It could be argued that the Conservatives were always going to lose the 1997 election. Despite the economy being on the up, after 18 years of Tory rule the mantra of change was hard to argue against. It could also be argued that what turned a defeat into a landslide was Conservative eurosceptics who never forgave John Major for the Maastricht treaty and so tore him down at every opportunity. So, we ended up with barely 200 Conservative MPs and Labour could dominate the political debate in a way that they could never have done with a more numerous opposition in parliament.
At this point some of those same eurosceptics jumped ship into UKIP in order to carry on with their life goal of preventing Conservatives getting elected. This is the root of Brown's betrayal over Lisbon. With most of the UK population very wary of the encroaching power of EU institutions those most exercised about the issue have conspired to ensure that eurosceptic views have the least representation in Westminster. Their cry is always that the UK parliament doesn't matter any more because everything is decided in Brussels. Yeah, right. Brussels didn't take us to war four times. Brussels didn't give us the worst recession, ever. Brussels didn't open our borders for uncontrolled immigration. Brussels didn't even ratify the Lisbon Treaty. With that last act the usual suspects appear to be blaming the Conservatives for not offerring a meaningless referendum instead of Labour for not offering us a real one. Hell, with a handful more MPs David Cameron could have got have got a referendum vote through parliament because many Labour MPs were sickened enough at their party's betrayal of its manifesto commitment to vote with the opposition. There weren't enough Conservative MPs, but there might have been if those broadly on the same side of the European debate had stood together.
With a general election coming up I expect that the same supposedly eurosceptics, people who have allowed a minority federalist view to dominate British politics, will be up to their old tricks. They will be demanding a referendum on a signed treaty, showing a breathtaking ignorance of the way international relations operates, and rubbishing any real an practical suggestions on repatriating powers form the EU. The threat will be that if the Conservatives don't do what they want then they will campaign for a protest vote. Well, that's what you have done since 1997 and look where it has got us. Lisbon is at least partly your fault.
Don't blame me. I voted Conservative.