Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stitched up like a Ukipper

In all the euphoria over the new civil partnership between David Cameron and Nick Clegg, we seem to have forgotten that the Conservatives should be running the country on their own.

Mr Cameron had an open goal and he shot wide. He missed out on a majority in parliament and now he has sold his party to the Liberal Democrats.

Why did the Tory leader blow it so spectacularly? Why, when he was opposing the most unpopular Government, with the most inept leader, during the worst recession for decades?

How could Mr Cameron have missed?

One answer is that in his desperate desire to cosy up to the Liberals even before the election was called, he betrayed his own natural supporters.

And it’s all because he refused to honour his own “cast iron guarantee” to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

The treaty, you will recall, is now signed, sealed and delivered.

Among other things it gives us the very first President of Europe, Hermann van Rompuy, and “the most powerful woman in Europe”, an obscure Labour peer called Baroness Ashton of Upholland, who has never been elected to anything.

The Treaty is the latest and biggest step down the road to a European superstate.

Given half a chance, the people of Britain would vote against it. For a few months, it looked as if a new Conservative Government led by Mr Cameron might actually offer that rare opportunity.

Then the treaty was ratified by all the other countries of the EU and Mr Cameron surrendered without a shot being fired.

He thought it would all get too messy if Britain withdrew from the agreement after it was in place.

Instead, he’s promised he won’t agree to any further attempts at “Eurocreep” – but it’s too late for that because no further treaties are necessary.

Ardent Conservatives are purple with apoplexy when they look at the election results, demanding to know why anyone in their right mind would vote for the UK Independence Party.

UKIP – dismissed by Mr Cameron as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly” – polled more than 900,000 votes at the General Election.

It didn’t do them any good. They didn’t win a single seat.

Even Nigel Farage, who thought he could oust the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, came down to earth with a bump.

But UKIP did achieve its main aim. That was to deprive the Tories of seats they might have won without the Eurosceptic party’s intervention.

Various experts estimate the Tories were, as a direct result of this, deprived of 19 or 20 seats at the General Election.

Another 20 seats would have seen Mr Cameron over the line into an outright Commons majority.

If he had simply honoured his original “cast iron guarantee” of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, most UKIP support would have melted away.

The Tories would be home and dry and Nick Clegg would be yet another also-ran leader of the Liberal party.

The terrible irony is that in the nauseating Parliamentary love-in we have witnessed this week, Mr Cameron has clambered into bed with the most committed Europhile party in British politics.

The Lib Dems positively want a European superstate. They would sign up to the Euro tomorrow. They would willingly surrender British sovereignty to Brussels.

One sceptic MP has warned: “Europe is developing into an empire, not a military or hereditary one, but an empire run in the interest of a narrow elite.

“Anyone familiar with the Austro-Hungarian Empire will recognize the characteristics and that in attempting to hold itself together this latter day empire became more and more repressive.”

These are the words of Gisela Stuart, the German-born Labour MP who was the British representative on the committee which drew up the European Convention.

Ms Stuart saw what was happening at close quarters and recoiled in horror. No wonder she managed to cling onto her Birmingham Edgbaston seat when all around her Labour MPs were falling like nine-pins.

If the Conservatives had adopted Ms Stuart’s tone in their approach to the EU then there would be no need for UKIP and no need for coalition politics.

The irony is this was not only the Tories best chance for years to win an outright majority in a General Election but possibly their last chance ever.

Now they have copped off with Mr Clegg, a former Eurocrat and Euro-MP, we may lose our first-past-the-post electoral system and get proportional representation instead.

That means hung parliaments for ever, with the Lib Dems permanently holding the balance of power.

Instead of the promised referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Mr Cameron will be offering us a referendum on electoral reform.

With luck, we will reject the idea of constant compromise, back-stairs deals and cobbled-together coalitions. But we might not.

All this means the people who voted UKIP have actually got the very opposite of what they were hoping for.

By depriving the Conservatives of an outright majority, they may have lumbered Britain with a permanent Lib Dem dictatorship.

The blame rests firmly with Nick Clegg’s new best friend.

No comments: