those doubts have been less often expressed. And I am certainly prepared to accept that, if he gets to lead a majority in the House, Mr Cameron will honour his promise.

Says The Sunday Telegraph, though, the polls for 2015 suggest that the election result will be close – and that it could end in deadlock and confusion. In the view of the paper, that would be calamitous. It believes that Britain needs a strong government with a clear mandate and a large dose of common sense. And that is why it would like to see a Conservative majority.

And just for once – albeit for entirely different reasons – we find ourselves in agreement with this newspaper. A majority Conservative government is the best and only way in the foreseeable future that we have even a chance of withdrawing from the EU.

Whether or not we are in a position to win an "out" campaign is another question. But I have been wont to pose my own question about a referendum: if not now, when? If we don't make the best of this opportunity now, it could be a decade or more before we get another chance.

For better or worse, therefore, we do need a Conservative majority. This is not said with any enthusiasm, but that is what we need.