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By Paul Goodman
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Screen shot 2012-04-16 at 07.07.56

I've joined the great national debate about swivelling eyes in the Daily Telegraph this morning.  I'm not adding much to it here, but this article gives me the chance both to link to my piece and Tim's on Saturday – and also to showcase Carla Miller's illustration above.

The backbone of my case, reflecting on Greg Barker's warnings against the Conservative Party adopting the "swivel-eyed" rhetoric of UKIP, is that –

  • Yes, Euro-sceptics are often swivel-eyed.
  • But so are Euro-enthusiasts, such as Chris Huhne (Barker's former boss) and Michael Heseltine.
  • So consider the state of Europe's economy, and ask yourself: which have done more harm to growth, jobs and prosperity?
  • And while we're on the subject of swivel-eyed fanaticism, what about the man-made global warming lobby?

The essence of my case is as follows:

"Obsessiveness is in the eye of the beholder. And more importantly, much depends what one is obsessive about. William Wilberforce’s obsession with ending the slave trade was viewed as swivel-eyed by the establishment of his day. But who is regarded both as righteous and reasonable now – Wilberforce or his opponents?"

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