Saturday, 5 November 2011

Why UKIP members should join the Conservative Party

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Because I think the UK should leave the EU, plenty of folk ask whether I should join UKIP. These people point at the recent vote in parliament, at the Eurozone crisis and at the comments of the Prime Minister - things which, I'm told, demonstrate that the Tory Party is unforgivable pro-Europe.

These people have it the wrong way round. Most Tory members are 'eurosceptic' and a growing minority support total withdrawal - that half the backbenches in parliament supported an in/out referendum reflects that fact. My Party becomes more opposed to the continuation of EU integration with each passing day.

UKIP has done its job - its existence dragged the Conservatives away from their rather half-hearted euro-enthusiasm to a far happier euroscepticism. Now we need a push to ensure that the grassroots of the Party push home that position - holding MPs and MEPs to account on Europe. And this would be far easier if those eurosceptic - often anti-EU - Tories weren't angry at the leakage of votes to a single issue anti-Europe Party.

Add those UKIP votes - the anti-Europe vote - to the current support for the Party and there's a clear poll lead. A poll lead that would produce a Euroscpetic majority in parliament for the first time.

So long as UKIP leaches those votes, there will not be such a majority and we'll remain on that seemingly inexorable course to a federal Europe.

So, UKIP members, come on in, the water's warm and you'll be welcomed.

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12 comments:

LogicalConclusion said...

Maybe when the Prime Minister isn't raising taxes and whipping against a referendum on our membership of the EU, the Torys' 'Eurosceptic' credentials can be taken seriously. Whilst a cretin like Cameron remains in charge, I expect far more will come to UKIP.

Pat Nurse MA said...

UKIP members are not just former Conservatives. The party is drawing in the disaffected from Labour and the Liberal Democrats as much as former Conservatives.

Why else is their vote increasing year on year. We smokers for start have crossed over because of UKIP's stance on freedom of choice and it's pledge to really cut quangos.

This is not just about the Eu.

Curmudgeon said...

Sorry, Simon, but the traffic seems to be all the other way nowadays. The "splitting the vote" argument might be a bit more credible if Cameron was actually prepared to stand up against Europe, but I see precious little actual evidence of that.

And his comments this week that the smoking ban had "worked" were beyond the pale.

I would be more than happy to vote for you and your local MP Philip Davis on a personal basis, but as far as joining the Tories goes, no chance.

Angry Exile said...

Not convinced, I'm afraid. UKIP is also rather less paternalist and big government than the Tories, although still too statist for my liking, and seems to be against the Tory/Labour/LibDem plan of borrowing your way out of debt. It's not just Europe that prevents me from voting Tory and I doubt I'm the only one.

Mike N said...

What is the difference between Conservative half-hearted euro-enthusiasm and far happier 'euroscepticism'?

They both leave us in exactly the same place. I would argue that the Conservatives are bed-blocking a genuine centre right party from emerging.

You talk about UKIP 'leaching' votes from the Conservatives when in fact, it is the other way around. If the Conservatives were honest about their enthusiasm for the EU, they would have died a long time ago.

I've voted Conservative in every election since 1992, but no more. The only way to make the Conservatives listen is to destroy them at the ballot box, specifically the 'One Nation Tory' MPs.

What you fail to understand is that many loyal Tories are now as disgusted at their own party as they are with Labour, they will never come back, especially with Cameron in charge.

The Boiling Frog said...

If I may, as a UKIP supporter, I would like to respond to a number of points that you raise in your post.

Firstly I get the impression that you're implying that UKIP is an exile party for former Tories. This is simply not the case. It derives its support right across the political spectrum. For example one of its heartlands is in the South West which is Lib Dem territory and one of UKIP's best recent performances was in Barnsley - a Labour stronghold. Asking UKIP members who used to be Lib Dem or Labour to vote Tory is a bit of a long shot to say the least. I personally have never voted Tory and am very unlikely to ever do so.

The second point I would like to make is the loose term of the word Eurosceptic - it is a term that is often misused. The vast majority of Tories want to stay in the EU.

You write "that half the backbenches in parliament supported an in/out referendum reflects that fact" That is not entirely true, the motion also contained an option to "repatriate powers" which means continuing membership - this what attracted backbencher support. The vast majority of Tory MPs agree with this latter option as indicated by your comment here: "My Party becomes more opposed to the continuation of EU integration with each passing day."

Repatriation of powers, though technically possible is not going to happen. Technically it's possible for me to land on the moon but the chances of it happening is precisely zero. Arguing for repatriation woefully misunderstands 'ever closer union' and the process of acquis communautaire. Euroscepticism is a term used to try to keep the Tory faithful on board while keeping EU membership - it is a deception.

And that leads me on to my third and more important point - that the Tories are not eurosceptic.

Andrew Carnegie once said “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”. This most definitely applies to Tories. In nearly 40 years, despite the rhetoric, they have:

1) Entered the EEC on a lie (read the 1971 internal document FCO 30/1048)

2) Campaigned in the 1975 referendum for a yes vote, including Thatcher

3) Passed the Single European Act

4) Shadowed the Deutschmark in preparation to enter the ERM.

5) Entered the ERM which directly lead to the early '90s recession

6) Passed the Maastricht Treaty

7) Have become, in Roger Helmer's words the most pro-EU government ever, since elected in 2010.

Actions speak louder than words and no amount of rhetoric can cover the fact that the Tories cannot wait to constantly integrate further.

To use a football analogy; I have supported my team for over 25 years, in that time I've criticised players, managers and the board but every year I still renew my season ticket. That makes me a supporter not a sceptic. And the same is true of Tories, despite the criticism of some aspects of the EU, when that EU season ticket renewal comes up they gleefully renew. They are supporters not sceptics.

Then there's this comment: So long as UKIP leaches those votes, there will not be such a majority and we'll remain on that seemingly inexorable course to a federal Europe. Leaving aside the question of 'Tories are Euroscpetic' as countered above this assertion has been my experience for a long time as a PPC and a local candidate. Tories have a habit of accusing UKIP of 'stealing our votes' or 'splitting the vote so Labour gets in'. Not mine or UKIPs problem I'm afraid, party polices are rather like goods in a shop, if no one wants to buy them that's the shop's fault not the customers. The solution to the Tories haemorrhaging voters and members is to look in the mirror.

And it's for those reasons that I will never support them or any other of the main party.

P.S. Sorry about breaching blogging etiquette by posting a comment longer than the original post but I think I've raised important points.

Sue said...

You've been duped!

They've managed to take what sounds like to me, an intelligent man and fooled you.

It's never too late to open your eyes!

ArnieEtc said...

Simon, I've got a lot of time for you, so I'll try to answer this the best I can -

I care about a lot of things. The EU is one thing. But I'm also a passionate believer in wide-scale constitutional reform. I care about education, and believe in the re-introduction of Grammar Schools. I think we should look at having on tax on Minimum wage jobs & maybe implement a flat tax.

I don't rate the EU issue as being any more or less important than any other policy I listed there. But the Tories are dead set against them all. I'm right wing, so are the Tories. But it's impossible for one party to represent all strands of centre-right thinking - just as it's impossible for Labour to represent everyone from the centre leftwards.

Imagining that we're just about the EU & will all swan back to the Tories when that issue's resolved misses the point somewhat. We're right wing, but right wing can mean a lot of things.

Secondly (and this is a more practical point): In many areas of the north, areas function as de facto one party Labour states. I'm thinking mining towns, etc. These areas are let down by that, but if you go on these estates in a Tory rosette you'd get chased out of town. You guys might not like to admit it, but the wounds of the 80s still run deep.

This leaves the poor people stuck with inadequate, unresponsive, centre-left representation.

But if I go onto one of these estates in a purple rosette & talk about how high council tax is, problems with benefits, etc, people listen! UKIP represents a vehicle for right-wing politics to reach out to a whole new group of people, a group which the Tories will never be able to engage with.

Anonymous said...

Why should we believe you? We were promised an referendum on our membership of the the EU prior to the election, but you lied about that.....
Try representing the people of this country, as you were elected to do, instead of being a sheep and bleating after the party leadership.

Pat Nurse MA said...

I would never describe Simon as a sheep but I do think his talents are wasted in the Conservative Party so why not come over Simon? You will find the water is very, very, very pleasant in UKIP.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but history shows the conservatives to be pro EU.

At a time where the UKIP effect pushed them into a coalition, where the Euro is going tits up, what we get is a failed vote for a referendum, and more money going into the EURO via the IMF.

Lot's of noise, little effect, (just like all this red tape we still have) I am thoroughly convinced that the conservatives will never be an option if I want out of Europe.

I really don't see a huge difference between the blues or the red's in practice.

Jim said...

Life long Tory voter here. Not voting for them again. You can hardly put a cigarette paper (how appropriate!) between the current government and the last. Nothing has changed. Money continues to be p1ssed up against the wall, ludicrous rules (mostly emanating from Brussels) continue to rain down on us, civil liberties continue to be taken, political correctness flows ever onwards, immigration continues unabated, taxes remain high, climate change nonsense continues to drive us all to fuel poverty, inflation is created to destroy our savings. I could go on and on.

The last election was the Tories last chance to get back in power, and reverse some of the last 13 years of Labour destruction and they blew it. They are just a bunch of professional politicians, like all the others, with not an ounce of experience of real life between them, and just out to line their own pockets.

UKIP for me next time. They can't be any worse than this shower of chancers.