Europe: the heat is on by Derek Wyatt
There's something cooking in the Westminster village.
The Tories have begun to throw fat on the fire over the EU referendum whilst separately turning the gas up on George Osborne. Labour - their political opponents (now's there's an oxymoron) have missed these open goals and hardly stirred themselves. Though to be fair they did produce a series of internal league tables about which MPs prefer pasta to risotto. I just made that up but I expect you get my drift.
Worse, poor Boris has failed to have his cake and eat it. He was sent to the corner to suck his thumb for three hours when cross examined by Andrew Tyrie MP, chair of the Treasury Select Committee.
He had frankly lied about what the EU can and cannot do and was caught with his pants down (a frequent activity some say but I could not possibly comment).
Just a month ago he was extolling the virtue of Canada's relationship with the EU and how the UK should follow in its path but by last week he had completely changed his mind. The man is no fool but you do think he would do his homework or have some researchers check his work first.
Then Matthew Parris, a former Tory MP, took him to the cleaners in The Times followed by his former mistress Petronella Wyatt (no relation) in the Mail who told us how lonely he was. Finally, he was torn to shreds by Nick Cohen in The Observer. To have two critics looks like a misfortune but to have three is beyond carelessness.
To be honest, can it really still be ten weeks to polling day for this in-out Hokey Cokey referendum? We are bored silly with the lies and threats from both camps. Surely, the Electoral Commission or the Office of National Statistics could produce an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of staying in or leaving? Perhaps as they are doing it they could pop along and fill in our ballot papers for us.
The EU referendum is so important to us as a nation. If we vote to come out or "Brexit" the UK will fall. Scotland, a very big fan of the EU will push for independence. So might England. This would be calamitous for Wales and Northern Ireland.
The English question has rarely be raised in discussions of "What-If?". What if the Labour Party created its own independent English Labour Party on a par to the Scottish Labour Party? What if UKIP rebranded itself if not the English Nationalists but the English Democratic Party? What if simply the English said enough's enough?
Could it be that a vote to come out of the EU might lead to England wanting its own independence? How would Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respond?
These are questions which have not yet been addressed inside the Westminster bubble. But a disunited Tory Party with a wish to see Cameron replaced after the referendum and frankly anything could happen. For sure there will be another run on the £.
In these times of increased uncertainty in the world my sense is it would be wiser to resolve our own issues before becoming the first nation to leave the EU.
However you feel - do check you are registered to vote and do actually vote!