A couple of years ago, I was trying to persuade my friend Gerard Batten, then chairman of UKIP, to broaden the party’s appeal by positioning it as genuinely conservative – unlike the party that uses the name but doesn’t really mean it.
My effort at armchair political consultancy was cut short when Gerard explained to me the facts of life. Many of our supporters, he said, perhaps even most, aren’t conservatives at all.
They may be all sorts of things when they are at home: green, red, pink, yellow, any combination thereof. What unites them all isn’t shared political temperament, much less a shared political philosophy, but a shared distaste for the EU.
I was reminded of that conversation the other day, when Nigel Farage unfurled his manifesto banner. Prominently inscribed there was the promise to get rid of the House of Lords.
He didn’t say if he had a replacement in mind but, if pressed, I suspect he’d opt for an American-style senate, fully elected and therefore impeccably democratic. A damn good idea, that.
We already have an American-style Supreme Court, so the first step has been taken. By all means, let’s have a senate now, but why stop there? Let’s call our counties states, their heads governors, our MPs congressmen – and while we’re at it, our country the United States of Britain.
And oh yes, clearly the monarchy will have to go, replaced by an elected president. May I suggest Nigel Farage for that role? Or perhaps he’d rather keep the job open for his friend Don after Trump retires from US politics?
What Farage is proposing is tantamount to constitutional sabotage quite on the par with anything Corbyn sees in his wet dreams. Now perhaps Farage and his admirers feel that our constitution is anachronistic, and some sabotage wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.
I could easily take issue with that belief and I’m self-confident enough to believe I could blow Farage’s arguments out of the water. But I’m not going to do that.
Instead I’m going to say something that no one will disagree with. Whatever the merits and demerits of the Brexit Party manifesto, it’s certainly not conservative.
That makes me reiterate the mournful statement in the title above. Contrary to what a silly Speccie columnist wrote the other day (see my piece of 15 November http://www.alexanderboot.com/was-hobson-jewish/), it’s not the Jews but conservatives who find themselves politically homeless.
All we can do is seek temporary accommodation at our perennial Lesser Evil pit stop, otherwise known as the Tory Party. I mean, we aren’t going to vote Labour, are we? And on this evidence I won’t vote for the Brexit Party either.