Ken Clarke has a remarkable ability for telling it as it is. His party's position on the EU is absolutely barmy. It is not at all clear at this stage that Barack Obama acknowledges or respects a notion of a 'special relationship': that there is a special historic and strategic relationship between the US and the UK. To stack the pragmatic assessment that the UK is worth dealing with in our favour we have to demonstrate that we are influential.
What Ken Clarke's comments reveal is that it is a false dichotomy between being pro-European and Atlanticist. Historically, the US has always wanted Britain to be an active and influential player in Europe. It will be no different when it comes to this new administration. Does influence matter? Yes, if we want to gear both the EU and US towards our vision of world affairs, security, of open trading relations, of solving the climate change crisis. A France-US oriented relationship will come to very different conclusions than one that is more influenced by the UK.
The message is clear. A Cameron Government would be harmful for Britain's strategic interests. Any plea they make to the contrary just doesn't wash while their current antipathy for engagement with the EU remains intact.