Nigel Lawson makes Ukip the Greatest Show on Earth
When Kenneth Clarke referred to Ukip supporters as clowns - perhaps out of a degree of coulrophobia - he gifted Nigel Farage one of the greatest ripostes of recent political history: "Send in the Clowns", the Ukip leader sang, as Sondheim's fools were fooled and three-way politics was turned on its head.
Following Ukip's seismic performance in the local elections, neither Clarke nor Farage could have imagined that an entire circus would soon come to town. Not with mad hats, blue wigs, red noses or floppy shoes, but all the traditional performance skills of the clowning profession. Nigel Lawson is used to high-wire acts. He can walk a tightrope, tame a lion, and probably ride a horse, an elephant or an ostrich, too (though the Queen is due to announce their banning in circuses today).
The Lawson clown is now the Ringmaster, and he will soon become the Emcee of Euroscepticism. This is no bad thing: the movement has long needed a Master of Ceremonies with gravitas to compensate for Farage's sparkly Music Hall act. Lawson is no Churchill, but he speaks with impeccable logic and the weight of experience. More importantly, he is a convert to the cause: this once-europhile chancellor - the man who forced Margaret Thatcher to join the ERM in preparation for Britain joining the euro - has recanted and repented. And not only is now anti-euro, he is anti-EU. And that makes this clown not so much a clumsy auguste or harlequin attempting trivial acrobatic feats of balance and agility, but a dignified and sophisticated clown blanc - expressing the tired weight of the wisdom of his years.
This clown has also turned fortune teller, and has revealed the 'Hanged Man' Tarot card.
David Cameron will not be able to renegotiate the UK's 'relationship' with the EU. Anything he wins will be 'inconsequential', for the Acquis is one way: it is 'ever closer union'. Nothing he gains will be of any substance, for that would be a shift to an à la Carte Europe, which is simply not on offer. Clown Lawson tells us that the EU has become a 'bureaucratic monstrosity' and that the benefits of leaving 'would substantially outweigh the costs'.
If Cameron can't even circumvent the obfuscatory strategies of his own civil service, what hope does he have taming the Euro-Beast?
Clown Lawson now understands what many of us have long known: “Not only do our interests increasingly differ from those of the eurozone members but, while never ‘at the heart of Europe’, we are now becoming increasingly marginalised as we are doomed to being consistently outvoted by the eurozone bloc.”
If we were to leave, not only would we save the £8bn a year 'membership fee', we would no longer be subject to EU regulation and red tape which Clown Lawson reminds us 'imposes substantial economic costs on all member states'. And the City would be saved from an EU 'frenzy of regulatory activism... the foolish and damaging financial transactions tax, imposed against strong UK opposition'.
He added: “Those who claim that to leave the EU would damage the City are the very same as those who in the past confidently predicted, with a classic failure of understanding, that the City would be gravely damaged if the UK failed to adopt the euro as its currency.”
The mistake Ken Clarke (and the europhile media and establishment) makes is to believe that clowns are inconsequential idiots in a circus pantomime. They are not and were never 'court jesters'; clowns have long served a socio-religious and psychological role - even in some cultures combined with the role of priest. They entertain in order to impart a truth: they exaggerate to reflect our absurdities and hypocrisies. They warn, admonish and enlighten. And the people generally like them for their forthright defiance and colourful impudence. Better than the bland sea of political mediocrity, anyway.