THERE is often a turning point in every election campaign; the art of politics is spotting it.
Remember when John Prescott right hooked his foxhunting assailant in 2001?
Or David Cameron’s admission in 2010 that the north east would be hardest hit by cuts?
The prime minister clearly hopes his recent Europe speech will be a game changer. In his Bloomberg speech he said he wants to renegotiate the UK’s terms of membership before an in/out referendum around 2017.
It is a bold move designed to see off UKIP, pacify his party and get him through the 2015 election. As ever the devil will be in the detail.
Beyond the things we all fume about like the Common Fisheries policy, there’s no detail on what would be renegotiated or what would constitute success or failure.
But will the prime minister’s short-term tactics expose his lack of long-term strategy?
It is after all the long-term which matters in Europe.
No one can say the timing of the speech lacked irony. It came just days before Holocaust Memorial Day which commemorated the six million who lost their lives in what was essentially a European civil war.
Then there’s the matter of economic growth and jobs. I will shortly be visiting Nissan. I’m working with another big employer trying to make the north east a hub for IT.
They are global companies but particularly look to Europe, as many north east manufacturers do.
What is not helpful is the uncertainty which arises from not knowing the terms of renegotiation or the outcome of a vote.
I hope the prime minister, for once, has done his homework.