Opinion: From out Readers - Tories blinded by hatred of Europe

What is the Conservative psychosis about Europe? While most people see the benefits of closer union, even those with concerns rarely consider it the number one political issue on their minds.

The Conservatives want to reduce the EU's effectiveness and reach while remaining part of it. Europe is like a bad marriage: they hate it, but they just can't leave it. Tory MPs and members hate Europe and want to be out of it. The leadership hates Europe just as much, but it recognises the public would turn against it if it turned its back on Europe.

So to be elected leader, David Cameron gave away his international influence. Rather than be an important part of the leading centre-right group in the European Parliament, he decided to be sidekick to some homophobic and anti-Semitic Latvians, consequently souring his relationship with Europe's leading centre-right figure, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Now Tony Blair's name is being touted for the role of President of the European Council. The two-and-a-half-year appointment was envisaged to provide greater leadership and direction than the six-month rotating presidency, which gave no-one time to achieve much.

Despite Blair having the backing of the right-wing leaders in Europe, his obvious stature, and even the likelihood that he would work closely with a Conservative government, Cameron still cannot bring himself to back the British candidate.

Britain's influence in the world is less important than this hatred of Europe, and William Hague's diplomatic campaign against Blair has amazed other European leaders, who would be delighted to have a compatriot in the role.

The Lisbon Treaty itself means more powers to the elected European Parliament, more voting by population (which benefits Britain), more powers for national parliaments to reject measures, and, for the first time, the power for a nation to leave the EU. If the Tories wanted to improve the EU, they would back Lisbon and then use their influence to promote the next reforming treaty. But their psychosis won't let them.

- Alex Hilton is a Labour parliamentary candidate and founder of political blogs Labourhome and Recess Monkey.

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