After much soul searching Tim Montgomerie has all but promised to vote Tory today, if “without much enthusiasm”.
That fact alone ought to make many doubting conservatives vote Ukip – so the party should elevate The Times and Mr Montgomerie personally to honorary membership.
He starts his article by saying he wants Britain to leave the EU. Since today’s election is all about this thorny issue, one would think such feelings leave no room for doubt. After all, Ukip is the only mainstream party that shares Mr Montgomerie’s desire for Britain to regain her ancient constitutional sovereignty.
And yet, as Montgomerie puts it with his customary commitment to principle, “But, but, but.” This sort of wishy-washy dithering ought to give us all a pain in the but.
‘But’ what, exactly? Here comes: “If you want a say on Britain’s EU membership you have to vote Tory at next year’s general election (as I certainly will).” The parenthetic phrase is redundant: Mr Montgomerie would vote Tory even if the party were committed to slaying every firstborn boy.
However, it’s the rest of the sentence that I find appalling. First, I don’t want “a say on Britain’s EU membership”. I want Britain to leave the EU.
It’s utterly disingenuous to aver that our having a say in the matter will ever produce the result I want and Mr Montgomerie pretends he does.
First, Dave Cameron has so far broken most of his campaign promises. Surely this track record is sufficient to make one doubt that he’ll keep the pledge of holding an in/out referendum?
But let’s suppose, at a generous moment, that this will be one promise Dave will keep if re-elected. What then? Montgomerie himself says that “I don’t know anyone who thinks he’ll ever campaign for an ‘out’ vote.”
Allow me to offer my translation services yet again: in the unlikely event we do have such a referendum, Dave will throw the whole weight of the state propaganda machine, augmented by every TV station and every newspaper (with the possible exception of The Mail), behind the ‘in’ vote.
By way of run-up he’ll do some underhanded deals with Frau Merkel to dangle a few bogus concessions in front of the British public, enabling Dave to make the lying claim that Britain can remain fully sovereign within the EU.
Then we’ll be flooded by equally mendacious data on the economic benefits of EU membership. The choice, we’ll be told, is between untold riches within the EU or the status of a destitute pariah outside it.
This sort of stratagem worked for Harold Wilson’s government in 1975, when the issue of Britain’s membership in the Common Market was put to a referendum, and there’s every reason to believe it’ll work again.
The issue is that of free trade, the Brits were then told. The EEC has no political ambitions, it’s all about economics. Wouldn’t you like to be as prosperous as West Germany? Of course you would. So there’s really only one way for you to vote.
Another 40 years of comprehensive ‘education’ has made the British electorate even less sophisticated than it was then (the cynic in me feels that this was precisely the purpose of that educational disaster). At the same time the propaganda weapons at the government’s disposal now have considerably more firepower.
It’s thus likely that the nation will be tricked into voting ‘in’. As a result, it’ll have no further recourse: its subservient status within that wicked body will be forever chiselled in stone.
What are the other buts of Montgomerie’s joke? That “Nigel Farage’s party comes with so much baggage.”
Of course it does. And of course all other parties don’t, is this the impression we’re expected to get?
The Labour backbenches are full of ex-communists and I, for one, give no credence to the ‘ex’ prefix. Such scepticism is richly vindicated by their leader’s pronouncements, most of which smack of continuing allegiance to what passes for communist philosophy. How’s that for baggage?
And what about the Tories getting caught with their hands in the expenses till? Their sex scandals? Their senior figures doing time for perjury?
Ukip MEPs “seem to be addicted to the EU gravy train”. More so than others? I happen to know a couple of those putative addicts personally and, should Montgomerie dare name them among such corrupt individuals, they’d win a libel case hands down.
That isn’t to say that Ukip ranks are free of variously unsavoury individuals. No large group of human beings is: universal perfection isn’t in our nature, at least not in this life. But the implication that Ukip MEPs are worse than their colleagues is dishonest.
Here comes another but, this one showing Mr Montgomerie’s peculiar take on conservatism: “I support gay marriage [and] the foreign aid budget… The nimbys in Ukip don’t.” This makes ‘the nimbys’ not only more conservative than Montgomerie but also more intelligent and moral – yet another reason to vote Ukip.
What else? Oh yes, “Mr Farage behaved like a lout in his remarks about Herman van Rompuy.” What memory you have, Grandpa: Farage committed that unpardonable offence four years ago. Actually, how unpardonable is it?
Addressing Rumpy-Pumpy, Mr Farage said, “I have no doubt that your intention is to be the quiet assassin of European democracy and of European nation states.”
Does Mr Montgomerie have such doubts? Apparently not, considering his claim that he wants to leave the EU for all the same reasons as Mr Farage.
Farage then is a lout because he spoke the truth about Rumpy-Pumpy’s institutional remit. Of course speaking the truth is a disqualifying trait in today’s politicians, so one can understand the indignation.
To be fair, Farage added a few mild ad hominems, including some aimed at Rumpy-Pumpy’s appearance. However these sound like terms of endearment when compared to the bucketfuls of vile invective Tory politicians pour on Ukip voters.
For example, Dave once described them as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. Does this make him a lout too?
It’s such inane, vacuous harangues that help so many undecided conservatives decide in favour of Ukip – especially when the author pretends to be reasonable and even-handed. The party owes Mr Montgomerie and his employer a debt of gratitude.