Until the polls came out, I thought Carswell would lose in Clacton. Then I saw the lead; it was a seat Roger Lord would have taken anyway for their party. While I desperately hope the Conservative candidate wins in Clacton, it looks very unlikely.
Carswell is a man I heartily despise, and I told him so, to his face, in No. 10 Downing Street, when he was organizing the People’s Pledge Referendum Campaign away from his safe seat targeting Tories who had slaved to win their marginal seats. Douglas said “I stab people in the front, not the back.” That’s not true, of course; he immediately abandoned years of Open Primary lauding and central-party-imposed candidate fighting when he, Douglas Carswell, would benefit from being a Centrally Imposed candidate (sorry Roger Lord). But I would claim that it is true of me. I told him he was a wretched bully to target Jackie Doyle-Price in Thurrock – not only did he help Labour – as on the face of it he is doing in Clacton too – but he was, from his safe southern seat, an upper-class Conservative, destroying her years of campaigning as a working-class Tory in a wafer thin marginal. It was cruel, it was anti-team, it was selfish and vainglorious and it was bullying. I take a grim satisfaction in seeing Douglas dishonour himself so publicly by becoming a centrally-imposed candidate over the will of the local party and give the lie to everything he has pretended to stand for. The fact that he will win in Clacton and even the theory I am about to expound do not change my view of how he behaved to a real striver who actually fought FOR the Tory cause, not against it, like Carswell.
That said; Douglas Carswell has a first class brain. And for two people who have no regard for each other we share a close friend in Dan Hannan MEP. Dan co-wrote ‘The Plan’ with Carswell (the two argued elegantly against centrally-imposed candidates). The book contained some great ideas, and some that are far too right-wing for UK voters.
We also share a strong view that Britain would be better off out of the EU. I have resented EU interference all my political life, first becoming friends with Hannan when we were both part of the Campaign for an Independent Britain at Oxford. I do believe that with total reform (and it would need to be total) the UK might stay in the EU to share simple free trade. My version of “total reform” is as follows: No free movement to Britain, out of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, no financial rules other than free trade imposed on the UK, we could pool some international police resources for investigations, no extra-national sovereignty or judicial restraint of any kind. I do not believe in “international law”. I grate my teeth when anyone refers to an “illegal war” in Iraq, the premise being the UN needs to pass a resolution in order for the UK to go to war. That would be the UN that currently has Saudi Arabia sitting on its human rights committee.
I am for nation states and there is no doubt in my mind that we give to the EU immensely more than we get back from it.
That is why politics 101 resonates so strongly with me. You don’t split the vote of the right in a tight election and let Miliiband in. Nobody can fault Mil. He’s been honest. More immigration and no referendum. A UKIP fringe in Labour-Tory marginals equals one thing – Labour MPs. “So what, Cameron is so left they’re all the same” some UKIP supporters will tell you on Twitter. Well – and Douglas Carswell knows this – they aren’t at all the same. With Cameron as PM we get an EU referendum. With Miliband as PM we don’t. The end.
Even Nigel Farage, who is a true moron, knows that, too. But Farage hates the Tories, who kicked him out, and he doesn’t actually care in the least about an EU referendum or leaving the EU. He just wants to get on the telly, claim large expenses, etc. If he wanted an EU referendum as opposed to personal PR he would help Cameron win. UKIP, under Farage, have become a joke party. In the Newark by-election, where they were supposed to win, Farage sodded off to sunny Malta the day and night beforehand and stayed up drinking until 3 am, coming late to a count he lost handily. He’s allowed racists and sexists to stay in the party and every other week a UKIP councillor turns up saying something anti-semitic, racist or misogynist. Like a couple of weeks ago when Janice Atkinson MEP referred to a long-time UKIP activist (a Briton of Thai) origin as “some Ting-Tong or other”. Farage did nothing; Atkinson still has the whip.
This saddens me. Since UKIP voters exist – mostly but not exclusively Tories protesting that we are still in the EU – I would, like my several other Conservative MP friends – like to form a pact with them. They stay out of any tight marginal seats and we offer the party a share of peerages, or even stand back in seats like Clacton, which will have a much stronger Tory vote at the GE than a by-election and might let Labour in through the middle. We could work with their MEPs and form a block. Many things would be possible – if they weren’t a bunch of racist, sexist pigs under Farage.
Because wanting to leave the EU, lose foreign judges, control our own immigration policy, none of that is racist or barking. That’s sensible. That’s what I want and 75-80% of Tory activists want.
I would SO much rather have UKIP as a Coalition partner than the feckless “we love jihadis” LibDems.
What’s the barrier? Nigel Farage and his personally selected candidates. UKIP voters and activists are not the problem.
UKIPPers ask me why UKIP are seen as bigots. Here’s a random sample:
““no employer with a brain in the right place would employ a young, single, free woman” – Godfrey Bloom MEP
“Dear old Godders! Godfrey’s comment [as above] has been proved so right.” – Nigel Farage, asked to comment
“Why shouldn’t the Holcaust be questioned? Jewish race endemically racist.” – Grant French, UKIP PPC
“Hang em up first and ask questions later” – on Muslim women “repatriate six million immigrants” “Rothschilds controlled Hitler” “Let’s ally with Nick Griffin” (picture of Muslims burnt on a spit over a flaming Koran) – UKIP county councillor Eric Kitson
“Some Ting-Tong or other” – Janice Atkinson MEP on her Thai-British activist
““I just wish they would keep their homosexual nature and practices to themselves and stop trying to ram it down my throat telling me they are ‘normal’ when they are not.” Douglas Dennie, UKIP Bognor Regis, on gays
“Some gays prefer sex with animals” Head of Oxford UKIP Dr. Julia Gasper
“The evidence is quite clear that the percentage of homosexuals who molest children is very high and cannot be dismissed.” UKIP member Jan Zolniyac
“shop owners should be able to refuse services to gays, blacks and women” UKIP councillor Donna Edmunds
“pay your taxes to die of cancer if you want” UKIP ccllr and MEP candidate Donna Edmunds to a woman supporting the NHS
“God sent the floods for because the Tories agreed to gay marriage” – UKIP councillor
“Poofs.. dykes… perverts… Pakis…” UKIP cllr Dave Smalls, Redditch
In some cases the Kippers were sacked, in others they weren’t. In all cases, they hadn’t been vetted, and often had been saying these things publicly, for years, in their local papers, and on UKIP party member forums, The “Hang em up first” Councillr was suspended right after he had been elected to his County Council – meaning UKIP foisted a racist on those people for a full term.
Now no right-thinking Conservative can ally with these hate-mongers. Farage is also just a self-obsessed tosser, not interested in anything but Nigel. As well as his drunken stupor in Malta for the Newark election, Farage failed to field a UKIP candidate for the Mayor of London in 2012 because he couldn’t be arsed to put the party name on the nomination papers. In my own seat of Corby Farage promised to target me in 2010 saying “she’s definitely not our kind of people.” (Thank you Nigel, much appreciated). However in the end, his candidate, who had campaigned for years in the seat, didn’t stand, because he didn’t have the money for his deposit and the central party would not lend him the last £100.
Farage doesn’t care about getting out of the EU – or he’d help us get that referendum – or UKIP as a party – or he’d have helped out in Newark instead of getting shit-faced like a spotty teenager til 3am in a holiday resort. He cares about Nigel.
Finally then, there is – there must be – an opportunity for a UKIP-Tory alliance, if the racism and sexism are ditched. Farage is part and parcel of that racism and sexism by his inaction and slovenly “leadership” picking candidates. For UKIP to grow, Farage has to go. On the face of it, UKIP and the Tories share one giant common goal. An EU referendum. They should work together to achieve it.
As much as I don’t like Carswell, he is no racist and no sexist. He said ‘early days’ right next to Farage when asked if he’d be loyal. And today he has given an interview to Cathy Newman in which he repudiates Farage’s sexist crap:
Interesting that, because Farage has talked about not wanting to bequeath a country made “unrecognisable” by mass immigration to his children and grandchildren. Whoever you talk to in Ukip, there’s a strong sense of discomfort with 21st century Britain.
Carswell on the other hand waxed lyrical about the multi-cultural, equal-opportunity Britain displayed in the Olympics opening ceremony two years ago.
“I like the country the way it is: I like the greater equality and I feel very strongly about this. And I will have those arguments with people wherever I find it,” he promised.
Including with his leader, who’s said a woman in the City who takes time off to have children is “worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she went away”?
It seems so.
Because Carswell couldn’t disagree more with Farage, going out of his way to make clear he “would never characterise the argument about maternity leave in those ways…I think one of the great things about this country that is so much better and has got so much better is the fact that women and men have greater equality and it’s improved the life chances of men as well as women. If I come across attitudes that are out of date and that jar with my understanding of how modern Britain should be I will always tackle that.”
Farage should take note.
Newman thinks this means that Carswell will just leave UKIP and be independent. I hope that’s not so. I hope instead he will do what I once suggested Dan Hannan do – if and only if Tory HQ approved of it – and fight Farage for the leadership of UKIP. I believe that sensible UKIPPers like Patrick O’Flynn MEP despair of Farage. They would like a real Eurosceptic party without all the rants and hate that come with Farage’s version.
Carswell already ditched his principles by becoming a centrally-imposed candidate over the will of a local party. If, however, he is elected and then thrusts Farage aside, to make UKIP electable, to form a Tory-UKIP marginals pact in order to gain what Carswell has forever sworn is his great aim in politics – an EU referendum – then while I will never like the guy, it won’t matter; he would have realigned British politics for the good and helped achieve something I have wanted since those CIB days.
If he gets elected and helps Farage, he helps Miliband, and he destroys that referendum chance. Douglas fancies himself as a modern-day Leveller. I guess we are about to find out what he’s made of.