So, the "Eurosceptic" Tories are offering us a referendum on European Union membership.
Or are they just laying the ground for a grand coalition for a 2017 vote to stay in the EU?
Frankly Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has sought to dampen down growing popular opposition to EU membership by promising a referendum in about five years' time, after the Europhile party leadership has negotiated a "new settlement."
"And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice," he says.
This manoeuvre is meant to garner EU-critical votes at the next election and allow the Tories to campaign alongside the Lib Dems and Labour leaderships to stay locked into the EU permanent austerity machine.
While euro-fanatic Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg huffs that EU renegotiation "is not in the national interest" and Labour leader Ed Miliband confirms that "we don't want an in-out referendum," both know Cameron's gambit is designed to maintain unity among the political elite they are all part of.
The Conservative Party has always been a supporter of the creation of an undemocratic European superstate dominated by corporate capital.
Cameron's forebears Ted Heath, John Major and even Margaret Thatcher all lied through their teeth and enthusiastically signed the various treaties designed to bring this about.
When Thatcher belatedly tried to reverse this long-held policy and opposed Britain's membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the single currency she was "kicked out like a dog in the night," as Denis Skinner rightly put it back in 1990.
The Tories' current "renegotiation" ploy is a scam.
The reality today is that Cameron cannot make any meaningful changes to EU structures without the support of all 27 member states, a deliberately impossible task.
Miliband and his Tory grandee Europhile allies like Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine know that this is the case but they too are huffing and puffing in tandem with the doomed Clegg.
The Labour leadership's craven support for the EU will further alienate working-class voters.
It is clear, despite the valiant stand by 30 or so Labour MPs calling for such a vote now, that Labour will lose as many votes to Ukip as the Tories. It's time the labour movement stopped sticking its collective head in the sand.
Utopian dreams about a "social Europe" will not prevent the damage done by EU treaties which remove real democracy from voters and hand power to rapacious corporate capitalism.
Instead of promoting the likes of Heseltine as economic gurus it's time the TUC realised that EU rules and treaties only inflict permanent austerity at home and perpetual imperialist war abroad.
That is why TUC delegates voted to oppose the Lisbon Treaty.
Over 50 years ago Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell's last conference speech in October 1962 was wholly dedicated to joining the then Common Market.
"We must be clear about this," he said. "It does mean, if this is the idea, the end of Britain as an independent European state ... it means the end of 1,000 years of history. You may say 'let it end.' But my goodness, it is a decision which needs a little care and thought."
He was right then and it deserves thought now.
The labour movement must re-adopt the policy of withdrawing from the EU instead of holding onto the apron strings of the financial sector which includes the banks that caused the economic mess Britain faces.
Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have repeatedly stated they want to protect the City of London as the financial centre of the EU from which austerity policies stem.
That requires the election of a government prepared to stand up to the financial sector and transnational corporations by exercising sovereign powers and legislation on behalf of the vast majority of people in Britain.
One that will trade across the world, including on the continent of Europe, with an economy based on manufacturing to guarantee jobs and prosperity for the future of Britain.
That is not being a "little Englander," as many a Europhile drearily trots out. In fact, that was a term of abuse coined in the 1880s to describe those who opposed the British empire.
We should not cringe before those "little Europeans" who want to build their own empire - one which seeks to do exactly the same thing.
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