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Gay Marriage. A Pyrrhic Victory?

This is only tangentially about the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the egregious ‘Defense (sic) of Marriage Act’. DOMA was about the rights in tax and inheritance that many gay people in the USA do not yet enjoy.
Gay marriage in the UK was not about rights per-se. Thanks to civil partnerships, British homosexuals already rightly enjoy the legal, tax and inheritance rights of marriage. Having achieved this, none of the Gay people I know were really agitating for ‘marriage’. It was an issue for a fringe, the perma-outraged Peter Tatchell of Stonewall. It seemed mainly, aimed, it seems mainly at hurting the Christianists by parking a pink tank on the Traditionalists’ lawn.
In pushing so hard for this largely symbolic gesture, the unintended consequence is that the British Christian right, for so long quiescent in the Bosom of a moderate Conservative Party, has now unfurled a banner and started to fight.
Gay Marriage was the issue more than anything else which drove right-wing Tories to UKIP, a ‘libertarian’ party which seems now to march to a hang’em and flog’em tune of the reactionary right. UKIP saw the opportunity, and rapidly purged itself of any liberals in order to maximise the Tories’ discomfiture.
Issues of Sexual Morality, long settled on this side of the pond around some broadly liberal consensuses on abortion and Gay rights, are now open for negotiation. The battle lines are drawn. The Christian bigots have
Marched out and declared culture war. And they now have a party, one which is probably going to win the European elections next year.
Of course I think Gay People should be allowed to marry if they wish. I also see the reasons many think they shouldn’t (and I find most of the given reasons risible). What I don’t get is why everyone cares so much. We’ve all had to choose sides, and winding up god-botherers is good sport
But what is the cost of this victory. Is it worth it, if we Brits have to endure the Toxic culture wars which disfigure American Politics. The christianists have long sought to roll back Abortion rights. And now they are unified following their defence of a mere word, ‘marriage’ they may yet be successful in securing a tightening of Abortion laws. Women may lose real freedoms, so Peter Tatchell can hurt some bigots who’d already lost.
We social liberals may yet rue the day we prodded the god-botherers out of their sleepy acquiescence to basic freedoms.
Noisy Christians are now no longer just a problem for the Americans, thanks to tireless single-issue cranks, like Peter Tatchell, and a need of the Conservative party to lay to rest the ghost of section 28 by pandering to them. Every time sex is debated in parliament, badly dressed people will sing hymns of disapproval outside.
Was it worth it?

“A Party That Reflects My Views”

UKIP is a populist party. It’s anti ‘other’: Immigrants,
‘Liberal Metropolitan Elites’, Foreigners, cyclists. It attracts golf-club
bores, and over-confident pub ranters, whose ideas bounce off a leadership
intent on stroking their prejudices. The idiocy resonates in the echo-chamber
and builds into a great crescendo of cant. The Green Party is a populist party
for environmentalist and left-wing extremists. Their policy formation is
identical to UKIPs, but starts with a different set of stupid ideas, but the
idiocy and cant are the same. As for Green and UKIP, so too Respect, SWP, SSP
and all the other minor parties in the system.
These parties, and the collapse of the main parties, is a
symptom, not of the Failure of the democratic system, but it’s success. The
main parties have presided over a stunning prosperity over the past two or three
centuries. The forms, if not yet the reality, of democracy are near-universal.
The richest, happiest and most powerful nations are the ones, still, who have
been democracies longest. The citizens of these countries are the richest,
freest, safest, longest lived, healthiest and most productive people who have
ever lived. The options open to the poorest Briton dwarf those of all but a
tiny proportion of Congolese. The people of Britain have now, thanks to democracy, moved so far up
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they expect to be listened to too.
If there’s one idea behind the rise of UKIP in
particular, it’s that the country has “gone to the dogs”. It hasn’t.
Nor is it “run by Europe”.  The
Tory party is not “the same as the Labour party”, and there isn’t a
grand conspiracy to do down the little guy by the “Liberal Metropolitan
Elite”. The conspiracy theories of all the other minor parties about big
business, or the oil industry are likewise, bunkum. They’re the result of
pandering to the prejudices of self-entitled people who lack the
self-discipline to accept that you cannot in reality expect to agree with
everything concerning the government of seventy-million people. They don’t like
some aspect of Labour or Tory policy and claim to want “A Party that
reflects my views”.
The fact is the rise of minor parties reflects a
self-centred ‘me-me-me’ culture, where people feel their ideas are valid,
however un-thought-out or spontaneous. Looking at a major party of Government
and thinking it insufficiently extreme, betrays a misunderstanding of what
democracy is FOR. It is not to impose one group’s ideal. It is not to conduct
accurate head-counts. It’s not even to do what ‘the people’ want. It’s to
temper the excesses of those who would seek to govern us, and vote the rotters
out  if necessary. The British have
traditionally preferred their coalitions WITHIN parties not between them. To
imagine you could ever agree with the entire manifesto of such a party, is just
stupid.
In order to get a radical change of policy enacted you
must first persuade a major party of Government, which involves persuading a
fairly conservative machine. Then you must persuade a sizeable chunk of the
activists of that party, each wedded to his or her own personal idiocies. Then
you must get supporters elected to offices of the party, selected for
safe-seats, and then win an election. Then the policy must be rammed through by
enthusiastic politicians against a conservative Whitehall machine. An idea has
to pass a pretty big set of hurdles before it becomes enacted policy of the
state. The length of time MPs can sit means ideas which were being implemented
in the 60s still have adherents in the commons to this day. Change is HARD to
effect. Only Atlee’s coming in after the war, and Thatcher’s managed to
significantly alter the direction of travel.
This is no bad thing.
Democracy, and the two-party duopoly will get shaken up
from time to time, but the Tory, Whig, Liberal, Labour stranglehold on power
which they’ve enjoyed for three hundred years isn’t all bad. Pick one. Try to
persuade it. Attempt to drag the centre ground of politics your way. Because
setting up a new party always ends up a vanity project for the likes of Nigel
Farage or the Dictator-toadying George-Galloway, and makes everyone involved
look like an twat. It also serves to ensure the splitting of your side of the
see-saw, ensuring the centre-ground of policy moves farther away from you.

Because we are all idiots in our own way, our enthusiasms
need tempering. Only the major parties have sufficiently high hurdles for ideas
to prevent most of the most idiotic ideas becoming official policy. Joining
UKIP or the Green Party rather than the Tories or Labour, is the action of an
idiot, without the self-awareness to realise he is one. It’s a reflection of
the egotism of our society. And it’s futile.

What do the Eurosceptics actually want?

The problem with the debate on the EU is that one side doesn’t care, and the other has worked itself into an irrational frenzy. It’s now poisoning the Tory party again, whose inability to address this issue rationally (though the press presenting any Tory mentioning ‘yurp in the context of ‘splits’ doesn’t help…) leaves the serious possibility of Prime-Minister Miliband. This and the return to power of Brownian lickspittle, Ed Balls is a much more clear and present threat to the UK than anything the EU might throw at us. The eurosceptic movement has been proven comprehensively right over the Euro. The UK dodged that bullet thanks to the likes of John Redwood and, it pains me to say, Gordon Brown. Now the sillier Eurosceptics are making demands that are simply impossible to meet.

What do the Eurosceptics want? Many seem to want an immediate, unilateral withdrawal, by repealing the Single European Act. To imagine this policy is without costs is ludicrous, not least for the million or so British citizens living outside Britain in the EU. Business would suddenly lose free access to the single market, and while access would almost certainly be granted along Norwegian or Swiss lines, it’s hard to see the UK’s negotiating position improved by such drastic action. It will also take time, probably years to sort out. In taking this drastic action, the UK would STILL be subject to the ECHR, over which UKIPpers work themselves into a tizzy. The European Court of Human Rights, set up by British and American lawyers after World War II, is not an EU institution, and it’s convention has been incorporated into British law.

Yes, yes, yes. I want a bill of rights too, but this has little to do with the EU.

So, some sort of negotiated partial withdrawal, where the UK retains access to the Single Market, but withdraws from much of the decision-making process. As a net contributor, with a trade-deficit, a declared nuclear power, the 6-8th largest economy in the world, permanent member of the UN security council and one of only 3 countries able to deploy an expeditionary brigade, the UK will be able to negotiate generous terms for access to the single market. But the City, Britain’s largest foreign currency earner, would lose out as much EU business would drift to Paris and Frankfurt. True, the city would be slightly freer to operate world-wide, but it would be slightly less attractive to potential partners. This is not bonkers, but is a large leap into the unknown, and has risks as well as benefits. We will lose whatever influence we have over the EU.

The sillier end of UKIP will counter “but we have no influence over the EU anyway”. This is bollocks. The EU is as free-trade as it is because Britain and Germany together can gang up on France, rather like Waterloo. The idea that Britain has no influence in the EU is risible. The UKIPpers tend to forget that most of the UK doesn’t agree with them, let alone Europe. Enlargement was a British desire, as is the single market. France much prefers protectionism. The EU negotiates strongly in favour of Global free-trade. It’s hard to imagine that without British participation. The EU is a force for good, especially in South-Eastern Europe, where the carrot of EU membership is keeping nations once totalitarian hell-holes on the path to freedom and the Rule of Law. Britain has played a leading role in this. Of course the EU has costs: direct ones like fees and indirect ones like some silly and costly regulation. The cost/benefit analysis is, if you’re being sensible, pretty close. It’s not mad to want to leave, and I vacillate. I suspect I’ll vote out, but let’s see what Cameron comes up with first, eh?

The old rallying cry of the Eurosceptic movement was ‘single market or quit’. The Eurozone is forging ahead with credit-crunch inspired ever-closer banking and fiscal union. This leaves the outs split into to camps: still want to join (really?) and never will join. The Euro has been shown to be a massive risk for small countries, and in truth, many EU members will never join. Britain as by far the largest of the ‘outs’ will be the leader. EU leaders are likely to give a fair amount of ground to Cameron in negotiation, as it’s clear that unless they do, Britain will leave. They are getting what they want: ever closer union. It will cost them nothing to grant Britain a series of opt-outs while they’re busy shoring up the foundations of their group. It seems to me that the UK may get from Europe what we’ve always wanted. To surrender our participation in the EU’s decision-making while we negotiate it strikes me as idiotic.

The referendum is a distraction, and seen as such by the Electorate, to solving the immediate problems of the UK. Cameron has granted a referendum, legislated for in this parliament. He could do no more while in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. However having granted the wish that the dirty foreigners be pelted with turds, the sillier end of the Eurosceptic movement are now declaring Cameron to be a traitorous Europhile because he is not submitting to their (new) demand to kick the dirty foreigners in the nuts too.

Cameron’s strategy is right. The Eurosceptics are not serving their country any more, now they’ve secured a referendum from one of the Main parties. To this end, UKIP sniggering that “Cameron can’t win, therefore the promise is meaningless” is just another way of saying that UKIP are the main obstacle to their main declared end.

The Eurosceptic dog is now chasing its tail. If it’s not careful, Prime Minister Miliband will ensure it’s taken to the back garden and quietly drowned in 2015. If you want ‘out’, get behind the only referendum you’ll ever be offered.

The Opposition Comfort Zone

In 1997, any Labour activist under 40 would not have had the experience of voting for a Labour government. The attitudes of opposition were deep-set and the party in the country was deeply unready for Government, however prepared Blair and Brown and the rest of the shower were.

In opposition, everything confirms your cognitive biases. Things that go wrong are your enemy’s fault. It’s easy to brush good news under the carpet. Focussing relentlessly on the negative that Government does, when your enemies are the government, feels good. Evidence, the easily available and memorable sort, confirms every prejudice you hold about the “wicked” Tories, and it’s easy to go looking for more.

This is why Blair, who for all his myriad faults, was detested by his party and the broader left. He was comfortable with the compromises of Government. He was unable to deliver the re-nationalisation of industry the Labour movement craved and yearned for. But he was, despite the wailings of the idiot left of his party, a creature who increased state control. The Blair Government increased taxes, increased state spending and increased the scale and reach of the state. State workers were generously remunerated, and headcount exploded. Regulations were poured onto business like glue. Blair was a lefty, leading a left-wing government. It was just not as left wing as the activists wanted.

Can you see where I am going with this?

For Labour in 1997, read Conservatives in 2010. For Blair read Cameron. For Idiot left, read UKIP.

If you’re on the right, ranting about how David Cameron is “no different to Tony Blair” and “it doesn’t matter, they’re all the same. We’re governed by the EUSSR anyway” you sound just like a Labour activist ranting about “capitalism” in 1983, and just as electable.

The morons of the Tory right/UKIP borg: the mirror image of why Labour was unelectable in the 1980s.

Cameron’s a good egg, cutting spending, taking on the Unions, standing up to Europe. Just not quite as much  nor with the relish demanded by, the kind of activist who’s gotten rather too comfortable with the idealogical certainties of opposition. Tories govern, practically and with the best long-term interests of the UK at heart. It’s what we do. It’s what Maggie Thatcher did (whatever the Tory right and Labour left say she did). We don’t govern according to some idealogical play-book nor should we. State spending is growing in nominal, but not in real terms. Stop lying with statistics, and get behind the only man who can keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street.

If you think that “doesn’t matter”, because they’re “all the same”, my contempt for you is absolute. The enemy is to Cameron’s left, Gentlemen, not yours. Get back to your posts.

“I Just Want to Feel Like Someone’s On My Side”

I asked some collegues, mainly conservative (small ‘c’) what they wanted. These are wealthy people who’ve been hit hard by the tax-rises of the coalition. They’re thinking of voting UKIP. This is exactly the same rhetoric you get from the benefits recipient, like my Twitter correspondent Kaliya who tweets at @bendygirl and blogs at Benefit Scrounging Scum People, from the top 50%/45% payers to the benefits recipients, are simply fed up of paying the bills for others’ failure.

The who the “others” who’ve “failed” are varies of course. But the fact is we all failed. We all got used to spending money we didn’t have on houses that were too expensive. We all enjoyed benefits we’d not paid for, Government, the people, all thought the living standards we’d got used to in 2008 were real. Bankers bet that house-prices would keep going up, and regulators let ’em, because they believed it too. Egging all this on, were politicians, keen to spend the taxes of the Bankers’ profits, and ride the goodwill an asset price-bubble created. We are now suffering the hangover from the party. Everyone’s realised the party was on a ‘school night’, and they’re scowling on the way to work.

Every class of people is having its living standards squeezed, apart from the super-rich who face no significant constraints even if there are fewer ‘0’s at the end of the pay-cheque. Unfortunately for Cameron, he is super-rich. But other than them, we are “all in this together”. The entire country is tightening its belt and grumbling, looking for someone to blame.

Which brings us to protest votes. Liberal Democrats are generally good at the Council stuff. They run a good ground campaign, follow up complaints well and therefore they’re good at getting a local following. As a result they’re harder to shift than herpes. Their main attraction outside the hyper-local is the ability their voters  enjoyed to say “don’t blame me, I voted Liberal Democrat” at dinner parties. Going into coalition meant these people need to vote for someone else.

Conservatives, as the natural party of Government struggle to win when people are pissed off. The Tories are in Government so when the economy’s flat-lining it’s always going to be a difficult sell. Furthermore, Tories in 2009, the last time these seats were up for grabs, swept the board. It’s nearly mathematically impossible for them to go anywhere but down from then. With that in mind, the kicking the Tories got yesterday was natural, expected and nothing to panic about.

Labour barely did better than when they were in Government, during the biggest crash in history, while they were led by Jonah Gordon Fuckwit Brown McDoom. Ed Miliband is a hopeless liability. If the party was a horse, it would have a black curtain round it now and a vet would be striding towards it with a grim expression and a long-cased object.

Which brings us to UKIP. The fact that the protest votes are going to a party which, when it thinks about grown-up things like deficits seems to be in favour of “further and faster” cuts, and Tax-Cuts now should embolden Tories. The British People are sending a message. “We’re pissed off. But we also know austerity’s necessary” They are sending a message that they’d really rather no Romanians emigrate here. But mainly that they’re pissed off.

The Tories can do one of two things. Panic and Guarantee a loss at the next election. Or knuckle down and still stand a chance of winning if, (and of course it remains a big ‘if’) the economy recovers in time. 8% behind in the polls, when most of the votes lost since the election have gone to a protest party which mainly aggrees with you is not so bad. There’s no message the Conservatives should send that they aren’t already doing.

Apart from Gay Marriage (which is UKIP’s biggest driver of support), there’s nothing the Tories aren’t doing that UKIP want. There’s a referendum promise on the EU, and possibly legislation this parliament. Immigration’s being cut, Benefits are being capped, the public-sector’s being cut, and markets are being introduced in the NHS and Education. This UKIP talk of “abandoning Conservative values” is nonsense. Unless you weight Gay Marriage very, very highly. And that’s the thing. UKIP had a chance to be “libertarian” and they blew it by preferring (rightly, as it turned out) to hoover up angry, bigoted, gay-hating conservatives of whom there’s a surprising number.

It’s Gay Marriage (and it seems Gay Marriage alone) which broke Cameron from Tory England. Every other pro-gay measure from legalising homosexuality to legalising homosexuals serving in the military, to Civil Partnerships has faced red-faced harrumphing from the shires. They just didn’t have a party back then. This will pass, as it always has. The UKIPasm will fade, probably starting from their high-water mark at next-years Euro elections. The red-faced saloon bar bore will start to drift back to the Conservative party, as the prospect of Miliband as prime-minister becomes closer.

UKIP want Conservatism but MORE! and FASTER! (But with FEWER GAYS). It’s Labour who need to panic, not the Conservatives. They’ve lost the country.

The Tories and Leadership.

I think David Cameron’s a good egg. I trust him and, by and large, I think he’s got my back in the great councils of the world. Furthermore, I think the Coalition are making the big calls right, though I wish they were a bit more aggressive on deficit reduction and spending cuts, I understand the caution. Certainly increasing private-sector involvement in Hospitals and Schools is a policy I can get behind, and the changes to the Benefits system seem Reasonable. Gove’s education policies are genuinely radical and will leave the education of British children vastly better than it was before, and (not un-related) the Teaching unions will be weakened.

Eastleigh votes today in a by-election, and if the Tories lose, it’s in part because of Tory-inclined voters voting UKIP and in-part because Lib-Dems are harder to shift than Herpes when they get dug in, in the political trench-warfare of a ‘Get-out-the-vote’ campaign.

The problem is that the Tories look like Labour in the 80’s. They are unwilling to consider the compromises of Government, preferring the masturbatory pleasure of idealogical purity, against which no leader stacks up. Witness Tory MP after Tory MP discomfiting the (mainly Tory) Government over taxes, Europe, and (absurdly) Gay Marriage. Contrast with the disciplined array of Labour drones asking co-ordinated questions about the “Bedroom tax”. You could argue that this is a positive display of free-thinking from our legislature. Or you could argue it’s adolescent posturing from people who owe their position to Cameron, who, it should be noted remains VASTLY more popular than his party.

But Tories from MPs down to Grass-roots don’t want to be led, and seem to prefer opposition to Government. They’re unwilling to compromise, unwilling to work for the common good, and will openly consider voting for a bunch of Poujadiste nincompoops who’re prepared to stroke the innate prejudices of the Tory voter.

UKIP is the Tories Militant tendency. Until this is purged, and the Conservative party rediscover the discipline that used to be their secret weapon, the Tories will look leaderless, rudderless and frankly unelectable as they have between since 1990.

If you’re broadly Tory-inclined, and you’re thinking “Cameron’s a traitor, I’ll vote UKIP”, he’s not a traitor, you’re just a cock. Do you WANT Ed Miliband to let his Union-funded myrmidons run the country with their hand up his bum? Do you WANT more state spending? Do you WANT to abandon the country to Ed Balls’ economic head-bangery? Then fucking well grow up, hold your nose if necessary and vote Conservative, you dick-head.

The business of Government is compromise. Tories used to know this. Eventually the habit of Government will return to it’s rightful place and the nation will be much happier as the people mastering the art of achieving the possible will not be the economic lunatics of the Labour party. But Labour, having abandoned idealogical purity looks like the practical party even as they lay waste the nation’s finances. Labour are wrong of course, but effective because in politics appearance is everything.

David Cameron and the Euro Head-Bangers.

The press are talking up the prospect of a Tory Euro-split. The likes of serial rebel Douglas Carswell are regularly talked about as if they are the same as the Maastricht rebels, and they will do for Cameron as John Redwood did for Major. Common Market or Quit is their rallying cry.

If we were to withdraw from the Eurosystem, but remain part of the Single Market, we would have to conform to all manner of rules and regulations made by the Eurosystem. It is not just that we would have no say in making such rules (not that we have much say now). Nor is it just that many so-called Single Market rules – such as the 48-hour week – are actually social and employment law masquerading as Single Market measures.

The real problem with retaining a residual requirement to conform to Single Market rules, after withdrawing from all the rest, is that UK firms would still have to conform to Single Market rules even if they have no intention of exporting to the Single Market at all.

But are they going to bring down another Tory Government?

I’m not sure. Carswell knows Cameron’s not going to get a Common-market relationship in negotiation. He also knows he will almost certainly get an in-out referendum some time after the next election (assuming a Conservative victory…). Miliband has ruled out such a referendum. Carswell also knows he will be free to campaign for ‘out’. Hence the long-running complaint that the media seem determined to run with a ‘Tory split’ story, when actually the party’s rather united on the issue, and probably more so than Labour. Even Carswell talks with irritation about the endless ‘Tory splits’ questions he gets, when quite often he’s actually supporting the Prime Minister.

Tory splits on Europe are largely tactical. There are a few who would take a hard line, a small number who would vote ‘out’ come what may. There are almost no federalists of the Michael Hestletine type left. Everyone else is sceptical, but not wanting to pull out now. Almost all, including Cameron, want to repatriate powers.

Most people in the country (if they care, which few do) want to repatriate powers too, but don’t want to pull out. So the Tory party is in broad agreement with the country. This, however encourages the Tories to talk about Europe, as it’s something they have in common (they think) with ‘the man in the street’. The ‘man in the street’ however is thinking “I wish they’d shut up about Europe and sort the fucking economy out”. To understand this better, read this by YouGov head, Peter Kellner on “Valence voters“.

Suppose you feel that strongly about the role of the private sector in the NHS, either for or against. That is a positional view. But suppose you don’t mind that much either way, and all you want is prompt, high-quality care when you need it. In that case, yours is a valence view.

Most politicians, activists and commentators are full of positional views. But millions of swing voters aren’t: they take a valence view of politics. They judge parties and politicians not on their manifestos but on their character.

What banging on about Europe tells voters about the Tories’ character, even voters who agree with them on the issue, is that The Tories aren’t interested in concerns of ordinary voters. Labour’s positional issues at least have the virtue of not being completely irrelevant to the man in the street, even if the voters largely disagree. It matters not a jot that the voters take the “right wing view” positional view on Europe, what’s crucial is they don’t hold this view very strongly and aren’t that interested. Endlessly demanding a referendum may be delivering what the voters say they want in response to that question, but To which the average voter actually asks “to what immediate problem is a referendum on Europe a solution?“. Almost no-one (3-5% at most) outside  the bubble of the politically engaged think a referendum on the EU is important enough to spontaneously offer it as a top-5 issue to pollsters.

The headbangers, by which I mean those who simply will not be appeased by anything other than an immediate referendum, now, in which Cameron backs ‘out’, have largely gone to UKIP. And good riddance. What’s left is a small rump of people for whom Europe is a major issue but who can be persuaded to back a realistic strategy of renegotiation, if the referendum is credibly promised.

My problem is that any Euro debate has the potential to cost the Tories dear. The best thing Tories can do to prevent a Labour victory in 2015 is just simply shut up about Europe. Don’t mention it. Keep schtumm. It is enough that the voters agree with us. We do not need pacts with UKIP to defend the right flank. We don’t need to have a pre-election referendum. All the voters want right now is lower prices in the shops and a growing economy. Deliver that, get a landslide. Fail, get voted out. It is that simple. Europe appears to be a distraction, of interest only to the political class, reinforcing the view that the Tories in particular aren’t interested in the concerns of ordinary people. Whatever your view, you must acknowledge that withdrawal from the EU would be a major issue for Government, which would distract them from other, more pressing questions.

Above all, the headbangers need to stop spouting self-serving myths, which aquire truthiness by constant repetition. What are you, Labour? Most of our law is not made in Europe. We are not swamped by eastern Europeans, who aren’t “taking our jobs. The EU is not a plot by dastardly foreigners to circumvent our democracy, when all the important stuff affecting people day-to-day is dealt with by Westminster. Even if a measurable percentage of law is “made in Brussels”, much of it is detailed trade regulation, necessary for a functioning common market, and of little interest to the man in the street. And in any case, in order to get to 50% of law “made in Brussels” you need to include every law which has any influence at all from EU law, even where the law is not changed because of ‘Europe’. We are not “run by Europe” and to suggest we are is paranoid fantasy.

Contrary to both Federast and Head-banger myth, renegotiation of terms is possible, both Thatcher and Major showed this. The Eurozone is going to go off and do its own thing. Which leaves the ‘outs’, of whom Britain as the largest country, is the natural leader. Some of the outs are still publicly committed to joining the Euro, but in practice are probably having second thoughts. The UK does have influence – the EU would be much less free-trade oriented were it not for us.  It’s true the ‘Common Market’ relationship is not on offer, but significant repatriation of powers over employment law and so forth could be.The EU is reforming, and a UK renegotiation will accelerate this process. The UK is a creditor nation, with a strong economy and goodwill, especially in the countries of the East for our open policy to immigration which contrasts sharply with the attitude of France and Germany. Remaining in, but on looser terms is true to 500 years of British/English foreign policy.

And let me be quite clear.
Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community…

Margaret Thatcher, Bruges, 1988.

If your view is “Withdraw now, or by Thursday week at the latest, or you’re a Federast” this post is not for you. This one is, and you should bugger off to UKIP, pronto. If, however you have a realistic view of what Europe is for, and does with us; and think the UK can influence its European future, then have a little faith in Cameron. He’s got it right so far.

Cameron’s strategy is right. It is consistent with British interests and conservative ideals. It is pragmatic, intelligent and opportunistic. It is sceptical, but not obsessed by the European question. Like Thatcher, who secured the rebate, and Major who secured the opt-outs from the social chapter and Euro, Conservative prime-ministers have performed well in European negotiations. Cameron will be no different. In contrast Blair gave up the rebate and got nothing in return, and Brown scuttled off to Europe to sign the Treaty of Lisbon while no-one was looking. Conservative Prime ministers succeed in Europe despite the head-bangers, not because of them.

Why I can’t Vote for UKIP

While I sort of agree with them about Europe, in common with most of the electorate, I just don’t think it’s that big a deal, and we’re probably going to get what we want – a 2 speed Europe – anyway. I simply don’t know to what practical problem “pull out of the EU” is a solution. There is a democratic deficit at the heart of the EU of course, and I would like a bit more parliamentary sovereignty  But UKIP seem to imagine EU membership is without benefits and leaving is without cost. Most of what makes the UK a shitty place to live is home-grown. Our politicians have (alas) not been as effective at protecting our basic liberties as the European courts.

Points 1 & 2 in “what we stand for” deal almost entirely with Europe as if it’s a mill-stone round our necks, preventing democracy and prosperity. If they get their way, and I hope one day they do, there are going to be a lot of disappointed UKIPpers who are going to have to find another boogeyman to blame for their inadequacies.

They claim to want to cut the deficit but make spending commitments in areas of defence, law and order, and offer tax-cuts all round, paid for, it seems by a local sales-tax to replace VAT (this is a EU-mandated tax, you see…) and the benefits of leaving the EU. This is, obviously laughable.

I cannot live with their immigration policy which is pure demagoguery allied to ‘lump of labour‘ fallacy idiocy.

Their law and order policy looks like an expensive and unjust march towards a police state and mass incarceration along red-state US lines. I cannot support this.

They plan to re-introduce Grammar schools. This has long been on the Tory activist wish-list. I am not sure separating the sheep from the goats at 11 is just, or that it will appeal to the majority who know, in their heart of hearts that little Johnny will be a goat. The only reason the Tory ‘free schools’ policy isn’t supported is that it can’t be sold to golf-club bores as a return to a better yesterday.

“Our way of life” is a bit more than smoking in pubs and fox-hunting. And for a ‘libertarian’ party, there seem to be a fair few dog-whistles about ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘immigration’. Yes, yes, yes. I know it is possible to debate the meaning of the word, and abhor the “seperate but equal” apartheid for which it stands. But that’s not how the white working class electorate see it: in the North UKIP are competing with the BNP for ex-Labour voters. The party may not be racist, but they are certainly gunning for racists’ votes.

UKIP have a thin veneer of libertarianism, masking an unpleasant demagoguery. In common with most small parties, they can afford to have uncosted and simple policies, as they will never be called upon to implement them. At heart they’re mere Poujadistes, anti-intellectual protest-votes for people hankering for an imagined past. People who feel the Tory party, competing in the centre-ground for votes, has abandoned them, or never represented them, in all their resentful, chippy glory. I’m just disappointed so many clearly intelligent correspondents seem taken in. Farage aside – he at least has wit and energy – the party is rather unpleasant.

My prediction: the Party’s current polling is an ephemera which will last until the next round of Euro Elections. Nadine Dorries will defect to UKIP, and sit as their MP until the next election. You’re welcome to her. They may even come first in the popular-vote at the Euro elections but this seems unlikely  and this is a measure of the public’s contempt for the institution. They will then come fourth, behind the Liberal Democrats in the general election, and win no seats.

On UKIP & A Plan For Cameron.

UKIP is a Mainstream political party, whom David Cameron once described as

Fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists“.

And he’s right. While the UKIP supporting Twittersphere are impeccably libertarian to Anarcho-capitalist, much of the rest of the party, those who infest the comments section of the Telegraph, are mostly dissafected Tories of the sort who think that any leader that isn’t Saint Margaret of Thatcher is Europhile Blue Labour, and who will blame Europe for more-or-less anything. Having campaigned and canvassed in many, many elections, I can assure you that much of UKIPs support comes from people with a whiff of the golf-club about them.

But of course there are people with dubious views in all parties, and Labour should not be smug. The only people from whom I’ve heard really rancid racism in the pub are people who then proudly proclaim themselves “old Labour”. There are of course racists in the Conservative party. The Lib dems are probably pretty free of racists, but they’ve got shit-eaters and violent paedophiles instead.

So. Cameron’s light hearted dismissal of the opponents to the Conservatives right, is a problem because it is preventing Cameron really getting any political capital from the Rotheham Fosterins scandal. For those who don’t know, it’s story of a UKIP-supporting couple, who had foster children removed from them by an archly-right-on, common purpose-infested social services department of Rotherham council.

Rotherham, of course is about to have a by-election as the sitting MP turned out to be a thief. And UKIP following the scandal, are more likely to win the seat than the Tories as Rotherham’s the sort of place where a donkey in red-rosette would win. What better way to lance a number of boils simultaneously? If Cameron offered a Referendum in the next parliament on continued membership of the EU, he could create a formal pact between UKIP and the Tories, perhaps even inviting them into the coalition, should they Manage to steal Rotherham from Labour.

Nigel Farage could not refuse a genuine offer of a referendum, backed by the Tory party. This would secure Cameron’s hand against his own rebels, and would be popular in the right-wing press. If, as expected a red-rosette drone were to win the seat, the fact that the Tories formally backed the UKIP candidate would be long-forgotten, and hostilities could be resumed. However if the UKIP candidated was propelled to the seat by scandal, and the backing of Conservatives, then Ed Milliband’s EU fox would be well and truly shot.

There are, as Paul Goodman explains, clearly risks to such a policy. A small party has to be less selective of its candidates, and a formal pact would mean the Tories would also own UKIP’s nutty fringe. And there are of course risks to UKIP. A Tory party fully committed to an in-out referendum, and in a pact with UKIP would probably be UKIP’s death. Farage may be pretty open in his willingness to come into the Tory fold, but much of UKIP hates the Tories with the scorn of a betrayed wife.

Which is why I don’t think it will happen. Labour will win the Rotherham by election, UKIP will come second. And Social Services managers will continue to go to Common Purpose brainwashing sessions.

On Rotherham Council’s Decision to Remove Children from UKIP Foster Parents

A couple, who by all reports were exemplary foster parents, had three children removed from their care because the council discovered after an anonymous tip-off that they were members of UKIP.

There is so much ‘sinister’ in that sentence, I don’t know where to start. What’s worse, rather than sacking the social worker in question, launching an immediate enquiry and issuing an immediate, grovelling apology, the Council’s head of child services, Joyce Thacker suggested UKIP’s desire to limit immigration and end multiculturalism meant that a placement of ethnic minority children with UKIP members was against their “long-term cultural needs”. She went on to say

“These children are not UK children and we were not aware of the foster parents having strong political views. There are some strong views in the UKIP party and we have to think of the future of the children.”

When in a hole, you should stop digging, but instead she went on to suggest that the Family would be able to foster white children in future. Urgh.

The Labour party nationally has distanced itself from the Labour-controlled Rotherham council. My prediction: Joyce Thacker will need to call a head-hunter on Monday morning.

The fact is, this demonstrates as if more proof were needed, of the left-wing ‘long march through the institutions’ is nearly complete. A Marxist cultural hegemony exists in some councils, and in much of state education, in which exists a contempt for the family, a loathing of anything like of traditional values, and a deep intolerance of political dissent . Anything outside the left-wing world view is deemed inappropriate. The Tories are suspect and UKIP beyond the pale. And the children are being indoctrinated.

The Joyce Thackers of the world hate you, and everything you stand for. They want to destroy the institution of the Family because they want to make everyone dependent on the state. Mass immigration is desirable BECAUSE it destabilises communities and offends the traditionalist white working class. Widespread welfare dependency is desirable, because dependence gives the state power over people. This is why the benefits system is so complicated and therefore so toxic to the maintenance of stable families. Never ascribe to malice that which can be put down to incompetence, but the ‘problems’ Iain Duncan-Smith’s benefits reforms aim to resolve – the disincentives to parental co-habitation, for example do seem to be in line with Gramscian doctrine. For in their view, there can be no loyalties but to the state. The cold war isn’t over, not while the Joyce Thackers of this world are in charge of children’s lives.

Occasionally the mask slips, when they do something so grotesque, so offending to natural justice that people take a look at what is being done in their name. They won’t like what they see. The people are not Marxist, you see, but no-doubt Joyce Thacker puts this down to false consciousness.