Nucleus is a welcome step forward for the Tory Party on Europe

Labour Party

Congratulations to Nucleus, the Tory-led group recently formed to maximise Britain’s influence in Europe. Dubbed “euro-realists” by Mathew Barnett on Tim Montgomerie’s Conservative Home website, Nucleus will undoubtedly play an important role in the Conservative Party’s future views and policy on Europe.

Headed by former Conservative candidates Peter Wilding and Rob Marr, the Nucleus mission statement sets out its beliefs:

“By seeking to maximise its influence in Europe, Britain can better defend Europe’s single market from protectionism and protect British influence”

“By promoting areas where Britain’s interests coincide with those of France and Germany, Britain can work effectively to achieve these aims within Europe”

“That the future must be a globally-focused Britain which leads in the places where global policy is made. Without this, Britain will be sidelined by the USA, in the EU and within international institutions. Moreover our US allies and others want Britain to play a full part creating an outward-looking European Union shaping the developing global world order.”

Nucleus will, apparently, have offices in London and Brussels and provide daily bulletins to MPs, and from April will prepare briefings for journalists, think-tanks and business figures. From next month they will host quarterly visits to Brussels. Interestingly the daily bulletins are being written by David Gow and David Seymour, formerly of the Guardian and Mirror respectively.

The Nucleus website also features a blog offering “opinion pieces following in the footsteps of this country’s greatest Euro-realist; no less than Sir Winston Churchill himself.” At last there are people in the Tory Party willing to face up to their hero’s legacy.

Nucleus sounds to me like a very good thing. The Tory Eurosceptics have had it all their own way for far too long. Politics and democracy require debate, discussion and healthy disagreement. It is very heartening indeed to see members of the Conservative Party standing up for these cherished principles.   

Farewell to Tom Harris – Not Another Thing

Labour Party

I am very sorry to hear that veteran blogger Tom Harris has decided to stop his blog. Tom has been one of the best bloggers of the left and challenged the more established bloggers on the right such as Iain Dale, Conservative Home etc.

Tom said in his closing post, which you can read here, that it had started to take over his life and that he was becoming known as the blogger who was an MP rather than an MP who also blogged. He also said it was impacting on his personal and family life too. I have some sympathy for what he says. Those of us who chose to blog as a way of communicating can make ourselves vulnerable to attacks from all kinds of people. Sometimes it gets personal and you must be robust enough to not get embroiled, but it isn’t always easy, as Tom has found.

I hope he continues in some format – on Twitter or even facebook perhaps. We need more bloggers like Tom on the left. Indeed this year at Labour Party conference I held a fringe event at which we discussed the issue of left wing bloggers and how to help more emerge. We are getting there but I’m afraid we still have more work to do before we will achieve the same recognition that those on the right do. It won’t be long… nevertheless it is a great shame that Tom Harris will no longer contribute to this cause but I wish him all the best.