++ Coup for Ukip as Tory MP Carswell defects, triggers by-election in Clacton

Douglas Carswell, elected in 2010 as Conservative MP for Clacton, has today announced he’s joining Ukip and will fight a by-election under his new party’s banner.

In one sense, the news isn’t a surprise. Carswell is a member of the Tory awkward squad, its sixth most rebellious backbencher according to Revolts.co.uk, having defied the party whip on 46 occasions during this Parliament.

But on another level it’ll be a real shock to the Tories: Carswell’s right-wing brand is much less swivel-eyed than that of many of his fellow rebels like Philip Hollobone and David Nuttall. He’s generally a thoughtful, independent-minded politician, as he showed with his most recent book The End of Democracy. He is not one of the classic ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’ as David Cameron once famously dismissed Ukip supporters.

More importantly he has a very good chance of winning the by-election – he has a majority of over 12,000 and Clacton’s demographics are very Ukip-friendly – thereby giving Nigel Farage’s party its first elected MP. (Bob Spink was Ukip’s first ever MP, but not elected as such.) That would give a further injection to the Ukip publicity machine and give them a better chance of getting on the podium of the televised leaders’ debates. There’s also the hint this isn’t the only Tory-to-Ukip defection we may see in what remains of this parliament.

Coupled with today’s net immigration figures – up from 175,000 to 243,000, leaving the Tory pledge to reduce it to tens of thousands in tatters – and it’s been a good one for Ukip and pretty terrible for the Tories.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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114 Comments

  • Carswell is absolutely not one of the crazies. In terms of who the most damaging UKIP defection would be, Carswell is right up there. I agree with him on nearly nothing, but he is eloquent and thoughtful, and cares about far more than just Europe (which I feel most commentators will focus on). He actually highlights a lot of things that frustrate a lot of people about Westminster and is an avid supported of political reform.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 28th Aug '14 - 12:14pm

    If Carswell’s gamble pays off, it will give the Tories and Labour a massive headache. How much of their respective votes they retain will be very interesting.

    The result last time had Carswell on 53% for the Tories, Labour on 25%, Liberal Democrats on 13. It’s likely to be a very interesting and potentially close fight.

    To have Carswell as their national spokesperson, and potentially, if he were, say, to replace Farage as leader, and take part in the leaders’ debates could push them further into the mainstream. That’s something we should all worry about. A lot.

    Even if Carswell doesn’t win, more Tories defecting and causing by-elections in the next few months, could cause havoc to campaign plans and budgets.

  • It is nice to see a defecting MP resign their seat and restand under their new Party label.

  • Interesting times indeed. I have to admit that I have less than no sympathy for the Tory plight here, hopefully we’re witnessing the fatal schism in their bloc of support and the beginning of the end for their organisation. But what a replacement is about to be inflicted on the country.

    The most optimistic forecast is that the Tories are collapsing, that Nick Clegg is our Ramsay MacDonald and that people like Carswell can make UKIP into something more than Nigel’s vanity project or the establishment smokescreen it has become. Fingers crossed.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 12:32pm

    This by-election should be used to expose UKIP as a party of the extreme economic right which cynically hides that behind a superficial image of social conservatism and concern for the “little man” against the controlling forces of society – which of course it makes out are things like the EU, conventional politicians etc and not the big business fat cats.

    Please, please, can we avoid Clegg’s disastrous mistake of attacking UKIP by accusing it of what it wants to be seen as? People are turning to UKIP because they are worried and angry at the way society is going with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Yet UKIP stands for the sort of Thatcherite economic policies which have brought this about, and wants them in an even more extreme form than the mainstream political parties.

    UKIP has nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer to address the concerns of those who think it is on their side. It most definitely is NOT a “back to the golden age” party, because the sort of extreme free market policies that it is about are the very thing that has destroyed so much of the traditional “British” things that people get nostalgic about. UKIP is most definitely NOT about “UK Independence” because it raises the straw man of the EU while ignoring the way control of vital aspects of Britain has been passed to foreign billionaires and to the governments of other countries whose nationalised industries now run much of our privatised industries.

    UKIP’s real dream is of the UK as a tax haven for the global super-wealthy, with its native population turned into a servant class – and they’ll be replaced by coolie labour of they get uppity, as happened in the days of imperialism. Farage is a City fat cat, and most of his party’s funding comes from a City fat cat.

    Can we get this message across?

  • Little Jackie Paper 28th Aug '14 - 12:46pm

    Matthew Huntbach – Absolutely. It’s coming to something when people like Farage and Boris Johnson are seen as, ‘political outsiders,’ and men of the people.

    More generally though – perhaps the time has come to think IN/OUT referendum in 2015. I have a nagging feeling that renegotiation and referendum in 2017/2018 may end up as the worst of all worlds. Personally I’m pretty agnostic about the EU. But the current situation isn’t doing anyone any favours. What we are seeing is the dying gasps of the two-speed Europe.

  • David wilkinson 28th Aug '14 - 12:49pm

    The answer to Matthew Huntbach’s question of can the Lib Dems use this by election to expose UKIP on its policies, its NO.
    A large section of the public is now not listening to the professional political classes from the 3 main parties and such attacks on UKIP will be useless, sadly only when people have felt UKIP policies in action and the disasterous effect on their daily lives will they reject the hype of UKIP.

    My sympathies to who ever is brave enough to be the Lib Dem candidate .

  • Paul in Wokingham 28th Aug '14 - 1:07pm

    Thank goodness. The news has been remorselessly awful of late and it is a positive pleasure to have a good old fashioned defection backed by what promises to be a single-issue, and potentially seismic by-election. An opportunity to nail colours to masts, test the UKIP glass ceiling hypothesis and engage in a vital debate. Bliss!

  • Could we Lib Dems and the Labour party be persuaded to opt out of this by-election?

  • Come on, Boris! Or are you frit?

  • Martin, I see where you’re coming from but I suspect Farage would just use that as an example of the establishment parties ganging up against him. This isn’t a vanity thing like David Davis’ resignation, I think. Also, a divided Tory / UKIP vote could potentially let Labour through the middle.

  • Simon McGrath 28th Aug '14 - 1:17pm

    @Matthew Huntbach “People are turning to UKIP because they are worried and angry at the way society is going with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer”
    Any evidence for that ? I thought people were voting UKIP because basically they don’t like foreigners.
    “UKIP’s real dream is of the UK as a tax haven for the global super-wealthy, with its native population turned into a servant class”
    This sort of comment, which is transparently absurd ,just makes the task of opposing UKIP even more difficult.

  • David Blake 28th Aug '14 - 1:29pm

    Martin – if the Lib Dems don’t fight it will be a sign of knowing that we will do badly.

  • Keith, Labour has been gerrymandered out. It’s strong area , Harwich, is now in North Essex.

  • On the one hand I’m a great admirer of Carswell, he’s thoughtful and makes me think even when I don’t agree with him. He’s also a radical when it comes to changing how Government worked, and it’s notable that he was a supporter of House of Lords reform – looking back had we got him on board working with the Tory awkward squad then we might have made more progress. I’m also closer to Carswell than Clegg on recall of MPs, and on defecting politicians facing by-elections.

    It’s just a shame that this is all combined with such a deep-seated hatred for Europe, and his background in British Imperial History seems to have taken him over. But he’s always looked like a better fit for UKIP than the Tories, and he’s a formidable campaigner, not to be underestimated at the bye-election.

    I don’t see what value there is in not standing a candidate; we wouldn’t expect to win but we’d just look scared. If relations between us and the Conservatives were better then we could look at a joint coalition candidate in these special circumstances, but there will be so much private Tory grief in this bye-election we should let them get on with it and campaign quietly.

    One further thought: Many Tories will find it difficult to campaign against Carswell, he has forced them to decide which side they are on. This is our first taste of what a 2017 EU Referendum campaign would look like; it could tear the Tories apart for a generation. We’ll see the beginnings of how likely this is over the coming weeks.

  • I would suggest that there many reasons why people support UKIP , many of which are cultural not just economic.
    The days when Labour and Liberals comprised Methodists and Quakers who lived in the communities they represented are largely gone. What we have is large metropolitan upper middle class often public sector or public sector dependent/NGO types who tell people what to think , feel and say on large numbers of cultural issues. The public sector types who are responsible for the failures in Rotherham are on salaries of £125K which are beyond comprehension for many employed in the private sector , even those owning small companies.

    Perhaps it is time to ask people why they vote UKIP.

  • Julian Tisi 28th Aug '14 - 1:45pm

    Tory defectors is probably the best chance UKIP have of electing MPs. One of the many unfair aspects of our electoral system is that electors only get one MP to represent them. In the absence of any challenger, most people if asked will think THEIR MP is OK – they see them in the paper from time to time, maybe at a local fete or the like and they think “this is a good constituency MP” in the absence of any other competing person to suggest otherwise. At election time, challengers (Boris Johnsons and Nigel Farages excepted) tend to be unknown to most people, hence the massive incumbency factor – at any election, most MPs retain their seats.

    By being the incumbent, Mr Carswell has a massive advantage over any challenger.

  • We may poll 1%. Is it worth the time and the money? If we do stand and the inevitable happens will Cleggie and his supporters finally go quietly and allow us to regroup before the winter. Hopefully enough Labour and Lib Dem supporters will vote Conservative and save us from another barrage from Farage!!

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 3:05pm

    Martin

    Could we Lib Dems and the Labour party be persuaded to opt out of this by-election?

    That would be the dream situation for UKIP, it would just prove their argument that UK politics divides into two – the elite political establishment (Conservative/Labour/LibDem) and the party of the people (UKIP).

  • Alan Hayman 28th Aug '14 - 3:09pm

    After Carswell defected the North Essex paper launched an instant online poll asking local people how they would vote in October’s bye-election. Carswell/UKIP got 45%, LD second on 30% and the others nowhere. So that’s all right then.

  • “Perhaps it is time to ask people why they vote UKIP.”

    You are too late.

    What absolutely intoxicating news! As some of you have divined, this is going to be a catastrophic by election for you, yet another lost deposit. So for Matthew Huntbach to ask why you don’t campaign on how Farage is a fat cat and show up UKIP for what they are is touchingly naive. No-one in Clacton gives a tinkers cuss WHAT you think about UKIP.

    As for Labour coming up through the middle, dream on. This is a straight fight between UKIP and the Tories. Expect a lot of Tory members and activists who know the MP personally to defect en masse to UKIP. And if you have a few quid and are of the betting persuasion get yourself down to the bookies to place a bet on us. Easiest money you will ever make.

    How many more defections will there be between now and polling day? Is it fanciful to think of us holding the balance of power in a hung parliament? 🙂

    Probably so in truth but our point of view, which already dominates political debate is just getting stronger and stronger and STRONGER.

    Marvellous news, for us, more importantly our nation. Which you, the Lib Dems, have betrayed. Together with Labour and the Tories.

    Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A My oh my, what a wonderful day! 🙂

  • Few people like a traitor, even if they sympathise with their motivations.

    Can’t see the local Tories in Clacton being particularly happy that their MP has undermined them and their party by springing this surprise, rather than talk things over first.

    These are people who have given up countless hours to knock on doors and attend meetings, as well as giving money to the cause they support. For betrayal.

    This is going to be about which party can appeal to the most non-party affiliated voters and I wouldn’t like to predict an outcome, especially one overconfident of a large UKIP majority.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 3:27pm

    Simon McGrath

    Any evidence for that ? I thought people were voting UKIP because basically they don’t like foreigners.

    There is plenty of evidence for it. Many UKIP voters themselves say things like this, say politics in this country is all rotten, dominated by wealthy people whose only interest is in protecting their wealth and who care nothing for ordinary people, and say they are voting UKIP as a “protest” against that. The UKIP vote is highest in areas where people are poor, and highest among poor people. It is particularly high in places where people are poor, but there is not much of a tradition of the Labour Party working as the voice of poorer people, like the southern coastal towns. I grew up in such a place, I know how the people who live in such places think, and I can very much see what is happening there. My own motivation for joining the Liberals started off from feeling that the Tories didn’t care for the likes of us, and spoke only for the wealthy, but Labour didn’t care for the likes of us as well, because where we lived was far from their areas of core support in the industrial north and inner cities. Now the people I know from these places are moving to UKIP for the same reason I moved to the Liberals. But I believe they are being used by UKIP, which underneath has a very different agenda from how it is sold through the proaganda press to the plebs.

    “UKIP’s real dream is of the UK as a tax haven for the global super-wealthy, with its native population turned into a servant class”. This sort of comment, which is transparently absurd

    No, I don’t think so. If you look at where the anti-EU movement starts from, at what the people who are actually funding it say, at what their real objections to the EU are, it does come down to being opposed to what the EU does, or could do, or is threatening to do to financial markets, such things as caps on bonuses, a potential trading tax and so on. The serious anti-EU arguments, which can be found in the outlets of the intellectual right, such as the Spectator, are full of this. Of course they don’t put it this way to the plebs, instead they sell themselves through sentimental lines and hand-waving.

    When I was young, anti-EU sentiment tended to be on the political left, with arguments that the UK was naturally a socialist country, and the EU stood as a barrier to this because other European countries did not have the inclination towards socialism that we have. Now we have it the other way round, with the main anti-EU sentiment coming from the right, using the line that the UK is naturally a country which prefers free market economics, and the EU acts as a barrier to that with all the other EU states being a bit too socialist inclined and anti-EU for UK tastes. The SNP use similar arguments, but put it as England having these natural extreme free-market tendencies, so Scotland needs independence to break from them.

    I think this is nonsense. I’ve never even come across anyone who’s a keen free marketeer in the circles I move in. There are a few here in LibDemVoice, but mainly it seems to be an obsession with a tiny minority in this country, however that minority is concentrated among those with power and influence.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 3:34pm

    simon

    What absolutely intoxicating news! As some of you have divined, this is going to be a catastrophic by election for you, yet another lost deposit. So for Matthew Huntbach to ask why you don’t campaign on how Farage is a fat cat and show up UKIP for what they are is touchingly naive. No-one in Clacton gives a tinkers cuss WHAT you think about UKIP.

    No, because they have been fed with propaganda through the right-wing press which whips up anti-EU sentiment as a way of distracting people and their votes from anger at what is REALLY opening up big divisions in our society.

    Righty-wingers posing as being on the side of the people, and gaining support by whipping up sentiment and looking for something to blame for people’s problem are a very common phenomenon. Historically in this country, the right gained support from people who might otherwise vote left by whipping up anti-Catholic sentiment. We still see this in Northern Ireland, but Orange Toryism used to be strong elsewhere, in much of Scotland also in Liverpool.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 3:40pm

    Joe Otten

    What we saw in the In/Out debate was a hint of what is to come with Farage playing the class warrior card (as well as any banker could). I predict a significant play to the left (that is the white working class culturally conservative left) from UKIP coming up to the General Election.

    Oh yes, he’s found he can play that card to win votes. But what concrete does he have to offer that’s really political left? Nothing. UKIP are the party which adored Margaret Thatcher, wanted to be regarded as her true successor. Any posing to the left should be exposed as a cynical play to win the votes of the naive for what in reality is the opposite of what they think they are voting for.

    Don’t want to listen to anyone saying that? Me, I’m just a nasty LibDem, one of those elite types who don’t give a toss for ordinary people? Well, if you think that, and if you’d prefer to listen to City Fat Cat Farage trying to fool you, go ahead. Just remember what I told you when you find out later just how badly you’ve been fooled.

  • Listen to Carswell’s speech.

    It is a devastating indictment of the state of British politics today. We all know it is true, you know it is true as well as I, only UKIP points it out.

    The best thing you can do to counter our movement is to clean up your party and stand up for this country. You and the other two. Be proper political parties, with noble aims, not what you have become. Seekers after office, slaves to opinion pollsters, spinning rather than addressing the great problems: the fact our country is on its knees after years of relative economic decline, the destruction of our sovereignty, and uncontrolled immigration.

    Clean your parties up, address these issues, start speaking honestly, and UKIP will fade away, with no-one happier than me.

    But I am not holding my breath,

  • David Evershed 28th Aug '14 - 3:53pm

    The only question is whether the Conservatives can raise enough votes to come second to UKIP in Clacton.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    EU regulations favours the large companies and those in high value high tech businesses. Running small scrap yards, farms, low to medium value small to medium sized engineering companies are hit hardest by regulations. Those on average and below average wages in the private sector are adversely hit by immigrants competing for their jobs. Areas with high immigration where people use public services have their quality of life reduced.

    A farmer who owns 1,000 acres does not have their income reduced by immigrant labour, the farm worker does. Those who send their children to public , grammar and comprehensives in affluent suburbs do not have their childrens’ education harmed by immigration : Britons on average and blow average income who live in inner city areas do.

    The reality is that large multinational companies can benefit from regulations : it prevents smaller and more innovative companies from growing and they have the staff to liaise with civil servants and politicians . Small companies do not have the resources to trot off to Brussels to liaise with civil servants and politicians about proposed regulation and fine tune it to their interests.

    The problem is that Labour no longer has MPs who live in their constituency and drop into the local pub, working man’s club or Royal British Legion and talk to the people they grew up with. The reality is that the increased in government spending has dome most for the middle class white collar employees and very little for the blue collar public sector employee and even less for the private sector blue collar worker. The reality is that a Tory MP who owns a family estate/farm and served in the Armed Forces has had more contact with the working class than most Liberal and Labour MPs.

  • The most important part of Carswells’ speech is where he talks about the domination of politics by elites.

    UKIP are tapping into the feeling that all the main parties are part of the political establishment and they are picking up votes from people who before the formation of the coalition voted Lib Dem.

    All governments over a long period of time have failed to address the many deep seated problems in this country.

    Yah boo politics undertaken by public school educated white men are the order of the day.

    So its no surprise UKIP are picking up support across the board.

  • @Martin: why on earth would either the Lib Dems or the Tories want to do that?

    This is a MASSIVE early Christmas present for Miliband. It’ll open up beautiful divisions within the Tory party and concentrate the mind of the electorate on Tory vs. UKIP. Libs and Labs pulling out would make it much more likely that the Tories could win. Why would either of them want that?

  • @Danny

    “The most important part of Carswells’ speech is where he talks about the domination of politics by elites.”

    “Yah boo politics undertaken by public school educated white men are the order of the day.”

    I think much of this is the UKIP mythology. Yes, life is dominated by elites and many of them come from similar background (as a white, male, former public school boy myself, I shake my head at how little diversity there is in parliament) – but that is just the same background as those leading UKIP today.

    Farage: Dulwich College.
    Carswell: Charterhouse.

    For decade upon decade those in UKIP were the establishment. Dominated by wealthy white men from elite backgrounds who find it difficult to except that the world is leaving them behind.

    Farage is a former City-dealer who has been trying to get into Westminster for over twenty years, an elected politician for fifteen – he is the political class, he just hasn’t won a Westminster seat. His ability at spin and media-posturing puts New Labour to shame.

  • Matthew Huntbach: Pulling out of the contest would only be “a dream situation for UKIP” in terms of one aspect of their claims; the dream would be a nightmare in terms of their ability to take the seat. If I lived in Clacton, my first priority would to prevent the election of a UKIP MP. In France, where the FN is the UKIP equivalent, there is a second round of voting the strategy would be simple: vote what I positively support in the first round and in the second to stop the extremist, anti foreigners and immigrants party in the second. We do not have this luxury in the UK so I would be faced with a difficult decision.

    On a basis of 13% in 2010, Lib Dems are pretty much out of it before we start. There is, I suppose a slim enough chance for Labour to imagine that they could split the difference and get is with around 30% support, but I fear this is only marginally more realistic than our chances. A 53% Conservative base is impressive enough, few MPs can claim over 50% support, so the Tories are obviously in the contest. My guess is that UKIP with Carswell could muster 30-35%, perhaps taking half the Conservative vote, but I do think that there is a ceiling to UKIP support: they are a very divisive party.

    What strategy would you suggest? How would you vote if you were in the Clacton constituency? Would you be relatively relaxed about a UKIP win?

  • David Allen 28th Aug '14 - 4:57pm

    The Left blame the bankers. Osborne blames the scroungers. Farage blames the foreigners. Salmond blames Thatcher. The Greens blame polluting business. Labour blame the Tories. Lib Dems blame the ungrateful public. And Carswell blames just about all of these groups.

    It’s a potent combination – the selfish appeal to Little England, combined with the high-minded appeal to moral rectitude and rebellion against elitism. The second half of that combination will cut great swathes into what’s left of the old Liberal Democrat vote. It is a reminder of just how much Britain has lost, with the eclipse of the real Liberal Democrats by Clegg’s complacent policy-free elitists.

  • Danny,
    I would suggest most MPs whether educated at public school or not ,have a very upper middle class existence. I would suggest that it is lack of experience which is important. The Welsh Guardsmen who was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for trying to save his officers( Dulwich College ) life took the dead man’s Mother to Buckingham House to receive his award. Somehow I do not think think the guardsmen considered the fact that his officer was a white public school educated man was important.

    It is the middle class who are often concerned about class, Many working class are concerned about character and experiences which have shaped the character. Farage does not treat the social conservatism of the working class with contempt but respect. It is the working class who provide the bulk of our Armed forces and defend out freedoms , not the liberal left metropolitan middle classes .

    The reality is that many working class people look at MPs of all parties and just see smarmy, thieving lying gits and this view may now extend to senior members of the public sector.

    They used to say there are two types of racism in the USA. In the South , they do not mind how close an African American gets provided they do not get too might. In the North they do not mind how close they get, provided they do not get too mighty. In the UK, the Liberal Left metropolitan Middle Classes appear to have the same view of the socially conservative white working class.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Aug '14 - 6:10pm

    The Lib Dem response to this should be trying to get Labour moderates to defect and point out their internal divisions too.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Aug '14 - 6:17pm

    By the way, it’s not just Labour moderates and the Conservative right at risk, Conservative moderates like Sarah Wollaston could be picked off too.

  • David Pollard: True enough, but we may well have to grit our teeth on this one.

  • paul barker 28th Aug '14 - 7:14pm

    Before we get too excited, Carswell ia now a Member of UKIP, not the UKIP Candidate for Clacton. The local UKIP branch have first to decide to drop the Candidate they already have & then choose Carswell. Then the sacked Candidate has to agree to all this & not split the UKIP vote by standing anyway. Farage might have done better to settle things with his people in Clacton first, it seems they were given no notice.
    If it all goes as Farage plans Carswell certainly has a chance but its not going to be any walkover.

  • 2 things will do for ukip (other than their own public school bombast) – (i) being rumbled as actually just another party and (ii) when Labour wakes up and checks its fairly modest gains outside of the south of England. I don ‘t think the tories or LDs can do that very effectively.
    And of course the LDs should fight the by-election!

  • The UKIP ‘candidate’ had not actually been selected, as the UKIP NEC had not formally adopted him. And, in all honesty, I don’t see him being much of a vote splitter …

  • Frank Booth 28th Aug '14 - 9:02pm

    Any sweepstake on the number of Lib Dem voters? I’ll guess 325. I’ve no idea where this country is now going politically,which is in one sense fascinating, the other scary. Revolutions do not tend to end well. Ashcroft’s marginals polling suggests Labour could be looking at a majority, but who knows? Oh and will there be a commitment to introduce PR in the Lib Dem manifesto?

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Aug '14 - 9:12pm

    As a northern voter who has never visited Clacton, I assume this man must be important, or at least important to those who enjoy discussing politics. Until today I had never heard of him.

    I suspect that most of the Uk electorate will have never heard of him and will view his move with the same lack of interest that I feel. Right wing tories are always jumping ship to become UKIp ME’s and parliamentary candidates, sometimes they then jump back and become Tory candidates again.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 9:26pm

    Martin

    What strategy would you suggest? How would you vote if you were in the Clacton constituency? Would you be relatively relaxed about a UKIP win?

    I would vote as I always do, Liberal Democrat. I am, after all, a member of the party.

    Yes, I would be relatively relaxed about a UKIP win. They have a share of the vote, they deserve the seats that would bring. It would be good to see what a UKIP MP would vote for – it would show up what they are, even more right-wing than the Tories. Anyone who protests about this government being out of touch and elitist and only in favour of the rich by voting UKIP is acting like someone who kicks the cat to protest about cruelty to animals, or votes BNP as a protest against racism. They need to see what it results in to see how foolish it is.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 9:29pm

    Charlie

    A farmer who owns 1,000 acres does not have their income reduced by immigrant labour, the farm worker does. Those who send their children to public , grammar and comprehensives in affluent suburbs do not have their childrens’ education harmed by immigration : Britons on average and blow average income who live in inner city areas do

    Sorry, this is a point against immigration. That’s a separate issue from the EU. I myself have occasionally risked being seen as lacking in political correctness here by agreeing that there are good reasons why poorer people here fear immigration, and they should not just be dismissed as “racist” over it. That does not stop me from being utterly opposed to UKIP.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 9:39pm

    simon

    Listen to Carswell’s speech.

    It is a devastating indictment of the state of British politics today. We all know it is true, you know it is true as well as I, only UKIP points it out.

    I read this from Carswell’s speech “”This hasn’t been an easy decision. I have been a member of the Conservative Party all my adult life. It’s full of wonderful people who want the best for Britain.”

    No it’s not. It’s a party that is funded by the rich to run this country on behalf of the rich.

    I note from the link to Amazon’s page for Carswell’s book praise for him from Boris Johnson – a man who never stops praising the rich and attacking any moves to share wealth out more equitably, a cheerleader for the wealthy-super-elite who are pushing Londoners out of London.

    Oh, they use this populist talk about politics being all bad and the like, but their real motivation for this is to say that means we should abolish politics and privatise everything i.e. put it all in the hands of the rich. What these people are essentially saying is that this current government we have is not right-wing enough, that it’s not making big enough cuts, that we need an even more extreme form of right-wing Toryism. The populist dressing of it is very thin.

  • Matthew Huntbach 28th Aug '14 - 9:49pm

    Charlie

    The reality is that a Tory MP who owns a family estate/farm and served in the Armed Forces has had more contact with the working class than most Liberal and Labour MPs.

    Oh yeah? I was brought up on a council estate, went to a comprehensive school, live in a small terraced house in an unfashionable part of London that there’s no way I could afford if I wanted to buy it today, went without a holiday this year because I can’t afford it, speak with a working class accent, but because I’m a Liberal Democrat I’m part of this out-of-touch elite, whereas a public school educated City fat cat like Farage is a real man of the people.

    This is utter crap.

  • So pleased that he resigned, shows real principle; I hope he wins for that reason alone, can’t be worse than any of the other three parties who are pretty much all the same anyway, can he?

  • @Matthew Huntback “Please, please, can we avoid Clegg’s disastrous mistake of attacking UKIP by accusing it of what it wants to be seen as? People are turning to UKIP because they are worried and angry at the way society is going with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Yet UKIP stands for the sort of Thatcherite economic policies which have brought this about, and wants them in an even more extreme form than the mainstream political parties.” –

    Matthew, all the mainstream parties stand for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Why do you think the SNP got a majority under PR? People are sick of this and will vote for any alternative.

  • “Oh yeah? I was brought up on a council estate, went to a comprehensive school, live in a small terraced house in an unfashionable part of London that there’s no way I could afford if I wanted to buy it today, went without a holiday this year because I can’t afford it, speak with a working class accent, but because I’m a Liberal Democrat I’m part of this out-of-touch elite, whereas a public school educated City fat cat like Farage is a real man of the people.

    This is utter crap.”

    It may well be from your perspective, but the sad reality for you is that UKIP is connecting with the working class (of whom you are a soi disant scion) in a visceral way. The Lib Dems are not.

    Why? Your policies. Your sopping wet liberalism and cultural relativism which has led (for example since it is in the news) to Rotherham. There are your working class council house dwellers who didn’t escape into University Lectureship.

    What does your party offer them? What does Labour whose corruption and political correctness and domination by one ethnic group led to their betrayal? What do the Tories?

    Why don’t you ask them why they voted UKIP in the Euro and Local Elections? And not for you?

  • “but I do think that there is a ceiling to UKIP support: they are a very divisive party….”

    If I were you I would worry more about the ceiling to Lib Dem support. 🙂

    UKIP and the Tories will squeeze the Labour vote and UKIP will bleed the Tories enough to win. You heard it here first…

  • @simon

    Liberalism is not moral relativisim, UKIP’s stance of what happens in other countries really doesnt matter to Britain is moral relativism, yours is a ludicrous and crass statement. Read the Oxford Manifesto, the principle document of the Liberal International. The Liberal movement clearly calls for Universal rights regardless of community or borders and a freedom from conformity. What happened in Rotherham is entirely against some of the key, core principles of Liberalism – the victims had no choice over their circumstances, were coerced and others removed their freedom in the most appalling way.

  • Of course I realise what UKIP are about and that in reality there leading figures come from the establishment.

    That includes Carswell.

    UKIP are able to tap into discontent with a political system where the main parties appear all the same.

    We have a modern version of Butskellism in the UK now.

    That is part of the reason why Labour lost votes in May to UKIP as well.

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Aug '14 - 11:30pm

    @ simon,
    I grew up in Rotherham and the town and the surrounding villages were made upon predominantly working class people who made their money in the steel works and the coal mines.

    The devastation that has been wreaked on Rotherham was a consequence of Thatcher and Thatcherism. The older generation remember and do not view her or her followers as some sort of shining beacon that the UKIP leader and the rest of the right wing tories who have defected to your party so admire and want to keep burning.

    The working class people of Rotherham need to be reminded of how their close knit and supportive communities were devastated and by whom. Do they really think that the answer is yet another right wing clique of essentially Thatcherite tories? They would have to be suffering from some sort of political Stockholm Syndrome to do so.

  • This is truly scary news. When I first heard that a Tory had defected to UKIP and chosen to take a by-election, I chuckled, naviely thinking it would be Nuttall or another of his ilk. I then found out who it was. As Stephen points out, this guy is no foaming at the month ‘kipper’ who calls his own supporters ‘Ting Tong from somewhere’. He is a dangerous campaigner who could very easily give UKIP the viable face they need. When dealing with this, all parties need to remember that the result of the by-election itself are only small part how big this could become.

    @Matthew: well said – especially on your point that Lib Dems are not all ‘middle class’ elitists. My mother and grandmother were both cleaners. My father and grandfather were both factory workers. If I am some middle cl-arse elite, what does that make big banker Nigel and his eton friends?

    @Jayne: well said – people using what happened in Rotherham to win political points really need to ask themselves what they stand for? That is even if they are a member of the super ‘working class’ UKIP party. Comments, such as Charlie’s, really show where this country is going wrong. My sister is a nurse who has not seen a pay raise in four years. Yet by Charlie’s definition, she is a fat-cat public sector worker. What happened in Rotherham was horrific, but it has not got anything to do with public sector workers being overpaid and everything to do with people spending too much time blaming everyone but themselves for our country’s problems and not enough time solving those problems.

  • A storm in a tea-cup. An MP nobody has ever heard of chooses to resign near the end of the five years of this parliament. Even if he wins he’ll have six months in the seat before being booted out again. By-elections have no impact on general elections and they simply serve the likes of mid-term protest parties such as UKIP. I appreciate it’s the silly season but I can’t understand why this irrelevant nonsense knocked Russia invading Ukraine off the top of the headlines yesterday.

  • Charles Rothwell 29th Aug '14 - 7:34am

    I am 1,000% behind everything Matthew says. His views of the Kippers/Angry Old Blokes coincide precisely with what I have always thought, together with disgust at the abject failure of the two major parties to take them on direct. Cameron’s attempt to appease the “Euro-sceptics” (*) is shown as equally ridiculous as the attempts of his Conservative predecessors to appease the dictators in the 1930s. Like the latter, the “Euro-sceptics” (*in reality, “EU haters”) will never (ever) be satisfied until the UK is out entirely and on its way to becoming the “Singapore of Europe” (with social legislation, state support, deregulation etc to match entirely). For every “concession” you grant them (referendum etc), they will just keep coming back for more and more. John Major discovered this and Cameron’s attempts to ‘solve’ the Conservative cancer of Europe (like its predecessors of the Corn Laws and Imperial Preference) by just hoping it will go away shows just how basically a light-weight PR man he really is. It is time to relaunch the “IN” campaign, but this time entirely avoiding the fundamental mistake of thinking that Clegg alone has got anything like the standing among the public or capabilities to assume the key role in such a campaign. What we need much (much) more is getting the voices of people like Richard Branson, the Director of the CBI etc heard.

  • Peter Chegwyn 29th Aug '14 - 9:09am

    The last sitting MP to resign his seat and fight a by-election lost!

    Admittedly Bruce Douglas-Mann (Mitcham & Morden 1982) defected from Labour to the SDP at the time of the Falklands War. Not the best of timing!

    Steve – By-elections in the run-up to a General Election can have an effect on the subsequent national poll and, in particular, on our vote. Remember Liverpool Edge Hill in 1979, Bermondsey in 1983 and Greenwich in 1987. It could be argued that Crewe & Nantwich in 2008 also gave the Tories significant momentum in the run-up to 2010.

    So… Clacton will be important, not just in terms of who wins it but also in terms of the effect that the result has on Conservative & UKIP morale and momentum, and on how both parties are perceived by the wider electorate and the media just six or seven months before the GE.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Aug '14 - 9:38am

    simon

    Why? Your policies. Your sopping wet liberalism and cultural relativism which has led (for example since it is in the news) to Rotherham. There are your working class council house dwellers who didn’t escape into University Lectureship.

    My policies? I have not changed. My views on politics and the policies this country needs are the same now as when I first left the council estate where I was brought up to go to university – not just the first in my family to go to university but the first in my family to have O-levels let alone anything higher. More recently, I spent 12 years as a councillor for a ward that was mainly council estate, similar to the place I grew up in, and the only reason we kept getting elected in a ward that was hardly natural Liberal Democrat territory was that we worked hard for the people there and kept in touch with them regularly.

    I have made very clear over the years what my policies are, you may read my past contributions to Liberal Democrat Voice to find out.

    What does your party offer them? What does Labour whose corruption and political correctness and domination by one ethnic group led to their betrayal? What do the Tories?

    On Labour, if I agreed with them and supported them, I would not have devoted so much time and energy to opposing them in one of their “flagship” boroughs, would I? Why criticise me for the faults of the Labour Party, which I am well aware of, having spent six years as Leader of the Opposition in a borough which they ran?

    My party has been criticised for having “rolled over and given in to the Tories”, that is for having endorsed the Tories’ right-wing economic policies of cutting taxes on the rich at the expense of cutting services for the poor, and for endorsing the right-wing idea that the solution to everything is to privatise it, or semi-privatise it on the grounds that “competition drives up quality”. To some extent, I agree with the criticisms – I have been one of the most bitter opponents and critics of the “Orange Book” tendency, see my past posts. However, I have also accepted that the party faced a difficult situation given the party balance in the Parliament elected in May 2010, which meant the best it could do is accept the verdict of the “first past the post” distortional electoral system (as backed two-to-one by the British people a year later when they were given an opportunity to get rid of it) and mollify the extremes of right-wing Conservatism and be criticised because with the balance of MPs they could not do more.

    So, what do I read today about Douglas Carswell, the defector to UKIP welcomed so warmly by its leader? That is an “Ayn Rand libertarian”. That is, that he is a keen supporter of the policies which have been at the heart of the accusations made against the Liberal Democrats that they are “just like all the others” and that they “favour the rich against the poor”. He supports keenly, and wants even more of, the sort of privatisation of the NHS, cuts in taxes on the wealthy at the expense of services to the poor, which have led to so many Liberal Democrat supporters deserting the party saying “it has given up its principles and rolled over and supported the Tories”.

    So that is why I say, and I will say it again, and I think I have explained very carefully why what I say is the truth – to vote UKIP as a protest about “all three mainstream parties are the same”, citing the supposed Liberal Democrat “betrayal” over the coalition as an argument for this, is like voting BNP as a protest against racism. It is voting for the very thing, only in a more extreme form, that you say you are opposed to.

    I am sorry that others are taken in by the cynical propaganda pumped out by the right-wing press, which has whipped up this anti-EU sentiment as a distraction, and which plays the usual anti-politics game of making out that the wealthy elite are just poor peasant leaders against the supposed elite of those of us who have devoted our lives and sacrificed our careers to build up a decent politics of the left. However, I am made of stronger stuff than those others, and I can see through that rot. You, simon, have either been taken in by it, or you are one of those cynically peddling it, knowing how very different is the line you give the plebs from what you and your City fat cat funder and you big business tycoons who run the right-wing newspapers want.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Aug '14 - 10:12am

    Charles Rothwell

    It is time to relaunch the “IN” campaign, but this time entirely avoiding the fundamental mistake of thinking that Clegg alone has got anything like the standing among the public or capabilities to assume the key role in such a campaign.

    Clegg got it catastrophically wrong, once again showing why he was dubbed “Calamity Clegg”.

    Instead of exposing Farage for what he really is – someone who puts out a populist image designed to attract the support of those harmed by the right-wing economic policies of recent governments, while himself being a firm believer in the same policies but in an even more extreme form – he attacked Farage for being what Farage wants people to believe he is. People who have been harmed by the right-wing policies of recent governments want a return to how things were before, with a certain sort of “golden age” nostalgia, for sure, but I don’t think you can blame people for feeling life was better when there were decent council houses for those who needed them, the NHS and other services were staffed by decent people who saw working there as a vocation, and transport, energy supply and so on were under democratic control, etc. Farage worships Margaret Thatcher whose policies brought an end to all of this, who sold out vital British assets to foreign control through privatisation, and who wrecked the standards of government services through putting them out to tender to be brought up by the cheapest bidder (i.e. those who sack the dedicated experienced staff who know what they are doing, and replace them by cheap “no questions asked” labour, supplied by third parties, who know the cheapest labour comes from immigrants, even cheaper if they are illegal, as then if they get uppity, you threaten them with exposing them to the immigration authorities).

    So to attack Farage accusing him of being this nostalgic “back to the past” type as Clegg did, was madness, a completely wrong strategy. Farage offers nothing at all that would get us back to where we were, only more of the sort of thing that has taken us away from it. He says he is about “UK Independence”, but he and his party have NOTHING to say about foreign control of our country through big business, because their whole purpose, who they are funded by City fat cats, is to distract the British people from all that and to make out that the EU is the problem. Farage’s hero, Margaret Thatcher, made a big thing about being the “Iron Lady”, standing up against the Russians etc, while opening the back door to them through her privatisation policies, in effect putting a sign on it reading “Come in, take what you want”, which the Russian oligarchs, sovereign wealth funds from several dubious countries, nationalised industries in other European countries etc have done. Farage wants more of the big business privatisation sort of policies which have been the driving force in the destruction of traditional Britain. If he REALLY wanted to turn the clock back, he would be advocating re-nationalisation, and the much stronger state control of the economy and other things that existed in the 1950s and 1960s. But he wants the opposite.

    Clegg could and should have exposed him over this. But, no, he attacked Farage as if Farage really did have a coherent “turn the clock back” set of policies. Part of the problem is that Clegg himself is too starry eyed about “Orange Book” policies (sorry Michael Meadowcroft, but it’s a convenient term to use, people know what I mean by it, and I’m not going to agree to their propaganda enough to call it any term which involves the word “liberalism”) to be able to mount this sort of attack. Clegg could and should have put the argument for the EU in the terms of the need for international co-operation over so many things, but mot least the power of the global financial elite, who play one country off against another, and so make a mockery of the idea of “independence”. But again, ditto.

    Sorry for ranting, but I’ve deliberately done it this way to show how what I believe an effective anti-UKIP strategy would look like. I’m only doing it back to them, using their same style they use, but with much more truth and sincerity. If no-one does this, if we employ the same Cleggie type opposition to UKIP that failed so badly before, well, as I said when I explained why the way the “Yes to AV” campaign was being run was all wrong and would lose us what we so badly needed, “When we lose this one, remember my name and remember what I said”.

  • Having read the comments, i’ve come to the conclusion that the national party should consult the local party and determine whether tactically, it makes sense to contest the general election rather than the by-election.

    Carswell is a member of the awkward support whose support grew stronger the more he criticised Cameron. I see this by-election as a vote on his leadership as much as a vote for UKIP. To me, it’s still a local party matter albeit the party is the Tories and their own Tea Party, UKIP. This was a target seat for UKIP but is it even one for the Lib Dems?

    It makes sense for party activists to be there to observe exactly how the tories and UKIP intend to marshall grassroots activists. Conservative Future have pledged to be there in force in a way which mimics libdem strategy in Eastleigh. It also may be that the local tory party lost its activists to UKIP. This would make it a spicy contest. The behaviour of CF’s Road Trip activists this year in target seats appeared to have eroded support for the tories, who lost ground to ukip in local elections later.

    The tory mantra is ‘vote ukip – get Ed’. If Labour also stand aside (a more difficult ask), then this allows ukip voters to give it the rebuttal it deserves. Personally, although I may disagree with ukip, I think everyone should vote for the party they feel comfortable with. The tories are basically asking ukip voters to lend them their tactical vote which is patronising to ukip and other parties.

    Judging by how we truly see UKIP, the most effective lib dem stance to disillusioned voters is ‘vote ukip – get UKIP’. This is a message which needs to come from genuine grassroots candidates with a feel for the local area and having a background that local voters can identify with. UKIP’s quasi-parachute candidates may work to a point. It’s not something I can envisage being repeated this side of May 2015.

    The most fascinating thing about this tawdry affair is the tenuous grip Cameron has on his own party. Before Carswell, Warsi walked away from his party (but not out of it!). Cameron’s future rarely seems assured due to party indiscipline. With the odd-exception, the lib dems have always remained stable which I think is an underappreciated merit of coalition government. Although I can understand to some extent why someone would vote Tory/UKIP, I can’t understand why they’d want to put up with parties spending more energy with infighting rather than even fighting for the UK (or rUK).

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Aug '14 - 11:15am

    sfk

    This was a target seat for UKIP but is it even one for the Lib Dems?

    No, which means we’ve nothing to lose, which means we might as well fight it with the shock tactics I’m suggesting. UKIP are brutal in their distortion and misleading claims. We need to be brutal back to them.

    I don’t give a toss on how “splitting the vote” might lead someone else to win. Tough. If we had AV, that wouldn’t be a problem, people could vote for who they really wanted, and give second preference to a more likely winner so avoiding all that. But the Tories argued furiously against AV, so now let them see the consequences of not having it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Aug '14 - 11:27am

    Joe Otten

    That’s not engaging with the argument it is just shouting without listening.

    Sorry Joe, that’s precisely what I am NOT suggesting.

    I am suggesting we engage with UKIP by going in detail through what their policies actually are. I’m suggesting we challenge them by asking them to show just how their policies will deliver what their media supporters and Clegg-type opponents give the impression it will deliver.

    You say a party “doesn’t have to be defined by its infancy” but this is not its infancy. This is someone joining it NOW who stands for the very policies that people who denounce our party for joining the coalition and who say this means “all the parties are the same” denounce our party for supposedly having abandoned its principles to support. Only in a more extreme form. We are told there are several other MPs on the right-wing fringes of the Conservative Party contemplating moving to UKIP. When we are losing votes by the bucketload due to be accused of supporting all these right-wing policies that people voted for us thinking we opposed, how on earth can it make sense that they protest by voting for a party which stands for even more right-wing policies?

    UKIP are being given a free ride because no-one has the guts to challenge them on this. If no-one tells the people what UKIP is really about, if no-one will actually stand up and challenge their claims, if no-one will expose their failure to have anything which deals with the REAL threats to UK independence, if no-one will expose the glaring contradictions in what they say they are about and what they do, it’s not surprising they are winning support.

  • Gwyn Williams 29th Aug '14 - 11:49am

    A by now historical point. When Bruce Douglas Mann defected from Labour to the SDP in 1982, he promised that he would fight a by election, which made sense with the Alliance polling over50%. However after triggering the byelection campaign the Falklands war broke out and he lost Mitcham and Morden to Tory Angela Browne on a wave of British nationalist euphoria. The strategy that by contesting a byelection he would be sure in the General Election backfired and he came third in 1983.
    Assuming that there is no unexpected event such as a rerun of the Falklands Malvinas conflict which the equivalent today given the cuts to the Royal Navy would be the Irish invading Anglesey , then my guess is Carswell will win the by election and then lose narrowly to the Tories next year.

  • Little Jackie Paper 29th Aug '14 - 11:50am

    Joe Otten – I see where you are coming from. But to my mind UKIP are really a symptom, not a cause. The public at large seems to agree that it wants change – what sort of change is quite another matter. But for a long time (under successive governments – I make no partizan point here) we have been told that the UK needs to be, ‘open.’ Open markets, open to globalisation, open borders, open to foreign money etc. UKIP to my mind represents people who have not done well out of an open UK and who, bluntly, have just had a gutful of it. Or at least that is the UKIP support base.

    When expressed on the doorstep, there might be a certain reduction to flashpoints like immigration and the EU. This is what Farage and the like tap into, and do it very well. But it is more nuanced than just, ‘arguments bounce off them.’ It may very well be that Mr UKIP doesn’t have a single thing against he son’s Polish wife or Mrs UKIP quite likes the local Spanish nurses. Hence the idea that UKIP = racist is nonsense. What they don’t like is the, ‘open,’ thinking that has held sway in this country in one form or another for decades. They probably see it as responsible for their son not being able to find housing or their daughter not being able to get a doctor’s appointment. They certainly see the EU as not reciprocal and (rightly or wrongly) believe that too high an opportunity cost is involved in the EU.

    What UKIP represents, or purports to represent, is the section of society that has found economic openness has done nothing for them and has almost certainly left them worse off. I expect these people saw The Party of IN message as meaning More of The Same. Now whether these people really and truly think that Farage is different to the other corporatists is a matter for debate, personally I doubt it because these people by and large aren’t daft. They may note for example how UKIP have been rather quiet on TTIP.

    UKIP represent the DESIRE for change – but it also perhaps does not represent the ACTUAL change people want.

  • An interesting debate on whether UKIP are worth treating seriously or not and to be honest I agree with both sides. UKIP are certainly a symptom rather than a cause – their biggest electoral advantage right now is that they have given a home to people who are just generally mugged off with life in general and politics in particular. That doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that all their activists and elected representatives are from the same mold.

    Yes, they are basically the new none-of-the-above party and that makes it near-impossible to engage with many of their supporters because all they want to do is shout and complain, regardless of actual policy. But let’s not forget that WE were the de facto none-of-the-above party for a long time and until very recently (when we joined government) a significant chunk of our support came from the same type of people who are now backing UKIP. That doesn’t mean we had no serious policies, it’s just that whichever is the most prominent “outsider” party will inevitably attract support from the “pox on all your houses” type of voter. So it would be a mistake to dismiss UKIP just because many of their voters are people it’s impossible to engage with. As Joe Otten points out, the same could be said of the Greens. UKIP will continue to monopolise the protest vote until the day they enter a governing coalition, thus becoming establishment themselves. Fingers crossed that day is far, far off. But sadly that means UKIP aren’t going anywhere.

    That said, I don’t see the point of us fighting a by election we stand no chance of winning. Our resources are limited, we need to save them for seats where they could make a difference.

  • @Joe Otten:

    ” I think broadly speaking political parties stand for what they say they stand for”

    I suppose I should be surprised by this appalling naivity, however I am not. It is an important past of Titanic Ballroom Dancer Syndrome.

    The political agenda in any given place and time is dictated by whichever political actors are the most effective at defining it. We live in a representative democracy: elections are dominated by issues of trust and credibility in which policy is often something of an also-ran. A specific policy area an, however, crucially affect public perception of trust and credibility of various candidates/parties. Presenting platitudes, dnial and wishful thinking are not going to help anyone much.

    There are (at least) separate elements crucial to the behaviour of potential UKIP voters:

    1 What is happening?
    2.Why is it happening?
    3. Is it a threat to me and my family/town/nation/the world?
    4.Who says they are going to do anything about it?
    5.Who really might do anything about it?
    6.Will anyone who says they will do anything about it get elected?
    7.What else might happen if these people get elected?

    Any or all of these might be usefully-seized upon by successful political operators/ Matthew H suggests one such combination. He might or might not be right. What else would Li Dems usefully say to the electorate of Clacton?

  • Matthew Huntbach 29th Aug '14 - 12:57pm

    Joe Otten

    If UKIP unites around backward cultural values, it makes sense to have a broad appeal in other respects, much as we might wish they wouldn’t.

    You need to understand the power of small-c conservatism, which is a very different thing from free market economics. The use of the term “conservative” in the US to mean the latter, but in a way that attempts to link it to the former has been devastatingly successful for the political right. It amounts, in effect, to selling a medicine which causes the symptoms it claims to cure. If you can get away with that, you can make a fortune.

    Small-c conservatism mean simply the idea that things are best as they are, it is best not to take risks and change them, and pushed a bit further to the idea that things were better in the past, so we should aim to get back to where we were. If people are feeling that life has been unfair to them, that society has moved in ways that have made things worse for them, then small-c conservatism is a very attractive philosophy. While it tends to be associated with the political right, since the underlying philosophy of the political right is “the people who have power and wealth now are the right people to have power and wealth”, it can take on a left tinge if the people who have power and wealth are seen to be responsible for having made rapid changes which have disadvantaged those without power and wealth. The clearest example of left conservatism is the 19th century radical, William Cobbett.

    There is no party in the UK whose philosophy is small-c conservatism. The Conservative Party abandoned that when under Thatcher it became the party of rapid economic change in the direction that suited those with power and wealth in society i.e. big business. However, if the political right can manage both to push big changes which is causing distress to the poorer and weaker members of society and to retain enough image of small-c conservatism to gain the fearful support that leads people who have suffered under change to be small-c conservative, it has hit a gold mine. That is why when Clegg’s main line of attack on Farage in the debates he had with him was that Farage was a small-c conservative, he was playing into Farage’s hands.

    Liberals are not and should not be small-c conservatives. Small-c conservatism often involves the defence of illiberal values. However, if changes in society are damaging liberal values, the small-c conservative card can be one to play. More importantly, we need to recognise that rapid change in society can cause people to lose their sense of how things are run and how to act to get what they want from society, that is, it can be illiberal just by the nature of it being change. That is, I do not think liberals should necessarily suppose they are always the political opposites of small-c conservatism.

    UKIP is quite clearly winning the small-c conservative vote because there’s no-one else even trying to win it. We in the Liberal Democrats, and particularly coalition-sceptics, are getting angry at the way the Coalition seems to be pushing the Liberal Democrats to the economic right. But if you look at Conservative Party internal discussion, one of the biggest elements there is anger that that the Coalition seems to be about the Liberal Democrats squeezing out the last elements of small-c conservatism from the Conservative Party, with gay marriage a particularly totemic issue.

    I’m not suggesting we should become a small-c conservative party, but we need to acknowledge its power and appeal, which Clegg didn’t do when he debated with Farage. I don’t think it would help us if we become the party of knee-jerk opposition to small-c conservatism, but I think there are too many among us who take this line and come from backgrounds where they can’t see why others might not want to do likewise. Underneath, that’s what this is all about.

  • The more I read all these posts the more I am amazed at how STILL, after really quite a few months into the UKIP Spring (far from turning autumnal unlike our real seasons) you guys just don’t get it. You haven’t got a clue what is going on, why we are garnering such support, or what to do about it.

    And you are all highly intelligent, educated people with finely tuned political antennae.

    Long may it continue I suppose. Your website can continue to censor my replies to your arguments (in itself a telling admission of intellectual defeat) but you can’t turn aside the political zeitgeist.

    It must play out, it will.

  • On considering the issue and the comments, I agree with sfk. The local party should make a strategic decision depending on its local human and material resources, but it is quite likely that we will suffer the same squeeze that has been seen elsewhere.

    I have to admit to being markedly less sanguine than Matthew Huntbach about the prospects of a UKIP win. It is an outcome that I would want to resist as a first priority: not only is it likely that Carswell would be able to retain his seat in a general election, but it would a win would lend a credence to UKIP that up to now it has lacked. However I also have to admit to opposing UKIP more strongly than I support the Lib Dems.

    As for Labour, I suspect that many in their ranks will welcome a UKIP win as they will believe that Conservatives lose out as UKIP advances and that this lowers the threshold for a Labour overall win in 2015. I suppose there is some chance of a messy result with neither Labour nor Conservatives able to have a majority even in coalition with one of the third, fourth or fifth parties. I do feel that Labour will never be coerced into supporting an EU referendum simply because they would have even less chance than the Conservatives of winning it at a time when they would be unpopular in government. In fact it seems highly likely to me that if Labour do edge a win in 2015, perhaps with the help of defections from Tory to UKIP, they will quickly become mired in considerable trouble, caused in part by continuing economic fragility, but also by unrealistic expectations that they have wilfully engendered whilst in opposition.

  • Matthew H: That makes a very interesting analysis. What goes against the grain of, but does not invalidate, your argument is that the Tory MPs most likely to defect to UKIP are not the small-c conservatives, but über-Thatcherites.

    I think gay marriage is only totemic for one strand of small-c conservatism, in other respects I think that Nick Clegg does look towards centrism and small-c conservatism.

  • Matthew Huntbach,
    Look at MPs such as Milliband, the Coopers, Hunt etc, etc they have minimal experience of working with the working class which is what John Cruddas is pointing out. The continued practice of parachuting middle class MPs into cities such as in Liverpool is causing problems. The reality is that when I Duncan Smith stands in a bar in Glasgow wearing a Guards tie with ex-guardsmen, he has something in common with people who come from a very difficult background.

    It used to be said the greatest honour bestoyed on a junior officer was to be invited to a sergeants mess. What often forges bonds between people are shared experiences. Paddy Ashdown came from an upper middle class background , went to public school and served in the SBS and marines have said he was good man to have in a tight spot. People who have come from very different social backgrounds but have fought together and learnt to respect each others skill and courage, have bonds of loyalty which transcend class. An engineer and labourer who have work together on difficult and dangerous construction projects or mines and have learnt to trust each other’s skill, hard work and honesty will have forged bonds of respect which transcend class. Brig Ed Butler , grandson of Rab Butler , went to Eton , served in the Royal Green Jackets , was CO of 22 SAS and commanded 16th Airborne Brigade. Is anyone saying that the men he commanded were more concerned about is aristocratic ancestry and his Eton education than his ability to command elite units?

    The problem for Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Milliband is that they have never undertaken jobs which have tested their character before they became MPs: they are gilded youths who have lived gilded lives and never had their mettle tested.

    Liberal Al.Your sister is a nurse who has not seen a pay rise in four years: many in the construction industry and industry in general have had decreases in pay due to the recession, if they are in work at all. Perhaps you have not noticed the construction sites which were left uncompleted.

    Little Jackie Piper
    Good points. As technology evolves and trade competition increases, the greatest impact is in unskilled and , semi skilled employment and those working in low to medium level technology companies. The German education system invests in producing scientists, engineers and craftsmen educated to technician level which means Industry has evolved from low and medium technology companies to largely being high tech companies. Germany invest very little in poor quality arts/humanities education. German car workers can earn $41/hr. Consequently, those in developing countries, especially the upper middle and upper class buy German products be they cars or white goods, as status symbols.Increased competition only benefits those who produce the quality goods and services which others cannot supply.

    As countries industrialise, they start with low tech industries such as textiles and then move to, low value steel, coal,low value cars, low value ships which comprise bulk of merchant fleets. When the Tories won in 1979 large areas of the textile, coal, steel, low value cars and low value manufacturing were falling behind with regard to technology and delivery times and were too expensive. Many countries had steel industries producing low value product.

    Korea and Japan evolved by producing low value goods for the Asian market. The Empire was a trade monopoly and as it was wound down it enabled the USA, Germany and Japan to sell it’s products to countries which previously only bought British. When India became independent it was the death knell for the Lancashire Cotton Industry.

    Britain failed to look at what was happening in the rest of the World. Just because Britain invented football it does not mean we have the right to win the World Cup.

    Toyoda went to see the Ford works at Dearborn and realised they could make cars with less people and materials to higher standards and the result was the Toyota Car Company. Toyota and Japanese companies had shorter delivery times and with a very low level of defects: Britain had strikes which extended delivery times plus, Monday and Friday cars. Jaguars were sent to the USA and found to have faulty electrical windows. I have not heard of single Labour MP or trade unionist who went to other countries and studied how technology and trade was evolving. People blame Thatcher because they failed to spend the time and effort to understand what the rest of the World was doing.

    The 6 Day War forced ships to sail around South Africa which previously had gone through the Suez canal which had limited them to 50, 000T . Ships rapidly increased to 100,000T and even 500,000T . In 1966 , Prescott called the seaman’s strike just as ships were increasing size and therefore needed fewer crew. The ship builders strikes persuaded ship owners to have the newer and larger ships built in S Korea and Japan. The dockers strike over containers drove trade from ports which were unionised to Tilbury,Felixstow and Rotterdam . Between the dockers, seaman’s and ship workers strikes in the late 60s and early 70s, they destroyed the British owning and building industries within 25 years. British and Commonwealth which had been the largest merchant navy company in the World in the 1950s reduced exposure to ships after the 1966 seaman’s strike and it was sold by the mid 80s.

    The development of open cast coal mines in USA, S Africa , India and Australia combined with the growth in size of bulk ore carriers from 50, 000 to 250, 000T meant that in the early 1980s, the average price for coal in the World was £32 and in the UK it was £44/T and at Deal it was £120/T. It was the canals which halved the price of coal and made it more available. How many Labour MPs and Trades Unionists understood changes in the extraction of coal and transport which took place after 1966?

    The grievances which encourage many people to vote for UKIP have occurred because people of influence have refused to study how the rest of World works and as result we have fallen behind in many areas. People say how wonderful the NHS is but they do not examine home other countries such as Austria or New Zealand deliver health systems. Australia has an immigration system but it is designed to benefit Australia not immigrants.

    There is saying ” If you want to help someone tell them the truth, if you want to help yourself , tell them what they want to hear”. Large parts of Britain has been telling everyone how wonderful they are : we can ignore reality but not the consequences of ignoring reality. UKIP is the result of much of the political classes and the senior members of the state sector ignoring the reality how events in the World have adverse impacts on the lives of many people in the private sector on average and below average wages.

  • Tony Dawson 29th Aug '14 - 6:07pm

    @David Pollard :

    “LibDems fight elections. That’s what we do.”

    This was generally true once – and in Jesmond last night Gerry Keating and his team showed that we sometimes still do. But, in all too many cases these day,s we effectively only stand in the elections. There is insufficient connection with the electorate and very little fight.

  • Simon Banks 29th Aug '14 - 6:55pm

    There may be few people right now who care what we say about UKIP, but there’s plenty of people who actively dislike the party.

    Douglas Carswell is a strange mixture and I think the comments here have been a bit too kind to him. He’s intelligent, rather obsessive and divisive. He has some attractive radical views on reforming democracy and some deeply unpleasant chauvinistic views (in the original sense – narrow nationalism). He is a hard-working MP but his interventions on local issues have sometimes made unnecessary enemies: he can rub people up the wrong way and that isn’t just Guardian readers.

    Up to now, despite the fact that Clacton is promising territory for UKIP, the local Tories have fought off its challenge successfully in local elections. It will be interesting to see how they play this.

    Oh, and as someone who will have a voice in who is our candidate, I can say I trust we’ll fight for what we believe in, and if we annoy my small case namesake along the way, what a pity!

  • “If it all goes as Farage plans Carswell certainly has a chance but its not going to be any walkover.”

    Any further predictions in the light of that Survation poll showing UKIP with a 44% lead?

  • Don’t say we haven’t been telling you on here for months…
    Don’t say we didn’t tell you!

    The Clacton By Election…

  • Charlie 29th Aug ’14 – 5:00pm: please tell the nurses and doctors that next time you go to hospital. I am sure that sacking all of our medical staff is wonderful idea. I mean why should public sector workers have jobs when other sectors do not? It is not like this Government has cut masses of public sector jobs, already, is it? Besides, nurses do not save peoples lives or anything. No, they are just lazy, overpaid public sector scroungers stealing your taxes, right?

    Simon: I think many accept that UKIP have a real chance of winning this election.

  • Liberal Al

    You guy’s have been in denial about what is going on since before the “earthquake.” You still don’t get it though. Look at this thread, which reads like a seminar at a plate glass university.

    It is not that we are going to win this by election, although we will. It is the scale of it which will be seismic (to continue the metaphor).

    We are going to destroy all the failed legacy parties. Annihilate all of you. It will be the political phenomenon of our lifetimes. A genuine, grassroots movement has arisen in our polity.

    Are you going to listen or to continue to gain 2% of the vote in by elections?

    What are you going to do about immigration and Europe when the people are so clearly speaking?

    Continue to ignore them because you, and the rest of the failed metropolitan elite think they are wrong?

    Like Brecht are you going to elect a new people?

  • stuart moran 31st Aug '14 - 6:16pm

    Simon

    Are you for real?

  • Well, considering that more people in the poll that you probably referring are voting for UKIP’s new blue eyed boy on the grounds of it is a ‘protest vote’ (38%) than on the grounds of Europe, I would calm down if I were you on whether this is a ringing endorsement of your European rhetoric (13%).

    As for Immigration, we will do what we always have, be the only party with the courage to actually argue for Immigration policy based on the facts rather than fear and hearsay.

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Aug '14 - 7:27pm

    @ simon,
    A genuine grassroots movement led by a former tory elite?

  • “As for Immigration, we will do what we always have, be the only party with the courage to actually argue for Immigration policy based on the facts rather than fear and hearsay.”

    From today’s Sunday Times:

    “White British children will be a minority in state schools in England by 2037 if the population trends of the past decade continue.”

    Fact or hearsay, old son?

    As for the reason for the staggering prediction.

    From the Survation Poll:

    “Immigration is by far the main concern for Ukip voters (57 per cent)”

  • paul barker 31st Aug '14 - 7:55pm

    UKIP have had the most incredible luck in getting a defection in what is, demographically the best Constituency in Britain for them. Byelection Polls have a poor record but its hard to see how UKIP can lose Clacton now. The question is what happens then. I was expecting a major Tory split in 2017 but its possible it could happen before The Election. We have made a big contribution to widening the Tory split by joining them in Coalition.
    Tory splits actually make Labour splits more likely because they reduce the “Cost” of forming new groups. This is the continuation of the process The SDP began 3 decades ago.

  • “A genuine grassroots movement led by a former tory elite?”

    They articulate the inchoate anger. Revolutions don’t tend to be led by the sans culottes. Robespierre came from the wrong side of the tracks in ancien regime terms, but he addressed the King whilst at Louis Le Grand, and became a small town lawyer.

    Not that Farage is Robespierre, obviously. :-).

  • stuart moran 31st Aug '14 - 8:04pm

    simon

    Your posts are getting more fantastical by the hour…..I would go and have a lie down in a dark room

  • “UKIP have had the most incredible luck in getting a defection in what is, demographically the best Constituency in Britain for them.”

    It really is a bitch isn’t it?

    The question is, what are you going to do about it? Because from where I’m standing, your current policy of feeling superior and talking down to the UKIP electorate for being, ahem, “racist”, ain’t working.

  • “Your posts are getting more fantastical by the hour…..I would go and have a lie down in a dark room”

    The final admission of intellectual bankruptcy. The ad hominem attack.

    What are you going to say next? That I (and millions others) are swivel eyed loons and close racists?

  • “White British children will be a minority in state schools in England by 2037 if the population trends of the past decade continue.”

    Well, this is not factually accurate because here it is a twisting of what that study is actually saying – which is that White British children will no longer be overriding percentage (AKA more than 50% of all students). It is not saying that they will be a minority group.

    However, even for what it is saying it is not correct because it would relay on Middle Eastern families procreating at the same rate as they are now, or higher, when all studies show their birthrates decreasing and the expectancy is for their birthrates to have normalised in line with the birthrates of white British families by between 2025 to 2030. Furthermore, it would require for the birthrates of white British families to continue their decline at the same rate as they are now, when they are predicted to level out in the coming decade. As such, for this statistic to be turn out to be correct, it would require for humanity to basically ignore its own nature and for very normal changes in our breeding patterns to not occur, when decreasing resources, lessening religious ties, improving education and increasing living costs are only making it more entrenched for these changes to occur.

    However, let us say that the Telegraphs hysteria building turns out to be true, you have not actually provided any reason as to why this is a negative thing. We clearly come at this from different perspectives, but as someone whose children are going to be half-Chinese in all probability, I have no problem with the ‘supreme white races’ no longer being the majority. Or will my children be less deserving of their existence in Britain because their father dared to cohort with non-White British people. Is their lack of pure whiteness something to scorned, feared and mocked?

    Yes, UKIP, party of the ‘we must protect White dominance’ is so clearly not racist.

  • simon, the point of democracy is not for each and every party to offer the electorate what the loudest single group says it wants. You don’t get to shout your head off and get everyone to cave in to your demands.

    Every party absolutely must offer to the electorate a different and unique platform, that each party believes is the best option for the country.

    Your party thinks that all of Britain’s ills are caused by foreigners and Europe. Fine, great, stand on that platform, you’ll win some seats at the moment and much joy may they bring you.

    But we in this party do not believe that you are right. We do not accept that your ‘solutions’ would be good for the country and in fact I for one believe that the impact of a UKIP win on this country’s society, culture and economy would be disastrous.

    For this party to set aside that belief and offer a UKIP-alike manifesto for the sake of maybe winning an election would be betrayal. We would then be the party of the hostile caricature ‘oh you’ve sold out all your principles for power’.

    We will have a vote. You think you’re going to get 99% and that we’re looking at 1%.

    That is democracy. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And sometimes good policy, sensible strategy and well-thought out plans for the future lose out to inchoate rage fuelling the emotional, nationalistic easy-solutions-for-difficult-problems stuff you peddle. Again, democracy. The beauty of the system is that people can vote for your candidate, look and see the total pigs ear he makes of things. And then, because the people are not stupid, they can vote him out again, made all the more confident that their vote can and does have an impact and that change is possible after all.

    We got into this mess because all the parties ended up offering the same platform of Thatcherite economics with Blair’s concessions to social justice. We will not get out of it by having all the parties offering the same UKIP neo-fascism.

  • nvelope2003 1st Sep '14 - 11:57am

    Yes the sensible thing for the Conservatives, in view of their poor showing in the Daily Mail opinion poll for Clacton, would be to refrain from contesting the seat as apparently not even Boris Johnson would win it against Carswell. We would then have the spectacle of 2 UKIP candidates fighting the seat and the whole episode would look silly.

    Stuart Wheeler of UKIP rather gave the game away about UKIP’s popular credentials when he said that a defeated MP would find it hard to get another job (similar to being an MP, I suppose) and would not be able to afford to educate his children, presumably because the state education system they have foisted on 93% of the population is not good enough for the ruling elite and many MPs do not have the talents to get a well paid job. So now we know.

  • Nigel Cheeseman 1st Sep '14 - 12:34pm

    I find it curious that some in my party (Liberal Democrats), having supported proportional representation for many years, now think that it is right that UKIP have no representation in the House of Commons. Why do we need to stop UKIP? Their views are legitimate. The best option, in my view, would be for Conservative, Labour and ourselves to give UKIP a clear run to win this by election. This would have several positive outcomes. Firstly, Carswell (assuming he is the UKIP candidate) will be the MP as he was and as he will probably be in any event, so no difference there. Secondly, it will not produce the media effect that Carswell and UKIP are looking for by precipitating a by election rather than simply defecting and remaining in parliament. It would also stop us from recording another miserable result.

  • “Simon, the point of democracy is not for each and every party to offer the electorate what the loudest single group says it wants. You don’t get to shout your head off and get everyone to cave in to your demands.”

    Absolutely right. I was kidding! Mostly anyway. 🙂

    Being serious, what I find very interesting about the media reaction to UKIP is how much of the narrative is framed with reference to the two main parties. I don’t know if this is deliberate or subconscious bias, but it is marked. I suppose as a third party yourself you are used to this.

    In this narrative UKIP is seen as a Tory problem, and we read screeds of how this is the presaging of a schism on the right akin to the Repeal of the Corn Laws, or Tariff Reform. (Yet I am former Labour member, have never voted Tory and never would even tactically. I hate them, frankly. And I am socially liberal, very much in favour of gay marriage, ya de ya),

    Continuing this narrative, Labour are pleased with UKIP because they are less at risk of losing votes the key marginals, so can watch the right implode, as you guys (or your ancestors) did in 1846 and 1906.

    This may indeed be what happens, no-one can forecast the future. BUT my money is on something far more interesting happening. The next election doesn’t matter in this analysis. Miliband will win, we WANT him to win, but not decisively. You will be wounded but not wiped out. Depending on the arithmetic you might form a coalition with Labour.

    It will be a disaster. Miliband and his front bench are utterly incompetent. He makes Hollande look like a genius. UKIP will then be in a position to mop up Labour heartland seats. Who else will they go to? You guys in gov’t? I think not. Will old mining constituencies vote Tory? Hardly.

    We will be uniquely positioned to replace you as the third force, holding the balance of power.

    Fantastical, as someone said? We’ll see.

  • “Or will my children be less deserving of their existence in Britain because their father dared to cohort with non-White British people. Is their lack of pure whiteness something to scorned, feared and mocked?”

    Pure emotion. We are discussing introducing immigration controls for our nation, not your children or mine. (Which I will keep out of the debate, although you might be surprised at how closely my life experience parallels yours if I didn’t).

  • “Yes the sensible thing for the Conservatives, in view of their poor showing in the Daily Mail opinion poll for Clacton, would be to refrain from contesting the seat as apparently not even Boris Johnson would win it against Carswell. We would then have the spectacle of 2 UKIP candidates fighting the seat and the whole episode would look silly.”

    It would certainly be coming to something if the Party of Government refused to fight a seat where they hold a 12,000 majority because they are terrified of being humiliated.

    Is this what democracy in the UK now means? The “major” political parties refusing to fight because they want to deny democratic legitimacy to a party which stands against them fair and square and seeks a democratic mandate?

    I trust not.

  • simon talks about a long term gambit being played by UKIP to replace the Liberal Democrats as the third party. Good luck to them, but I think that they will find that the third party game is a lot harder than it might look.

    Also, exactly what parties sit where in the grand political hierarchy can become very uncertain, depending on how much damage UKIP do to the Tories. simon points at his Labourite background and the old left character of many UKIP activists, and that is a valid point for Labour to worry about. But, the political candidates they have and who are looking likely to defect to them are all Tories, and all from the strongly right wing economic tribe.

    As an aside, it remains to be seen whether a party that draws activists and candidates from two totally opposed groups can be cohesive and effective in opposition, let alone in setting national policy in government. As simon himself says, he hates the Tories, but when he has to deal with ‘them’ becoming ‘us’, well. We have enough trouble just being in a fractious coalition with them.

    Still, for all of UKIP’s fragility it also hangs a huge question mark over the Tories themselves, will they be able to survive this mess intact?

    Its a long shot, but if their split isn’t dealt with skilfully, then it will widen into the sort of divide that destroyed the old Liberal Party under Asquith and Lloyd George. If that happens, well, UKIP is welcome to the third party label and much fun may they have fighting the Tory remnant for it.

  • “We have enough trouble just being in a fractious coalition with them.”

    Politics is about working with people you hate more than your nominal opponents. No?

    “…a huge question mark over the Tories themselves, will they be able to survive this mess intact?”

    The answer t o that question, from someone who wishes them nothing but ill, is no.

  • ”Pure emotion. We are discussing introducing immigration controls for our nation, not your children or mine. (Which I will keep out of the debate, although you might be surprised at how closely my life experience parallels yours if I didn’t).”

    “White British children will be a minority in state schools in England by 2037 if the population trends of the past decade continue.”

    “White British children .”

    You say I am basing my actions on emotion. There are the key three words in the sentence right there: “White British children.”

    Not “British children.”

    “White British children.”

    You have posted a quoted which quite clearly (if implicitly) shows that you consider that “White British children” should be the majority in the British State education system.

    This means that, by definition, you consider “White British children” to more deserving of admittance to the British education system than ‘non-white British children’.

    Non-white British children are, therefore, in your view clearly second class citizens. This makes all children of non-white and British heritage or children of mixed race a lesser group in your view. The fact that your own racism appears to have denoted your own children as second class should be something to give you a moment to pause and think, even if there is not anything else that will.

    I suspect that rather than reflect on this, you will say, ‘oh, no, you are twisting my words, I meant non-British people’, Well, even if you say this, you still have yet to provide any reason as to why these children are less deserving of an education than British children. However, as that is a complicated issue where I know we will never agree, I will not ask it of you.

    What I will ask once again is why are my half-Chinese, half-British children less deserving of an education? Does the fact they are ‘only half-British, mean they are deserving of half the education that ‘full British’ children would be entitled. (You note that my future children would be affected as their mother would be Chinese, not British-Chinese.)

    I do not ask these things of you Simon, to make you feel guilty or to try and prove you are bad person (as if I think I could make you think this about yourself), but because I dearly hope that you will stop and think for a moment. Actually think about this issue and how these simple ‘truths’ you hold so dear and their simple ‘answers’ will affect real people in the real world.

    You call yourself socially liberal, I hope that is true because the world needs more social liberals. It does not need more people telling other people that they are ‘less deserving’.

  • Al, , mate, you need to calm down and be, I am sorry, but less emotional. Specifically you need to stop putting words into my mouth, accusing me of “racism,” of regarding non “white British children” as “second class citizens,” and of advocating an “inferior education” for children of yours who haven’t even been born yet as far as I can gather.

    Your, ahem, contribution to my post put me in mind of this: https://richarddawkins.net/2014/07/are-there-emotional-no-go-areas-where-logic-dare-not-show-its-face/

    It seems to be that immigration is another such taboo subject that defies rational discourse. I guess we knew that anyway, hence the mess we are in. I seek to limit immigration, I apologise if that offends you, but there you go.

    Your position which de facto advocates unlimited immigration offends the electorate. That ought to be more germane to the member of a party which seeks public election, although it doesn’t seem to be.

    Because, all together now: “We the metropolitan liberal elite know best for you and the electorate is racist and wrong.”

  • “Good luck to them, but I think that they will find that the third party game is a lot harder than it might look.”

    It has been pretty easy so far, to be fair. You only seem to need to stand for European election to beat ALL the other parties, handily. Encourage an MP to defect and win his seat by a landslide… 🙂

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Sep '14 - 12:35pm

    simon

    It will be a disaster. Miliband and his front bench are utterly incompetent. He makes Hollande look like a genius. UKIP will then be in a position to mop up Labour heartland seats. Who else will they go to? You guys in gov’t? I think not. Will old mining constituencies vote Tory?

    So why would they vote for the party which regards itself as the true heir of Margaret Thatcher? You talk of it as some sort of grass-roots rebellion thing, but, as the Carswell defection shows, the brains an d money behind it are right-wing Conservative.

    With Blair pushing the Labour Party way to the political right as “New Labour”, and the Orange Book people taking control of the top levels of the Liberal Democrats and taking advantage of the Coalition to push it much further and more quickly down that path than they would otherwise have been able to do, many people in this country have been left angry feeling that politics is now an elitist thing with no-one on their side. But you, simon, have done nothing to reply to the point I’ve been making that UKIP is trying to win their vote, while in reality being a party which is not just the same sort of right-wing economic party as the others, it is even more so. It stands for the very sort of politics which have left people feeling disaffected, only in a more extreme form.

    I’ve not seen anything from you, simon, in terms of a full coherent set of policies. I appreciate that you are able to build on popular concern over immigration, but that alone does not constitute a full set of policies for a whole government. I think you would also find that even if pulling out of the EU did not have the negative economic policies most top business people think it will, the savings made in not paying EU contributions won’t pay for all the things that people in the country are angry about because they think the government isn’t doing enough about them.

    As I’ve suggested, the reality is that Margaret Thatcher’s policies have tended to have the opposite effect to those that they were claimed to be having at the time. The “Iron Lady” stood barring the front door, while opening the back door to foreign control of our country. You have said nothing at all in reply to my point in that. The sale of council houses was meant to spread wealth and give us a “home owning democracy”, yet now we see home ownership decreasing, and people forced out of the chance of having a home of their own. All of this as predictable at the time – I know because I predicted it, yet people were taken in by Thatcherism, and many still are, including all of UKIP’s leadership. The clock cannot be turned back to that time because now the family silver has already been sold off. You have nothing to say on all this, all you have posted is bluster.

    If you and others in UKIP are sincere and really do believe you have a different sort of politics on the side of the people, and nothing like the right-wing economics of your leader, we can see from what has happened in Clacton how you are just being used yourselves. It can be seen that your leader will dismiss you and your politics. once you have helped him into power, just as he has dismissed the standing UKIP PPC for Clacton. H

  • Surbiton Paul 2nd Sep '14 - 1:25pm

    I was in Frinton on Sea (Carswell country) a few weeks ago and picked up the last flyer that Carswell delivered whilst still a Tory.

    Looking beyond the sea of Union Jacks and English flags, I was struck by the complete absence of any Conservative branding on the leaflet, not even the published by strap line. The only identifiable link to the Tories was the appearance of Zak Goldsmith standing alongside him in the one photo that featured people, not symbols of empire..

    Given that this leaflet was clearly a launchpad for Carswell as an ex-Tory, the choice of photo must have been deliberate. I wonder is Goldsmith the next to break ranks? Especially now that Heathrow runway 3 looks to set to fire a healthy sized torpedo towards his re-election chances.

  • “So why would they vote for the party which regards itself as the true heir of Margaret Thatcher? ”

    Everything is not economics, Matthew. People vote for cultural and emotional reasons as well. That is where we resonate, I don’t expect you to understand, clearly you don’t, but it is a fact. I can’t put my finger on the data, but something like one in three of the “working class” voted for Thatcher as I recall. Ever heard of this chap?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essex_man

    “If you and others in UKIP are sincere and really do believe you have a different sort of politics on the side of the people, and nothing like the right-wing economics of your leader, we can see from what has happened in Clacton how you are just being used yourselves. It can be seen that your leader will dismiss you and your politics. once you have helped him into power,”

    It is YOUR leadership which sought power for its own sake. And what have they done with it? It is just chaffeur driven cars and red boxes to be followed by lucrative positions on retirement. Nothing has been done to even BEGIN to tackle the mess this country is in. Exactly HOW excited are you at the prospect of a coalition with Labour after the election?
    Come on, be honest now.

    Therein lies the difference although you can’t see it. OUR leadership seeks to reclaim this country’s sovereignty and to get us back on our feet. They might fail but they are sincere in making the attempt in my view.

    And I would add, that is a common view in the country, I would assert. People may despise Farage, many utterly loathe him. But few doubt his sincerity.

    No, your Dear Leader has cornered the market in that commodity. And has been rumbled.

  • @Simon, I take that your ad hominem approach of calling me ’emotional’ instead of defending your ‘facts’ or addressing the points raised is your way of conceding?

    “Your position which de facto advocates unlimited immigration offends the electorate.”

    Simon, could you very kindly find any quote from me where I have ever advocated – either explicitly or implicitly – that I support the idea of unlimited immigration. Should you be unable to find such a quote, then I kindly request that you retract your comment and deal with the question that I have asked, which is why ‘white British children’ are more deserving of admission to the British education than non-white British children? It was you – not me – who used the statistics about ‘white British children’.

    May I also highlight that is not how you use the term ‘de facto’. I have taken the liberty of assuming that you meant ‘implicitly’, but do correct me if I am wrong.

  • Well said, Matthew.

  • Al

    I was talking about your party’s immigration policy which is certainly “de facto” unlimited. De jure too. If you personally don’t agree with it, I take it you advocate leaving the EU and its free movement of labour?

    Then we agree. Otherwise, what exactly is YOUR personal policy to limit immigration?

    With respect to your question, I DON’T believe that “white British” children are more deserving of education than recent immigrants, living here. But I DO want to limit immigration drastically from here on in.

    I hope that is clear?

    I have answered Matthew in some depth, and some other points occur to me too. I will see if the first reply passes moderation before enlarging on my response to what was a well argued post.

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Sep '14 - 6:53pm

    @ Surbiton Pal,
    The former Tory and now UKip donor, old Etonian Stuart Wheeler claimed in one of the newspapers that he had been wining and dining several Tory MPs in a Mayfair establishment. Who cares which Tory MP who did not get the political preferment that they felt that they were due, or feels that they might lose the seat anyway, jumps first. The more the merrier as far as I am concerned.

    Whatever simon says, the more these right wing, Thatcherite , self- servers, jump ship, the greater the likelihood of the penny dropping in those communities that were devastated by Thatcherism .

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Sep '14 - 6:58pm

    @ Liberal Al,
    simon and his Ukip mates can’t stop themselves giving the game away – even when they have microphones round their necks and a BBC crew in tow.

  • I see that a British person will be the next western hostage beheaded by IS, Presumably by his fellow “Briton” from the first two videos.

    It will only add to the UKIP narrative that British multiculturalism has failed.

    You guys bleat on about Thatcher as if anyone cares about her any more (I certainly don’t). Yet no-one asks themselves why it is a BRITISH Jihadi who is about to behead his fellow national.

    British nationality means nothing any more. There is no sense of community or common purpose. We are atomised and living parallel lives. As the former Chief Rabbi said, instead of a nation we now are like a hotel.

    Why? Years of unlimited immigration.

  • “Combined with limited expectation of assimilation and integration”

    Worse, combined with a conscious policy to DISCOURAGE integration. When all cultures are seen as equally valid and worthy of “celebration” what is to discourage FGM, honour killings, the murder of African children as witches etc etc etc?

    Sure all are against the law but when is that law enforced? The downright wickedness of cultural relativism is all too rarely pointed out.

    We need an integrationist immigration model, as the Americans have. But, all together again, the liberal metropolitan elite know best and anyone who points out the emperor has no clothes is racist and wrong.

  • simon, you’ve linked the problems with FGM, honour killings and the murder of children as witches with Britain’s immigration policy, and pointed to the EU’s free movement of labour as the reason why nothing can be done.

    Tell me, is the Polish community noted for its use of FGM? Do Romanians often murder their children under the belief that they are witches? Are Germans, French and Spanish people regularly noted for pursuing their relatives to rural Pakistan, murdering them and then coming home to pretend that nothing happened?

    I think the answer to all the above, is no.

    You’re taking a cultural issue that Britain inherits from its policy towards its colonial empire and projecting all your problems with it onto the European Union. For reference, the EU does not prevent Britain from controlling migration into it from countries that do have problems with FGM, honour killings and medieval religious situations. European free movement of labour has no bearing at all on migration into Britain from such countries, and the European Union as a general principle is actually quite difficult to get into from outside.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Sep '14 - 11:10am

    simon

    Everything is not economics, Matthew. People vote for cultural and emotional reasons as well. That is where we resonate, I don’t expect you to understand, clearly you don’t, but it is a fact.

    I think I understand better than you do. You have been fooled, and you have no real reply to my explanation of just how you have been fooled. My whole line has been that UKIP whips up a fake emotion to get people to vote for it for “cultural and emotional reasons”, without realising that in reality this is a shabby trick to get them to support the very sort of extreme right-wing economics that has caused them to get so angry with mainstream politics. The contempt which the UKIP leaders and funders hold for the little people they have fooled into giving them support is shown by their treatment of the former UKIP PPC for Clacton. This is what would happen if UKIP ever gained power – all those fine promises (or not really promises, just vague hand-waving) would melt away, as the fat cats who finance UKIP and run it from the top take over and push the policy that THEY want – Britain turned into a playground for the world’s super-rich, the British population turned into a servant class, and replaced by more compliant coolie labour if they get uppity over that. UKIP is just a more extreme form of today’s Conservative Party, it is most definitely not on the side of the people.

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