Posts Tagged 'Conservatives'

Newark by-election: what it tells us

The result of the Newark by-election is in and the media’s talking heads and the analysts in the parties are scurrying around trying to draw conclusions and pointers from it.

While there is much talk of halved majorities and the UKIP ‘surge’, it would actually appear, going deeper than the superficial glance  some normalcy is returning to Newark and the overall result is noteworthy for slightly different reasons.

All the analysis and reporting focuses on comparions between this by-election and the 2010 General Election.  But this ignores the exceptional circumstances of 2010 – where the least popular government in modern history hemorrhaged votes and seats, everyone in the bubble seemed to agree with Nick which boosted the Lib Dem share of the vote and despite the Tories being hot favourites to win, they had already conspired to underperform due to late policy reversals by Cast Iron Dave.

It would seem far more realistic, with the Tory-led coalition being unpopular and Labour doing OK in the polls, to look back at previous elections in the constituency to give a more ‘business as usual’ look.  Combining the elections in 2001 and 2005 gives us an average vote for the parties (main parties only) when the polls looked much as they do now.  In Newark the averages look like this…

While the media rightly points out UKIP’s performance as noteworthy in Newark having increased their vote there by 413% from 2010, are they really right to suggest the UKIP effect halved the Tory majority?  UKIP have apparently already fallen back a little from the European Elections performance in the constituency. But surely the bigger news is what the result tells us about the performances of Labour and the Lib Dems…

We can see that with this being a by-election the votes cast for main parties and the turnout are down as expected from 2010.  But look at the votes and vote shares compared to the 2001 & 2005 combined average.  Labour has gone from 36% vote share to 19% and the Lib Dems from 14% to 2%.

Labour might content itself issuing its current line that Newark is not its kind of territory.  But their share of the vote, for an opposition party seeking to form the next government, with their track record in the constituency in 2001 and 2005, is staggering.

In contrast, the unpopular Tories, whose MP had lost the whip in disgrace before resigning from Parliament, expected to get some punishment from voters but in fact despite this being a by-election ripe for a protest vote and a kicking at the hands of fed up voters, their share of the vote was actually higher than in 2001 and 2005.

No doubt many Labour voters stayed at home or voted tactically with UKIP. UKIP maximised its vote in its effort to score a major upset.  The Lib Dem collapse contiued to exhibit itself in amazing fashion. Some Tories stayed away to make their point or even flirted with UKIP. But even so, the election stats are remarkable for different reasons than the media would have you think.

One political earthquake looks likely to be replaced by another

National polling over the last few days has caused some ripples among political anoraks.

As Political Betting has highlighted, Labour and Conservatives are now level pegging on 34% according to You Gov.  The last time that Labour was that low with the firm was in June 2010 only weeks after the party’s GE2010 defeat.   With four pollsters in two days showing the same broad picture the trend is becoming clearer Labour is down.

Miliband effect kicking in?

It seems no one has quite ‘got’ why this has happened yet. Most people are not political anoraks and therefore take little or no interest in politics until the week before they are going to vote.  Now there is a nationwide election due and we are less than a year from the General Election, so more people are inevitably taking a look at politics, whether they will vote and if so who they will vote for.

This is forcing people to look at Ed Miliband for the first time in a while and consider whether they seem him as this country’s next Prime Minister.  It seems they are concluding that he is not Prime Minster material and slowly turning away from Labour.

Where’s the UKIP bounce?

What is interesting is that there does not seem to be any rise in UKIP support, as the national polling for 2015 still shows the party rooted firmly in the 15% range.  UKIP has made much of its belief that more of its voters in the forthcoming European Elections will stick with the party in May 2015, and that a political earthquake will result.

What this assessment seems to ignore is that only around 30% of the electorate will bother to vote in the Euros, with UKIP mobilising just about all its support.  Most Labour and Tory voters and a good many Lib Dems will stay at home.  In May next year around 65-70% of the electorate will turn out for the personality politics vanity contest.  UKIP’s current vote will be significantly diluted.

Make no mistake, UKIP has the capacity to hurt the Tories next year.  But if  Labour support continues to fall back and the UKIP polling share doesn’t advance then the Tories may mitigate a lot of the damage.  UKIP’s political earthquake would then only have power comparable to a fart on a waterbed as the classic two party squeeze returns.

A lot can change between now and next May.  But as things stand it’s hard to see people’s perception of Miliband changing, particularly as the economy continues to improve.  Similarly it’s hard to see where UKIP will make any new breakthroughs, particularly as its immigration strategy is permanently alienating many more potential supporters than it is attracting.

One earthquake fails to materialise, but another might loom

Cameron could well be on course for a second term in Downing Street.  It’s not a prospect that fills me with joy, but as a result of that the UK would be on course for an in/out EU referendum in 2017.

This could be the best opportunity for the ‘out’ side to secure a Brexit from the EU. That would be an earthquake right at the top end of the political richter scale.

2017 is a date well before a point by which Cameron could ever hope to deliver on his renegotiation pledges.  There is no prospect of treaty change, which Cameron acknowledges some of his pledges require if they are to be delivered.  Four years after promising reforms he would have achieved nothing and would fight a referendum on a platform of promises that he can deliver, eventually.

People would see the reality that repatriation of meaningful powers to nation states just will not be allowed to happen.  Just like that crushing moment when a child discovers Father Christmas is not real, many pro-reformers will finally see their fantasy for what it is and admit at last the only options are in or out.

At least that is what will happen, if UKIP don’t secure enough votes in 2015 to deprive the Conservatives of some seats they currently hold in Parliament.  UKIP supporters face a paradox:

  • fight the Tories and do enough damage to prevent them winning the 2015 election, handing Downing Street to Miliband and thus losing any hope of bringing about a winnable in/out referendum.  Or,
  • don’t fight the Tories in the hope that they win the election and present EUsceptics with the golden opportunity they have craved for decades, to have and fight a winnable referendum and take Britain out of the EU

Welcome to the often soul destroying world of realpolitik.  After more than 20 years of campaigning to get the UK out of the EU, UKIP may find itself in a position where putting party first actually deprives voters of the chance to escape from the control of Brussels.

Another steaming pile of Europlastic bullshit

The Europlastics are at it again today in the Telegraph, again in the shape of Jacob Rees-Mogg – aka Pooh Bear, on account of him being an MP of very little brain.

The response to Pooh’s piece is very simple and I left it in the comment thread.  However it is reproduced below for the benefit of readers who are not minded to venture onto the Barclay Brothers’ online circus…

What part of surrendering political control (sovereignty) to the EU over a number of decades is it that Rees-Mogg doesn’t understand?

Parliament accepted the EU’s plan for ever closer integration without ever asking the people if we agreed. The Tories even championed enlargement so more foreign entities would help determine how Britain will be run. Now they don’t like being powerless and pretend EU control was not part of the plan.

The European project, even since the 1920s and Monnet and Salter’s plans for a United States of Europe, has always been about governance from the centre and outside of democratic control. It has never been a secret. The European Scrutiny Committee’s proposal to give Parliament an emergency brake is therefore ridiculous. It is fantasy politics, signing up to the rules then complaining about their impact.

The fantasy continues as the Tories pretend they can unpick 80 years of European efforts to create a United States of Europe with their unknown ‘reforms’. Britain can’t force a treaty change, it can’t convene an Intergovernmental Conference and it can’t persuade enough EU states to agree to sweeping away the very foundations of what they also signed up to.

There is one choice. In, or out. No mythical reforms, no fake renegotiations. No pathetic ‘Fresh Starts’ or Matthew Elliott wheezes. No more moronic pieces in the Telegraph talking about non-starter plans that can never be realised. Just give us a straight choice where the people decide in a BINDING referendum who should run Britain. Anything else is just game playing.

No, the EU has not gone off the rails; we are seeing what was always intended

The Tories are at it again, pushing their lie that the “Common Market” started off with good intentions and somehow went off the rails.  It is laughable because this argument cannot withstand the merest wisp of a breeze of scrutiny of the substantial mountain of evidence that underlines the truth. What we are seeing is what was always intended.

The European project has not lost its way or gone beyond its original plan.  It is firmly on track to achieve what its architects set out to do.

But that doesn’t stop the likes of John Redwood and an assortment of nice/nasty but dim Europlastics in the Conservative Party, and their corporatist proxies such as Open Europe, from chuntering about a mythical renegotation of UK membership and wider reform of the EU, because the union has supposedly gone further than they ‘believe’ was intended.  These people need only to trouble themselves to read the substantial body of documents and speeches by the European project’s leading lights, dating from the present all the way back as far as the end of World War I, to see how deluded and ignorant their ‘off the rails’ argument is.

While the EUphile media in the UK laps up the Tory ‘off the rails’ lie and reports the faux fightback it as if it were a defining issue of our time – because like the media the Tories want to keep the UK firmly under the control of the supreme government in Brussels – in reality this hoo-haa is just for domestic consumption by a British audience, to service the vested interests of corporations that benefit from EU membership and rule by bureaucracy, while the negative consequences of membership are experienced by ordinary people as the democratic process is eroded and the capacity of people to effect change is eradicated.

But in the corridors of EU power, this renegotiation/reform ‘debate’ so beloved of the Europlastics barely registers, as Mary Ellen Synon explained to the Bruges Group recently, because David Cameron reassured the EU last April that he would not take Britain out of the EU just because a referendum result was a vote to get Out.  Renegotiation and reform is a singularly British monologue and it doesn’t even make it into the EU’s in-tray.

The fact is there is no great crisis of confidence in the EU.  In fact the EU is supremely confident and relatively content with its patient implementation of the decades-old plan, hatched by the likes of Monnet and Salter, to develop one overall government for all of continental Europe.  It was never about creating a continent-wide free trade area.  The customs union was not the aim, just a consequence of creating a single political jurisdiction. In José Manuel Barroso’s own words, the agenda is ever closer union and ‘the EU needs to be big on big things and smaller on smaller things’.  Governance is a big thing and the EU will be big in governing, as per the long standing plan.

The European project was always intended, slowly and deliberately, to relegate national governance to nothing more than a rubber stamping operation.  By keeping nominal national governments in place, the distracted and barely cognisant populus would retain an impression of national sovereignty where none exists.  The Tories are either too stupid to read the evidence and grasp this; or too dishonest to admit it, lest their complicity in this long planned and slowly implemented subversion of national self determination is eventually recognised, understood and punished by the electorate.

Until the reality of the European project, and the EU it has spawned, is understood so people see the lies, delusion and misrepresentations for what they are, we will never have an honest debate about the UK’s future and this country’s place in the world.  Remember, those suitcases on the baggage carousels at Brussels airport so vividly described by Mary Ellen Synon in her Bruges Group speech linked above, have stickers that say “Europe is my country”, not ‘Europe is my free trade area’.  The reality of what has always been intended is no secret. It is ludicrous in light of so much evidence that the Tories are allowed to get away with their lie.

So long as the Tories and their proxies are allowed to keep presenting their distorted and false narrative unchallenged, the British people will never be able to make an informed decision about the central and vital question of who should run Britain.

Please help more people to understand the reality by spreading it far and wide, in general discussion and on comment threads.  It’s time that people had the chance to  debate and decide Britain’s future in an informed way with knowledge of the realities, not the politically-motivated myths that currently hold sway.

Police and criminal justice opt-ins expose Tory lies over no more powers to the EU

Jacob Rees-Mogg has one of those tiresome ‘catch up’ pieces in the Telegraph, where he has a light bulb moment about something that Eurosceptic blogs covered months ago and explained was a government Eurosham.

This time it is the turn of the faux opt-out from the police and criminal justice power grab by the EU to come in for Europlastic criticism by one of the backbenchers who helps to prop up what passes for national government in Westminster.

Clearly Rees-Mogg has been and still is labouring under the delusion that the UK is a sovereign nation.  But, playing catch up, he now has moved as far along the track as seeing the potential of the UK to surrender sovereignty as a result of the opt-ins  to the police and criminal justice measures – and ponders what prospect there is for Cameron’s faux renegotation if Tory ministers cede ground on this power grab.

But he does offer some value in his piece (no comments enabled, presumably in the expectation he would be drowned in a torrent of digitial ink) when he posits on the opt-out, opt-in shenanigans that have been taking place in the corridors of Whitehall and reminds us that we cannot trust a word said by Cameron and his fellow quislings when it comes to matters EU:

The Government promised to inform Parliament of its intention in February but delayed until July. At that point there was much urgency which has hindered the efforts of the House of Commons to hold the Government to account. The claims made for the block opt-out and opt back in are exaggerated. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, says that the block opt-out is “first and foremost…about bringing powers home” and Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor, views it as “part of a process of bringing powers back to this country” yet many of the 94 measures that will be permanently opted out of are defunct or trivial while the 35 to be re-entered bring the full authority of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Commission and the European Parliament to bear.

This is a tangible transfer of power against an intangible return. As the report says: “Adherence to any legally binding EU police and criminal justice measure brings with it the risk of legal principles and practices of other jurisdictions influencing or interfering with our own, as the Court of Justice will have the ultimate say on how it is interpreted and applied.”

The only surprise and disappointment here is that Rees-Mogg is suprised and disappointed.  One would have thought he had spent enough time in Parliament to realise many in his party and almost all of his party’s senior leaders are utterly committed to the destruction of our nation state and full assimilation into an anti-democratic bureaucracy, regardless of what the British people may want.

But national sovereignty, seemingly unbeknown to Rees-Mogg, has long since been snatched away from us.  In recent weeks the evidence of that has been all too clear, as EU rules on taxation have prevented the UK from taxing profits made in this country and off-shored to jurisdictions in the form of transfer payments.

The politicians wail and moan and try to rouse a rabble of ill-informed ‘citizens’ to protest at the behaviour of the companies concerned.  But they pointedly refuse to explain why this is happening and why this country cannot stop it from happening as long as we are members of the EU.  It is one of the truths that must not be spoken because the politicians want more of this, not less.

Breaking media revelation: Cameron secretly wants ‘yes’ vote on EU!

What would we ever do without our lamestream media?

Adam Afriyie’s electioneering inspired calls for an EU referendum to be held before the General Election are back in the ‘news’.  He has managed to push for a vote to bring forward Cameron’s proposed referendum, so his profile has been dusted off as the Mail indulges its fascination for parliamentary spats.

It is there we find that Simon Walters is in ‘educational’ mode, sharing his very special insider insights:

Afriyie hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of winning Friday’s vote. But merely by forcing a vote on the issue, he could snatch one of Cameron’s Election trump cards from his hand.

The Prime Minister’s ploy of offering an EU referendum in 2017 is his only realistic hope of wooing back fed-up Tories from UKIP and, in turn, his only hope of winning the Election.

A 2014 referendum would wreck that. For all his anti-Brussels rhetoric, Cameron does not want to go down in history as the man who led the UK out of Europe.

And he believes there is far too little time before Afriyie’s chosen date, October 23 next year, to win concessions from Brussels needed to secure the ‘yes’ vote the Prime Minister secretly wants.

No doubt this revelation will cause a great deal of excitement.  Who shared this secret with Walters?  What was behind it being leaked?  Is there a naysayer deep inside Cameron’s inner circle who doesn’t agree with him?  This clearly is clearly big news.  Why it isn’t on the front page is a mystery.  Thank God someone has revealed this to us.

Sarcasm aside, the story offers a smidgen of value as it reinforces the point that Afriyie isn’t doing this because he passionately believes in people having their democratic say or because he wants the UK to withdraw from the EU.  Afriyie’s motives are partisan in the extreme…

I did this because my conscience demanded it.

I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if, out of 650 MPs, not a single MP said, “Hang on a second, we should at least  be trying to get a referendum in this Parliament.”  The Conservatives are sleep-walking to electoral defeat if we don’t have a referendum before 2015.

Some conscience.  Clearly Mr Afriyie is this Parliament’s leader of the self preservation society.

Charge of the Referendum Light Brigade

Having been derided for his aspiration of leading the Conservative Party, Adam Afriyie, has now determined how he plans to exact revenge – declaring via the Daily Mail’s RightMinds section that he will force David Cameron to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership ‘now’.

This really is a new charge of a light brigade, misguided and doomed to failure.  While it may elicit excitement among Eurosceptics, an early referendum would almost certainly be lost and the UK would be shackled to the twitching corpse of the EU, for decades to come or until the whole ediface comes crashing down under its own weight.

The facts are these.  The Eurosceptics are in appalling shape and nowhere close to ready to fighting the kind of campaign required to win public support for an ‘out’ vote.  We would face a biased and distorting media where the selected voices on our side will be those who will undermine us with undecided voters and where, with the exception of the Express, even the supposed Eurosceptic press like the Mail and the Telegraph will support continued EU membership and push the false ‘renegotiation’ meme.

Add in to this the fact that Afriyie is not really pushing an early referendum to hasten UK withdrawal from the EU, but for narrow party political considerations.  Always delve into a piece if you want to find the author’s genuine motivations.  The headline rationale is the ‘acceptable’ argument only put there to earn sympathy from the audience.  As a piece goes on, the author lets slip what is really on their mind.  Afriyie’s piece is no different and his motives are clear in his article:

I think people understand the argument that if you vote Conservative you will get a referendum and if you vote Labour you won’t.

But we must not rely too heavily on the belief that the promise of a referendum will persuade people to vote Conservative nor trust the Labour Party not to change its position.

In reality, the British people are unsure whether the Conservative leadership would be able to stick to its promise of holding a referendum after the Election, especially if in coalition once again.

It seems to me that if we don’t hold the referendum before 2015, large numbers of people will continue to vote UKIP whatever happens – and if they do, there is a distinct danger that Labour will gain a majority and we will never see a referendum at all.

Protest votes are understandable mid-term, but mainstream politicians continue to underestimate and dismiss the power and significance of populism – currently expressed in the form of UKIP votes. Because at the heart of a populist movement is a legitimate concern unacknowledged by the political establishment.

By holding an early EU referendum, we would have recognised, embraced and addressed those concerns.

An early EU referendum would resolve the issue for all political parties as well as the British people. And for my party, I believe it will reunite the wider Conservative family so that we can win convincingly in 2015.

That is his Afriyie’s real agenda.  Stealing a march on Labour and neutering UKIP’s capacity for harming Conservative electoral prospects.

So we now can see the only reason why Afriyie wants an early referendum.  Narrow, party political advantage.  The conventional wisdom is that the Conservatives would benefit regardless of the outcome of the referendum – and that is what Afriyie is trying to sell to his Tory colleagues right now ahead of tomorrow’s amendment.  The national and public interest, which would be served by freeing this country from the EU, isn’t the primary consideration.

That can only spell bad news for our prospects of securing our exit from the EU.  Those who are currently excited by Afriyie’s construct should be careful for what they wish for.  Rather than throwing compliments at Afriyie, they should be hurling brickbats.  We have to suit up for a referendum campaign and be strong in order to win it.  The suit has not been stitched and we are severely under our fighting weight.  An early referendum is to be avoided.

Cameron is in crisis


Speculating in the late afternoon on the possibility of the government being defeated in last night’s Commons vote, which was designed to establish ‘the principle’ of using military action against Syria, John Pienaar argued such a defeat would represent a terminal loss of authority for David Cameron.

Well, it happened.  Cameron’s motion to prepare the way for military action was defeated 285 votes to 272. As the Daily Mail excitedly points out, the last time a Prime Minister was defeated over an issue of war and peace was in 1782 and the vote plunges him into a ‘deep political crisis’.  The Telegraph tries to play down the gravity of what the events in the Commons mean for Cameron’s authority, while saying the vote was unprecedented they only went so far as to say the Parliamentary vote ‘may also undermine Mr Cameron’s international reputation’.

What is disturbing is that the Government benches managed to secure as many as 272 votes for the principle of military intervention at all, particularly when all that was presented in evidence was an emotion-fuelled ‘judgement call’ based on a flakey summary from the Joint Intelligence Committee, which lacked any hard proof and relied as much on a lack of evidence that the rebels were to blame as it did on evidence that the regime was responsible.  It was in no way a sound basis for launching military action.  The dearth of hard information from the intelligence community and lack of certainty about who was culpable and what the consequences would be of intervention meant it was utter folly to bring the matter before the Commons and press for an agreement in principle to loose off a variety of missiles.

What would be unprecendented would be Cameron being able to rebuild his authority.  It, along with his credibility, has been shattered in stunning fashion.  The floodgates are now open, and for all his bluster this vote has solidified internal Conservative Party opposition ranged against him on a variety of issues.

Cameron, who achieved his sole aim of becoming Prime Minister, despite failing to navigate his party to an election win against one of the most unpopular and disliked governments of the modern era, has also now failed to navigate his own little military adventure for his vain legacy.  He has shown he cannot seal the deal.  He is now just a figurehead that has detached from the ship, to bob around on the political ocean, swept along by various tides and swamped by the big waves of the day, not in control of events and not at the front of anything.

This really marks the start of the end for his political career.  The Conservatives may defy the odds to bounce back, but Cameron is now too damaged and the ruthless power brokers in the background will now be looking at who could succeed him.  The Tory party dynamics have just changed dramatically.

How UKIP has fallen into a Tory trap and abandoned its priority of EU withdrawal

In the comments on the previous post, one of the commenters, Jacq, said something that deserved a considered reply.  However as my reply covers important issues that need to be understood more widely, I am sharing it as a blog post of its own.  In Jacq’s comment was this paragraph:

In some people’s eye’s, UKIP are damned whatever they do. Talk about something else like foreign aid, immigration etc, and they are “not talking about the issue that matters”. If they talked solely about the EU, the same critics would accuse them of having no credibility as a political party as they only had one obsessive strand of policy.

The reply to Jacq was this…

This opens up a very important issue. UKIP has proved the point that a political party cannot be the channel for a campaign of the nature of EU withdrawal. They have fallen into the trap that was laid for them by the Tories some years back.

When UKIP focussed on EU withdrawal they were accused of being a pressure group. So to appear like a serious grown up party they began to focus on other areas, such as the ones you mention and Farage’s ludicrous attempt (given his personal behaviour, some of which is not in the public domain) to espouse family values.

As UKIP has deliberately vacated the high ground on the EU to further their party political credentials and focus on Farage’s electoral ambitions, so the Tories and their outriders – having waited so patiently for their plan to unfold – have gleefully moved onto it and are relentlessly spinning their faux renegotiation narrative, setting the agenda with the lie that single market access requires EU membership, and having an unchallenged run in falsely claiming Norway and Switzerland get told what to do by fax without having any opportunity to influence the rules. Where UKIP should be tearing the Tory lies apart, they can be found in the pub or talking about anything but EU matters.

My limited attempts to draw attention to this, and the need for UKIP to not only rebut the Tory lies but reassure voters UKIP has a plan for getting us out of the EU while avoiding all the catastrophes Roland Rudd and his minions are claiming await us on Brexit, have resulted in the personal invective you refer to. They probably deserve more of the same because they have still not uttered a word about the likelihood of Matthew Elliott, a pro-EU Tory, being backed for leadership of any ‘No’ to EU referendum campaign. The Tories have encouraged UKIP to leave their house, have moved in, are selling off the possessions and now plan to let it out to their friends who will use it to support Tory pro-EU aspirations.

Because Farage, Batten, the Bowler-hatted buffoon, Nuttall et al are being criticised by us for not addressing with this central issue, their very defensive supporters have attacked Richard and me and berated us for not getting in line and offering unquestioning fealty to the Blessed Nigel. Regardless of the evidence we provide that a simple and easy to understand message (backed up where necessary with hard, uncontestable facts) can be communicated repeatedly, to reassure voters that we can leave the EU and retain access to the single market, because Farage and Co have not argued it we are charged with being pro-EU trolls, accused of walking us into a EU trap and rejected out of hand of being of any account.

What I did not include in the reply was this… campaigns of the kind that would be run to get the UK out of the EU do not work if they are run by political parties.  UKIP, in order to satisfy party political considerations, has backed away from the focus that is needed to achieve Brexit.  That is why they have gone ‘off reservation’ and are talking about issues that, ironically, we cannot possibly resolve unless we achieve withdrawal from the EU in the first instance.

UKIP has ceased to be fit for the purpose it was created for.  It has given up leadership of the Eurosceptic movement by pushing EU withdrawal and the focus on it down the list of priorities in order to play party politics.  Instead of keeping EU matters at the forefront of its agenda UKIP is devoting more of its energies to servicing narrow party interests, such as trying to appeal to floating voters and win council and parliamentary seats.  Instead of being the raison d’etre of the party, withdrawal from the EU is now just another element of a larger agenda.

Say what you like about the Europhile Tories, they know how to do politics and they have successfully neutered UKIP.  Sure, a number of Tory voters and floaters will back UKIP in the EU elections next year (and due to the date change, increase UKIP’s council election prospects) but come the General Election, UKIP will achieve hardly anything.  By the time any referendum came around, the UKIP piece will have been removed from the board and the Tories will be rolling the dice.

It’s time for a non party political movement to take the helm.  And it must not be the pro-EU wolf in Eurosceptic clothing, Matthew Elliott, who is leveraged into position to guarantee the false Tory ‘reform/renegotiation’ option goes unchallenged.  That would be the final nail in the coffin.

Delusions of the Living Dead, aka Europlastic Tories

A Victor Kiam moment here at AM Towers.  This blog post over at EU Referendum hit the nail on the head so accurately and articulated my own thoughts so precisely, I have ripped it off almost entirely, with only a few minor personalisations.

——————


Normally, I ignore Conservative Home. That part of the blogosphere remains the hunting ground for tribal warriors, and I have neither time nor patience for its party-before-principle guest and the attendant petty-mindedness.

Others, with tougher constitutions, still frequent the site, and I have thus had my attention drawn to this from Andrea Leadsom (above), who is still pushing her mantra of “meaningful reform” of the EU. And there is also this from George Freeman, also of the Fresh Start Group.

Actually, having read the pieces, I wonder why I bother – why anyone bothers. Neither are saying anything new, nor anything interesting – there is nothing at all that informs or inspires. We are not getting argument – simply leaden propaganda, repeated again and again, presumably to reinforce the belief systems of the faithful – for no one else will believe it.

Richard North’s answer to this was given in June 2004, repeated many times, but particularly in January of this year. These are Richard’s “barking cats” pieces, to which – in conceptual terms – neither he nor I can add very little. Leadsom and her ilk – including her Open Europe minders, say we must “reform”. I, and many others, say that “meaningful” reform is not possible and will never happen.

And those are the positions – fixed, unchanging. There is no debate, nor any possibility of debate. Disagree, and make the mistake of disagreeing too forcefully or too often, as you get “disappeared”. The other side do not want to know, any more than we want to hear the repetitions of their flawed, evidence-free and indeed ridiculous arguments.

From that, though, does not emerge a counsel of despair – simply a recognition that head-butting gets you nowhere. It seems to Richard – and I wholly agree – that a better strategy is to introduce new facts and ideas, which by-pass the blockage. Leadsom might want to bleat about “over-regulation” and “negotiating over tedious directives”, at EU level. We simply point out that the regulation is at dealt with at a global level and that is where the UK needs to be engaging.

On wind turbines, we can rehearse the arguments for and against until the cows come home and the macerated birds fall from the sky. But sell the idea that, if you buy wind, you get diesel, and pay an additional £1 billion extra for the privilege, and the argument looks very different. Similarly, take the claims of our influence inside the EU, and tell people we can’t even argue for our mackerel quotas and again the terrain looks very different.

But talking about the reality and sharing it with others who are not as well informed is why the opposition wants to control the flow of information. It does so mainly by ignoring new facts – by not discussing them, not debating them, not even recognising them. When, for instance, have you ever heard about Codex on Conservative Home?  Where have they added value or anything worthwhile to the sum of their readers’ knowledge?

Thus, we do not speak to the close-minded. It is a waste of time. The likes of Leadsom will go to her grave still arguing for “meaningful reform” of the EU, long after we have left the EU and it has crashed and burned. We can’t deal with that. This is the dialogue of the living dead.  The stake through their heart or axe through their head will be when reality – that thing they desperately ignore as they play party political games for a party political audience – bites hard.

Curious creatures these defecting Tories

Very interesting to read in the Telegraph today that Conservative activists have begun defecting to the UK Independence Party in protest at the Tory leadership’s ‘arrogant and insulting’ attitude towards grassroots members.

So let’s get this straight.

  • These Tory activists have stayed part of the Cameronista through broken promises over a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the craven failure to repeal the Human Rights Act and a raft of conservative principles being torn up.
  • They have seen the selection of candidate short lists taken out of their hands.
  • They have seen candidates they have voted to select in European elections passed over in favour of women who received far fewer member votes.
  • They have hung in there as a raft of EU budgetary demands have been paid in full.  They have sat tight as more and more law-making power has been thrown over the fence to Brussels.
  • They have remained in the blue corner as public borrowing and debt has escalated to shocking levels.
  • They have put up with Liberal Democrats derailing implementation of fairer parliamentary constituency boundaries.
  • They kept up their membership as wasteful and inefficient wind turbines are being imposed on communities against their wishes and reliable power stations are shut down.

And despite these and numerous other instances of the party leadership treating them with contempt and eroding their autonomy, only now are some choosing to defect to UKIP, apparently because someone in Cameron’s circle is alleged to have described party members as swivel-eyed loons.

While UKIP may be celebrating these additions to its membership, one has to ask if that party really needs to take on people who compromised their political principles for years by staying in the Conservative Party, only leaving when they perceived they had been insulted.  You’ve got to wonder about people that willingly tolerated such a sustained and overt assault on what they claim to stand for, yet leave on the basis of an as-yet unsubstantiated rumour.

Regardless, if it weakens the conservative-in-name-only Tories, then long may the defections continue.

Bring Cameron his booze, fags and easy women

The Barclay Brother Beano carries an unsurprising post election piece, headlined thus:

Start behaving more like Nigel Farage and less like a ‘public school toff’, David Cameron told

David Cameron should behave more like Nigel Farage and less like a “public school toff”, according to the Prime Minister’s former local council leader.

The suggestion from Keith Mitchell, former leader of Oxfordshire County Council, underlines the depressingly shallow mindset of the Conservatives.  Instead of enjoining Cameron to start behaving like a conservative (which he isn’t) and pursue policies that people in the country want to see (which he won’t),  the solution proposed to win public support is to mimic the behaviour of the party whose support among the total electorate in last week’s elections was 6.5%.

Clearly Mr Mitchell hasn’t put very much thought into this.  The mental image of Cameron knocking back pints, smoking cigarettes and chasing younger women around is too much to deal with.  Far better that we have Cameron behaving like the aloof, ignorant, social democrat enemy of representative democracy that he is, so support for him and his band of self serving Europlastics continues to decline.

Nigel Lawson awakens from his long Euroslumber

Okay. Let’s… I tell you what, let’s forget the fact that you’re coming a little late to the party and embrace the fact that you showed up at all.

That line from the West Wing is my message to Nigel Lawson today. I’ve always had something of a crush on Nigella Lawson, and I’m now starting to become fond of her old man too (not in that way).  First he speak sense on climate change, now he is speaking sense on the UK’s membership of the EU.

Setting aside the fact Lord Lawson’s u-turn on the EU is akin to him declaring that, in spite of the warnings and raft of evidence that was available to him, he is thoroughly disappointed that his expensively acquired tulips bulbs did not blossom into the beautiful roses he was convinced he would get, he makes the powerful point that any changes David Cameron might be able to secure from the EU will be equally as inconsequential as the crumbs from the table hailed by Harold Wilson as the outcome of a successful renegotiation with ‘Europe’ in the 1970s.

After years of delusion and self deception, it has finally dawned on Lord Lawson that the EU is a purpose-built bureaucratic construct, with the sole objective of drawing power to itself and eroding the sovereignty of nation states to the point they cease to exist in anything but name.  That aim has never changed, it’s just that Nigel is now saying he can see it for what it is and rightly concludes the UK should have no part in it.

However, what is disappointing is that there is no mention in his comments to suggest Lord Lawson acknowledges the fundamental problem with the EU is that it is anti-democratic by design.  Its very reason for being is to subvert and replace democracy, because allowing the people to determine for themselves what they want would result in the EU’s collapse, which would not suit the corporatist interests it serves.

So Nigel Lawson has correctly identified the remedy, even if it is still not clear to him what the ailment is.  It’s progress of sorts.

Now we just hope more people will listen to this political heavyweight and see through Cameron’s pathetic charade of a loosely defined ‘re-negotiation’ before he declares success and recommends the UK stays part of the EU, regardless of how little control over our own affairs he repatriates from Brussels.

Cameron in Thatcherite shocker!

According to a piece in the Daily Wail, when asked directly whether he was a Thatcherite, David Cameron replied:

‘No… Other people might call me that. I think the label’s now… it’s slightly become… labels now don’t quite mean what they did then.

‘I was a tremendous Mrs Thatcher supporter… The battles she won were so important for our country, but there are now different challenges and things that need to be dealt with.’

The shock in all this?  That some idiot saw fit to ask Cameron if he was a Thatcherite in the first place.

A cursory look at Cameron’s dismal record, his limp behaviour in opposition, his failure to win an election against the most unpopular Prime Minister in living memory, a quick scan of his front bench at the wets he surrounds himself with – especially that treacherous, backstabbing, europhile quisling and plotter-in-chief who worked tirelessly to bring down Thatcher, Ken Clarke – the accelerating departure from conservative principles, the vacuum that exists where conviction should reside, the two-faced rank hypocrisy, and an absence of any connection or empathy with ordinary people… yet some witless fool has the stupidity to ask if he is a Thatcherite?

For crying out loud.

Conservatives cost you less, do they?

From Richard at EU Referendum we have a story about the growing power of the European Parliament, relative to that of the European Commission.  But what the story also does is give lie to the often made claim by Conservatives that they cost you less.

The story is about the European Parliament rejecting a Commission plan to force up the price of so-called carbon credits, by delaying the auction of a variety of credit denominations until the end of the 2013-20 period, known as ‘backloading’.  The cost of carbon credits are passed on to consumers, driving up the cost of energy and goods.

But it is the background to the story which should be more interesting to British voters, as it demonstrates that the publicly stated concern of David Cameron and his crew of neo-Social Democrats about the energy prices people in this country pay, is a deceitful sham.

It transpires that David Cameron instructed Conservative MEPs to vote for the Commission’s proposal, in favour of forcing up carbon credit prices.  No, you did not misread that.  The official British position was to support the Commission’s attempts to ramp up the carbon price.   Some of the Tory MEPs rebelled and voted against, contributing to the rejection of the proposal by a mere 19 votes.  Think back to Cameron’s very public concern about energy prices for the hard pressed consumers and threats to legislate against the energy companies to force them to put customers on their lowest tariffs, then consider what happened in Brussels, and we have (more) hard evidence that Cameron is a duplicitous fraud and the claim that Conservatives cost you less is a blatant lie.

Following the vote the price of credits dropped to an all-time record low and the carbon market finds itself in a fair bit of trouble.  You might think this is good news and the end of the matter.  But there’s more.  Because to compound Cameron’s cynical actions we are reminded of something rather important by Richard :

Sadly, though, Britain does not get the benefit of this market collapse, Mr Osborne having already decided to add to the cost of the carbon credits, with an additional £4.94 in carbon tax. This, while continental industry and electricity consumers will be paying something like £2 per ton of carbon dioxide produced, the British equivalents will be paying about £7.

With the UK government committed to driving the carbon price up to £18 in 2018, to £30 in 2020 and to £70 in 2030, using the carbon tax mechanism, we now face the spectre of the EU’s carbon market collapsing completely, leaving the UK as the only country in the EU handicapped in this way.

As this blog always encourages people, ignore the spin and the weasel words and judge politicians by their actions.  We have the high borrowing, high taxing, wasteful spending antics of Labour and Liberal Democrat incompetents and, with this story, yet more evidence should any be needed that the Conservatives are absolutely no different.

Assuming in your area the Conservatives still have sufficient members to go door-to-door canvassing ahead of the County Council elections, if you want to have a little fun, share this story with them and ask them to explain how Conservatives cost you less.

Arch Tory Timmy and the Conservative fetish for big government

It’s interesting to see that Timmy of The Times has been holding forth over on the ConservativeHome blog.  He is arguing that although David Cameron is not a great leader, he can still win the next General Election and should not be ousted by the party’s MPs.

In his assessment, Timmy references a story hidden behind the same Times paywall where he will be shrinking to greatness, talks about the way Cameron has allowed the so-called centre right vote to be split:

Most of all, I hold Cameron responsible for the splitting of the centre right vote. Successful leaders spend 50% of their time looking after their existing voters and 50% reaching out to new voters. In recent months Cameron has scrambled back to a more balanced approach but the damage is already done. UKIP is booming in the polls and today’s FT reports (£) that they are about to broaden further – adding a low tax message (which seems completely unaffordable to me) to their existing core messages on Europe and immigration. UKIP, remember, don’t need to win a single seat in order to still deny Tory candidates victory in key marginals.

As you can see from the piece I have emphasised in bold, Timmy has his eye on the fusion between electoral appeal and economics.  The piece in the Times that he refers to is summarised on ConHome’s main page as follows:

“The UK Independence party is to broaden its electoral message beyond its usual campaigns against Europe and immigration with a new tax strategy aimed squarely at swing voters in middle Britain. Godfrey Bloom, the party’s economics spokesman, wants to create a flat rate of income tax at 25 per cent with a personal allowance of £13,000, a policy which he accepts will bring particular benefits to middle earners. Meanwhile, in another attempt to chisel support away from the Conservatives, Mr Bloom also wants to allow non-working parents to transfer their tax allowance to a working spouse.”

Timmy’s big problem here is the same one that infests the Cameron Conservatives; the belief that the plans UKIP are putting forward are unaffordable because government has to spend so much money.  It is this kind of lazy thinking, and the authoritarian bent that accompanies it, which is causing so much financial misery to ordinary people.

UKIP’s economic plan is entirely affordable – as long as the government stops spending money on non-essential services and provisions.  But politicians of every stripe are in an arms race to make promises to voters that cannot be delivered without stealing ever greater sums of our money.

And when the consequences of a government’s irresponsible spending, unaffordable borrowing, increasing taxation and syphoning of our wealth to service its own ends become so serious they can no longer be hidden, we are presented with the ‘false choice’.  Brandon Smith, writing on this from an American perspective on Zero Hedge, defines it superbly when he writes:

Large and corrupt governments love to use the magic of the false choice.  For instance, “…it is better to sacrifice some of your money and your principles to the establishment than it is to live through total collapse of the nation…”  This false choice process, though, never ends.  The offending government will demand more property and more freedom from the citizenry everyday while constantly warning that if we do not submit, the alternative will be “far worse”.

The truth is, Cyprus is not the issue.  What the disaster in Cyprus reflects, however, concerns us all.  It is a moment of precedence; an action which sets the stage for the final destruction of the idea of private property.  It dissolves one of the final barriers to total government control.  Governments and elitists have always stolen from the public through misspent taxation and rampant inflation, but with Cyprus, we see a renewed feudalistic paradigm.  The EU and the banking hierarchy are sending a message to the Western world:  You are now their personal emergency fund, and nothing you own is actually yours anymore.

When an institution confiscates property and capital at will from a subdued and frightened populace without consent, they are essentially exploiting the labor of that populace.  In any culture or language, this is called “slavery”.

The Tories, for all their pontificating about personal freedom and responsibility, are following this exact path, just as Labour and the Lib Dems would if they held ‘power’ exclusively.  This is the disease that has infested the political class and will harm us all.

Where Timmy should be shouting from the rooftops that government should not be continuously expanding and over reaching and does not need to be so big or spend so much, he merely whimpers that leaving people to decide for themselves how their money is spent and how they use their resources, is unaffordable – for the government!  How is that viewpoint reconcilable with someone who professes to want limited government and individual freedom?  He clearly hasn’t got a bloody clue.

The Conservatives will never return to the ‘common ground’

She often comes in for a lot of stick, but Melanie Phillips often articulates the reality of a situation with supreme clarity. Consider this rhetorical contribution directed at the conservative-in-name-only in Number 10.

“Mr Cameron does not have to enter an alliance with UKIP in order to reconnect to Conservative voters. All he has to do — revolutionary thought! — is adopt Conservative policies himself.

Since the fall of Mrs Thatcher, British Conservatism has lost its way.

Mr Cameron wrote yesterday: ‘It’s not about being Left-wing or Right-wing; it’s about being where the British people are.’

Well, the British people want to get back from the EU the power to govern themselves. They want to live in a country that does not resemble an international transit camp, but where citizenship is based on a truly common culture.

They want to end ruinous and pointless green taxes, and to conserve the countryside against urban sprawl. They want armed forces that can actually defend the country and a drastic curtailment of international aid. And they want solid, unambiguous support for traditional family life.

That’s where the British people really are, Prime Minister. The problem is that you are somewhere else.”

So, sadly, are all but a tiny handful of senior Conservatives. While I wish well the genuine conservatives who in spite of everything remain in the Conservative party, my decision to resign as a Conservative Councillor and leave the party, because of the direction Cameron and his cronies were taking, has increasingly shown itself to have been completely justified.
What Phillips is saying is in her own way is what this blog has long said – the political class’ interests are wildly different from the interests of ordinary people.
The likelihood of the Conservatives rediscovering the common ground is so remote as to be negligible. The party leadership has been infested by people like Cameron, devoid of principle or belief, who want to govern for its own sake; and who think they alone should have the monopoly on decision making and therefore refuse the electorate’s wishes on a wide range of issues.
The concept of representative democracy is just that, a concept.  Something the Philosophy, Politics and Economics graduates learn under the likes of Vernon Bogdanor, before heading off into the world to maintain elected dictatorship.  Compare and contrast with the way things are done in what increasingly appears to be the last true democracy in the western world…  Until the status quo in the UK changes the politicians will never come close to sharing the common ground with the people.  Power to the people, Citizen Cam?  Not bloody likely.

Louise Mensch criticised by Corby Tories as a Central Office clone

Conservative Party membership is nose-diving and with very good reason – the party’s grassroots members have been neutered by the Conservative Central Office machine.

Cameron may think he mashed the Turnip Taliban with a patronising campaign of ridicule, but grassroots grumbling has not gone away and has now returned in the form of the Midlands Militia that makes up the Corby Conservative Association.  Following the recent abdication from the Corby throne of wannabe Cameron Queen, Louise Mensch, and subsequent by-election humiliation in November that saw Labour regain the seat with a substantial majority, the local activists that remain are finding their voice again.  Speaking to the Northamptonshire Telegraph, Cllr David Sims, leader of the Conservative group on the borough council, said:

It could be very frustrating for us at times when Louise Mensch was in office.

The local Conservatives are not clones from Central Office or career politicians sent in by the party, but hard-working Corby people who care deeply about the town and who are involved in local politics to further Corby’s interests and to help bring this great place the bright future it deserves. Of course we wanted to win the recent by-election, but we are now in a position where the new Team Corby Conservatives will have the freedom to do things the Corby way.

Trapped in a party political model the Corby Tories will find their apparent freedom after the Mensch’s emigration affords them only limited room for manoeuvre.  They are constrained by undemocratic party rules and direction by an autocratic leader who can only be removed if a sufficient number of Conservative MPs trigger a leadership contest.

While some are defecting to UKIP far more are simply walking away from party politics altogether, despite being passionate about a number of burning issues, such as UK membership of the EU.  This is fertile ground for non-party grassroots movements to plough.  As more former party members realise there are campaigns in which they can contribute a great deal, party political tribalism will contract until it contains only the career politicians, policy wonks and ‘special advisors’ and the next self selecting generation coming out of college to climb the greasy pole into those roles.

Party politics is moving into old age and the countdown to its inevitable demise continues.  The future will be rather different and more democratic.

Tackling the Open Europe ‘in’ campaign

It’s nice to see the good folk at Open Europe being challenged by readers in the comments section over on their blog about their repeat of the plainly deceitful claims that the UK would have to follow all the rules of the EU while having no say, if we left the EU and joined EFTA; and that by staying inside the EU the UK has ‘influence’.

Open Europe takes its lead from Rodney Leach, also known as the Tory peer, Baron Leach of Fairford. Leach, like all Tory europlastics, claims to be eurosceptic yet advocates and campaigns for the UK to remain firmly inside the EU – which is in no way eurosceptic. The doublespeak is deliberate as it always has been, as the Tories say one thing while doing the exact opposite. Thanks to his marshalling of Open Europe the group is nothing less than a deliberately misleading false flag operation.

Despite this the press still refers to the group and its current Director, Mats Persson, as eurosceptic and quotes its comments as being eurosceptic – which causes confusion among voters who believe (rightly) the term means wanting the UK out of the EU, not staying part of it and trying to ‘reform’ it. After all, what kind of eurosceptic claims the UK’s options outside the EU are limited and all of them harmful?

To successfully campaign for UK withdrawal from the EU it is necessary to take every opportunity to show up the Open Europe position for what it is and to reclaim the definition of eurosceptic, so its meaning cannot be corrupted by europhiles determined to drag the UK ever deeper into Brussels’ control.

Tony Hall appointment at BBC demonstrates Tory corporate stupidity

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the utter stupidity of senior members of the Conservative Party.  When it was announced that Tony Hall was being appointed BBC Director General after the sopping wet Lord (Chris) Patten foolishly rushed in to fill the post without carefully examining other potential candidates for the vacancy, the Labour Party speedily showered Hall and the decision with praise and plaudits.

You would have thought Labour’s delight would have started ringing alarm bells in Tory HQ, but no.  Perhaps the problem is threefold.  Firstly you have the legendary idiocy of the Tory elite, which treats its members and the public with contempt while making all manner of balls-ups.  Secondly, perhaps Tories just possess incredibly short memories and therefore have forgotten about Tony Hall and what went on at the BBC while he was in cheif executive of BBC News and Current Affairs?  Let’s take a couple of moments to remind them.

Under his Tony Hall’s management, the BBC had an incestuous relationship with the Labour Party.  BBC staffers assisted Labour’s ‘rapid rebuttal unit’ by tipping them off every time a Conservative said anything that challenged Labour in the run up to the 1997 general election.  Former BBC journalists ran as Labour candidates (remember Ben Bradshaw who remained on the BBC Radio 4 payroll despite not working and instead campaigning to win the Exeter seat?) while Labour people went the other way into the BBC (remember Joy Johnson, ex-BBC PR professional who became Labour’s director of communications, then lost her job and was immediately re-hired by the BBC?)  What about the champagne strewn corridors of the BBC after Blair’s election victory and the BBC bias against the Conservatives that had Brian Mawhinney and Charles Lewington in red faced fury as the Patten-loving Major government was pulled to pieces?  It was under Tony Hall that the BBC effectively campaigned for Martin Bell in Tatton, without once challenging him on his motivation for standing or probing his behind the scenes relationship with the Labour Party.

Small wonder Labour has welcomed his appointment, and the corporate stupidity of the Tories sees them also welcome a man into a post far more powerful than the one he used to help to see the Tories ejected from office in 1997.  But what of the third possible problem?  Maybe the long stroll leftwards of the Conservatives, which has accelerated under David Cameron, has made the Tory leadership so indistinguishable from Labour they now share the same mindset enabling them to convince themselves Tony Hall is someone they can do business with.

The timing is incredibly ironic.  Here we are, mid-term of a somewhat unpopular coagulation government, where the Lib Dems are electoral dead ducks struggling to remain the third mainstream political party as UKIP catches and overtakes them in the polls; and the Conservatives are being painted as evil for supposedly trying to repair (badly it has to be said) the economic scorched earth of Labour’s insane tax, borrow, spend and borrow some more policies while continuing to fawn over the EU.  Labour is on top of the polls for simply not being Tories or Fib Dims, despite being led by an incompetent champagne socialist career politician who has never done a proper job in his life and who lives in comfort with a couple of million in the bank.  And now the man who gave Labour a free ride on BBC’s news output to help them win the election in 1997 is placed into an even more powerful role as head of the BBC, enabling him to ensure the BBC helps Labour to victory again in 2015.

Describing the Tories as lemmings doesn’t seem to go far enough.


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