WHAT a stir Nigel Lawson caused when he came out in The Times today declaring that he would vote in a referendum for Britain to get out of the EU. Not only did it lead that paper but the BBC news.
Obviously such a shock to the political system, with a leading Tory (leading? Anyone under the age of 60 ever heard of him?) advocating something so sensational making it a big story.
Not to me it wasn't. Nigel Lawson has been an outer for a long time. At least ten years ago at a Conservative conference fringe meeting he was the star speaker, saying he was just back from his home in France, loved French food but still thought we should leave the EU. Naturally no other journalists were there and, even if they had been, the meanderings of a has-been politician wouldn't have made a paragraph in any paper.
But times have changed. Now the big story is the pressure for an in-out referendum and the push to get this country out of Europe. So any little thing adds fuel to that media fire.
Almost everyone calling for a referendum has no interest in "giving the British people a say". What they want is to see Britain withdraw from the EU and to hell with the consequences. They aren't bothered about having the proper debate they declare they are in favour of, because a proper debate would expose their lies, inconsistencies and deceit. And finally explain the positive effects of being in the Union.
Nigel Lawson has been nothing but a pimple on the backside of politics since he left the Treasury a quarter of a century ago. There is no better answer to his latest nonsense than these wise words:
"I have been a committed supporter of closer European unity, with Britain playing a leading part in it, since I was president of the Strasbourg Club as an Oxford undergraduate. Although far from perfect in practice - nothing ever is - I saw the European Community as an inspired constitutional innovation; providing as it did for the most intimate form of co-operation between the various nation states of Europe...It got the balance right between the need for the closest possible co-operation and the retention of nation states.
"It is the height of folly to seek to destroy this unique and careful balance between international co-operation and national sovereignty."
Who said that? Why, it was Nigel Lawson in his autobiography The view from No. 11.