It’s not the Labour victories in Middlesbrough, Rotherham and Croydon North by-elections that spell big trouble for the Tories. It’s that UKIP polled second in two of them.
‘Whichever way you look at it, UKIP is on the rise,’ commented Nigel Farage. Well, not the way Matthew D’Ancona looks at it, or rather would like to.
On the eve of the Tory debacle d’Ancona wrote a typical harangue, yet again emphasising not so much UKIP weaknesses as his own vacuity and ignorance.
The ignorance begins to shine through in the very title of his Evening Standard article: ‘UKIP is a state of mind, not a party.’ This is true, or rather a truism. All political parties are, or at least originally were, based on principles reflecting a certain state of mind.
It’s only when a party’s leaders and their hangers-on have neither any principles nor much of a mind that it becomes something else, usually an electoral basket case. Today’s Tories are a bright, well, not very bright, example of this.
If d’Ancona means that, unlike other parties, UKIP reflects a wrong state of mind, then by all means he should say so. And then, to be considered anything other than a chap with learning difficulties, he should show convincingly where UKIP’s mindset is wanting.
Actually, he does take a stab at it, after a fashion. According to d’Ancona, ‘What it [UKIP] objects to is modernity: the pluralist, globalised, fast-changing world in which we all live.’ Such an objection constitutes an irredeemable vice – God forbid we find anything wrong with modernity, as defined by d’Ancona. His definition can be gleaned from his own cultural preferences.
When he was still editor of the Spectator, he once flew to Los Angeles to attend a party thrown by Elton John, that crystallisation of modernity. This really tells you all you need to know, for someone with a modicum of intelligence and taste wouldn’t cross the street, never mind the world, to rub shoulders with that lot. Why, even Tony Blair attends Elton’s parties.
If that’s what modernity is all about, then d’Ancona is welcome to it. But what about its specific features that are supposed to vex UKIP so?
Even though it no longer is a single-issue party, UKIP is undoubtedly a central-issue one. The central issue is that the UK should govern itself, rather than submitting to an utterly corrupt and tyrannical foreign body.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this is misguided. But not ‘pluralist’? The last time I looked, 60 percent of Brits agree with UKIP on this. A seditious thought crosses my mind that d’Ancona and his ilk have their own, more tightly defined, concept of pluralism. The word, according to them, means general acceptance in Notting Hill, Islington and Hampstead.
Their denizens, as a rule securely protected from economic vicissitudes by their parents’ trust funds, don’t mind our entire constitutional history being debauched by countries whose own constitutional history is at best patchy.
Nor do they pay much attention to the purely empirical evidence for the economic, social, political and cultural disaster summed up by the initials EU. What matters is that they can use the EU good offices to move themselves from the margins of British society to the rotten core of a bigger entity. Their little minds are scared of the soubriquet ‘Little Englanders’. ‘Big Europeans’ sounds so much better – so much cooler. Cool Britannia, in the Tony Blair, Elton John sense, can only happen within cool Europe, they have no doubt on that score.
That UKIP rejects the destructive aspects of globalisation is no doubt true. Yet one finds it hard to cast the first stone in view of the current global catastrophe perpetrated by the very people who worship at the altar of internationalism. Are the Islington set even aware of this? Do they care?
D’Ancona’s affection for ‘fast change’ is generally symptomatic of people who assume that all change is for the better. This is a fallacy, and a destructive one at that. To cite one example, a change to a society where Elton John represents the acme of cultural attainment isn’t progressive. It’s regression to our pagan past.
Back in the seventeenth century, Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland, encapsulated the essence of conservatism before the word was even invented: ‘Where it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.’ This is ‘the state of mind’ that has defined conservative thought ever since.
Discounting the likely possibility that d’Ancona may regard a change from William Byrd to Elton John as necessary, there is nothing conservative about a party that champions the cause of progressivism. Because this cause is so dear to the hearts of d’Ancona and the Tory spivocracy he adores, British conservatives have been effectively disfranchised. That’s why UKIP, with its consistently conservative position on every issue that counts, is doing so well.
One problem with d’Ancona and other Dave cronies is that they aren’t very bright. Just listen to d’Ancona’s spirited defence of Rotherham Council, which took away three adopted children from a couple because they are both UKIP members.
‘Given UKIP’s strong position on immigration generally, and EU migration particularly — was it wise to place the three EU migrant children with two of its members? The chance of something going wrong was small — but appreciable.’
D’Ancona is too stupid to realise that, rather than castigating UKIP, he’s praising it. This generous, self-sacrificial couple gave a loving family to three children because the little ones were human beings in distress. This charitable act rises above any political considerations; it shows that UKIP members are driven by noble impulses, not petty animosities. That is more than can be said for the monstrous Council or indeed for the pathetic d’Ancona.
He proceeds from the same logic as those who claim that people who are opposed to the EU hate Europeans. In this instance d’Ancona’s underlying claim is that those who wish for Britain to remain Britain do so because they hate foreigners. The Rotherham couple has proved him wrong, not that he’s capable of realising it.
With mouthpieces like this, no wonder the Tory party is reeling. They sense that in the next election people will vote for Labour Full Strength, rather than their own Lite version. The only way for them, and the country, to avert this disaster is to listen to the only sensible voices out there, the true conservatives. These are increasingly to be found only within the ranks of UKIP.