"Downing Street has finally awoken to the danger of losing support to UKIP – one poll this week had UKIP on seven per cent to the Conservative 33 per cent, with Labour way ahead on 43 per cent.
“Cameron’s chief pollster Andrew Cooper has realised, after a decade of advising there should be no talk about Europe or immigration, that these issues are important to voters after all and especially to potential Tory voters,” says the source.Despite Cameron's wishes to the contrary the issue of Europe is not going away, particularly regarding the Conservative party. So Cameron is trying to find a way to dodge pressure to leave the EU and to do that he's apparently planning a rigged referendum:
...let me assure you that slightly under the surface big things are happening. I was this week reliably informed that David Cameron is very seriously thinking about pledging to hold a EU referendum, either on the day of the next election or soon after it.But:
...the bad news is that he does not wish to hold the referendum the Daily Express and so many of its readers have been crusading for since November 2010. You see, Mr Cameron does not envisage anything so vul- gar as a straight question about whether Britain should stay in the EU or leave. Such a stark choice would, after all, mean him having to implement faithfully the result.In other words we would get the inevitable "repatriating powers question" which would win the vote and be phrased in such a way that allows 'cast-iron' to carry on as normal. And, displaying further contempt for the electorate and the seriousness of the issue, Cameron intends to hold the referendum on or around polling day in order to maximise the Tory votes. A mechanism therefore merely to prop up Cameron's position - everything about it will be rigged for his benefit, the question, the timing, and the funds.
Instead he is mulling over holding an “indicative” referendum in which the people of Britain get to tell him their preferred “direction of travel” on matters European then leave him to sort out the details on their behalf.
But there is hope, 3 years is a very long time, and Cameron is not a very good politician - so there's plenty more cock-ups to go yet particularly with Europe (if he's still PM). When he pretends to be Eurosceptic a la 'veto' it has a tendency to go backfire spectacularly. So if he opens that Pandora's box it has the potential to go all horribly wrong (for him).