By Philip Stephens
This article has been updated since it was first published on January 23 2013
There is nothing inevitable about Britain’s departure from the EU. Yet history could well record that David Cameron set the nation on this course.
That was not the prime minister’s purpose when he delivered his much-delayed speech on Britain’s future in Europe. Even as he promised a tough renegotiation of the terms of British membership, followed by an in-out referendum in the next parliament if the Conservatives win the 2015 election, he was making the case for staying in.
This was politics as tightrope walking – a speech calculated to hold together a fractious and increasingly eurosceptic Tory party, ...