David Cameron is reported to be "delighted" at the result of the Irish referendum.
In which case, he has now added Sinn Fein to the list of rather unsavoury European parties that the Conservatives are prepared to form expedient alliances with. SF joins Putin's United Russia (already allied with the Tories in the Council of Europe) and the Italian Fascist Party (potential allies in the European Parliament, after the Conservatives leave the EPP) in the Blue corner.
The problem, it seems to me, is that the Conservative party remains very unclear about what it wants from the European Union. It makes angry denunciations of the organisation, addressing its many shortcomings in almost apocalyptic language, but when you ask Conservatives whether they actually want to leave the EU, they usually pause and then say "No".
In that sense, the scorn that UKIP and others on the right pour on the Tories is justified- the only logical stance that one can take if you agree with the Tory analysis is to withdraw from the EU, and yet the Conservatives refuse to put forward withdrawal as their preferred policy. So the question remains open. What vision do the Conservatives have for Europe?
The Liberal Democrat vision is one that accepts the need for a pooling of sovereignty in certain areas, but which wishes to set limits to the areas of competence that the EU holds and at the same time to increase democratic control and accountability at all levels of government. In that sense we welcomed the Lisbon treaty, because it does actually do a lot of these things.
Presumably the Conservatives agree that the European union needs some substantial reform and some drastic pruning in many areas. So since they oppose the Lisbon treaty, then can we please hear from them about what they would actually propose in office and how they intend to persuade the other 26, soon to be 27, member states to back this point of view. The suspicion remains that Cameron can not do more than be "anti" because he can not unite his party around any agenda that recognises the EU as a fact of life. There is no positive agenda, and there can not be because of the Conservatives' own internal divisions.
Yet, unless Cameron can show leadership and speak out in favour of a positive agenda for the EU, the suspicion remains that he is still in thrall to the "Better Off Out" crowd, and that the Tories' expedient and unworthy alliances with Europe's least appealing parties will continue.
This is pretty immature politics- and could be very dangerous.