Roger Helmer abandons Europlastic Tories and joins UKIP

When this blog coined the increasingly common term ‘Europlastics‘ to describe politicians and tribal political party members/supporters who are pro-EU but claim to be Eurosceptic, it was as a direct result of comments made by Roger Helmer MEP in support of pro-EU Conservative MPs who were .

This blog had published a post that exposed yet more Tory deception, with MP Chris Heaton-Harris taking a leading role in a new Tory MP grouping that claimed Eurosceptic views when their Commons Committee actions and voting record showed otherwise.  Helmer stepped in via the comments to defend his friend and former fellow MEP while trumpeting Heaton-Harris’ Eurosceptic credentials.

While tribal Tories rushed to Helmer’s defence, our criticism and that of a number of other blogs that had joined the discussion, we learned that within Europlastic circles there was substantial concern about the way their fragile edifice was being demolished.  The Eurosceptic gloss had been wiped off and grassroots Tories were starting to accept the reality of the situation – their party is bereft of genuine Eurosceptics at senior and parliamentary level.

Roger Helmer’s statement that he has resigned from the Conservative Party (channelling Neville Chamberlain at the same time) and joined UKIP is a further nail in the Tory Europlastic coffin.

It suggests Helmer’s principle may have finally overcome the tribalism that kept him part of a party that does not share his publicly stated views on the most fundamental political issue in the UK today – whether this country is genuinely democratic and who really governs it.  While I am not a UKIP voter for reasons previously explained on this blog, I applaud Helmer for taking what I know to be a very difficult decision.

The response from the political blogosphere’s answer to Hans Christian Andersen is as predictable as it is laughable.  This is not a Cameron problem, it is a Conservative Party problem.  The Conservative Party does not provide the best, or any, hope for Eurosceptics. It remains pro-EU and anyone remaining in that party while professing to be a Eurosceptic is a Europlastic.

The fault lines in the Conservative Party now appear to be opening – and not a moment too soon.

14 Responses to “Roger Helmer abandons Europlastic Tories and joins UKIP”

  1. 1 Oldrightie 03/03/2012 at 9:17 am

    Sometimes events do not adapt well to Twittering. This floor crossing is one of them. Your post shows that and also the need for blogging to remain a bastion against those who would rather the three monkeys held sway!

  2. 2 Bellevue 03/03/2012 at 11:26 am

    I am quite surprised that UKIP are prepared to take him, frankly. On this very blog Helmer showed himself to be a europlastic of the worst water!

  3. 3 Odeston 03/03/2012 at 12:00 pm

    Mr Helmer will not be alone; he should be assured that, perhaps millions of others will vote UKIP at the next election.

    I, like all genuine Conservatives have had more than enough of Cameron’s mendacity and treachery.

    UKIP is, I think, our only chance to regain independence, but needs many more Roger Helmers to give the party real intellectual strength. Nigel Farage is very good and entirely consistent, but needs much more real support.

  4. 4 AJC 03/03/2012 at 3:15 pm

    Do not forget that the voting system for European Parliament elections – indeed any party list system – is not only undemocratic for the totality of electors but also for party members unless there is a full membership primary poll but also provides a ready means for party managers to get “yes” men elected who would otherwise not stand a chance.

  5. 5 right_writes 04/03/2012 at 8:26 am

    UKIP is open to all voters, even though it is more libertarian and therefore more conservative than other parties.

    Not many of them have the ego required to grandstand in the way that Farage and now Helmer (and last year Hamilton) are able to do. Bloom is good, but he is also routinely rude about his opponents, which though deserved, rarely goes down well, even if sometimes very funny.

    Anyway despite its myriad faults, it remains the best rallying point for anti-EUers, anti-professional elitists, pro-DDers and pro-Referists. Despite the many criticisms of the admirable bloggers that I frequent, it is clear that UKIP understands the frustrations, take a look at some very good speeches from the Spring conference.

    The reason, is that they seek people’s votes and they stand in elections, which no pressure group or blog does, however valid their message or criticism. Most people have heard of them and seen Farage somewhere, and the Thatcher-like throttling of the oxygen of publicity that is applied by the MSM and the BBC/Sky/ITV is becoming unsustainable, eventually the dam is going to break, with the result that MP’s are going to stick a toe in the water and join, the press and meeja will have no option than to give air time, and voters are going to actually vote for them.

    As a long term UKIP voter and supporter, I welcome Roger Helmer, and look forward to a Carswell or someone of his persuasion to start the creation of something almost unheard of in Westminster… An opposition.

    One thing that will no longer be valid criticism then, will be that it is Farage’s kingdom, he will be one amongst many of the increasingly strident voices in UKIP that seek to destroy the cosy arrangements that have been ruining our land for the last 40 or so years.

    And it can’t come too soon.

  6. 6 Lesley 04/03/2012 at 8:53 am

    Fair enough for him to leave the Conservatives to join UKIP.

    The Electorate in the East Midlands voted for a Party not for him. He should, therefore, resign and leave. The Party should replace him with the next on their ‘list’.

    The EU is all for this list & PR system and the MEPs must pay the price of their change of allegiance.

  7. 7 right_writes 04/03/2012 at 9:20 am


    In most cases like this, I would agree with what you say, however this is slightly different.

    Helmer announced his intention to resign from his seat in October, with effect from year end. He has an excellent relationship with his local constituency they have put him at the top of their list three times, and they understood his position, he was prepared to give up his seat to the next person on that list, Rupert Matthews.

    CONservative Central Office had other ideas though, they would not accept this arrangement and would not guarantee that this would happen. They (in the shape of the odious Baroness Warsi) seem to think that there are better candidates that they can think of… A woman, or a Cameron clone or something… Unfortunately for the East Midlands Helmer has always been an EU plastic/sceptic, as is the local association, and the next man on the list. As I understand it, that constituency association supports Helmer’s action.

    Helmer explained himself both to UKIP and the Daily Mail thus: ‘She has brought this on herself. I couldn’t make her do the right thing, but I can make her regret doing the wrong thing.’

    But, as I say you would be generally speaking right in this matter, as a for instance Graham Booth (now sadly passed), resigned through ill-health as a UKIP MEP and passed his seat to the next man on the UKIP list…

    Unlike all of the other UKIP MEP’s that have been sacked or done what Helmer has just done… e.g. David Campbell Bannerman, Nikki Sinclaire etc. and the odious Edward MacMillan Scott, the tory that went over to the LibDims.

  8. 8 Span Ows 04/03/2012 at 10:20 am

    right_writes, thank you for that reply, I was about to post exactly what Lesley had written but you have answered in full; however, “I couldn’t make her do the right thing, but I can make her regret doing the wrong thing.”’ does seem rather petty to me.

  9. 9 right_writes 04/03/2012 at 11:13 am

    @Span Ows… As I wrote, I would normally agree with what Lesley stated, and there isn’t really a sound reason under FPTP other than the protection of one’s own bottom, because a resignation triggers a by-election.

    However, under the list system, control from the top down is a real issue, as I explained, Helmer was content to pass the seat he won on to the next man on the list (another EU sceptic/plastic), but he and his constituency organisation were being dictated to by CONservative central office and this is the only tool in their box.

    Somehow, I doubt whether Roger Helmer will contend the seat on behalf of UKIP at the next election, I think he does really intend to retire, unless he can be encouraged to stand at the next general election.

    And as I wrote above, there is a certain feeling of schadenfreude here from my point of view, because UKIP has been on the wrong end of this sort of behaviour on every occasion barring the Graham Booth situation, the most recent being the antics of the execrable David Campbell-Bannerman, who can be seen regularly sucking up to Myrtle in his little video’s from the EP bear garden.

  10. 10 Lesley 04/03/2012 at 11:23 am

    Right_ & Span Ows, Yeah! But! The nods and winks of the local party are almost as bad a system to play with as any centre dominated, Warsi-doing-as-the-leader-tells-me. We just can not trust anyone to abide by their manifesto. This damned coalition has made fools of us all.
    I am an o/s voter and do not even get a sight of any paperwork other than the ballot paper. These days the BBC and Torygraph have their own agenda so we are just electoral fodder. I sometimes think that electing a President to run things may have merit – after all They want us to elect Mayors and Police Chiefs now. However, I digress and must get back to doing the ironing.

  11. 11 john in cheshire 04/03/2012 at 8:45 pm

    Has Mr Helmer been sent to UKIP with the instruction to destroy it from within?

  12. 12 jabbathecat 04/03/2012 at 9:48 pm

    @ john in cheshire
    “Has Mr Helmer been sent to UKIP with the instruction to destroy it from within?”

    Isn’t Farage achieving this quite well by himself?

  13. 13 james higham 06/03/2012 at 6:20 pm

    While positive, what precisely is his attitude now to change within the EU and clawing back powers?

  1. 1 Conservatives jumping to UKIP – are MPs next? « Spineless Liberal Trackback on 13/04/2012 at 12:23 am
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