The Huntsman has noted this in the Telegraph which suggests that Macivty’s latest wheeze is to plan for the next General Election to be held on 11th. June 2009.

Although there is many a slip twixt cup and lip, The Huntsman believes that this is a highly plausible scenario and that, superficially at least, the reasoning behind it has some merit for someone as devious as Macavity.

The problem for Macavity is that it involves a fundamental and profound misunderstanding of the vote for UKIP which has undoubtedly damaged the Conservatives at recent elections.

Firstly conservative Eurosceptic voters are perfectly capable of distributing their votes for Tory candidates in the General part of the election but casting them for UKIP in the European election, even if held on the same day. In this regard you may expect the English voter, where UKIP does the damage, to manage the different elections rather better than did the North Britons in the recent elections for the Scottish Parliament (The Huntsman looked at the ballot papers and reckoned that you needed to be very dim to make a mess of them).

Secondly, at a General Election many UKIP voters may feel that it is worth returning to the Conservatives if it is the only way to be guaranteed a referendum.

Thirdly there are plenty of Labour Eurosceptics who might take this as an opportunity to cross over if they consider that they wish to put country before pocket for once and vote in a patriotic way for a referendum (the case for which is already overwhelming and will become stronger by the day).

One suspects that Macavity may not have thought this through properly. He may believe that this will wrong-foot the Tories by making them emphasise their Eurosceptic credentials. In fact all he will do is, in the context of the whole package, is to make Euroscepticism a legitimate topic of debate, provided the Tories stick to a basic demand for a referendum without getting ensnared in the minutiae of which of this or that policy area is to be reclaimed from Brussels.

Not necessarily a bright idea, then.