Mr Cameron, by committing the Tories to an in-out referendum, has greatly increased the likelihood that Britain will eventually leave the European Union, while a formal split within the Conservative Party over Europe now looks almost certain.In other words, the Conservative backwoods are supporting Cameron now because he has made it possible for him to oppose him in any referendum campaign.
Oborne also draws instructive parallels between Cameron's position now and Harold Wilson's in his last years as prime minister.
Another thing that strikes me about the Tory right is that withdrawing from Europe has become an end in itself. They are never able to spell out all the exciting things a British Conservative government would be able to do if only it were not hamstrung by Brussels.
It reminds me of the way that, after the Revolution, comrades are told of the new Jerusalem that will arise once the saboteurs and traitors have been liquidated, but eventually the Terror becomes an end in itself.
The most substantial essay there has been in this direction was Britannia Unchained put together by a group of young backbenchers.
But it didn't sound the sort of stuff to win over centrist voters. In the words of a Daily Telegraph report:
Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss, who are all seen as rising stars on the right of the party, describe British workers as among the "worst idlers" in the world, and urge David Cameron to reform work places along the lines of the Asian, rather than the European model.Britain's future as the Singapore or South Korea of the West? Suddenly the European Union seems remarkably attractive.