I was flicking through the channels tonight and came across a debate on BBC parliament. It was a debate between MEPs from different countries about the Common Agricultural Policy. It featured a number of European MEP, among them a UK Conservative MEP. Being very interested in Europe and the European Parliament, which I visited as part of my candidature for the European Parliament last year, which saw our excellent Lib Dem MEP Fiona Hall re-elected. Like many, I see the fact that the Tories split off from the centre right grouping in the parliament and joined a rag tag bunch of right wingers to form a new grouping and the antics of populist Conservative MEPs like Daniel Hannan as a sign of negativity towards Europe.
But the Conservative MEP, Richard Ashworth, was full of praise for the Common Agricultural Policy. It was a small price to pay for food supply, apparently and had "an image problem". It was left to the MEPs from France and Denmark to criticise the CAP and the EU for paying the top 20% of richest farmers the vast majority of CAP payments. So I suppose this leaves us with an interesting question on the Conservatives stance on the CAP. Are they for reform, reduction of subsidy and help for smaller farmers or are they happy with the course of the EU in this area at present?
You can catch it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sn69j#synopsis
and judge for yourself. I suppose it goes to show that the medias line that the Lib Dems are rabidly pro European, the tories implacably Euro sceptic and Labour in between might be a bit simplistic. Or maybe not.