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A Reflection on Defections

An interesting interview of UKIP Treasurer Stuart Wheeler by the Telegraph’s Chris Hope attracted the gimlet eye of the Spectator’s Isabel Hardman. She latched on to Mr Wheeler’s disclosure that a year ago he had lunched with a number of Tory backbenchers

“I wrote to nine Eurosceptic Conservative MPs and asked each of them ‘would you like to have lunch with me, just the two of us, out of the way, nobody will know you have done it, except for Nigel Farage and me’.

It would be naive to claim that the possibility of a defection or two from the Tories to UKIP had not entered the minds of those engaged in these discussions but if that had been a hope it came to nought for defections were there none. UKIP’s Treasurer put it down to the inherent political risks

“It is asking an awful lot of an MP to switch sides because he would like to be re-elected.

At the Speccie, however, Ms Hardman suggested that Cameron’s referendum “promise” had probably been the main driver in dampening down thoughts of defection and quoted Nigel Farage to buttress her point which was a fair enough point to make.

But then she began to wax eloquent in her argument and became more speculative

The Prime Minister has also tried to improve relations with his backbenchers, while Lynton Crosby has given MPs a campaigning zeal and a clear message to shout. This means that some of those possible defectors are much more pro-Cameron than they were a year ago.

OK – there might well be an element of truth in that though the idea of a rekindled love affair with Dave is possibly over egging the pudding.

But then, as is the case with so many of these Telegraph/Spectator types you cannot help noticing a desire to gain extra brownie points with Tory HQ. One of the would be “defectors”, claimed Ms Hardman, actually met up with Mr Farage and was seized with remorse for betraying his first true love.

‘When I looked Farage in the eyes, eyeball to eyeball, I felt this was a person I could not trust and do business with.’

Whereas Cameron, eyeball to eyeball, is someone he (or she) could trust and do business with? Pull the other one!!

Ms Hardman then pursues her usual shtick by leaving us with the implication that, man to man, Cameron is the real deal because, unlike UKIP’s leader he can inspire trust. It’s all part and parcel of an increasingly desperate attempt by the official Tory media to undermine UKIP’s appeal. Indeed it is now happening so often that there is a temptation to accept it as part of the furniture – but that’s a mistake. The media, having failed to find and deploy a nuclear weapon that would destroy UKIP overnight is now attempting “death by a thousand cuts”, snide innuendoes that individually gain little traction but are designed to cumulatively undermine like termites beneath the foundations.

Besides, am I the only UKIP supporter who has his doubts about the true value of defections? I do not wish to impugn the integrity of every elected figure who defects from one party to another but it does sometimes happen that defectors might well have a hidden agenda and carry some sort of baggage. Furthermore it might be argued that they were elected because they proudly displayed a specific party label and could therefore be accused of betraying their electorate.

Fortunately there is a foolproof acid test to demonstrate integrity – resign and in the subsequent by election stand under the banner of your new party, inviting the voters to endorse your defection at the ballot box.

Or am I being rather old fashioned?

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About David Riddick (15 Articles)
David Riddick is a grandfather, pensioner, retired teacher, rambler, drinker, amateur thespian, historian, political junkie and lover of rock’n roll.

7 Comments on A Reflection on Defections

  1. “Fortunately there is a foolproof acid test to demonstrate integrity – resign and in the subsequent by election stand under the banner of your new party, inviting the voters to endorse your defection at the ballot box.

    Or am I being rather old fashioned?”

    Which is something defectors never do…..they never put themselves up for immediate re-election under their new banner.

  2. Eurosceptic Tory MP’s, which one’s? Hannan, Carswell, Redwoood, Cash? Fakes, these people are about as Eurosceptic as Barrosso, keeping their jobs is the only motivation for their vociferous outpourings re: Europe. Don’t court these people, it just gives them a stick to beat you with afterwards. Anyone with genuine concerns, genuine Eurosceptic credentials will just defect.

    Surely Merkel confirmed yesterday that Cameron’s re-negotiation gambit is for the birds. Lies and obfuscations the sole purpose of which, is to secure a second term for the committed Europhile.

    I am surprised nobody picked up on this by Born Kjellstrom. “not all citizens are aware that possibly a majority of the laws that have an impact on their daily lives are decided on by MEPs in the European Parliament.” http://tinyurl.com/ojlwmca Confirmation if any was needed, that Britain is run from Brussels, and our MP’s are little more than village councillors.

    • “Confirmation if any was needed, that Britain is run from Brussels, and our MP’s are little more than village councillors.”

      Which is something Bill Cash has been saying for sometime. Like him or loathe him, Cash is at least one of the few MPs discussing the reality of the EU.

      • Challenged by Farage during the Wythenshawe by election, Cash folded like a paper towel.

        • Sorry, I didn’t see that episode but I’ve read about the work Cash does in the HoC to challenge the Coalition policies. Perhaps the difference is that Farage is better on the public stage – where details don’t matter so much – where as Cash is much better at the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how HMGs EU policy works.
          For example, it wasn’t widely reported by his scrutiny committee pointed out just how silly HMG was being when it talked about repatriating powers from the EU.

          • Hopefully, the likes of Henry Smith and Nick de Bois were the ones getting the free lunches, although Henry seems to have fallen for Cameron’s latest regerendum promise hook, line and stinker, whether out of true belief that a pathological liar can change or out of expendiency.

          • Spelling mistakes due to using my first Linux PC so as to stop giving money to the eugenicist Gates’s and have to work out how to have the automatic spell checker on.

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