The obsessive personality disorders of various rightwing Tory MPs are on display today. Europe is back at the heart of Tory troubles. And the right is making as much sound as possible on the vote due shortly in the Commons. Whether or not this will turn into a significant rebellion or a whimpering whine is yet to be seen. My experience of the last government was that there would be a great deal of noise from posturing backbenchers who would sign this or that early day motion opposing their own government. But most were too spineless to carry it through to voting against the government. The media had a field day with headlines about the government about to be defeated, but the story would be quickly forgotten after the vote revealed only a tiny rebellion by Labour MPs with the vast majority of whingers trooping their way through the government lobby.
Today hasn't been much different: backbenchers make a noise about rebelling and the media shouts loudly about a damaged PM. What we don't know at the moment is whether Tory MPs are as spineless as the moaning minnies that populated Labour's backbenchers whilst in government. There are some Tories who are so obsessed with Europe that they are very likely to rebel. After all they have been coralled into a corner by Cameron. They are completely powerless and have no future in government as ministers. Only a goggled-eyed alien from a distant planet would contemplate appointing the likes of John Redwood or Bill Cash to a governmental post. They have nothing to lose by rebelling.
But what about the younger members of the Tory ranks? Will they risk taking a stand on an issue that obsesses them but risk future ministerial careers? That is the unknown at the moment.
There are plenty on the Tory right who want to damage Cameron and make a stand against the Coalition that has locked them out of power but generally tethered them to voting for Coalition policies. The Tory right hates the Lib Dems. They hate the influence we have but they are powerless to do anything about it. A vote on Europe which the government will win comfortably seems an idea opportunity to kick Cameron without bringing down the government. The question is, how many of them are prepared to swing their booted feet in the direction of Cameron's political posterior?