Saturday, May 08, 2010

Why does David Cameron prefer to deal with the Liberal Democrats after an election than with UKIP before?

This is David Heathcoat Amory: a more fierce British patriot and arch-Eurosceptic you would be hard pressed to find on the Conservative benches. Yet he lost the seat of Wells to a Europhile Liberal Democrat by 800 votes, while UKIP picked up 1711.

Let us not pretend that UKIP supporters would not vote for a Conservative candidate if Conservative policy on the EU were more robust. There is a fiction that UKIP are composed of ex-members of all parties, and that at their meetings you will find unreconstituted Socialists and a hefty proportion of LibDems, all united in their desire to leave the European Union.

This is nonsense. UKIP is a lost tribe of Conservatism: they favour small government and low taxation; they support the Established Church, wish to retain the Act of Settlement, expand grammar schools and introduce controlled immigration. They are all innately conservative in disposition and Whiggish in philosophy. Their raison d'être is for the UK to leave the EU. But not without a referendum of the people.

That is to say, UKIP is really the Referendum Party, for that is the only concession they attempted to extract from the Conservative Party.

Yet that was too much for David Cameron.

Even though a referendum pledge is included in the LibDem manifesto, such a demand is an unacceptable exaction when made by UKIP. David Cameron would rather deal with those whose political philosophy is antithetical to conservatism than with those whose conservatism is 'Radical' (or, in the vernacular, 'right wing').

And so we are in a position of having to barter away the voting system and all manner of core policies and manifesto pledges in order to accommodate Nick Clegg - the man who spectacularly failed in this General Election leading the party which came a very poor third.

It is estimated that UKIP helped deprive the Conservatives of at least ten seats by fielding candidates in constituencies the Tories had a very good chance of winning. They might even be blamed for keeping Ed Balls in situ, for he won by only 1119 votes while UKIP took 1506.

ConservativeHome have a list of how David Cameron might have secured a majority if he had been prepared to enter into talks with former-Tory peer Lord Pearson:

•Bolton West: Labour 18,329; Conservative 18,235; UKIP 1,901
•Derby North: Labour 14,896; Conservative 14,283; UKIP 829
•Derbyshire NE: Labour 17,948: Conservative 15,503; UKIP 2,636
•Dorset mid & Poole: Labour 21,100; Conservative 20,831; UKIP 2,109
•Dudley North: Labour 14,923; Conservative 14,274; UKIP 3,267
•Great Grimsby: Labour 10,777: Conservative 10,063: UKIP 2,043
•Hampstead & Kilburn: Labour 17,332; Conservative 17,290; UKIP 408
•Middlesbrough South: Labour 18,138; Conservative 16,461; UKIP 1,881
•Morley (Ed Balls): Labour 18,365; Conservatives 17,264; UKIP 1,506
•Newcastle-Under-Lyme: Labour 16,393; Conservatives 14,841; UKIP 3,491
•Plymouth Moor View: Labour 15,433; Conservatives 13,845; UKIP 3,188
•Solihull: Liberal 23,635; Conservatives 23,460; UKIP 1,200
•Somerton & Frome: Liberal 28,793; Conservatives 26,976; UKIP 1,932
•Southampton Itchen: Labour 16,326; Conservatives 16,134; UKIP 1,928
•St Austell & Newquay: Liberal 20,189; Conservatives 18,877; UKIP 1,757
•St Ives: Liberal 19,619; Conservatives 17,900; UKIP 2,560
•Telford: Labour 15,977; Conservatives 14,996; UKIP 2,428
•Walsall North: Labour 13,385; Conservatives 12,395; UKIP 1,737
•Walsall South: Labour 16,211; Conservatives 14,456; UKIP 3,449
•Wells: Liberal 24,560; Conservatives 23,760; UKIP 1,711
•Wirral South: Labour 16,276; Conservatives 15,745; UKIP 1,274

Of course, hurt and disappointed Conservatives will blame UKIP for these losses, but the reality is that it was present Conservative policy which lost them. Senior Labour ministers who were 'saved by UKIP' include not only Ed Balls, but John Denham, Phil Woolas and Ian Austin.

And now for the shabby deals. And it is more than a little nauseating to watch and hear David Cameron and Gordon Brown fawning for Nick Clegg's support, obsequious and flattering in their expressions of potential accommodation. "Which of you shall we say doth love us most?" asks Clegg, "That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge."

Gordon Brown responds that he loves Nick "more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare."

What shall Lord Pearson speak? Love and be silent.

And David Cameron responds: "Sir, I am made
Of the self-same metal that Nick is,
And prize me at his worth. In my true heart
I find he names my very deed of love;
Only he comes too short: that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love."

Then poor Lord Pearson!
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.

And for those who are not familiar with the story, read it and weep.

32 Comments:

Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Is Cranmer suggesting that Cameron or Clegg descends into madness after wrongly distributing his estate on the strength of flattery?

8 May 2010 at 12:58  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

KING LEAR
Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight!
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her! Call France; who stirs?
Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all the additions to a king;
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part betwixt you.

Giving the crown

8 May 2010 at 13:16  
Blogger John R said...

All I can say is that Cameron has a lot to answer for. If he'd been a true conservative he'd have already been in Downing Street by now. All the smokescreening about UKIP is only to try to hide the fact he's failed to bring in enough voters because he's not offering what they want.

8 May 2010 at 13:29  
Anonymous Elliot Kane said...

I think Your Grace is entirely correct upon the matter of UKIP. Cameron effectively threw the election away when he broke his 'cast iron' word and failed to act as a man of honour should by offering something better. Who could ever trust him after that?

Instead, we got a set of cloud cuckoo land proposals based upon an idea of the EU that no other major member of the EU shares, nor would ever endorse. Ideas for an EU that never has and never will exist.

His further failure to grasp the lifeline offered to him by Douglas Carswell in the form of that worthy's private member's bill to grant an in/out referendum only sunk him further into the mire.

I have no idea whether all of this is the result of hubris or a desire to duck the long overdue fight with the Europhiles in his own party, but the result is, to my mind, absolutely beyond doubt: Cameron threw the election away through his timidity and inability to come to grips with the real issues.

Andrew Neather gave him a golden opportunity to destroy the govt. He ignored it. Lord Pearson offered him the opportunity to destroy UKIP at a stroke, and he disdained it. Not the only examples, and I'm sure anyone reading this could add to the list.

That Cameron now has to seek alliance with Clegg is purely Cameron's own fault.

Right now, I honestly trust Clegg more than Cameron. But the real trick for Clegg is whether or not his party can step up to the plate and act like real politicians, or whether they are in fact the joke that so many of the electorate think they are.

As to that, the next few days will tell us. The Lib Dems have a real chance to raise themselves up, or to cast themselves down forever. Let's hope they realise it.

8 May 2010 at 13:35  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Put perfectly YG. If Cameron had made a pre-election deal with UKIP to have them not stand in areas where euro-sceptic Conservatives were standing, then he'd have won the election.

8 May 2010 at 13:40  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

His Grace is correct in that this has all the makings of a Shakespearian tragedy. There will have to be another election soon; I predict it, forecast it, announce that the reality of it is most certain because for the simple reason that this will most certainly end in madness.

Madness of power, like a flesh-eating virus devouring its way through the body of a once great nation: An example to the rest of the world now liquefied and putrid like the body of an Ebola victim.

8 May 2010 at 13:57  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

I cannot understand Cameron’s frantic desire to burden himself and his party with the appalling problems we face. Christopher Booker pointed out recently that our debt is rising by nearly half a billion pounds every day; by 2014, every household will be paying £3,000 a year just to cover the interest on the debt.

As Brown is the sitting Prime Minister, it is his responsibility to make whatever arrangement is necessary to allow government to continue, either as a minority administration or with LibDem support. The mess is Brown’s. Let him clear it up, and if the LibDems fall into the ordure as well, so much the better. The Tories are better off out of it and should stay there.

8 May 2010 at 14:21  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

What needs to be considered is the Lord Ashcrofts of this world who have just attempted to purchase a government and failed. Their arses must be twitching over this weird LibDem alliance. But a minority government will find its self in trouble quite soon and they know this.

They must also realise that it looks all rather gloomy and desperate for a Tory majority to ever again work out in our present political climate. Even so, given the weak chance of a Tory majority to ever happen again, I would still wager that the Tory financiers would still be happy to try another election rather than face the possibility of paying tax like the rest of us.

Madness I tell you, the madness of power and money.

8 May 2010 at 14:29  
Anonymous Truthseeker said...

I can already see cracks occuring within the Conservatives. Some blogs are supporting a lib/con pact some arn't. Things arn't looking good.

8 May 2010 at 14:41  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Your Grace

Given that more people didn't vote than what voted Conservative, I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of wankers that vote also.

8 May 2010 at 14:52  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

It's time to put Party preference aside and for the three leaders to act as they did first thing yesterday and put the Country first.

We are in deep shit. The situation is as serious as the financial situation during WW2.

Lets have a coalition from all three main players and prioritise a course of action that will stop us from going the way of Greece. If the world looses confidence in sterling we will be in the same situation only we won't get bailed out by the Euro nations.

PR, immigration, education, the NHS etc will become side-shows if the economy fails. We need to face the cuts that will hurt everyone with a strength of unity and purpose - then get back to our favourite toys.

8 May 2010 at 14:56  
Blogger John R said...

@Dreadnaught - you really think anyone would volunteer to power-share with Brown The Unhinged?

If what was being said earlier today is true about the phone call Clegg had with him last night, someone needs to increase the dosage on his meds!

8 May 2010 at 15:18  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

As I said - you have to put your toys down and play like grown-ups.

8 May 2010 at 16:04  
Blogger Sue said...

Simple, the last thing the Tories actually want to do, is give us a referendum on the EU.

8 May 2010 at 16:20  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, all this came about because Cameron is NOT a conservative any more than Clegg is. Mr. Heathcote Amory, an upstanding conservative in every respect, is the kind of colateral damage Lord Pearson wished to avoid and it is regretful he lost his seat. In war bad things happen. We are fighting a war to preserve our sovereignty, heritage and national identity. While these things are in peril we cannot rest. Expect casualties.

8 May 2010 at 16:45  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, interesting as this is, events have moved on. We are now in the typical backroom deal situation which hung parliaments produce and the potential for cronic instability and riots/strikes that will make greece look like a bunch of school boys out on a scrumping spree.

On the one hand we could have a spineless Cameron government supported by a reluctant left-leaning liberal rabble (does anyone really think Cable will make a good Chancellor?) who will flood the country with immigrants and dependents, whilst we adopt the Euro and go the way of Rome or on the other some form of ludicrous "progessive alliance" of labour, Liberal, SNP, Plaid,SDLP and oh, the DUP. All of which will divide our Union between England and everyone else. How have we got to this situation?

And does anyone realise the massive tusami that is about to hit us re the deficit? Does anyone realise that WHATEVER coalition or agreement is cobbled together, the markets have had their fill with Greece and now its our, Spain and Portugal's turn?

And how can any of these groups really deal with the consequences? People balked at £6 billion of cuts, what is going to happen when it is £150 billion plus a large devaluation and IMF treatment?

Is it another civil war?

God Lord preserve us and give us true national leadership at this time of crisis.

8 May 2010 at 17:06  
Anonymous pedant said...

All too sadly true, Your Grace. But we are where we are. Now we shall see what political skills Messrs Cameron and Clegg really have.

After decades of toytown politics, hardly worthy of the name, can we now look forward to the spectacle of some real virtuoso work? How Lloyd George or Walpole would have loved it! What exquisite finesses a Clemenceau or a Talleyrand would be savouring, were they in Mr Cameron's place!

And all against the background of a Europe-wide sovereign debt crisis, with the bailiff's heavy tread sounding on the stairs.

"The best policy for any government is simplicity of heart," said Burke. Not, one notes, simplicity of head. Time for Mr Cameron to grow up.

8 May 2010 at 17:23  
Anonymous GTGTWG said...

GB's deficit is only a few % ahead of Greece a tragic and dangerous position! And here we are discussing Clegg! A person who nobody voted for seems to be holding all the power? I hope the voting system does change because nobody put Brown or Clegg in office. Cameron got more votes than Maggie did when she took office yet still he grovels to a non entity. Well it's time to stop all that, and start doing the job they are there to do. Look after the country. It seems they have all forgot that little irritation. This is why GB is in this mess.

8 May 2010 at 17:28  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,

Could it be possible that Heathcote-Amory found himself defenestrated more for his expenses thieving than for UKIP's dilution of the 'right wing' vote?

8 May 2010 at 17:30  
Anonymous Oswin said...

An excellent blogg Your Grace.

You might add to your list Berwick Upon Tweed/North Northumberland, where Anne-Marie Trevelyan could have ousted the Liberal Grandee, Alan Beith, had Ukip and the BNP added their votes to hers.

However, it as Your Grace suggests, it isn't going to happen until the Tory Party decides to represent its own core beliefs.

Nettles have to be grasped, and as we all know, one has to grasp them firmly. Let's face it, if the Tories adopted a stringent immigration policy, and did what it ought to do regarding Europe, we would have 50% of 'old Labour' voting with us too! Those two policy areas stumped the Lib-Dems, as well has preventing the Tories from gaining their ruling majority.

We need no changes to the voting system; but we DO need our politicians to represent us accurately!

8 May 2010 at 18:31  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

The next General Election is likely to be in 2010-2011.

I can't see Cameron leading the Consevatives.

The more rapidly a conservative successor is found, the greater the chances of a Conservative victory.

8 May 2010 at 18:58  
Anonymous Oswin said...

D. Singh - you have it Sir!

Absorb UKIP and its policies...say what you mean, and mean what you say...and say it loudly!

We are entering dangerous waters here.

8 May 2010 at 19:12  
Anonymous Fed up with Socialism said...

Stop obsessing about Europe. The Euro is doomed as we speak. The Greek reaper is raising his scythe. As for electoral reform, why not. FPTP as we currently have it creates too many anomalies, and grossly favours the execrable Labour party. Single transferable vote is the answer. That way, you rabid Euro conspiracy theorists can stick UKIP as a first preference and a Tory as second. Simples!

8 May 2010 at 22:29  
Anonymous Simon Too said...

If UKIP cost the Conservatives vital seats with those paltry numbers, it is a sad reflection on the Conservative Party in those seats.

9 May 2010 at 00:07  
Anonymous no nonny said...

We negotiated our original system, over hundreds of years, to suit ourselves and our needs. We had procedures in place that allowed us to modify the system in order to adjust to the requirements of the day.

So we don't need to replace the whole shebang just to suit our enemies, or ignorant greedy foreigners who want to empower themselves at our expense. What we do need is make sure these people play by our rules and to our interests, when they are dealing in our country.

As Lear's Fool warns:

Fool: For you know, Nuncle,
The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long
That it had it head bit off by it young.
So out went the candle, and we were left darkling. 1.4.214-217

9 May 2010 at 06:51  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Fed up with socialiasm: so you would have us elect urbane not-so-closet socialist David Cameron then?

Ukippers voted for the only party standing on a conservative ticket and guess what, it wasn't the Tories.

9 May 2010 at 07:24  
Anonymous no nonny said...

btw, Your Grace - I think Clegg has us fooled. So many people in this play are in disguise! And I don't think he can be Lear - for he's not the King, however he plays his cards. Neither is he fully of our people. So I have him tagged as more like Edmund, for now.

9 May 2010 at 07:28  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Iago: 'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream, and this may help to thicken other proofs, that do demonstrate thinly.

Othello Act 3, scene 3.

Since the LibCon combined policies demonstrate thinly or, in some cases non-existantly, I reckon Iago has it right.

I see Cameron as Desdemona. ;0)

9 May 2010 at 07:50  
Anonymous Fran said...

I'm not sure about this, Your Grace.

Could not Cameron argue that had he embraced UKIP policies he might have have lost at least as many votes which he gained BECAUSE he had moved away from such traditional Conservative positions?

9 May 2010 at 08:04  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Oh, Gnostic - that's funny :)

9 May 2010 at 09:26  
Blogger Rockfall said...

The point is well made as ever, your Grace.

But the correct spelling is Heathcoat-Amory.

9 May 2010 at 19:33  
OpenID manicbeancounter said...

The counter-argument - that the Tories should be more Euro-sceptic to capture this vote only holds water if only votes are captured from UKIP (3% of the vote) and not lost to europhile Lib-Dems & Labour (51% of the vote).

What was needed was a greater vision and less of being all things to all people.
http://manicbeancounter.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/ukip-did-not-lose-the-tories-the-election/

9 May 2010 at 23:44  

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