What is the point of UKIP?

<p>People tell me they do not hear enough from the Conservatives about Europe.?? There is a strong Eurosceptic tide of opinion in Britain which I welcome. Many of us feel that Brussels takes too much of our money, wastes too much of it, interferes too much in our lawmaking, is far too bureaucratic and wrecks any industry like fishing that it gets its hands around completely.?? We want far less interference from Brussels, dislike the regional Government that is all part of the Brussels scheme, and would be delighted if Brussels took a few years off from legislating.</p>
<p>I do, however, find it extraordinary that well intentioned Eurosceptics can think the UKIP strategy is a winning one which will make the problem better. The last three General Elections have shown that neither the Referendum Party nor UKIP can win a single Westminster seat, however strongly and fiercely they put their case for disengagement or withdrawal from the European Union.?? They have also shown that by putting some of their better candidates and strongest efforts into opposing Eurosceptic Conservatives in seats the Conservatives can win, they may give us ??more federalist MPs by tipping the balance in favour of the pro-EU Liberal Democrat or Labour candidate.?? How stupid can you get?<br />
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<p>The facts of British political life are very simple.?? The Labour Party favours more unaccountable EU power, want the Euro in principle, ??would like to sign up to the European Constitution if given half the chance, and merrily give away power after power in the Treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and in a whole series of day-by-day decisions on directives and regulations.?? The Conservative Party opposes the Euro in principle, opposes the European Union’s constitution in principle, ??wishes to get powers back from Brussels and ??opposes many of the directives and regulations that come to vex us.?? Either of these two parties can form a majority Government.?? In recent years, partly because of the splits amongst the Eurosceptic majority, the federalist Labour Party has ruled the roost and has been able to effect a further substantial transfer of power from Britain to Brussels.</p>
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<p>The Liberal Democrats could ??hold enough seats to have important influence, should Britain ever vote for a hung Parliament.?? They are an even more pro-federalist party than the Labour Party.</p>
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<p>Eurosceptics are often asking me what assurances I can give them that the current leadership of the Conservative Party wants to reverse the slide to federalism.?? They say they do not hear anything from the Conservatives to give ??confidence.?? I find this particularly surprising.?? I am David Cameron’s advisor on economic policy, chairing his Economic Competitiveness Commission.?? In 1997 I published Our Currency, Our Country? (Penguin), exposing the dangers of European Monetary Union and setting out the case against joining the Euro.??In 1999 I published The Death of Britain??, a strong attack on the constitutional changes being forced through by Labour, preparing the ground for Britain to be a fully integrated part of the EU state. In 2001 I published Just Say No, One Hundred Arguments Against the Euro?, which ranged more widely, opposing federalist transfers of power generally. In my most recent book, I Want to Make a Difference, But I Don’t Like Politics?, an integral part of the case I make is that remote, bureaucratic unelected and unaccountable Brussels Government is part of the reason people are so turned off politics.</p>
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<p>Most Conservative MPs feel as I do.?? We make this clear in debate after debate and through our opposition to directive after directive.?? More importantly, the leader of the Conservative Party imposed a whip on the Parliamentary Party to vote for Bill Cash’s excellent amendment to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill last summer.?? ??New Clause 17, would have amended the European Communities Act of 1972 ??providing the legislative means to remove European burdens we do not like.?? It would fundamentally change Britain’s relationship with the EU in favour of democratic common sense.?? If Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs had supported us in the lobbies we would now be a sovereign country again, able to pick and choose from amongst the legislative ideas coming from Brussels.?? Britain would no longer have to accept rules and regulation which its people and Government opposed, where it had lost the argument or the vote under the Qualified Voting System.<br />
<span />Eurosceptic critics of the Conservative Party forget that we have now had three leaders of the party who have all opposed the currency and the EU Constitution in principle.?? ??They forget that the whole Parliamentary Party was whipped to vote against the big transfer of powers represented by the Nice and Amsterdam treaties, and we constantly made the case in the Commons that there was absolutely no need to strengthen central powers in order to invite in new trading partners amongst the Eastern European countries.</p>
<p>There is no pleasing some people.?? Every time a leader of the Conservative Party talks about some other subject, Eurosceptic critics shrug their shoulders and say, There you are.?? You cannot trust the Conservatives as he has made another speech on something other than Europe?.?? Many voters are more interested in the state of their local hospital, whether they have the choice of a good school, how much tax they are paying to Gordon Brown, whether their local environment is green and clean and whether there is a transport system that helps them get to work in the morning, than they are in constitutional issues surrounding the European Union.?? A great national party which wants to win the trust of the British people to govern again cannot ignore these legitimate concerns and has a natural interest in them anyway.?? Our stance on Europe, shown by our words and our votes, shows we understand that in some cases to do what we need to do at home we first have to remove EU obstacles abroad.</p>
<p><span />Many people now have a very consumerist attitude towards politics.?? Most people going into the local department store do not want to get involved in an argument about the company structure, the corporate governance of ??the shop, its stock policy, what contractual relationship it has with its suppliers, or what its staffing policy may be.?? They just wish to see a good choice of goods ??and will buy the ones that are attractively priced and to their liking.?? The same is true for many of politics.?? Whilst to the connoisseurs and the patriots the question of constitutional arrangements is fundamental, because it determines how all other matters are settled or resolved, to most voters the constitutional issue is unimportant.?? They are more preoccupied by their Council Tax Bill or by how long they have to wait to get a hip operation.</p>
<p>A big democratic party that wishes to do the right thing for Britain needs to take this on board and to talk to people about their problems.?? Sensible Eurosceptics will understand that we can achieve nothing in sorting out the relationship between London and Brussels unless we have a majority in the House of Commons.?? The hard facts of political arithmetic are very simple.?? UKIP is not about to win seats at Westminster.?? All it does is aid and abet the federalist cause by opposing good Eurosceptic Conservatives.?? If it really wished to be positive, it could use its base and support to help Eurosceptic Conservative candidates and to put its best and fiercest critics of this Government’s federalism into opposing high profile Labour and Lib Dem?? figures in seats they currently hold with a big majority.</p>

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29 Comments

  1. Harry
    Posted December 15, 2006 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    "through our opposition to directive after directive"

    You mean you think the COnservtaive party is at all worth voting for? Timothy Kirkhope, leader of Conservative MEPs, defied the whip to vote FOR a report calling for the teaching of the "European Dimension" in British schools! Pleased to see he is standing up for Britain.

    UKIP has pledged not to stand candidates against sitting MPs who have publicly declared their wish to see a sovereign Britain by signing the Better Off Out campaign. I do not see your name on the list!

    If the Conservatives are serious about leaving political union with europe then at the very least signing the Better Off Out campaign would be a start. But i suspect this is yet more hot air from an irrelevant party desperately trying to persuade people they are eurosceptic.

  2. John Coles
    Posted December 15, 2006 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Then why not reach some sort of accommodation with UKIP? Those supporting UKIP are the Conservative party's lost tribe. Their natural home is the Conservative party. But what are they to do when they see membership of the despised EU as something that must be ended as soon as possible? Apart from the "Better off out" group, all of the Tory part grandees (Clarke, Heseltine, Gummer, Patten) are unreservedly in favour of continued membership of the EU and it is most unlikely that Mr Cameron will ever swim against such a tide of opinion running at that elevated level in his party. Indeed, during his recent visit to Brussels he sounded sickeningly in favour of the EU.
    I know that you, Mr Redwood, have a different view on the EU but as long as your colleagues continue to accept the EU and all the constraints it places on the United Kingdom as a political "given", UKIP will continue to attract the frustrated Conservative voter. I wish it were otherwise. For crying out loud, does no one of influence in the Conservative party have the courage to call for a complete reassessment of the need for continued EU membership?

  3. The jabberwock
    Posted December 15, 2006 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Had David Cameron resisted the public threats of Angela Merkel and doubtless private ones by other European centre-right political leaders and the siren voice of William Hague (Bilderberg pulling his strings?), and honoured his pledge to withdraw Conservatives MEPs from the avowedly federalist EPP immediately following his taking over the reins as Conservative Leader, those of us who wish to see our country free again might have more reason to trust the Conservative leadership. In the European 'parliament', with a few honourable exceptions (Daniel Hannan and Roger Helmer spring to mind), most Conservative MEPs have either always been federalists, or have long since 'gone native'.
    Not an encouraging state of affairs.

    Maybe people like myself will have to resign ourselves to holding our noses while voting Conservative at the next General Election.

  4. Jorgen
    Posted December 15, 2006 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    The point of voting for the UKIP for a Conservative voter like me:

    1. I would be voting with my principles intact,
    2. I would be delivering a protest vote, telling that we would like a real Conservative as leader (if I gave you a dagger as Christmas present, would that serve as a hint?),
    3. I wouldn't have to hold my nose while voting (at least not much) and
    4. I wouldn't be responsible for sending champagne socialists like DC and friends to the House of Commons.

    Wow, four advantages, any of which would be enough. The UKIP could well get their first seat(s), if people like me (I don't necessarily want the UK out of the EU) vote for them. And as you know from other countries: for a new party to get the first seat is the difficult part; once it get one the momentum may well roll. If they get a lot of votes, the Conservatives will have to work together with UKIP and later get most of them back – not much of a problem after DC has been kicked out.

    The disadvantage of voting for UKIP is that a conservative (with small 'c') candidate will not get my vote. I truly feel bad about that, but that can't be helped.

    Great to see that you have made a blog as I have always been among your admirers!

  5. Posted December 15, 2006 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    "The Conservative Party opposes the Euro in principle, opposes the European Union's constitution in principle, wishes to get powers back from Brussels and opposes many of the directives and regulations that come to vex us."

    Proof please.

    UKIP is not the answer yet – you Mr Redwood could have been – the Tories never, after all they were, are and ever more will be the problem – unless removed. At least Cameron offers hope of the latter!

  6. Posted December 16, 2006 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    I'm not a boating man but I believe the principle of steering with a tiller is simple – you push it over twice as far a you actually want the course to be; you need to counteract the momentum of the heavy object's original path. Same reason why Conservatives vote UKIP – it is a signal to the Tory barge that it needs to turn in a similar direction.

  7. Bill Kenway
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Sad as it may seem, voting for UKIP is the only way we appear to have for telling you lot that quite a few of us want out, that is likely to make YOU sit up and think.

  8. Rob Spear
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Party may oppose the European Union in principle, but in practice much of the growth of EU power happened during the Conservative leadership. Since the EU has not been successful in any of its large projects, and has been an utter failure in most, the overriding imperative in British politics should be immediate withdrawal. Any politician who does not see this must presumably be yet another Kinnock or Patten, keeping a keen look-out for EU graft.

    By voting UKIP you are sending a message that British politics-as-normal no longer holds. This is an entirely rational strategy when the three main political parties hold positions on Europe which in saner times would be held as treasonous to the Crown.

  9. Posted December 16, 2006 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I'm glad you have decided to start a weblog, Mr Redwood. I've bookmarked it and will read it regularly. I do hope that you'll find time to interact with your commentators!
    Frankly, I'm puzzled by this article. You ask "what is the point of UKIP" – well, their point seems perfectly clear to me, and it comes across far more clearly than Conservative Party policy on the EU.
    If the Conservatives are so opposed to the Euro, opposed to the EU constitution, and opposed to the interference of Brussels in our legislation, then why are you still broadly supportive of our continued membership of the EU? The question I don't see you addressing here is "What is the point of the EU?", and this leads me to think that, if your words more or less represent Conservative policy, then you are not fully explaining that policy. You see, for many of us, the issue is simple: Either we are in charge of running our country (via you, our elected, accountable representatives) or else the unelected, unaccountable EU is in charge. It can't be both. So which is it?

  10. bob
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Sir,

    You ask "What is the point of the UKIP?" when the real question is "What is the point of the Conservative Party?" And I am truly stumped for an answer; apart from that it serves as a vehicle to allow a chosen few to attain power and privilege.

    Let's be quite clear; people like me will vote UKIP not in anticipation of them winning, but in the expectation of completely destroying the Conservative Party in its current form.
    This will compel a reconstituted Tory party to forcefully make the case against the EU (and all such centrally planned bureaucracy) as part of its commitment to leaving that corrupt and wholly unnecessary institution; and may also have the happy side benefit of replacing Cameron's quasi-socalists with candidates who recognise that the duty of the state is limited to supporting the rights and the sovereignty of the individual.

  11. Posted December 16, 2006 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    John,

    The problem isn't just the die hard eurosceptics. The Polly Tonybee trianglation disaster has really scared a lot of Conservtaive party members who are now wondering if the same trick that was used to highjack the Labour party (NuLabour) isn't being tried on our party. Things will get a lot worse if we conclude that it is.

    With the current electoral system a vote for UKIP is at best an abstention that lets in a Federalist as you say – but to care we have to be shown there is something to be gained by electing the Conservative candidate. I'm a party memeber and have voted Conservative every election since I was 18, I knock on doors (take the abuse that used to be handed out) and deliver leaflets – I don't say any of this lightly. For the first time in my life I can imagine joining another party. Take care.

  12. Mark
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Interesting article John until you start to strtch beneath the surface. As you admitted on 18DS a couple of nights ago, we are a huge net contributor to the EU and it has not given us a single thing we could not do ourselves. It removes democratic power from parliament. So, given that, you sit there and tell us you want to "modify" our relationship with the EU. Well sorry John, with that kind of attitude why would anyone want to vote Tory? You are supporting a slightly less bad version. Total withdrawal is simply the best option for the UK. What you are actually worried about is losing Tory votes to UKIP and yet seem unable to grasp why this is happening. Its happening John, because the Tories want to "reform from within". Its happening John because the Tories no longer represent the views of 12% of the voting electorate, let alone the ones that dont vote. And this piece you've written John, is clearly a worried Tory asking those people to support a Tory party who dont stand for the things we beleive in. And finally this piece John, illistrates that the UKIP is having a growing influence, at a time when the 3 major parties all toe the EU line, when 70% of our laws (inc all the statutory instruments as you conceded on 18DS) are set by the EU meaning all 3 parties sound the same. Enough is enough John. The people are stirring awake, and its time you recognised that.

  13. Posted December 16, 2006 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I am the Chairman of UKIP Lewisham and feel that you are behind the times. Your generation has had a chance to steer this country to a better future and you've fluffed it. Thanks for what you did years ago but it's time you had a rest.

    I joined UKIP because no other party seemed to capture the essence of the problems we are facing. For sure, it has largely been ignored by the media but just as Churchill warned in the 1930s of the `gathering storm' (and also ridiculed for it), we too are facing another menace from the continent.

    No anti-European me. I am half-German and feel we should embrace Europe. I just have a problem with the EU. And why should I throw my lot in a with Conservative party who calls me racist when I point out to him directly that I am married to a Black Jamaican woman and have interracial children? What kind of leader do YOU support when he is too weak to apologise for this gaffe?

    Where we have announced other policies, the Tories remain silent. Where you protest against the EU, you stop short of declaring withdrawal from it. Your problem is that you represent the worst of all politicians: The fence sitter. At least your so-called Europhile colleagues are honest enough to say that want to remain in the EU. You, on the other hand, dance around like a fairy on the subject, gently tickling the issue with your magic wand. At times offer tantalisingly sparkles with each prod, you fail to conjure up anything magical and leave your audience disillusioned. Good god, man! Is this what your political obituary will read as? An almost-leader who skirted on the issue of the EU?

    Do us all a favour and stop vacillating: Be a BOO candidate, or better still, come over to us and be our first MP. That way you can tell your grandchildren that you made a difference even in your political twilight years. And who knows? You might give yourself a renewed reason to be in politics after years in the wilderness, just like Churchill.

  14. Posted December 16, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, welcome to blogging, the point has been made that UKIP will not stand against Conservatives who have publicly declared their position by signing the Better Off Out Campaign.

    In reality whilst we remain in the EU it really does not matter who is elected to Westminster because who ever they are, they will have to play the game to the power of the EU and the ECJ will still be the supreme court of this country.

    There are some Conservatives whose credentials on the EU are beyond doubt, they would therefore command a sense of trust from an EUsceptic voter and would have the leeway for manoeuvre, I would count you are being a member of that group. There are also some very powerful Conservatives who are extremely strong EU intergrationalist; whos commitment to the EU Project has been a declared stance for many years. Then there are those who will go with the flow, at present the flow does not appear to be with the Eurealist camp.

    It should always be remembered it was a Conservative administration which landed us the EU project in the first place, gave us the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty etc. All this administration has done is to follow in Conservative footprints. It only appears to be more pro the Project because the Project has increased its activity since 1997.

    The European Project creates it own momentum and is always travelling in the intergrationalist direction the present fuzzily defined stance on certain aspects of the project you mentioned the Euro and constitution, would only create a brake on the momentum it would not reverse it, neither would it change the intergrationalist direction.

    The European Project is moving on one direction, it will move as fast as it can or as slowly as it must, and can wait for many years for an opposing administration to loose power before continuing. We need for Britain to literally get off of the train stopping a station for a short time will not in reality achieve anything.

    We are natural Conservative voters, we are waiting for a lead from the Conservative party to take this great country out of the morass of that is the European Union and to restore power to our elected parliament and therefore restore our right to elect our own law makers. That is not going to happen whilst the Conservative party continues to attempt pacify the intergrationalist with its own ranks.

  15. Posted December 16, 2006 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    While His Grace has enormous sympathy for you and your position, he cannot ignore the fact that he was present at a meeting when Mr Cameron gave his 'cast iron' guarantee to remove Conservative MEPs from the EPP 'within weeks, not months'. It was this promise, from a man that His Grace wanted to trust, that swung his vote away from Mr Davis, who was making no such promise.

    His Grace has no time for the capricious hopelessness of UKIP, but you must admit that Conservative promises on the EU amount to nothing at all. A 'principled' objection to the Euro or the Constitution today, in opposition, is easy to give. One wonders if both will be upheld when in the stark realities of office, or if the ascendancy of the Gummers and Clarkes of this world means that the Conservative Party will continue in exactly the same direction as Labour, if only because the whole direction of the EU project is fore-ordained, and our subjugation to it therefore 'inevitable'.

  16. Posted December 16, 2006 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    First of all its good to see you blogging John. Some of us enjoy your writing and are keen to see more of it. I think the Conservatives biggest problem with the EU right now is the climb-down on the whole EPP thing. It does not help much that some MEPs from the Conservative Party have completely gone native and seem to agree with anything Brussels comes up with. I particularily troubled by the fact that at least one Conservative MEP seems to think it would be a good idea for EU to meddle with the internet (especially when it comes to online broadcasting).

  17. christina speight
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I have just commented widely on your extraordinary and – to my mind – dangerous posting on UKIP. You comprehensively miss the point that it is TO defeat Cameron's NuCon Party that thousands of us are off. (And I've been a Tory worker since 1947!)

    It's astonishing how agitated the denizens of ConservativeHome blog have got over John Redwood's statement of the obvious that voting UKIP will damage the chance of Cameron's Tories winning the next election.

    The Cameroons on the list (and Mr Redwood) must be extraordinarily na

  18. Cllr Keith Standring
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    John, I have read your comments with very mixed feelings. We should recall that BETTER OFF OUT held an immensely popular fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference at which I was privileged to assist. It attracted one of the largest audiences Bournemouth '06 had seen. Hundreds of people packed the De Vere Suite at the Royal Bath Hotel, leaving standing room only, to hear Philip Davies MP, Roger Helmer MEP, Laura Midgley (Campaign Against Political Correctness) and Daniel Hannan MEP make the case for freeing Britain from the EU.

    Highlighting the facts that the EU makes the majority of British laws, promotes political correctness, controls all trade and hobbles economic growth and competitiveness, they made the case for withdrawal to loud cheers and enthusiastic applause from the 400-strong audience.

    Mark Wallace, BETTER OFF OUT Campaign Manager, said, "David Cameron may not want to 'bang on' about the EU, but we think it absolutely right to bang on about how to achieve a successful economy, a healthy democracy and a free society. Leaving the EU is crucial in achieving those goals."

    A major benefit of BETTER OFF OUT is that it brings clarity to the debate. By asking people to sign up to the principle and the case that Britain would indeed be more prosperous and more free outside the European Union, we give them the opportunity to make their views clear on a cross-party initiative. That David Cameron has decided to ban those who do so from his front bench is misguided of him, but we should not let that blur the debate itself- that is what our opponents would like us to do.

    In pledging not to oppose BETTER OFF OUT-committed MPs, UKIP has been very constructive and the whole anti-EU campaign has taken a big step forward. The unambiguous clarity BETTER OFF OUT has brought allowed that to happen. Before the ten MPs committed their support to BETTER OFF OUT, there was no way for anyone to be clear about sitting MPs' views of the EU. Whilst I am a free-market, libertarian Conservative, I can see entirely why UKIP are not willing to extend their offer to MPs who profess to be "eurosceptic" but are not willing to commit to BETTER OFF OUT. As Nigel Farage has said, "The BETTER OFF OUT campaign has redefined euroscepticism in Britain. Anybody not signed up to BETTER OFF OUT should not call them eurosceptics". As UKIP's aim is to get Britain out of the EU, it is hard to see how they could justify dropping opposition to MPs who simply want to renegotiate and stay inside. What is the difference between saying that and William Hague's impractical "In Europe not run by Europe"?

    BETTER OFF OUT of course understands that there are MPs who sympathise but don't feel comfortable in committing yet, and our job is to reassure them and coax them into a full commitment, not to accept them half on board; to do that would be to blur the lines whose clarity has been so crucial to our success thus far. We also appreciate that there are frontbenchers who agree but are kept from public agreement by Cameron's ban. The best thing to do is to marshall support in their party and in their constituencies sufficiently that they do feel able to join us. Dilute the campaign and we will not gain more supporters, nor will we make any headway against the EU. Rather we will lose our current purpose, lose our publicly committed supporters and also lose any attraction. We are not in this for a quick partial fix, we are in it to succeed through a principled, pragmatic and open-minded approach. The success we have had to date is a testament to that, and is a sign that we should not turn aside now. In light of the foregoing John, why not sign up to support BETTER OFF OUT?

  19. Posted December 17, 2006 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    John,

    Do you support grammar schools?

    Do you oppose the extension to state funding of political parties?

    Do you support a portable education voucher to ensure all parents can use their entitlement?

    Do you support a flat tax system?

    Do you oppose protectionist regionalist private members clubs that damage the trading ability of the poorest nations on Earth?

    Do you support a 'tough' rather than 'tough love' approach to crime prevention?

    That is the point of UKIP. We are now relevant to many across a range of values. That is why tories like yourself, rather than seek to argue against our policies, opt to insult us instead.

    Everyone knows you attack the threat and ignore the irrelevant. Boy, those defections are starting to hurt, aren't they? 🙂

  20. Fred
    Posted December 17, 2006 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Dear John,
    What is the point of supporting and voting for someone who voted for the Maastricht treaty? Now that would really be stupid wouldn't it?
    P.S. I have never been a Conservative so please tell me why I should follow your logic and also why do the Tories think they have some God given right to the keys of Downing Street?.

  21. Posted December 17, 2006 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Its called democracy, you vote for who you want to win.

    you vote for the people that say what the mean and mean what they say.

  22. Shelia Eldon
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    One problem seems to be the Tories failiure to acknowledge the differences between their stance and UKIP's. As everyone has pointed out already, the difference is quite clear but I have very rarely seen a Tory putting forward strong arguments for the EU, instead they pander to the Eurosceptics with anti-EU rhetoric but no sensible actions. John, rather than using the same old moans (too much interference, too much bureaucracy) about the EU why aren't you putting forward constructive arguments for the UK's membership in a reformed Union – which is apparently the Tory line.

  23. Posted December 19, 2006 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    The same is true for many of politics. Whilst to the connoisseurs and the patriots the question of constitutional arrangements is fundamental, because it determines how all other matters are settled or resolved, to most voters the constitutional issue is unimportant. They are more preoccupied by their Council Tax Bill or by how long they have to wait to get a hip operation.

    John,

    The above quote seems rather patronising to me. It hints that difficult ideological issues should be left to the elites who can understand them, while the masses who cannot grasp the argument are merely placated with bribes.

    The examples you give of political issues – the constitutional, and public services – are not mutually exclusive. Just because people are concerned for the tangible changes to their own lives, that does not mean that they cannot concern themselves with the more ideological issues over the constitution. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they should worry about these things.

    Democracy should be more than electing people to think for us.

  24. steve shackleton
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    sorry john, as a long time conservative voterm the yse of UKIP, is to ultimately replace the new social democratic conservative party as the focus for the free market, free trade, anti Eu, pro world section of the population.

    With your parties current acceptancec of standard socialist prhetoric and policies the sooner this happens the better, we currently have the three largest parties as varieties of the same nig goverment sociliast parties, respect and the BHP as hard left socialists, so the country beeds a "right" wing party (bad description).

    I would have thought that you of all people would realise that a conservative party in power enacting socialist policies is no use to the country or the conservatives left within your party.

    Remember the promise to leave the Epp? lots of backbone there

  25. Posted December 19, 2006 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Ah, the longest post here is deriding UKIP. All those voters opting for a party that aims to do what they want done, to actually represent them, must really sting. Doesn't Cameron understand that after nine years of it, people are becoming a little tired of spin and waffle?

  26. Haddock
    Posted December 20, 2006 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    One would struggle to find the Conservative "best and fiercest critics" doing anything, in Europe or in this parliament. You have a country seething with anger at the corruption of Government, seething at having multiculturalism and political correctness forced upon them, seething at uncontrolled immigration and furious at the pandering to islam. There is an open goal for any opposition, for God's sake oppose… or roll over, get out of the way, and let a party with some balls get on with getting this country back to being an independent nation. Be realistic, the UK will have no real influence in Europe until France leaves it or pigs fly. I will vote UKIP, they could not be worse in opposition than the Conservative Party even if they have but one MP.
    An ex-conservative voter since Wilson destroyed by idealism.

  27. Richard Lee
    Posted December 22, 2006 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Conservatives should take time and see what UKIP are saying about fighting Conservatives:
    http://www.ukiphome.com/comments.asp?sid=735

    "We should be working now, in every possible seat where our votes could result in a defeat for a Conservative candidate.

    This will help Labour and the LibDems this one time"

    and

    "If we do this, then for one more Labour term, there will be the real chance of a Tory split"

    and on the Epping Forest Borough Council by election Grange Hill ward 14 December 2006:
    http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/about15916-0-asc-

    "…By winning this seat the Tories gained control of the Council which they were denied by our standing in another ward in May,when the long term incumbent and Eastern Regional Assembly member for Theydon Bois ward was ousted by 23 votes.UKIP took 136 votes having never stood there before.Had we had the notice of the Grange Hill by election in time we WOULD have stood and I'm confident that we would have denied the Tories success."

    I think these comments show what UKIPs game really is. Not to campaign to get Britain to withdraw from the EU.

    Oh no – their aim is to defeat Conservative candidates and get Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates to win. Their long term aim is to split the Conservatives. What a pathetic waste of space and a waste of good votes. They are betraying everybody who votes for them.

  28. T Jenkins-Browne
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    And just how much would it cost UKIP – or a Conservative government a la Redwood – to repatriate the 500,000+ British ex-pats who now live in Europe?

    At an average of, lets say, fifty thousand pounds per person – and I'm being generous it could well be much more – UKIP (and you, Mr Redwood, if you had your way) would cost UK taxpayers 2.5 billion pounds.

    At least.

    Reply: What a ridiculous comment! I have no wish to repatriate them and the EU would be unable to force that.

  29. Joseph Alan Jones
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid that it does not seem to be clear to our corespondents what their problem is. They are ‘lily livered’, If they were in the trenches they would need to feel the pressure of a revolver barrel in their backs before they would go over the top. as it is, as they are drowning in the Euro cesspit they will then be screaming for help. Sorry, there isn’t any!

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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