Where were UKIP?

 

         The story of yesterday’s local elections is of a big swing to federalist Labour. The Labour party that landed this country in the Nice Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty had a good night in many English and Welsh local Councils. I do not think people voted for them because they want more EU, but the fact remains that a leading federalist party has polled well and gained many Councils.

         I will try once again to explain my thoughts about UKIP, as several here write in in shrill tones. They claimed that UKIP is about to make a break through. They claim it has all the right policies. They argue that the Conservatives are not worthy of support. They say that someone like me has to join UKIP, as UKIP now share some of the views I have argued for over many years.

          This morning is a good morning to review progress. Most would agree that yesterday was an ideal day for a newer party to make a break through. Voters had plenty of reasons to be disenchanted with the three main parties. Yet break through came there none. There are today no UKIP Mayors, no UKIP controlled Councils, just as I forecast. Just as the disenchanted electors of Bradford turned to George Galloway, not to UKIP, just as the voters of Buckingham backed the Speaker and placed a Euro enthusiast ahead of Mr Farage in 2010, just as UKIP failed to break through in any Parliamentary eleciton since its formation, so again yesterday there was no great UKIP  victory. The Conservatives can probably celebrate the Mayoralty of London today, Labour can for sure  celebrate many new Councillors and Councils.

In the Wokingham constituency contests UKIP polled fewer votes than in 2008, whilst the Green vote rose sharply from a low base, pushing them up into fourth place behind Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour.

          I have always argued that the only way to get the UK out of the current dangerous embrace of the EU’s political union is to stay within the Conservative party and to argue from inside. UKIP supporters deride this approach. They fail to see that this approach got us the opt out from the Euro at Maastricht – Labour and Lib Dems if in office would not have negotiated that or even asked for it. It got us to the point  where the Conservatives are the only one of the 3 main parties which rules out ever joining the Euro – Lib Dems and Labour still have joining the Euro as their ultimate goal. Conservatives in office negotiated us out of the common borders, out of the social chapter, and out of the currency. More recently Mr Cameron has vetoed the planned Treaty of the 27 for greater austerity and has kept the UK out of it.

          Is this enough? Of course not. It just shows, however, that we have gained some important advances, and  many of us Conservative MPs intend more. Meanwhile, how has the policy of forming and promoting UKIP got on? They do not have a single MP, and have just a handful of Councillors. UKIP has no power. They do have some MEPs, though they have had a chequered history in some cases. There is no evidence that UKIP MEPs have ever been able to protect the UK from any planned EU power transfer to Brussels.

          So now UKIP try to claim that the Conservatives have only been as Eurosceptic as they have because of UKIP pressure. This is complete nonsense. Conservatives were Eurosceptic in the 1990s, well before UKIP was formed. Many of us have been Eurosceptic from well before UKIP’s birth. Our electors are too, and we seek to represent them.

              There may well be a Eurosceptic majority in the UK. Polls say there is when it comes to issues about extending Bruseels power, or joining the Euro. Once again , however, the electorate has kept it below the surface. UKIP’s intervention in local elections has been no more successful than its involvement in General Elections, in bringing out this natural majory they claim to be there. Instead, they target Eurosceptic Conservatives, seek to split the vote, and so damage the cause they claim to believe in. If UKIP delivered  50 UKIP MPs in place of 50 federalist Labour MPs, that would be helpful. They show no sign of being able to. Worse still they never seem to want to do that, preferring to attack fellow Eurosceptics.

           Neither my strategy nor UKIP’s has yet got us the new relationship with the EU that so many of us want – trade and friendship, not common government. I still think the route I have chosen has delievered more so far, and can deliver more in the future. It would help to have some more support.

         I will discuss the meaning of the big swing to Labour when we know the full results. I will of course be reinforcing my view that the Coalition needs to change its approach to the economy, with policies that give priority to faster economic growth.

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266 Comments

  1. spartacus
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Its not a question of UKIP taking votes, it’s the Conservative Party not representing people over mass immigration and Europe. In fact Mass immigration is the hotter issue for many electorally.

    • Bert Sanders
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Agree with Spartacus – it will be hard for me to change direction after 61 years on the voting register – this time I did not vote – next time if the party does not move to the right I may have the vote UKIP. Currently too liberal but that is the nature of coalition but we have to be true to ourselves.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Clearly UKIP cannot break through in the Westminster first past the post voting system with the many perhaps 20%+ of the always have and always will Labour or always will vote Tory voters just set in their ways.

    At the EU, well paid pointless talking shop but no real power, level the EU could well be on a similar percentage to Labour and the Tories in June 2014, but it would clearly make no difference anyway even if they won every UK seat.

    The only solution is a proper Tory party. Not one, as currently, led by and stuffed full of pro EU socialists. But how do we ever get to that happy position?

    • Bob
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      Here’s what we’re up against:

      Anti-UKIP and pro-Green: the BBC at its most blatantly biased

      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100004661/anti-ukip-and-pro-green-the-bbc-at-its-most-blatantly-biased/

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        This is certainly the case but even if the BBC were not so quack green, anti UKIP, as they clearly are, they could still not break through at Westminster under the system that pertains.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      I just heard Cameron on the radio commenting on the result “There are no easy solutions” of course there are easy solutions – just halve the size of the state sector, get the banks working, easy hire and fire, stop the pointless wars, deregulate everything, get a free trade only EU and do not waste Billions on green energy, HS2, the IMF, HS2, silly toy computers for MPs, the happiness index, payments to the feckless, and all the rest.

      Oh and get a new runway at Heathrow and Gatwick a high speed train link and a functional border service there.

      Follow Boris – lower taxes, efficiency, freedom, fewer regulations, cheap energy fewer parasites. It is very, very easy just do it. Shame you have wasted two years heading the wrong way.

      • Bazman
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Coming from a person who would not have to live with the consequences of such a policies.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          The consequences of the policies I am suggesting would be more jobs, more growth and a better standard of living on average and a popular conservative party. Just as they have in many sensibly run low tax, small government countries.

          We know what works we just need Cameron to stop his socialist, big state, pro EU, unpopular lunacy.

          • APL
            Posted May 5, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

            lifelogic: “The consequences of the policies I am suggesting would be more jobs, more growth and a better standard of living on average ”

            Agreed, but people like Bazman, only look at the ‘rich’ now, a kind of photo snapshot, and think -‘ it’s not fair that he is richer than me, lets redistribute his wealth to make me ( and my tribe ) better off’.

            It never occurs to this type of person that wealth creation is a continuous process that needs capital and hard work.

            Without either of those, the redistributive process only works once and afterward, everyone is poorer.

            Lifelogic: ” and a popular conservative party. ”

            Perhaps, but it may not be *this* Conservative party. *This* conservative party has done so much to destroy Britian, undermine our laws and customs that it doesn’t deserve to survive.

            conservative the Tory party isn’t.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 5, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            As pointed out to you many times this would result in a race to the bottom with poverty and jobs of only use to the employer. Lets face it you cannot even see a problem with holiday homes in areas of outstanding natural beauty, so how you know how radical policies such as this would not result in civil unrest and damage to the very fabric of society is not real. Religious belief does not make something true.

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:28 am | Permalink

            Bazman you may point it out – but you make no rational argument or provide any sensible mechanism nor any alternative for your “race to the bottom”.

            I am providing a ladder up not down – it is your route that is down.

  3. Andy Man
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The result is not a failure of UKIP, it’s a failure of Cameron and co. They are the ones that are failing the country by not providing leadership and arguing the case for staying out of the EU disaster. They are not really any different to Labour in any case so it is the fault of the Conservative party as a whole for not getting their act together.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I tend to agree it is Cameron and the Tories who has failed firstly to win against sitting duck brown and then in policy – It will be interesting to see what they UKIP vote was in the Boris election where people could freely vote UKIP then Boris without wasting the vote.

      Also I see RBS is set to pay back last of £163bn loan from taxpayer. Doubtless £163bn snatched back from good customers – who have had to put all their expansion plans on hold, fire people and had to sell assets – with the predictable negative growth results we see everywhere.

      Another own goal for the government.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I wonder how much of the £163bn came from QE.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          It is the bank repaying the government!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            And also repaying the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve, apparently:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9245088/RBS-on-path-to-recover-as-it-pays-off-bail-out-loans.html

            “RBS, which is 82pc state-owned following a £45bn taxpayer bailout, said that next week it would pay back the last of the £163bn of bail-out loans it received from the UK and US taxpayers.

            The lender received £75bn from the Treasury’s credit guarantee scheme and the Bank of England’s special liquidity scheme. It was also handed £36.6bn in emergency liquidity assistance from the Bank and about $84.5bn (£52.2bn) from the US Federal Reserve.”

          • Bazman
            Posted May 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Is that private enterprise by entrepreneurs sharing the wealth of their business with their workers shareholders and benefiting society as a whole? You would not have a word said against banking and bankers at the peak of the bubble would you?

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink

            The banker were indeed incompetent at managing risk properly. But the main blame clearly lies with the Labour government, the regulators, the FSA and the Bank of England.

          • Bazman
            Posted May 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            But not with bankers?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          The simple and almost entirely accurate answer would be “none”, because the QE money goes from the Bank to the Treasury via the gilts market. The primary purpose of QE as so far practised in the UK is to make sure that the government has enough money to pay all its bills in full and on time, unlike the governments of some other countries such as Greece.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    The Conservative vote is split right down the middle. UKIP were treated really unfairly by the media, but they still did not have the infrastructure to win seats.

    You can see the unpopularity of this Blairite government by the low turnout (Oh, sorry it was the weather) and the demise of the Liberals.

    Please do register the frustration we feel. Abu Qetada was the last straw for someone like me who was brought up in the death throes of the British Empire upon which the sun never set. I am fed up with being lied to, with being spun to, with being taxed and condescended to, with being improved by people who are in themselves scum.

    Like most other people on the blog I am angry. I feel cheated. Mr Gove and Mr Cameron looked so appealing, honest and, yes, clean, in opposition. Now look!

    It is so like South America in the 1950s – guns everywhere, politicians corrupt and bent, vast differences in the wealthy and the poor, tax on everything, public services (customs & immigration at the moment) silting up.

    • Dranyer
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Mike, the turnout will be equally abysmal in Scotland where the weather (for once) has been lovely. The politicos are blaming the fact that the weather was too nice for the fact that around 70% of the voting public couldn’t be bothered to turn out.

      The public don’t trust the politicians any more, its as simple as that. We have ruling political elites(both sides of the border) who treat the population like fools.

      I did vote yesterday. I normally vote Tory, but as we have an STV system I didn’t give them my first vote. I gave all the independent non party candidates a vote first. To use a good Scots word, I’m SCUNNERED with our politicians. Increasingly so. There are still obviously plenty of good guys around (Mr Redwood being one!) but the disconnect is glaringly obvious and when there is nobody selling anything the punter wants to buy they just don’t go shopping…

    • Timaction
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, like many on this blog I have always to this point voted Tory in every election. I have an excellent constituancy MP in Jacob Rees Mogg. However, like you he has no influence or ability to shape policy in your leaders. Since the election we have seen and felt the rise in taxes, the continual seapage of our sovereignty to the unelective EU dictatorship, more mass immigration, no repeal of powers or costs from the EU, no reform of the CAP or CFP, no Human Rights Reforms and the Quatada debacle. Quite simply we have had more of the same from an out of touch Tory leadership. We need a “Thatcher”, someone to believe in, unfortunately we have non cast iron u turn Dave with his gay marriage, banning crosses in the workplace and Lords reform. These issues are mostly irrelevant to the electorate who despair at his priorities. His drift to the left leave many on the right of the party with no representation. I don’t see the sea change at this election but how do you see the European Election results in 2014? I see a landslide for UKIP by then. Read the blogs, see the comments from the people who are waking up to the reality of this Government and its ineffective, irrelevant policies.

    • Boudicca
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      UKIP doesn’t have the infrastructure YET to win MANY seats. But we are growing quickly and we soon will.

      I’m sure Bob Atwood, former Conservative Leader in Tunbridge Wells, is only too aware of UKIP’s potential after yesterday.

      http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/tunbridge_wells_leader_bob_atwood_in_sensational_ukip_loss_1_1368566

  5. ian wragg
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    As you say John, neither your stance or UKIP’s has managed to get any results. This will not change within the Tory party whilst it has Cameroon and his liberal left wing chums running the show.
    I don’t think the council elections matter that much, what they do do is show the unpopularity of your party after Camerons lies and deceipt.
    Unless there is a leadership challenge very soon, you are doomed for another generation.

  6. Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Results from the 200 odd wards in which UKIP stood, that are counted so far, show UKIP on about 13% up 5 points, not a bad showing at all. I will defer commenting further until all the results are in.

    Reply: Overall UKIP will probably poll around 4%. That will not cut a single tax and will not get a single power back from Brussels.

    • Duyfken
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Polling about 4%, you say. That is about as misleading a statistic (but arguably not as offensive) as the inference Warsi wanted us to draw from comparing the 14% BNP and UKIP disparate variations.

      No tax cut and no power back from Brussels, a result one might argue (correctly in my view) which has been achieved also by the EUsceptic wing of the Tories, but it might destabilise the Cameroons sufficiently to take heed of you and your like-minded Tory MPs. My point is that you do yourself no favours by rubbishing UKIP.

      • Toby G
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        JR rubbishes EUKip, because, well, they are rubbish.

        • Duyfken
          Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

          And you Toby have missed my point. Rubbish or otherwise, UKIP has attracted already sufficient votes to unsettle Cameron, something which the whipped Tory MPs seem incapable of achieving.

      • Acorn
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        The Baroness Warsi. Can anyone explain how she got to be Chair of the Conservative party? Is she the token Muslim babe? Was she on the same list as Andy Coulson? Have you ever met any conservative member, who dares mention her by name in public?

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          She seems pleasant enough to me and tries her best – but is clearly rather out of her depth. I assume someone Cameron perhaps decided they needed a northern, female, muslim, tory member and there were not too many about. I wonder if that is a legal way to recruit an employee these days?

        • davidb
          Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          I quite like her. But I found her attempt to equate the BNP with UKIP to be in bad taste. I dont think it is racism which motivates UKIP supporters, and the suggestion is offensive. I stress that I have never voted for either party, nor have any intention of.

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 6, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            Indeed it was in very bad taste and no even in her own parties interests anyway.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      So John what have you and your colleagues done apart from force Cameron’s hand in the Eurozone veto, which now may or may not be a veto? Where are we on immigration, ECHR, stupid green policies, benefit cuts, reinvigorating British manufacturing etc etc ?

      Reading a “green” blog recently, they were delighted that in their opinion Cameron was left wing and green in his policies. When the greenwash brigade are thinking this you know the Conservatives have lost their way.

      As for UKIP they have done better overall. If they had the infrastructure and financial backing they would be a political force to rekon with. As it is they are just hoovering up young disaffected conservatives who are leaving en mass.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        I can see where the current Conservative government are heading, I think.
        At the moment there are not enough Conservative die-hards to win an election. So it is necessary to sup with the devil.

        The problem with that is that the core support (red this blog) are getting angry and the drongos who live off the State as of Human Right are going to vote for the party of “investment” and “invigorating the economy by ending the slump” (translation = more debts and then more debts).

        Meanwhile the Conservative vote is split. Therefore unelectable.

    • Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      UKIP will continue to build its momentum. If Mr. Redwood wants a united stance on Europe then lets expect to see him standing firm when Cameron gets the chop. Who is your choice for the next leader, Mr. Redwood?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Just as I said, the average of 13% in 700 of the wards will be diluted down to 4% nationally for anti-UKIP campaign purposes; but I didn’t expect it from JR.

      Reply: I was not trying a trick, just roughly calculating the true figure of votes cast as a perecntage of the total. That is how it will appear in the record books.

      • JimF
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        And the Tory figure is below 10%. Unimpressive, isn’t it?
        So it will take less than 10% more of the non-voting public to vote UKIP next time than Tory and UKIP would have a higher proportion of the vote than the Conservatives.

      • Epigenes
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        Statistics is obviously not one of your strong points, Mr Redwood. However, there is nothing you do not know about propaganda.

        Why do you not post some nasty stuff about Labour or the Liberals?

        Reply: I have said nothing nasty about UKIP. I protect Mr Farage along with other politicians from unproven or unpleasant attacks on this site. I have not been critical of many of their policies, as they were often copied from Conservatives like me!

        • APL
          Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          JR: “I have not been critical of many of their policies, as they were often copied from Conservatives like me!”

          “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.”

          There you go folks, UKIP is more conservative than the Blue labour.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      “That will not cut a single tax and will not get a single power back from Brussels” agreed but neither will Cameron it seems.

  7. Kevin Ronald Lohse
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    The rising fortunes of Ukip are a symptom of the political weakness of the Conservative Party under a social democratic PM. Despite the rhetoric in May 2010, the Cameroon coalition has allowed many things to continue as they were under the worst post-war government ever suffered by this country. What is the point of demanding that local authorities cut expenditure when central government refuses to enact legislation to reduce the burden put on local councils under Blair/Brown? What is the point of encouraging firms to start making things when the Cameroon government is hell-bent on making electric power the most expensive and least reliable in Europe and cannot guarantee supply of water? What is the point of encouraging thrift and asking people to provide for their future when QA makes those savings worthless in the financial markets, and income tax rates are moving towards the penal for successful, hard-working people?
    To me, Cameron’s subservience to the LibDems and the opinion polls, coupled with the parliamentary isolation of the Conservative mainstream, has left the government rudderless and with no effective vision apart from a desire to be re-elected in 2015 and it is exactly that lack of vision, apart from being all things to all men, which will ensure our defeat.

    • Deborah
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Precisely.

  8. Alex Roebuck
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    UKIP only fielded 800 candidates. Where they did, they polled around 15% of the vote. John, you are deluded if you think that the Conservatives are not losing votes to UKIP. I am a lifelong Tory member and one-time council candidate. The Cameroon party does not speak for me. Osborne’s social democrat budget was the final straw for me. It proved that the current party leadership are in no way Conservative. So for me and many others, what is the alternative? UKIP. It’s not just about Europe anymore.

    Reply: I am not deluded. I am pointing out the dangers of Eurosceptics fighting each other instead of fighting the federalists. Boris showed that you can be a tax cutting Conservative within the party.

    • Alex Roebuck
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      I would vote for Boris, but I could never vote for Cameron again.. UKIP did as well as could be expected in our electoral system. It was a great success for them and I don’t see how you can say otherwise. Of course I’d prefer a proper Conservative party, but that is not what we have right now.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        Indeed.

    • APL
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      JR: “I am pointing out the dangers of Eurosceptics fighting each other instead of fighting the federalists. ”

      Then give us a EUrosceptic Tory party we can vote for!

      Not this wolf with a fleece.

      • Graham
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        John,

        Every criticism you put about UKIP can equally be charged against the internal ineffective ‘euro sceptic’ conservative group. Where are you when it matters?

        We’ll still be negotiating from inside the EU in a 100 years time.

        BTW – your tone in this particular blog won’t pull many back into the fold I’m sure.

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      We will see how much tax cutting actually happens.

  9. Ryan
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Sorry John,
    This local election has absolutely bog all to do with Europe – nice piece – all smoke and mirrors.
    Great way to keep your chin up – eh. “It could be worse, we could be UKIP”

    On holiday over Easter in Ireland – heard the same “It could be worse, we could be Greece”
    Looking forward to your take on the swing to Labour.

    • norman
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

  10. norman
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    For me personally, voting for UKIP is nothing to do with the EU. Yes, I’d like to leave and renegotiate entry based on the EEA criteria but let’s face it, that’s not going to happen, not now, not ever. UKIP are not going to be forming a government any time soon, indeed I’d be astonished if I ever see a UKIP MP.

    So let’s leave the EU to one side, it’s neither here nor there and trying to make the UKIP vote (15% in elections they were contesting, not a bad showing) about the EU is as ludicrous as Baroness Warsi comparing UKIP supporters to BNP supporters, as she did last night. I never thought I’d say this buy maybe Teresa May was right, that’s as nasty a comment aimed at conservatives as I’ve heard, that it comes from the Chairman of the Party is staggering.

    The 15% of people who voted for UKIP I imagine think much like me, we wanted a conservative government, or at least a few conservative policies, and instead have a social / liberal democratic one. There’s not a shred of conservatism to be found, you’re all languishing on the back benches.

    I think this is why people rashly, and wrongly in my opinion, urge the right wing MPs to abandon this charade. We all know this government is pursuing centre / centre left policies and from the outside it seems as though the right of the party is doing nothing about it. What are the right, collectively, doing? It’s as though you’re accepting any kind of government simply to get back into the habit after 15 years in the wilderness.

    81 of you voted as a token gesture in a vote that was never going to be lost due to Labour support but apart from that what is being done? Where is the action on the hopeless budgets Osborne rolls out, where is the protest to the money printing, to the increased taxes? Nowhere to be seen. And it’s because there are only 30 or so conservatives willing to stand up, as seen by the bailout vote. What kind of a conservative would I be supporting a party where apparently only 10% of the MPs are conservative and the rest, well, God knows what they are to be honest.

    Apologies for the inordinately long post but I’m fed up of UKIP supporters being pilloried and attacked time and time again without the slightest understanding of why we’re so upset at the current situation.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Steve from UKIP in the Emmbrook ward .

      He’s a good old boy and always ready to have a discussion with fellow regulars at The Crispin (reputedly the oldest pub in Wokingham) .

      Many people make the mistake of thinking that UKIP is right wing and a break away from the Conservative party .

      UKIP really has to deal with this image problem and improve it’s appeal to historical Labour voters – many of whom are disillusioned with what that party has become .

      LibLabCon has been shown up as a failure . They’ve systematically mismanaged our country for 40 years .

      Even the best of them , Mrs Thatcher failed to put a framework in place for longterm sustainability . Perhaps she wasn’t the right person for that , her talent was for dealing with a crisis .

      • A Different Simon
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Results : Steve McMillan (UKIP) took second place in Emmbrook with 15.4% of the 2136 votes :-

        Emmbrook- Conservative HOLD
        Out of 2151 ballot papers

        UllaKarin Clark (Conservative) (1,202)
        Suresh Jeganathan (Lib Dem) (291)
        Steven McMillan (UKIP) (330)
        Paul Sharples (Labour) (313)
        Spoilt: 15

      • Norman
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m not one of those who think UKIP has the answer and all their policies are perfect. They’re little more than a flash in the pan, which is why it’s all the more puzzling JR attacks them so vociferously whenever he has the chance.

        There have been countless column inches written that Cameron’s great mistake (one of them, at least) is taking the right wing vote for granted so he deliberately alienated the right, moved to the centre / centre left in order to try and hoover up the Lib Dem vote but we’re not all idiots trudging out putting our ‘X’ next to ‘Cons’ regardless.

        I’d be interested tomorrow in JR’s analysis of the rise of Labour to compare votes cast, rather than just percentages. I’ve a feeling a lot of Conservative voters can no longer hold their nose and vote for the gruseome twosome. That’s the real issue, Labour isn’t rising, far from it, Cameron and Osborne are dragging the Conservatives under the waves so it appears Labour is doing well.

  11. ChrisXP
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    These were local elections. People don’t alway think about national and international issues when voting at local level. They’re more interested in what’s going on with their local roads, bus services, etc etc. My area wasn’t involved yesterday in the elections, but when it had its turn, my ward elected two independent candidates who now sit on a mainly Conservative council. If there had been a UKIP person standing, I’d have given them full consideration also.
    There is nothing unusual in local councils being populated with representatives of the Opposition party; seen it all before. I would never vote Labour, however.

    • Spartacus
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      These were not about local issues in most wards I think. The conservative vote is based on a lot of working people and pensioners.

      The bedroom tax, social rents rising to 90% market rent, loss of tax credits to part time workers and all the rest will affect a lot of familes and switched a lot of people off or got them voting Labour.

  12. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Local elections: Ukip and Respect gain ground
    The UK Independence Party has enjoyed its best ever local election results, piling pressure on David Cameron to distance himself from his Coalition partners.

    DT today.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      UKIP has 9 councillors (no increase) and no councils, Respect has 5 councillors (5 increase) and no councils, the Greens have 40 councillors (11 increase) and no councils, the Lib Dems have 431 councillors and 6 councils, the Conservatives have 1005 councillors and 42 councils.

      Given that the Greens and Lib Dems did much better than UKIP does this mean there will be more pressure on Cameron to follow Green and Lib Dem policies rather than UKIP policies?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/vote2012/council/gb.stm

      • libertarian
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        He already is following Green and Lib Den policies

  13. Richard1
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I suggest this tactic for the Conservatives: state that a majority Conservative Government will attempt a comprehensive re-negotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU, and spell out exactly what that means: rebate; dis-application of the Social Chapter; Supremecy of UK courts over the ECHR etc. If it hasn’t been acheived, eg by 3 years from the date of the next election, there will be an in or out referendum. Cameron could deploy this tactic at any time. I suspect there’s a majority in the country for EU membership, but only on much impreved terms.

    • Vimeiro
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      We fell for something similar last time.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      “… attempt a comprehensive re-negotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU” That is ‘attempt’ … and fail. That is what Cameron does! It’s what the Tories are doing now! Your “comprehensive re-negotiation” sounds like leaving; not a bad idea, but why not call it that: leaving the EU, …..!

      “… by 3 years from the date of the next election …” This is what I thought five years ago, but realised that it would be another wasted three years. Why procrastinate, vote UKIP now!

      “I suspect there’s a majority in the country for EU membership, but only on much impreved terms.” You mean, like having simple trading agreements and no political interference? See first point of this post.

    • Bob
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      @Richard I

      Would the three year guarantee be a cast iron one?

    • A Different Simon
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      It may take that to win the next general election .

      The promise would have to come from a new leader to be worth anything .

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      The ECHR isn’t part of the EU.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Every know this – but a pre-condition for EU membership is accession to the ECHR.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          Everyone I mean.

  14. APL
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    JR: “The story of yesterday’s local elections is of a big swing to federalist Labour. ”

    [unspoken] ‘and away from federalist Tories’.

    The federalist party of Kenneth Clarke, ‘I promise anything before an election in an attempt to gull a few more voters’, Cameron or ‘I’m gonna implement the European Union tax on pasties and pretend it is a UK tax initiative’ Osborne.

    That’s the party where the apparently EU critical John Redwood doesn’t have a place in the government.

    Yea, lots of reasons there, to vote Tory.

    Not!

  15. APL
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    “I will try once again to explain my thoughts about the Tories. I claim the Tories are about to break out into a EUrosceptic party. I claim we have all the right policies, just that we need a few more EUrosceptical MPs, George Eustace will anyday now, make a difference. I argue that the Conservatives should be supported despite thirty year history of betrayal and duplicity over the European Union.”

  16. Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    As well as tactics, there’s also principle. Some of us can’t, in conscience, vote for a party which favours EU-membership. Also, where are those repatriated powers we were promised?

  17. Tim
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The difference between Conservative and Labour spending plans is around £10bn; a rounding error in the context of debt at over one trillion pounds. It is just a choice between one tax and spend socialist party and another. The remaining honourable Tories have failed to reform the party from within. UKIP is succeeding where the reformists have failed. The message is clear, kick out Cameron and give the people their referendum, or Labour will get in.
    U-turn if you want to. UKIP is not for turning.

  18. Ezra T Fernydew
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Europe was foremost in the minds of many UKIP voters. This isn’t to say they’re indifferent to the issue, but I suspect the main concern was to punish a Conservative Party they feel has betrayed them on many issues – not just Europe.

    The Conservative Party is marginalising a significant part of its core vote. They should take this as a warning.

  19. Colin D.
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    You advocate staying within the Conservative Party and arguing from inside.
    You present the Eurosceptic case well and forcefully from within the Conservative Party but looks what’s happened. You, yourself have been relegated by Cameron to the back benches. Not for incompetence – you are patently more financially experienced than Osborne – but just because you are Eurosceptic.
    When in Opposition, Cameron sounded Eurosceptic, but now he’s in government he is falling over himself giving powers away to Brussels.
    It’s the evidence of our own eyes that stops us supporting the Conservatives. We support UKIP because they share our beliefs and they really mean it. Cameron just pretends he is Eurosceptic.
    I need proof that the Eurosceptic MPs are really shifting party policy away from Europe. Until that happens, I could achieve nothing by rejoining the Conservatives.
    As it stands, only UKIP is worthy of my support.

  20. PeterE
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    As Alex Roebuck said, where UKIP stood, they polled around 15% of the votes, in elections that were nothing to do with Europe and where in general they stood no chance of winning. That’s something for the Conservative Party to be seriously worried about.

    I support UKIP less for their stance on Europe than because they oppose the smoking ban and other erosions of individual lifestyle freedom, and because they are sceptical about AGW. I know some Conservatives take a similar view, but at present the tide in government and the Conservative party is running strongly the other way.

    • waramess
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Individual freedoms are fine so long as they do not interfere with the freedoms of others

    • S. Donald
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      My thoughts too.

  21. me
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I think people should vote Tory, that way we can give away Britain’s sovereignty ever so slightly slower than if people vote Labour or Lid Dem.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Just like Pickles you offer not one word of sympathy for Conservative coincillors who have been punished for Cameron’s failings with your support. Your continued belittling of UKIP we now expect but Baroness Varsi, your party chairman, plumbed new depths when on BBC last night she said that the % increase in the number of UKIP candidates was the same as the % reduction in those from the BNP. She then tried to use this meaningless staistical comparison to link the two parties, questioning if those not standing for BNP were now standing for UKIP. How low are you prepared to go to attack UKIP?
    Your other obsession, this time with the London mayoralty, is your only hope of some comfort but the poor example it has set has swayed the electorate to reject such a system in other cities across the country. Personality politics may be fine for the metropolis but it leaves most of the rest of us cold.

  23. colliemum
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Yes, well, interesting thoughts about UKIP and Euroscepticism within the Tory Party, but IMV beside the point.

    The point is that turnout nationally was below 32%.
    That means two thirds of those eligible to vote didn’t.
    This is clearly beyond mere apathy, this is a clear message to all politicians, locally and nationally. It speaks of the despair of voters who have experienced for some time now that it doesn’t matter which rosette will ‘govern’ the local councils or indeed form the national government. They’ve learned that their voices are not heard by those they have elected.
    I am sure many of us have been writing or speaking to our local and national representatives – and been brushed off with manager speak if we were lucky. More often, there’s even no reply at all.
    There’s no sign of party officials even taking notice – else why did Cameron go on about gay marriage again, when polls show this is of no concern to voters? After all, we’re told the EU doesn’t interest voters and that’s why government won’t deal with that issue …

    Address the low turnout as a matter of urgency. It says loud and clear that people have had enough of deaf politicians, and politics as usual. Daniel Hannan gets it (see his live blog on the DT last night) – so why don’t you and your colleagues?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Colliemum,
      They don’t get it because they don’t care what we think.

      • Deborah
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        There are none so blind as those who refuse to see

  24. Tom
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    ” I have always argued that the only way to get the UK out of the current dangerous embrace of the EU’s political union is to stay within the Conservative party and to argue from inside. “…
    That approach has categorically failed John… I used to be a Conservative Party member for 16 years from the age of 16. Indeed you spoke at many of our events in Basingstoke when Andrew Hunter was MP.
    However, I see last night as good result for UKIP – if repeated nationally it will cost the Conservatives more than 45 seats….
    What you fail to recognise is that most of us that defected to UKIP do not see any difference between Labour and Cameron’s Conservatives, so ‘splitting the right’ is something we don’t see or indeed worry about….
    I see more chance of influencing Cameron & Co. by knocking him for seven in every election possible – eventually he will either start to address the issues we are concerned about, or ignore us, and lose the next election (at which point the Tories will ditch him) – either way, it’s a win:win move John.

  25. Mick Anderson
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Arguements about who has done well at some other Parties expense are simply hubris.

    With a projected turnout of around 32%, an independant view should be that all of the politicians have lost when 68% percent of the electorate didn’t feel that voting for any of them was worth the minimal effort.

    FTR: The Council where I live was not up for election. Heartily tired of all the Party Political Broadcasts….

  26. Lord Blagger
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I have always argued that the only way to get the UK out of the current dangerous embrace of the EU’s political union is to stay within the Conservative party and to argue from inside.

    =======

    With no evidence of any success, that means you have failed.

  27. Lord Blagger
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    It is so like South America in the 1950s – guns everywhere, politicians corrupt and bent, vast differences in the wealthy and the poor, tax on everything, public services (customs & immigration at the moment) silting up.

    And that’s the way it will remain until they confess to the levels of government debt. 7 trillion, with only 1 trillion being reported.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      I have seen reports that China is working towards backing its currency with gold with the result that the US dollar would cease to be the reserve currency. While this may be spin, it is not unsurprising given their circumstances. What would you do in their situation? Rely on the unwavering value of the US dollar, or do something about it? So how would it affect Britain?

      Wouldn’t this raise our cost of living? The imported oil, gas and windmill spare parts, for the repairs.
      Wouldn’t this mean that we will find it harder to pay back our debt? Not that we are doing that now, to say nothing of the deficit.
      Wouldn’t this mean that the Welfare State will become unaffordable? It is now!
      Wouldn’t this mean that a good education system will become even more necessary?
      Wouldn’t this mean that many benefits will become a thing of the past?

      Even if this Chinese action isn’t true, these things will eventually come to pass, but perhaps not as quickly.

      Not being the Governor of the Bank of England in 1997, I can remember then just how worried I was about the lack of concern shown by the then Governor of the Bank of England!

      It’s history repeating itself ! Truly, the heir to B-liar is in Number Ten.

  28. Iain
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    “is to stay within the Conservative party and to argue from inside.”

    And the result of that policy has achieved what exactly?

    Where has the EU ratchet been put into reverse?

    Sorry John I only have one lifetime, I cannot afford any more time to waste over a strategy that has achieved nothing, in fact while all this supposed arguing has been going on Brussels has been extending its power and interference.

    Reply: I set out what we have achieved so far.

    • Bickers
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately John what’s been achieved so far is all but meaningless in the increasing desperate need to remove the UK from the EUSSR. We’ve learnt the hard way that anything other than a trade relationship with the EU is both dangerous and detrimental to the success of the UK. It appears many millions of mainland Europeans are now waking up to the horror of the EU.

      I can’t fault your logic regarding UKIP, however you miss the reason why many of us traditional Conservative voters have jumped ship; we’re fed up of being lied to by our politicians. If the Conservative Party wants to destroy itself by becoming a centre left party so be it.

    • Epigenes
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:34 am | Permalink

      The Conservatives have also achieved signing the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty. No mention of this in your first para, Mr Redwood.

  29. David Kelly
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    If the Conservative party was Eurosceptic (or EUsceptic, if you prefer) before UKIP existed, how come it never made any attempt during 18 years of government to leave the pan-European project and atone for Heath’s crime of high treason?

    Surely it’s time for true EUsceptics, if there are enough left in the Conservatives, to take over the party and adopt UKIP’s position on the EU and a few other issues of the day. If the Conservatives had been truly like UKIP before UKIP existed, there would not have been any need for UKIP.

    • Bickers
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Correct. UKIP have a raft of policies that have Conservative Party written all over them.

      I particularly applaud UKIP for their stance on renewable’s. Ed Milliband’s Climate Change Act (supported by the Conservatives) is based on spurious science and if implemented in full will bankrupt this country as well as despoiling large tracts of our beautiful countryside. For not supporting this alone UKIP get my vote.

      • David Kelly
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Spurious science? Don’t you mean endless quantities of guff from a bunch of gravy-train-riding Guardianistas anxious to keep their cushy non-jobs going, because they realise that being genuinely useful needs real talent and hard work? Shame on any politician or journalist for believing it at face value.

  30. Sue
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “argue from inside” hows that working for you so far? Still supporting alleged terrorists I see and yes, our NHS is to be free to the EU, his cousin and their extended family too… great progress. How’s that EU budget freeze? Ms Ashton & Co getting their luxury jets at our expense I see… and the new space programme to Jupiter’s moons, just what we need with half of Europeans on the breadline. What about the EU’s “water policy” which has turned the UK into a laughing stock.. an island that has a water shortage… and the CAP and our fishing industry, still both dead in the water and the red tape winds on and on and on… and it’s just a matter of time before Mr Osborne does as he is told and hands over our financial sector to those who have spent years in envy coveting it.

    I have still yet to be answered by one Conservative : NAME ONE POWER THAT WE HAVE HAD RETURNED OR TAKEN BACK.

    Many ex-Conservatives like me now vote for UKIP if they have a candidate. If they don’t, I will vote for anybody but the “three”, as they have all broken just about every single promise they’ve made. They’ve LIED intentionally. I still hold that manifesto’s should be binding, then you would not be quite so ready to promise the earth when you are not in a position to…. you might even have to tell the TRUTH!

    You lost me and many others like me primarily because of the EU and the total lack of democracy that we experience within that construct. All “three” parties are part and parcel of this plan of “One Europe” and they will not deviate, ever. Although UKIP may not have won anything, they have obviously caused you some great losses, indeed, some people are very upset I hear. So, if the accepted premise is that UKIP are a “one party policy”, doesn’t it strike any of your superiors that the one policy is the one that is damaging the Tories?

    The EU won’t change it’s mind for closer integration (that is it’s ultimate goal and always has been) and now I see somebody is bringing out the “big boys”… Blair returning to UK politics and Mandelson calling for a referendum. I have a sneaking suspicion this is the beginning of a massive pro-EU propaganda Campaign as the government is put under ever more pressure to call a referendum. I am watching the tactics in Ireland with a great deal of interest.

    So, the question is, what do those MP’s who oppose loss of sovereignty do? You haven’t much in the way of power left now. It’s all been given to Brussels and your opinion and support are no longer required. In other words, it’s too late Mr Redwood and it’s up to the people to take matters into their own hands now. You have let us down very badly.

    • RB
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on. Our politicians and their fawning media followers are despearate for us not to know how little is actually left in their hands nowadays and how much the EU has already taken from us. That Mr Redwood is still trying to persuade us that UKIP are of no relevance when they were THE only thing that prevented a conservative majority government at the last general election is quite pathetic.

      The fact is that we must break this Lab/Lic/Con system and break it into pieces. We must all choose independents wherever they stand, if we can, or UKIP if those independents have policies with which we, as traditional consevatives, cannot agree. But the fact remains, without doubt, that there are no conservatives available to us at present. They pretend to be and make and then break with impunity manifesto promises that they deployed to suck us in. We even have legal precedent that manifesto promises are not binding. So they can, as they do and obvioulsy wish to, say ANYTHING prior to an election and then turn round and spit in our faces afterwards.

      Mr Redwood still thinks that the consevatives will sort out the EU problem. He ignores the fact that it has been made abundantly clear to us all that they have no intention or ability to do any such thing. The EU will hopefully destroy itself in the next year or two, but not one iota of that will be down to Cameron and his social democrat governemnt.

      I say get rid of them all, the sooner the better.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Good on ya Sue! That’s exactly how I feel!

      Tad

    • Jon burgess
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      I’m with with you, Sue. 13% isn’t bad, but 30% turnout is appalling. Just shows how many have lost faith in politics. Until tonight I had no idea that you voted for Maastrict, Mr Redwood.

    • APL
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Sue: “NAME ONE POWER THAT WE HAVE HAD RETURNED OR TAKEN BACK.”

      With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

      ‘O, EU States’ said the Carpenter,
      ‘You’ve had a pleasant run,
      Shall we hand some powers home again?’
      But answer came there none,
      And this was scarcely odd you see,
      Because the EU had eaten every one!

  31. J Mitchell
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I think that the “shrill” should remember that sadly we do not have a Conservative government; the Conservatives failed to win a majority. We have a coalition government, which inevitably means that those who want a Conservative government are going to be disappointed.

    I have always thought that Gordon Brown deliberately embarked upon a scorched earth policy during the final 1-2 years of his administration in order to ensure that those who came after would be made so unpopular by the measures necessary to clear up his mess, that they would then not be re-elected thus opening the way to a return of Labour. I am beginning to fear that I might have been right if last night’s results are an indicator.

    Any and every opportunity must be taken to remind voters who it was who got us into this mess in the first place.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      You’re not on your own, I said as much to number of Tory MPs.

      Tad

  32. Bob
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    You shouldn’t blame yesterdays results on anyone but yourselves, it’s not ukip’s fault that the Tories suffered heavy losses. Maybe you need a change of leader?

    Boris seems like a popular choice.

  33. Geoff M
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I suggest Cameron’s front bench take their heads out of the sand, until I realised they can’t because they are concreted in with EU cement.

    Hi Dave, whats your grand plan to win the 2015 GE!!!!!!!!!!! because boy you have to work bloody fast now.

  34. stred
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    It makes little difference whether the loony left or ‘conservatives’ run councils. My conservative councillors were behind a move for more interfering, expensive and dishonest parking schemes. They did nothing to cut ridiculous town hall waste. Now we have Greens who just make thing a little worse, by slowing the traffic lights other silly gestures which cause more CO2 not less. So what?

    Councillors all receive ridiculous pay and allowances which often exceed the annual salary of many professionals and skilled voters. They are enjoying the Brown/Blair largesse and no longer even face surcharges for gratuitous waste and incompetence. The staff and chief are paid as if they were running competitive major businesses, but many are obtructive functionaries enforcing regulations that few understand or want.

    The turnout was 32%. This means that only about 12% of voters supported Labour. The combined vote of UKIP and the English Democrats rivals the other parties but everyone knows they cannot win and there is no partyoffering to really cut the pay, allowances and town hall interference in everything we do. Central government gives them ever more ways of interfering and charging for it. Recent additions, amongst others, are rental licensing, inspection of scaffolding and even approving the thermal conductivity of front doors! The Coalition allowed them to charge full council tax on houses that are empty because of delays in planning and regulation approvals.

    But many voters either pay no council tax or are paid by the councils. How on earth can those that do pay do anything to stop this waste and growth of pointless bureaucracy?

  35. Backwoodsman
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Well John, while it may be perilous to to read too much into a single set of local elections,three things seem abundantly clear.Firstly,if the Conservative party is to win office again,it has to address the concerns of the Right,not only the EU,but immigration,political correctness and etc.Secondly it has to shed the present (perceived )aura of complacent ‘poshness’ ,and social selfishness.It needs to reconnect with that minority of the working or poorer classes who have traditionally supported the tories,and helped enable the party to weather the storms of the past 150 years or so.Thirdly it needs to block its ears to the siren song of the ethnic minorities.In no forseeable future will the Conservatives win a significant numerical support base in the great majority of such groups,but they will, by attempting it incautiously, further fragment and minimise their support among the native-born,especially in the cities.
    I would add,on reflection,that a little less moral,financial,and political corruption in high places would do no harm…this,however, is a problem common to all the mainstream parties,and it is sapping confidence in the whole system,not just the Conservatives.
    This government is eerily reminiscent of that of Wellington and Peel in 1828-1830.Ukip is playing the role of the Ultras,certainly able to help bring down the government,but powerless to replace it with anything better,at least in the available time framework.Unless the Conservative leadership takes some meaningful attempt at reconciliation the most likely scenario is a ‘great smash’ encompassing both groups,and a comeback for a discredited opposition with a radical agenda.
    But you know all this,of course. However,time is running out to do something about it…and denigrating UKIP,and its efforts is not a plausible or effective strategy.If they are to be won back in any numbers there have to be concessions to their concerns,which are also those of a significant,and growing, minority of electors.

  36. oldtimer
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    In terms of practical politics I agree with you that the only way change will come is from inside the Conservative party. That is simply the consequence of electoral arithmetic and the electoral FTPT system. But will it happen? I think that change will more likely occur as a consequence of external pressure on MPs by the drift to UKIP or abstention at elections – such as the one just held. Votes for UKIP (apparently c12-15% where they stand) or None of the Above (c68% overall) are a clear measure of public discontent. Conservative MPs ignore it at their peril.

    No doubt there are multiple reasons for this – the evolving, closer embrace of the EUrocracy (probably unwelcome to the majority), the social pressures of excessive immigration (certainly unwelcome to the majority), costly and ineffective green policies, especially their effect on energy prices (widespread), failure to use opportunity of no less than three budgets to get a grip on the economy (widespread). No doubt some of this can be put down to the constraints of coalition government. But some of it is the result of incompetence and failure to pay attention to detail.

    Responsibility for this belongs to the leadership. For many at the last general election, Cameron enjoyed the benefit of the doubt. No longer! Next time he will struggle to get it. So far as I am concerned he will not get it. For the Conservative party, time is running out.

    • Norman
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Boris needs to be in by this time next year to have any kind of a chance. Cameron and Osborne are busted flushes, they’ve burned too many bridges even if they start doing and saying the right things now.

  37. Electro-Kevin
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Not so much ‘where are the UKIP voters ?’ as where are the Tory voters ?

    The reason why I wouldn’t bring myself to vote Tory is that the ‘tough’ decisions seem to be pointless ones. I’m sure we’d all take the sour tasting medicine if we thought there was a purpose to it.

    As it is I forsee that 90% of the UK population will become impoverished – especially if we continue to import more and more working class people and losing big name employers. The down-sizing of the UK Border Agency came to the fore this week with passport delays. These delays do nothing to protect our borders from those who are caught and get told to make their own way to Lunar House but the delays do manage to irk genuine tourists and key trading partners in the process.

    The passport control crisis is a direct result of a government which doesn’t care about immigration but wishes to be seen as though it cares.

    Limiting immigration to ‘from within the EU’ is a Cameron con.

    You said earlier this week that we are short on infrastructure but the fact is that we’re overcrowded – at our level we really feel it.

    I wish to mention something slightly off topic and more constructive:

    I don’t know how long those in the private sector are going to suffer losing their pensions whilst having to subsidise public sector pensions – the solution being adopted in order to get the state pension down, however, seems to be to delay retirement.

    This is going to cause worstening youth unemployment.

    I propose that those over 60 must job share and mentor with youth. For this to work it can only be indiginous youth.

    Yes. It means those in their sixties being poorer.

    What else can we do if we are not to lose our youth to other countries or to condemn them to the scrap heap ?

    More technical colleges – fewer art schools and Law colleges please.

  38. sym
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I think you’re being unfair.

    The underlying idea is that the Conservatives should be in power. Why is that, exactly? The Cameron version of conservatism looks strikingly to me like social-democracy. He’s making all the collectivist sounds. He behaves like an elected monarch. Here’s a news flash: I don’t want more state control, I want the state out, as much as possible, from my life. Politicians shouldn’t try to run our lives. In fact, instead of busy boding for more and more control over our lives, shouldn’t you work to remove and simplify regulation and legislation?

    Ultimately, for me David Cameron is the guy who increased the payroll tax (employer’s NI) and then put another million tax payers into the 40% bracket. These aren’t wealthy people, just people who are working and trying to have a normal life, without being robbed blind by the state.

    Honestly, I don’t think the Conservative party should be in power until they sort out what precisely they represent and who wants to lead them. This multiple personality disorder your party is displaying is tiresome. Some MPs are euro-skeptical, but your leadership is a strong believer in the EU. Some want lower taxes, but your leadership keeps spewing the “broadest shoulders” garbage – i.e. the hardworking should further embrace serfdom so that populist politicians and the grubby, useless public sector gets more and more of their money. Remember that marginal taxation for a person earning 45k pounds, between employer NI, employee NI, income tax and VAT is an extortionate ~70%. And so forth.

    You have no consistent message. You choose a social-democrat to lead you. You are antithetical to the UKIP, and they are right to compete against your party.

  39. fake
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The conservatives do occasionally stall the EU plan, but they don’t ever stop it.

    There are enough Euro sceptics to throw the occasional cog in the wheel, but they will never break the machine.

    Every year we see more and more EU regulation, the conservatives represent slower integration.

  40. Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    If the only way to get the UK out of the EU we are doomed.

    They have had four decades to do something, anything to reduce or limit the integration of the EU but despite promises, they have failed.

    JR calls UKIP a party of protest rather than of power. That is a credible charge only for so long as it takes us to achieve power, by whatever means – it may be we change the thinking of other parties and the public. Maybe the public will overwhelm the political class whom JR defends in the same way shareholders overwhelmed the AVIVA Board yesterday.

    I do not know how UKIP will achieve its objectives but we are here to stay and either other parties can carry on ignoring the views of the people on so many issues or we will eat their lunch.

  41. Anthony Harrison
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Conservatives were Eurosceptic in the 1990s, well before UKIP was formed.
    etc etc…
    I admire John Redwood for his absolute integrity and consistency over a long period, and I am contemptuous of the MSM’s consistent portrayal of him as some sort of right-wing weirdo. But here, he is simply reiterating more succinctly a very tired line beloved of Tory loyalists: the Conservative Party is “Eurosceptic”, and the only safe haven for those many of us who want out of the EU.
    I will not wash, Mr Redwood. You mention a few victories, supposedly, in the struggle to retain our sovereignty, while ignoring the fact that membership of the EU is ultimately about ever closer union to the point where our identity as a sovereign nation is subsumed within a federal Europe! The “Euroscepticism” you claim for your Party is a sham, an insubstantial shadow, a PR pretence. Many of us realised this long ago and felt we could not support your Party anymore – the risk is too great, the level of distrust about the Tory capacity to fight Britain’s corner too entrenched.
    Here’s the crunch. Just supposing you are right about your Party – and about UKIP’s not going anywhere soon – and it is secretly Eurosceptic, meaning that Cameron’s repeated claims we are better off in don’t matter, and that the Tories do actually intend to get us out. Will things be fixed by November 1st 2014? I mean, after that date, it will be even less likely that we will do much governing of this country outselves: the 75% or so (by some estimates) of UK legislation that actually originates with the EU will increase with the frightening increase in QMV, and it will be even more daunting to extricate ourselves from the forces that are set to destroy our independence.
    What do you have to say about November 2014, Mr Redwood? What reassurances can you possibly offer? In the meantime, I have no choice but to continue supporting UKIP. I want my country back, and the Tories cannot or will not help me.

    Reply: I want my country back too, and have spent a lot of my energy and political capital with that aim in mind. We need more votes in the Commons, and we need them now. I keep explaining this – none of you have a better idea on how to get them. UKIP just keeps showing it is nowhere near popular enough to win anything. IT’s no good ranting against me or blaming me – we need jointly to engage against the federalists.

    • Mactheknife
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      @ JR Reply

      “I keep explaining this – none of you have a better idea on how to get them”

      Yes we have. As I have said on this blog before stand up and make a difference and show some courage. If the government want to push through some legislation which they deem necessary – then vote against it with the other Euroscpetics. Keep doing so until Cameroon takes notice !! It’s now beyond chats in smoke filled rooms with like mininded individuals – you have to take some ACTION. Cameroon has got you exactly where he wants you.

      Reply: The Conservative Parliamentary party has just made clear it does not wish to vote for Lords reform.

      • APL
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        JR: “The Conservative Parliamentary party has just made clear it does not wish to vote for Lords reform.”

        Looking over Anthony Harrison’s and Macktheknife’s reply, I can see nothing at all about Lords Reform, yet Mr Redwood chooses this issue to illustrate his called independent rightest Tory faction.

        I leave the readers to draw their own conclusions why that might be.

        • APL
          Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          JR: ‘Lords Reform’

          By the way, Mr Redwood, perhaps it does illustrate how completely disassociated your leader is from the rank and file of the Tory party.

          Lords Reform isn’t the burning firebrand issue for Tories that is was for Tony Blair’s Labour party, while we do recognize that the Lords need reform, for example, expelling many of the recently created life peers, the EU placemen and so on, it isn’t the diversionary issue that Cameron hoped it would be.

          In short, not only does Cameron think he can emulate Tony Blair, he thinks he leads the same party as Tony Blair.

          Utterly deluded!

    • Bickers
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      John, the majority of people who comment on your blog greatly admire you. You’re a breath of fresh air whenever you’re invited onto a TV panel or appear on Newsnight. You’re not likes by the Lefty BBC and MSM because you’r not willing to pander to their socialist/PC agenda

      However, because you’re willing to put your head above the parapet here you’re attracting our frustrations with the Westminster Village and the Conservative Party; please don’t take it personally.

      If sufficient numbers join UKIP then the hope has to be that this will force the Conservatives to move back to the centre right and take the tough decisions needed to get the Country back on the right track.

      If the debts keep climbing, the deficit reduction stalls and growth falters then we’ll be in a whole heap of you know what. Maybe that will trigger the changes needed to rid this Country of the free loading culture that pervades large tranches of society & the work place.

      • APL
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Bikers: “John, the majority of people who comment on your blog greatly admire you. ”

        Actually much truth there.

        • Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Couldn’t agree more. Your argument is, as ever, cogent, but in this case, it is not compelling. Good reasons must give way to better. The only way to change the Conservative party, sadly, is to vote UKIP.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I have an idea, Mr Redwood.

      I join the local Conservative Party, express my Euroscepticism and then fail to get selected as a candidate.

      This is because the Conservative Party is no good.

      I do have a better idea how to get more Eurosceptic votes in the Commons but it will be a two-term project … at least.

      That is to exhort all Conservative voters to stay at home. The party is no good anyway.

      In effect that is what is happening. How could Ed Miliband gain on David Cameron ?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        How does this get more Eurosceptics in Parliament ?

        I agree, that is a tricky one – especially when a low voter turnout is wilfully interpreted as a desire for the Tory party to be more Leftist.

        The one thing we will definitely get if we all refuse to vote Tory is change.

        Anyone voting Tory unwittingly supports a mandate for closer union and more Leftism. They are also voting to be ignored as is evident in this Parliament.

        If we’re going to have something that behaves like a single party state then we may as well have one.

    • zorro
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      OK…..John, you keep on going on about the fact that we need more votes in the Commons. That is a tacit admission that your party is not Eurosceptic. Correct me if I am wrong, but even though Cameron couldn’t defeat Gordon ‘Jonah’ Brown, he still managed to lead the Conservatives to being the largest party just shy of a majority. So why can your Eurosceptic Tory party only muster at most 80 but normally 30-40 votes out of 300+ or about 10%.

      Instead of bemoaning the lack of votes in the Commons, why don’t you ask your fellow Eurosceptic Tory MPs why they are not supporting your sensible Eurosceptic position. Perhaps you should ask Mr Cameron more energetically as to why he is not delivering what he promised with regards to repatriating powers.

      Just for the record, no-one is blaming you (well, you did vote for DC) about the EU issue, but I think that you need to look at your colleagues in teh Commons and their election manifestos. They are the people in Parliament now, what are they doing?

      No-one has a chance to get into Parliament for the next three years. Clegg and Cameron are united on that point as it gets them through to 2015….As you say, it is now or never, and you Tory MPs (the vast eurosceptic majority…yeah) are the only ones who can force Cameron’s hand and you must act to do so.

      In the 1990’s the Eurosceptics with 30 MPs were able to bring about changes because Major had a wafer thin majority. You need to make something happen so that Cameron has a smaller majority so that you can use your bloc. Create an issue, and I’m afraid it is only you in this Parliament who can do it. It is pointless bemoaning UKIP….As you say, build bridges, unite against those who would sell our birthright.

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        You were elected as a Conservative MP not a Cameron MP….

        zorro

        • APL
          Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          Zorro: ” not a Cameron MP ..”

          Don’t forget the pathetic attempt to rebrand the Tory party as ‘David Cameron’s Tory party’.

          The leader cult, fit for third world countries.

          • zorro
            Posted May 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            Kim Jong Dave!

            zorro

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Really, I’m not ranting against you and neither am I blaming you for anything other than unfairly criticising those of us who have lost patience with your Party! I wish devoutly that I could be a small part of some anti-federalist movement, alongside such as yourself; I’m just not sure how that could happen, given the current leadership of your Party and its overall makeup.

  42. Winston Smith
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Well John, you and your wet Tory chums are not doing anything to encourage us ex-Tory activists back to the fold with that sort of petulance, are you?

  43. johnny come lately.
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood.

    As a person I have respected for your normal rational approach, I am quite amazed that before you have the full results you are trying to discredit the party that is causing much damage to the tories.

    A great man decent hard working tory councillors have lost their seats. No mention of them and the demoralising effect that the lack of real tory leadership from the top of the party has created their loss. No mention that same sex marriage, pasty tax and granny tax have had on the electorate and the total compliance to anything that comes from that madhouse in Brussels. Ignore the message Mr Redwood and you, yourself, may feel the cold sensation of losing your seat.

    It is only when you ard your colleagues, on the backbenches, realise that the problem is NOT Ukip but David Cameron., that the Tory party can fight to regain their position.

  44. Adam5x5
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    To quote the DT:
    “The UK Independence Party enjoyed its best ever local election night, averaging about 14 per cent of the vote where its candidates were standing, mainly at the expense of the Conservatives.”

    UKIP is growing as a party, and will become ever more of a viable alternative as time goes on and the concerns of voters are ignored. To suggest that they have not performed well because they do not have a seat is disingenuous, especially since they are a relatively young party in a system which inherently favours the existing parties.

    I haven’t managed to find an election map with the numbers of votes by party and seat yet, so it’s hard to actually argue the point in detail.

    Though it does little to convince people like myself to return to supporting the Conservatives when Warsi compares us with the BNP (incidentally a LEFT wing party with no common values to UKIP, except leaving the EU).

  45. Scary Biscuits
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Redwood says that a leading federalist party polled well. That is only half true. Another ‘leading federalist party’ – aka the Conservatives – polled very badly. The most federalist party of all, the LibDems, did even worse.

    It is not UKIP’s fault if Conservatives lose seats because voters don’t like what the Conservatives offer. It is the Conservatives’ fault. By attacking UKIP, who have as much right to stand as anybody else, and not the Conservative leadership Redwood becomes just another cheerleader for Cameron.

    A year ago I would have said that it would have been easy for Cameron to stop losing votes to UKIP and to stay-at-homes: more robust action on prison sentences and immigration, actual rather than relative spending cuts to fund tax cuts and an EU referrendum. But since his backtracking on the veto nobody trusts him . Cameron’s political theory, that he can win by defining himself against right-wingers within his own party, has been tested to destruction. He shows no sign of accepting that or changing how he operates. He persists with his homage to Blair, to believe that spin and being photographed with Obama are more important than what he actually does. The only solution, regretably, is therefore to seek a new leader.

    Any Conservative, myself included, who wants to win outright at the next election, or even to win back a council seat, must argue for a new leader. I voted for DD and the members must once again be given a vote on a new leader.

    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      DD turns too many people off.

      • APL
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        rose: “DD turns too many people off”

        Cameron is doing a good job of turning potential conservatives off.

  46. Hexe Froschbein
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I voted UKIP not because I think they’ll win, but because unless there is a real conservative party to vote for, then we may as well have the real socliasts wrecking the country properly by design instead of the fake ones doing it by incompence.

    Maybe a new Conservative party that actually has a conservative philosophy and conservative principles they uphold will rise from those ashes or maybe not, but if we can’t have what we really want and need, then anything else is not worthwhile having either.

    So take a look at those UKIP votes and realise that almost everyone of them represents a conservative voter who disagrees with the socialist, Europhile gang that have hijacked the Tory party.

    There is nothing conservative about the Tory party.

  47. JimF
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t really care about all this UKIP-bashing which Conservatives are engaged in.
    I don’t think it’s necessarily good to have a sudden SDP type bandwagon which then blows up.
    Slow steady progress for these ideas and UKIP is good, and 14% isn’t bad by any means in elections which weren’t about the EU.

    It is YOU who is out of step, and you will find if you jump onto this in a year or two’s time you will have lost much of the credibility which you are still clinging on to. New parties and grwing ideas need momentum from people who believe in them, not just slagging off from the old guard.

    • APL
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      JimF: “It is YOU who is out of step”

      This is Mr Redwoods Achilles heel, his affection for the shell that was once (for a brief spell under you know who ) a vibrant right of center Tory party, outweighs his grasp on reality.

  48. Mark
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The biggest gains once again are for NOTA. UKIP gained protest votes but currently have fewer councillors than Residents’ Associations. Politicians are disengaged from the realities of their constituents. Recent policies from the parties of the coalition have driven voters away, yet are doing nothing to tackle the deep seated economic problems we face, with a deficit that matches the Darling plan.

    UKIP is not the answer, but there is clearly a large gap in the market for a party that manages to espouse the concerns of the electorate towards sorting out the economy, providing cheaper energy and controlling immigration. Where is the party that will do that – hiding inside the Conservatives?

    Come out, wherever you are!

  49. Steve Cox
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I don’t really see what local elections have to do with UKIP’s primary concern. Everyone knows that local elections are used by many people as a protest vote, and given the many silly and unpopular measures in the recent budget, I’m surprised that the Conservatives haven’t lost a lot more. Let’s face it, though, unless you’re an absolute EU-out nutter, you’re hardly going to expect a UKIP run council in Chipping Nowhere to make a major impact on the EU’s relationship with the UK. That doesn’t mean in the 2015 General Election that UKIP will prevail handsomely, of course, just that it’s unwise to read too much into the details of local election results.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      An EU out nutter? Why is wanting out so bad when all the evidence suggests it would be a good thing? Please explain.

  50. waramess
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    It’s a good day to focus on UKIP!

  51. Public Servant
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    Your own followers on this blog vehemently disagree with you to a man. I do not support UKIP and do not believe in their objectives. However, the remarks made by the Conservative Party co-chairperson, Baroness Warsi, on BBC last night were a disgraceful insult to those who gave their vote to UKIP. In my It has been a mistake for all mainstream political parties to attempt to occupy the middle ground. Politics used to be about pilosophy and ideology. Now it is largely just about which party is the least incompetent at managing the economy and public services. Whilst your party continues to try to be all things to all men you will continue to lose support to parties with a clear conservative agenda.

    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      On this very point, the PM came to Bristol and gave a good strong lead. He said Bristol could do so much better. The people responded, bucking the national trend, and voted to have a mayor. The whole country responded to his leadership over AV. If only he would do the same thing on coming out of the EU. The country would follow him in that referendum too. But he dare not – because not enough people have voted Conservative. This is a serious conundrum, and Mr R has the best and wisest analysis of it. Not in the majority here on this blog, I know, but I do believe it from all the other opinion I come across elsewhere.

      • rose
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Anyway, if Steve Hilton cares to come back, he might throw his hat in the ring to overcome the slovenly bureaucracy in Cycling City, get us back all ship shape and Bristol fashion, and then proceed to Whitehall.

      • rose
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        PS it turns out that the chairman of the Yes campaign in Bristol was on maternity leave – a common state of affairs in Bristol – which explains why no-one heard much about it as the council was dead against, so the PM’s lead was all the more critical.

  52. Ethan Edwards
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, you are an influential senior MP and it is of course right that you should remain within the Conservative party and argue the case against the EU. Frankly, though, it must be said that you are not making much progress, and to claim the Euro opt-out as a victory makes as much sense as claiming the same for the evacuation from Dunkirk (as Churchill was careful not to do)

    But what about us humble voters (and party members)? Are we just for ever to troop through the polling booths marking out ballot papers for Mr Cameron, for fear that anything else would be worse? There is a point to be made here, and marking a cross for UKIP is one way to make it. The parliamentary seat in which I reside is safe Tory, so a cross for UKIP will be a good way of making my feelings known. On the other hand, in yesterday’s elections for the London assembly, things looked liked being a little tighter, so I voted the ticket without indulging in a protest.

    It is not enough that there are people within the party at senior level arguing the case on the EU. There needs to be some visible and positive response from the leadership. I would not vote UKIP in a marginal seat, but many will, and the Conservative leadership must either accept the consequences or address the issues. Sadly, there seems to be little sign of the latter ever happening.

  53. Bill
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I am disenchanted with Cameron but would like to point all those who heap blame on him that he is shackled by Coalition agreements. The assumption that ‘Cameron+Clegg = Cameron on his own’ is incorrect. You have to assume that Cameron’s true colours are shown by his ‘no’ to the EU which caused Clegg so much annoyance.

    The trouble with supporting UKIP in a General Election is that voting for them will simply lead to results exactly the opposite of what they want.

    • Norman
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      As Fraser Nelson points out today the Lib Dems have given the Tories all their own way on the economy. How’s that working out?

  54. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Your comment that UKIP won only “4% overall” is unworthy of you. You might just as well say that (exaggerating a bit to make the point) Mr 100% Galloway “overall” polled 0%. Elsewhere my Username is Trueblechap from days gone by but (of course) I formally resigned from the Conservative Party long ago. UKIP have 100% of the time said stuff I believe in. Why the Conservatives aren’t in coalition with them instead of the ghastly Liberals is too clever for me. Never mind whether it is possible or not, do it anyway. Think Leonidas holding the pass at Thermopylae or Horatius holding the Bridge.

  55. Mark Thackray
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    You must always remember every thing starts at Zero. Our membership of the ECC started with a lie and the lies keep coming that is the fudementle principal behind my wanting to leave the now EU.
    Becoming a member of the Conservative party in 1979 at 18 in my local club I was enthusiastic for the future, under Margret Thatcher, I regret I was not able to vote for her election victor that year being too young. She was elected in a time of austerity and this reflected in company closures. The company I worked for closed after 132 years, but this did not phase me I wiped the tears away and found another job, onwards and upwards.
    The years pass by I start my company and Labour get in I develop my company and Labour keep increasing taxes changing the working enviroment implimenting law after law from the EU chipping away at my effectivness to control my employees and my own destiny.
    I have always look to the Conservative party to do the right thing, and I still had hope and even though I did not vote to ellect David Cameron as party leader, I knew we were in trouble and when he gave a call to arms in 2009, I answered the call sent in my cv joined the commitee of my local branch, was elected tresurer, there was something wrong loved the people I met, but what was it, I saw a party without trust in fear of its own shadow in fear of the bad press, intollerant of its own people, Suspending two people for supposed racist remarks (etc-ed) I looked at the sellection process and I found this severly wanting. Yes the number of local party members was low and thus the number of candidates local was low. Many of the sellected candidate were flown in fron down south, I sat and watched people brought in be sellected to stand in local election paying there and joining there and then sellecting my own PPC I was told there were three people and three seats and we were to choose last, god’s truth is this democracy what are our policies what are we fighting for. Could stand no more resigned and joined UKIP. I was asked to crow to the local paper about joining which I would not do, and at the general election I recieved many comments of being a traitor and that I would loose the election for the Conservative party, this the leadership did themselves. There was no vision, what am I supposed to support I am a tory but there is no plan no stratergy where are we going what do I say to convince others that this is the right path. Nothing…..
    UKIP has a vision for Britain, it has a plan, it is something to believe in. We are looking at the problems and suggesting answers to the problem. Like Labour the Conservative Party has there hands on the leavers of power but I do not see them being used for our benifit for our prosperity. A good leader has to take bold steps, for a great leader they must be bolder. We asked nicely for a referendum and we called fruit cakes and swivel eye,and now Baroness Warsi infers I am racist being one of the 14%. There is so much anger in the nation at this moment, you might not feel it maintaning your pay and expenses, but we do, we have suffered the constant threat of closure and redundancy inflation, tax, loss of perceved liberty, democracy and JUSTICE.
    And yes you were my choice as party leader.

  56. Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    range of policies, rather than just being an anti-EU lobby. We want to cut the deficit seriously; to provide cheap electricity by allowing the building of new nuclear & thus to allow the economy out of recession; to stop the 10s of billions being poured into windmillery in the name of catastrophic global warming. On all of these the Tories are a very long way to being on our side.

    I will also repeat that it is hypocritical to complain about us splitting the vote when it is your party who insist on maintaining an anti-democratic electoral system which makes that important. If the Tories want UKIP votes it will take a lot more than usking us to quit politics.

    Reply: Nuclear may not be a cheap option.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s also not a quick option as a medium sized nuclear power plant takes at least 10 years to build. Wind farms can be built much quicker.

      • Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Nuclear power is being produced at 3p a unit in France. It certainly can be produced more cheaply than our current basket, because most of the cost is regulatory. On a level regulatory playing field it would be easily cheaper than anything we are foing now. It is possible shale gas will, in time, match it, but if my suspicion that at least 3/4of of nuclear costs are politically imposed shale would be ubnable to match it.

        Even under the current regulations in governmental terms it costs nothing because the nuclear industry makes the investment not the taxpayer. Whereas windmills depend on literally making more money out of taxpayer subsidy than electricity. You can’t really get much cheaper than nothing.

        Uni is, once again entirely wrong. China is currently building more new nuclear capacity than ALL the electricity Britain uses. They have built such reactors in 3 years. To claim that it is impossible to build them in less than 10 years when it is being done shows a 100% disconnection from reality. This is the normal position in the green movement. I am sure most Greens would find it impossible buy beer without a dozen meetins on the subject but that does not mean it cannot be done.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Why do you favour wind farms over tidal power and solar power? I think that we need a range of energy sources, including nuclear. Why put all our eggs in one basket in supplying a strategic product. Even some coal is OK, provided that we clean it.

    • stred
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Nuclear is the only major source of non carbon energy which gives a constant supply. It would be possible to ask for tenders to build an up to date safe nuclear power station on existing sites if the government would only stop trying to get something for nothing from EDF. Other existing and built designs are available. If an existing design was used on existing sites, the 10 year period could be reduced. This is an emergency, as we will become reliant on fluctuating wind ggeneration as the present nukes expire.

      Alternatively, tear up the committments and build more gas stations, but hurry up. There would be no problem in putting up the money if we did not waste so much in other areas.

  57. Sebastian Weetabix
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The answer to “where were UKIP?” is ‘polling 15% where they put up a candidate’.

    Until I have a genuine Eurosceptic Tory to vote for (such as your good self, Mr. Redwood) I’ll vote for UKIP. Voting for the present Tory leadership is simply a vote for a Continuity Labour administration. Public expenditure? Up. Bank bailouts? Continuing. Money printing? More of the same. Increased subventions to the IMF to prop up the Euro? Yes, tick that box. Taxes cut significantly? No. any attempts to cut back Europe’s powers? None. Expel Abu Qatada? No. This lot are gutless and too many Tory backbenchers are following them like sheep.

    Mr Farage is a implausible buffoon but I hope that by voting UKIP I can help stiffen the spine of Tory backbenchers by making them fear the loss of their seats. Since UKIP is the only party explicitly advocating leaving the EU in their manifesto, they’re getting my vote. That way psephologists can’t explain away my intentions as ‘apathy’ like they would if I didn’t vote.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      To call Nigel Farage a buffoon, tells me you either haven’t met him (I have) or never listened to him. He is disarmingly articulate, and were he given more air time, the Tories would have an even bigger problem than they have already.

      I regard myself as a ‘natural Conservative’ but the Parliamentary Conservative party ceased to have any resonance with me ages ago. Quite simply, we have remained true to our beliefs and principles, most of the Westminster Tories haven’t. With so many people all saying the same thing quite independently of each other says we can’t all be wrong!

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted May 5, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        I have listened to him. I find him needlessly rude & discourteous in debate. I also find he cannot tolerate other big personalities in his party, which is why people are forever falling out with him.

        Perhaps that’s why he couldn’t defeat the speaker when he stood against him.

  58. Brenda
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    “Eurosceptic Conservatives” is a contradiction and do remind us about your role in the Maastricht treaty Mr Redwood……

  59. libertarian
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Sorry John

    The really big story is that nearly 70 % yes SEVENTY % of people couldn’t find anyone worth voting for.

    The second story is that NO ONE wanted another layer of politicians with so far all referendums rejecting Mayors

    the third big story is that UKIP actually denied the Tories lots of seats and are on course to gain around 14% of the vote

    More than any of that though is the story that Peter Mandelsohn is now talking about an EU referendum. Be afraid John, be very afraid. The Conservative Party is finished as a political party its all downhill from here unless someone wakes up very soon and delivers the coup de grace to the buffoon boys who have captured your party

  60. Paul
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    A great piece, and John is right UKIP are targeting the wrong people.
    With regards to “quick growth”, we know the banks will not lend so how about a BOE/government bank that just lends to start ups and small to medium sized businesses? We could take advantage of the low borrowing costs and lend to people with a good business plan and perhaps those with an emphasis on recruitment and export!
    I’m sure the numbers will stack up!

    • Norman
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes that’s what we need, more government intervention in the markets. Haven’t they done enough damage?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Agreed.

  61. David John Wilson
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I thought that the elections that have just taken place were local elections. What have UKIP’s or anyone elses views on Europe to do with local elections?

    I voted completely differently in yesterday’s election than I would have done in any general or European election. Quite simply I voted for the candidate who was standing against the destruction of Elms Field and the green space surrounding Wokingham. Unfortunately I was a little limited in my choice as only one party that reflected my views delivered a leaflet showing their policies.

  62. George Stewart
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    John, if you were my MP I would give you my time, treasure and talent to get you re-elected.

    But you are not my MP, yet I have supported the Conservative party for three decades.

    Ronald Reagan, a man I supported twice now as a dual national myself, is quoted as saying that the Democrat Party left him, he did not leave the Democrat Party.

    This modernised party is not what I signed up for three decades ago.

    I understand that you are saying we need to change the party from within but frankly I no longer have the strength. When a man is at the end of his political rope he can only do one last thing and yesterday I voted UKIP.

    I have been worn down by gay marriage, Lords reform, CCHQ butting into local affairs, the green agenda fraud, cast iron guarantees…………………and a dozen other things.

    John, the Tory Cameron agenda is not my agenda.

  63. julian
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Most voters do not care about the eu in the way most readers of this blog do. I think most of us want out because we see all the negatives of it. Unfortunately this is not shared by enough people. I don’t have much respect for the electorate because they always do this thing of voting a party in in a general election and then punishing them in local elections.

  64. Peter Richmond
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    It is my opinion that the main reason this government is down in the polls is because we are still after two years making little progress with sorting out the finances and getting the economy on its feet once more. Tough action was not taken fast enough. As a result the economy is once again down in the dumps and difficult decisions remain to be implemented leaving people pessimistic about the future and fearful of the unknown when it comes to their job, making ends meet, having to draw on capital savings, etc.
    As for the EU, I am as sceptical of this organisation as anyone. I believe some things it does are helpful. For example, the pan European scientific activity it supports within the universities. I agree it needs wholesale reform and I would prefer to be out rather than in. However the whole issue is a bit of a sideshow in the minds of most people. Creating a climate that generates jobs and pay packets, with or without the EU is the best way for a government to get votes. Bill Clinton was quite right when he said ‘it’s the economy, stupid!’

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Peter, it would still be entirely possible for Britain to work with other EU countries without the need for full political and fiscal matriculation.

      Tad

    • spartacus
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      And what aspect of our economy is really sovereign? Immigration? Boarders? Welfare? Materity pay? Only moneytary policy is.still sovereign, and you cannot deliver growth of the type most British people want by printing money and more mass immigration to offset wage demands. We need sovereignty to delivery real growth.

  65. ADAMS
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    The Con Party . Treaty of Rome. signed by Heath. Single European Act (Thatcher)
    Maastricht Treaty (Major) . The Vichy ex-Con party are not worth voting for.
    They are EU puppets now just like the LibLabs . You have no leg to stand on John.
    A vote for UKIP is a vote for an end to this country destroying EU Empire .
    Your scepticism verges on treachery . Still it pays the bills rather nicely doesn’t it !

  66. Peter Stroud
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    UKIP are like an itch in the small of the back. An irritation difficult to scratch. But they are taking Tory votes and we cannot afford to lose them. The LibDems are clearly stopping Cameron et al. from keeping their promise to recover powers surrendered to the EU. It also seems that they are winning on the pursuance of Lords reform and gay marriage. Policies that are of little interest to the Conservative rank and file. Like many of that lowly raft of membership, I feel let down. Badly let down by our leaders.
    Today we see that Lord Mandelson has proposed the need for an IN/OUT EU referendum. Cameron and the Tory members of government would gain valuable support by giving the people what Mandelson has suggested. If this forces a rift in the coalition, so be it. I suggest we would win, if the Conservatives go to the country with such a policy,

    • JimF
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Mandelson LOL – so did Clegg and Cameron when they were 2 steps away from power. IF Labour got back and IF Mandelson had any sort of role he’d soon ditch that idea. “What was right at that time isn’t right now”. I can hear it.

    • Jon burgess
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      For goodness sake wake up. It’s not the lib deems holding Cameron back from his promises – he does this all by himself.

    • Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Mandelson & the old “in/out”: modern Britain at its finest!

  67. Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    A few points of disagreement, much as I respect Mr. Redwood and his euroscepticism – if that is the right word. I have no doubt that if he were in charge we would be out very soon.

    Read “Time to Bring Farage Home” today by Guido Fawkes – spot on, including Mandelson saying that a EU referendum is now unavoidable.

    I have voted UKIP ever since Maastricht, but no one I know within UKIP has ever seriously considered a majority UKIP Government – at least not soon enough to prevent our immersion in the EUSSR. Few if any seriously expect more than the odd few MPs, if any, either.

    Some years ago a life-long Communist Eric Clements I often met at Conference fringe meetings told me that the purpose of “extreme” parties is not to win elections but to shift the centre of gravity of the debate. That is what UKIP, more than any other single party, has done these past 18 years. There is no doubt whatever that the probably majority view that we should leave the EU would still be years away had it not been for UKIP’s existence and the publicity it has achieved about what the EU really is and really is intended to be.

    Local elections are not of course UKIP’s forte – though 14% is good going in those circumstances. But where the EU IS the issue, the EP elections, UKIP came second only to the Tories in 2009, and without a shadow of doubt, on current Conservative policies on the EU, will come first in 2014 – unless of course the whole farce has disintegrated by then.

    Its a bit rich to criticise the Labour Party for Nice and later treaties – given how the Conservatives betrayed this country over the EU ever since MacMillan agreed with de Gaulle in the 1950s that we would have to be deceived about its purpose as we would never join if we knew the truth.(Source – I heard Peter Shore’s son quote this from his own book)

    As my recent letter in the Telegraph pointed out, Major (a Conservative PM if memory serves, and who used some of the most disgraceful whipping tactics ever seen to force Maastricht through) claimed in August 1992 that there was no question of leaving the ERM, which he had been influential as Chancellor in joining, that if we left interest rates would go UP!. Six months earlier at Maastricht he had been hell-bent on signing up for the single currency and it was Lamont who stopped him doing so.

    Conservative policy ever since Heath lied and lied and lied again to take us in is to stay in and dig an even deeper hold. That is why I stopped voting Conservative after 1992, and why the only basis on which I would vote for them again would be an unequivocal manifesto commitment to an In/Out referendum on EU membership including a free vote for all MPs, Ministers and MEPs, equal funding and air time for both sides of the campaign and the treacherous treaonous BBC’s news and political coverage closed down for the duration.

    We are now, at last, at the point that Conservative MPs understand that there is no prospect whatever of a Conservative Government with an overall majority unless and until the EU boil is lanced. That is what UKIP has achieved, and all it could realistically have hoped to achieve.

    I hope that Conservative MP’s and would-be MP’s fully understand that few if any UKIP voters will switch to Conservative on the basis of any more of Cameron’s insincere promises of half-measures, and that while many if not most of us dread the resurrection of what should by now have been Labour’s corpse, that would not be, could not be, any worse that a continuation of the Europhile, treasonous Conservative – or Coalition Government we now have.

    There is an old tennis motto “Never change winning tactics, always change losing tactics”. If Major had understood that in 1995, instead of proclaiming 98 votes for John Redwood to be a triumph for himself, he would have gone and while Blair might still have won in 1997 his majority and tenure would have been much lower.

    Current polls – 31% Conservative to 39% Labour and UKIP’s rise confirm that today’s Conservative tactics are losers – there is still time to change, but as Guido Fawkes says today there is still the opportunity to fix it. And not just to fix it for party political reasons, but to fix it for democratic reasons including freedom, sovereignty and the right of British people to hire and fire those who govern them.

    Nothing else will do.

    idris

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I always respected what Eric Clements had to say, even if I didn’t always agree.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Good post Idris. Just let the Europhiles wait until the EU implodes and crashes our own economy with it! They’ll all be denying they had anything to do with it, like St. Peter who thrice denied Jesus before his arrest.

      Tad

  68. Paul H
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I have decided never to vote Conservative for as long as it is led by someone who (indirectly) calls me a “racist” and “fruitcake”, when I simply have legitimate concerns about both the principles and practicalities of a large body of unaccountable rulers who would apparently like to engineer society into a homogeneous mass of clones who all do and say things the “right way” and cannot buy bent bananas. I thought the insult was especially rich coming from someone who – by all accounts – in his lofty position does not have the common decency to demonstrate respect to MPs (who, after all, helped put him there) when they dissent from his views or courtesy to the small people such as chauffeurs who make his lofty position more comfortable.
    I did think I would relent if Cameron ever apologised, but it is clear from Warsi’s outrageous outburst that this remains unlikely. BNP and UKIP are poles apart – the former genuinely frighten me and I wouldn’t touch them with the proverbial.
    I am not sure I would actually want UKIP near the levers of power – actually, I am sure that I would not it to be, without an overhaul of the leadership. However it is the only party whose aims are reasonably close to what I want to happen so – if nothing else – my conscience is clear when registering my support. There are also Eurosceptics in the Labour party so, by your logic, an EU-sceptic might as well support Labour and try to win the argument there.

  69. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I can’t be bothered to gather all the information necessary for a complete and consistent national picture, but:

    a) On average UKIP candidates are getting about 13% of the votes cast in the wards where they stood.

    b) Because there were only about 700 of them in England and Wales as opposed to 2416 seats contested just in England that 13% will be greatly diluted when the overall shares of votes are calculated.

    c) So no doubt it will be claimed by Tory anti-UKIP campaigners that UKIP is still insignificant, because it got only about 4% of the total votes cast across England and Wales, and less than that across the UK as whole.

    d) The Tories would have to be really stupid not to be scared of the effect that UKIP could have at a general election; and it’s clear from their constant anti-UKIP campaigning, including typical tactics of scaremongering and smearmongering, that they are scared.

    e) The standard Tory warning that voting for a UKIP candidate instead of a Tory candidate could let in the candidate of an even worse party is cutting less and less ice with an increasing section of the electorate, who are tired of Tory attempts to blackmail them into voting for Tory candidates as the least worst option.

    f) Obviously if this carries on then it could finish off the Tory party, but some of the Tory leaders are perfectly prepared to sacrifice their party for the sake of the EU.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, I don’t know if you have had any experience with the Conservative Party, but believe me there are a lot of stupid people running the show. Most of the intelligent ones leave after colliding with a wall of incompetence, irrelevance and pompousity.

    • Bob
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper

      ”The standard Tory warning that voting for a UKIP candidate instead of a Tory candidate could let in the candidate of an even worse party is cutting less and less ice…”

      It’s a bit like a fascist saying vote for me or you’ll let a communist lot in.
      Not that I’m drawing any parallels here, I’ll leave kind of mud slinging to the Tory Baroness.

  70. merlin
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    The most important result for me from last night’s council elections was the turnout, most people did not bother to vote. This indicates to me that these particular elections did not have the importance that a general election has and therefore the results do not give a realistic picture of people’s future voting intentions.
    After careful thought and consideration I think that the only way to for the UK to succeed is to eventually produce a truly Conservative government. I cannot predict whether the economy will grow in the next 3 years, but my guess is that it will, just in time for the next General Election . Assuming this to be the case I then believe that we will get a decent majority and the Conservatives will win the next election.
    My hope is that the next Conservative intake will be like the last set of new MP’s and that in general they will vote to leave the rotting corpse that is the EUSSR.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      How many of the last set of new Tory MPs would vote to leave the EU, unless so directed by a new party leader via the party whips?

      Very few; maybe not even as many as those who’re so strongly pro-EU that they’d be prepared to defy the whips and vote to stay in.

  71. Caterpillar
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    When even the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17949549) report the success of UKIP, today’s JR diary is at least to me a little surprising.

    What did UKIP achieve? Yes they achieved 13% of the vote where they stood – and some would criticize this by saying they didn’t stand everywhere, but this ignores that they managed to field more candidates than before (only about 200 less than the Greem Party), and they attracted this local election vote at a time without a parallel European election. Whether UKIP can hold this momentun within an election system from which they don’t get reward is another issue but to knock the achievement of a decent percentage, a decent number of candidates fielded and broadening policies is … well, perhaps too political.

    In recent days JR has encouraged others to stand for election should they have different views, or think they can do better then existing elected councillors, MPs, assembly members etc., and this is (- and I mean this seriously, it is not meant to be read in a patronising tone -) admirable, by comparision today’s comments seem unfair. They are not a criticism of UKIP’s aim to reduce council tax, to increase grammar schools, to simplify and flatten income tax, to leave the EU, to have a dynamic fuel tax, to have a ‘Britdisc’ for foreign hauliers etc. I don’t like a fair few of UKIP’s policies (though UKIP aren’t alone in that!), but if they are going to be critiqued surely they can be critiqued on policy. [aside - if the criticism is on strategy alone then negotiate. Whilst, to me a ConLib pact of liberal economics + socially liberal values would have been appealing its not what I see. A strong part of what I see surviving in the libdems is the economic part that fits hand and glove into a LibLabProgressive coalition, which so nearly happened last time.]

    One of the arguments I have heard mentioned for city mayors is that irrespective of party they can act as a unifying focus for a city, hopefully giving the city a momentum and dynamism. This is presumably what gives Mr Johnson a chance of holding the London Mayoralty. This seems to be what Mr Salmond gives to Scotland, it might be (or become) what Mr Galloway gives to Bradford (and a broader constituency). If the Coalition Government fails to be consistent, effective and clearly understood in what it does then all it may take is the right person in front of some policies that are partially worked up and partially understood to make headway. Whether as Coalition or as Conservative then mission, message and action need to be clear and delivered … perhaps it looks different on the inside.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Unsure contesting 700 out of 4,857 seats and getting 9 councillors can be considered a success.

  72. forthurst
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    “It just shows, however, that we have gained some important advances”

    No. Advances are achieved by the vanguard, not the rearguard. The Conservative vanguard has been waving the white flag for generations and has now been joined by the rearguard under Cameron who gets his marching orders from Oliver Letwin who gets his marching orders from who knows where?

    You invite us to vote for a party which is in favour of third world immigration, the absorbtion of Great Britain into the EUSSR, thoughtcrime laws to intimidate and penalise simple English folk who are desperately unhappy at the effects of your treachery on their once beloved country. At the same time you offer unconditional support to a foreign country with a crazed (words left out-ed) creed. What are you offering us, exactly? ‘The Big Society’ – Let the bells ring out and let’s all dance rounnd the maypole in celebration of our happy-clappy multi-culti Euroregion.

  73. Thomas E
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I think it is fair to say that the British have never decided to vote based on european issues. They care about Education, Employment, Crime, Health and Taxes. They don’t like europe but they don’t choose who to vote for based on that dislike.

    Maybe if the conservatives had concentrated on the issues British people vote on they would have won the general election. I’m not affiliated with any party, but I thought they would trounce brown last election, because he was the least popular politician in a generation.

    UKIP is an irrelevance, if anything they just make it harder for eurosceptics to gain power in the UK.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Which “Eurosceptics” would those be? Please don’t suggest the Conservative Party – the few genuine Eurosceptics there are marginalised.

    • JimF
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      An irrelevance unless you want less bureaucracy, lower taxes, less control from Brussels, no currency bail-outs, a greater sense of Britishness…. otherwise they’re the only game in town.

      • Thomas E
        Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Jim, UKIP has achieved none of the things in your list. The labour party has actually put more euroscetic policies into effect than UKIP simply by deciding not to join the euro until there is a referendum… UKIP simply has not done anything.

        The ability to do things is what politics is about. Since UKIP has done nothing it is irrelevant.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Eurosceptics can’t gain power within the Tory party, and unless and until that happens they certainly won’t gain power in the UK through the Tory party.

      The eurofederalists first seized the high ground in the old Liberal party, then in the Tory party in the early 1960’s, then in the Labour party in the late 1980’s; in all three cases there may be many eurosceptics but very few of them are at high levels, and the eurofederalists at the top do their utmost to make sure that any who try to climb up are kicked back down. Occasionally somebody who’s been allowed to get the top changes their mind, whereupon they must be thrown off.

      Eventually the eurosceptics at the lower levels, realising that they have little hope of ever displacing the eurofederalists entrenched at the top, start to walk away.

  74. the reason
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I’ve posted this elsewhere, but for me it is 100% vindication of the logic that others have posted above, and for me continuing to place my vote with UKIP.
    ——
    For anyone who really wants to know why there is a) a low turnout and b) UKIP eating into the Conservative vote, this is a “must read”. It gives all the answers needed.

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2007:0414:FIN:EN:PDF.

    Unearthed by Richard North. 13 pages of simple clear english. Unambiguous – no wiggle room – no doubt, that

    1. EU, and hence UK policy, is of deliberate water shortages – reservoirs builds secondary to control of water use by punative pricing and recycling measures

    2. So, government is not delivering. In this case, by design ( BTW, same as power generation capacity, same as landfill capacity )

    3. There is no difference on this between Lib Lab and Con. Read what Spelman was saying, read the document, she is parroting EU dictated policy.

    4. For those of us who have done our homework and know this, who are we going to vote for ???

    5. For the majority not yet up to steam, there is just a general unease and mis-trust. That is just going to grow.

    [6. MSM, and political blogs, who don't "front page" this risk loss of credibility ]
    —–

    So there are basically only 2 ways of voting, aren’t there ?

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      This report from 2007 states the following:

      1) Water scarcity and drought are caused by climate change.

      2) The areas most likely to suffer water scarcity and droughts are the south of Italy, Cyprus, south east Spain, London, and south east England.

      3) Recommends using water more efficiently, rather than building more infrastructure.

      4) By 2010 wants water pricing to incentivise saving water but also wants everyone to have ‘adequate water provision’ which is ‘irrespective of their available financial resources’.

      5) Promotes sustainable agriculture, not abusing river basins, effective water
      management (recycling grey water and rainwater), implement plans to detect and prevent droughts, allows the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to be used to help countries suffering from drought, recommends desalination to prevent droughts, and warns against building dams which may affect other countries.

      So in conclusion your claims that the EU wants droughts is grossly inaccurate as the purpose of this report is to outline the best ways to prevent droughts. The lack of reservoirs and up to 30% loss of water through leaky pipes is due to the fault of UK companies, not the EU.

  75. wilfulsprite
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I have, and have always had enormous respect for you as a common-sense person of integrity and true conservative values.
    However, I am saddened that you appear to be sinking into the same denial that has infected the rest of the Conservatives.
    Cameron may have publicly rejected the Fiscal Compact, but at the same time, he quietly signed up to the ‘six-pack’ EU regulations which require us to submit our budget for the scrutiny of Brussels. he has still consented to EU dicated economic guidelines, even if we are not bound to be ‘punished’ for acting outside the rules.
    The conservatives are not ‘Eurosceptic’ – anyone can see the Bruges Group MP watch list, and see that vast majority of Euro-enthusiasts are Conservatives (and Lib Dems), while Labour’s enthusiasm for EU policies, as measured by voting patterns, is far, far more muted. You can fool some of the people all of the time, etc. Euroscepticism in the Conservatives has been muted since Mrs Thatcher was crudely tossed out by her own party, and has never recovered. However much you and Better Off Out MP’s claim to wish to change the Tory party from within, this is *not* happening and you have had plenty of time to do so. This is why conservatives wish you and others like you, would leave the New Conservatives and restore a party which true Conservatives can vote for – if you do not do this, people will simply vote for UKIP, which is beginning to approach something like the Old Conservatives.
    It isn’t just about Europe, but about the Conservatives reluctance to provide any kind of opposition when Labour were in power. Almost everything that was done, however damaging, was done with the endorsement of the Conservatives.
    We need a voice, and if no-one in the Tories will provide us with a voting platform, then we will change to a party that will.
    That is the reality, and I would urge all Conservatives who today are licking their wounds and wondering what went wrong, to simply *listen to what your core voters are saying*.
    Please.

    • EJT
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      And it wasn’t really a veto – the EZ went ahead with the Agreement anyway. And the UK then bailed out the EZ by increased IMF contributions.

  76. Peter T
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I went to the polling station yesterday with every intention of voting UKIP but they were not standing. Only two parties to choose from. Conservative and Independant – so I chose Conservative.

    • JimF
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      At the next GE you will, I think, have a choice.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Peter,
      I didn’t know there was a party called ‘Independant’. Why was party so inportant to you in a local election? In my opinion it would be better if all councillors were independent and did what was right for their towns and cities rather than their parties.

  77. Ted
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Dr Redwood is right. The attempt to push a Eurosceptic agenda outside the Conservative Party is proving hopeless: excited talk about UKIP pushing the LibDems into 4th in London, winning 100 council seats etc are proving to be utterly delusional. Sadly, the attempt to push the same agenda (national and individual autonomy) within the party has been barely more successful. We got the Social Chapter anyway, our borders are hardly more secure for the Schengen opt-out, and staying out of the Euro owes more to internal Labour party politics than anything else.

    It seems that those of us who want a freer, independent, more competitive country have been catastrophically unsuccessful whether within the party or without. It may be time to accept that we haven’t got the politics wrong: we have lost the argument, or at least will never win it.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Ted,
      Stop being such a defeatist!

  78. Steven Whitfield
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Overall I would say it was a good night for Eurosceptics – As a former Conservative supporter I found myself cheering on the Labour vote – I suspect i wasn’t the only one.It’s a sad day that it has come to this but aside from John Redwood and a few others, nobody speaks for people like me anymore.

    The old adage ‘my opponents enemy is my friend’ holds true. I’d rather see another 5 years of Labour than to have to witness the smug ‘modernisers’ in the Tory party patting themselves on the back for their cleverness in copying new Labour. Far better they are discredited by a period of calm reflection in opposition that will allow a more properly Conservative party to form that would welcome John Redwood.

    I don’t know why John Redwood is so hostile to UKIP – they challenged him in his Wokingham seat and he won, thus strengthening his position. As JR knows well, sceptics are a bit thin on the ground compared to federalists so to indulge in squabbling is silly.

    It’s a bit unfair to describe UKIP as having no power – it wouldn’t take much of a swing of votes to UKIP to decimate the Conservative party.

    UKIP is seen as too much of a party of the cravat wearing elite – but if enough Mp’s like John Redwood got behind it (give it a name change too as UKIP sounds too much like a one policy party) they would broaden it’s base and give much needed publicity.

    JR moving to UKIP would be big news – If Nigel Farage has any sense at all he will offer him membership on any terms he likes including being party leader. It’s a tough decision to have to make breaking links with his old party but I hope Mr Redwood finds that bit extra fire in his belly and makes a stand.

  79. peter
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    One point I think you missed is that UKIP given their nature are almost a single issue party who have (rightly so) a great issue with Europe – As such to judge them on results in council elections is probably not a good barometer as councils are about local issues and services so I don’t see where that fits in with overseas and federal issues – I cant see the need to vote for a UKIP council because their focus has nothing to do with local politics.

    The only platforms UKIP have for their aims are Westminster MPs (they have none) and of course Euro MPs and you are right on the fact that their teeth should be sharpened against the labour, lib dem and tory federalists, not the Eurosceptic elements within those parties.

    Out of the 3 main parties probably the current and most effective mechanism of keeping government policy in check is the tory backbench 1922 committee of which you are part of and probably more influential than the opposition who would sell their grannies to get back into power.

    The point to all this is that those people dissatisfied with the coalition need to think – if labour do get back in through the backdoor in the next election we’ll probably end up going bust with Balls (Gordon Mark2) and a labour leadership that will sign any treaty that comes along.

    We need the UKIP to be fighting for all seats held by federalist MPs of any persuasion and leave the Eurosceptic elements alone – the ideal outcome would be for them to win 30 or so seats to prop up a future tory government and get it to start rescinding treaties previously signed without the consent of the people.

    We also need a government that puts its own people first and stop making a fuss over the Abu quatadas of this world (whatever his name is) – some legislation that puts UK security above the HRA is needed and use that to put anyone deemed a threat to UK security on a plane to wherever just like the French do. How much money would that save?

    Its understandable why so many are dissatisfied with a govt that can spend 100s of millions on legal aid to help defend the undefendable, give or ‘lend’ £billions to PIGIS and still scrap harriers, ships and half the armed forces and even remploy factories – talk about NEW LABOUR MARK 2.

    Those in power need to bring some common sense back into politics and do what’s right – examples like the EHCR whatever need to be just either ignored or laws/treaties overturned though the Libs would have a lot to say about that.

  80. Bert Young
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    While David Cameron remains the leader of the Conservative Party there is little hope for its future . He made a great mistake when he decided to appeal to the left of centre ground believing that the far right would keep quiet for the sake of unity and , therefore , continuity . Europe is an issue now and will remain the biggest feature in the eyes of the electorate ; UKIP have the high ground for the time being . If Cameron reverted to the right he would be seen to have failed ; his skills in judgement have never been a strong point . Cameron has to be removed and replaced by someone who represents the core value of the Conservatives – time is very short .

  81. Paul
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Another cheap shot at UKIP and no real criticism of your own party, eh John? As Nigel Farage has said, UKIP has made “good steady progress” and he’s quite right. UKIP has polled well where they’ve stood, increasing their vote by around 5% from last year to 14%. Is it a great success? No, of course it’s not, but it’s been a better night for us than for you. It’s disappointing that so many people continue to vote for Labour, but it is the Conservatives not UKIP or even the Lib Dems who need to take a good look at themselves. Many Conservative voters switched to UKIP, that is undeniable and it is clear many in the Conservative party are concerned; take the comments from Gary Streeter, or the desperate comments from the hopeless Baroness Warsi comparing UKIP to the BNP. You’re quite right John that Eurosceptics need to stop arguing amongst themselves, but who should eurosceptics side with? A liberal pro-EU Prime Minister who has never had a career or a man with real conservative principles who used to run his own business and actually wants the UK to leave the EU? No real eurosceptic would ever join your hopeless party under its current leadership. Your party does not elect true conservative leaders – they quickly got rid of IDS and didn’t come close to electing you. UKIP will continue to take votes from the Conservatives and so what if it lets Labour in. What would pro-EU Cameron actually do differently? Nothing.

    Reply: He vetoed the last Treaty for us. Labour would have signed it.

    • JimF
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Yes but we gave money to bail out the Euro anyway. Actions, not words, dear chap. Please do not become the web equivalent of Lord Haw Haw of the Conservative Party, when you are in effect fighting against your own ideas.

  82. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    What Conservative Eurosceptic MPs have never done is to clean out the Aegean stables. The parliamentary Party still contains a minority of Europhiles who punch far above their weight – e.g. Ken Clarke. Only when you get rid of them will the claim you make be 100% true. To make it happen will involve instructions from Central Office; as a precondition this will almost certainly involve a Eurosceptic in number 10.

    At the 2010 election, I computed that we would need about 400 Conservative MPs in order to get a Eurosceptic majority in the Commons. That’s a high hurdle. By 2015 we need it to be lower.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, that should read Augean stables. We can’t blame the Greeks for everything.

  83. MajorFrustration
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Stand by for the cringe making comments from Dave such as “we need to open a dialogue with the country” “we need to get our message across better” “we need to listen” same old same old. Come 2015 if not before Dave will be gone.

    • Bob
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I hear that Dave is blaming the poor result on “tough economic times”.

      Not too tough that we can’t contribute billions to India’s space program and propping up the Eurozone though eh!

  84. Tom William
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good arguments made here. I don’t buy “what we have achieved so far” as a good argument for being a Conservative. Too little, too late. Not being in the Euro is as much due to Gordon Brown as it is to John Major.

    I have always voted Conservative for fifty years, apart from when Macmillan had passed his sell by date, but I was a Referendum Party candidate in 1997 because, like many other candidates, I thought that John Major would not be stupid enough to fail to realise the damage Jimmy Goldsmith could do to the Conservative vote and would offer a referendum, which would then have meant the withdrawal of the RP from the election.

    When it was clear that Major would not budge (and I believe that you, John, tried to persuade him) we all knew we would give him a bloody nose (nearly a million votes). While canvassing I found many people, both Conservative and Labour, saying “of course I agree with you but I won’t be voting for you as your party has no chance of forming a government”.

    Fearful of the Heseltines, Gummers, Hurds and Howes etc. the Conservative Party failed to heed the warning signs. The sad loss of Jimmy Goldsmith, whom no one would have dared call a fruitcake, meant that it was easy to lampoon those of his supporters who went to UKIP. Those who didn’t do so just didn’t support anyone.

    We should have read the warning signs when Cameron’s pledge to pull out of the EPP “within days”, if he was elected leader, was postponed. Many other firm promises have also vanished into thin air. Instead we have a Conservative Prime Minister who appears at times to be trying to show he is as Lib/Dem as Clegg.

    Leaving aside the EU there is a great deal in UKIP’s policies which appeal to Conservatives, and indeed to many Labour supporters.

    Thus I agree with Tom, that the only chance of the Conservatives winning the next election is by making it crystal clear that if they do not fundamentally change many of their policies UKIP will see that they lose. Perhaps Cameron will prove as blind/arrogant as John Major. Maybe he will be gone by 2015.

    The joker in the pack is what would happen if Ed Miliband was to offer a referendum….?

    repyl: I resigned from the |Cabinet over the Euro and the need for a referendum.

  85. RB
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    “Most would agree that yesterday was an ideal day for a newer party to make a break through”

    I’m sure you dont really think that. Most of the voting this time round was in Wales and Scotland. I know you dont expect UKIP to do well in these hotbeads of labour loyalty, state dependence, and public sector largesse.

    That you use this to disabuse us of the notion that UKIP are worth voting for and that we should stay within the conservative fold is rather disingenuous, to be honest.

    And with all due respect that you STILL say that the conservatives are the party to stay in and rely on for changes in Europe is something that makes me wonder if you have been paying attention. The conservsatives will NEVER make any progress on withdrawal or stepping back from our EU arrangements. That has been made unequivocally and abundantly clear.

  86. Russ
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    “So now UKIP try to claim that the Conservatives have only been as Eurosceptic as they have because of UKIP pressure. This is complete nonsense. Conservatives were Eurosceptic in the 1990s, well before UKIP was formed. Many of us have been Eurosceptic from well before UKIP’s birth. Our electors are too, and we seek to represent them.”

    No, John, the Conservative party does not represent the majority of people that voted you in. Your party’s only nod to most of England is to preface the latest surrender to a Liberal agenda with mumblings about coalition and ‘bequeathed by Labour’.

    Whilst your party have been Eurosceptic in the past, the current leadership (which appears to have detached itself from the mood of the nation in a manner only previously achieved by Blair) is decidedly, if not willfully liberal. Cameron can’t afford to fight for the middle ground if it means abandoning his core vote. The Tories rely on a sense of Englishness for their support, they cannot expect the tribal following Labour enjoys.

    It’s simply not good enough, and I suspect that the only thing propping up your vote at the moment is the fear that if we vote for smaller parties, Labour will slink back in in the confusion. That will only last so long.

  87. Glyn H
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Just before your diary hit my phone I had drafted the following: Dear Lady Warsi, It seems you have made disparaging remarks about UKIP and compared their supporters to the BNP.

    After the war my mother was a Conservative branch secretary, 30 years ago I was a Ward Chairman and member of my local Executive when we had Conservative city and county councillors and a Tory MP, and always paid our full quota to Central Office. More recently my daughter has been a Conservative councillor in a big inner city borough. I think my credentials as a Conservative are solid. I am not a UKIP member although I have voted for them in them past.

    The present administration of which you seem to be an unelected part has been something of a disappointment. You have utterly wasted the first two years, as did Mr Blair in 1997. You have worn thin the publics acceptance of ‘austerity’ whilst utterly failing to make real cuts, indeed public expenditure has continued to increase as it did under the Brown terror as Heffer used to put it. It was utterly predictable that the public would lose faith in austerity so it had to be done hard and fast in the honeymoon period and you utterly failed to do so, the worst is yet to come whilst party popularity has already drained. And failing to understand that defence is a first priority your government allowed the Ark Royal and the Harriers to be scrapped before replacements were in place.

    Meanwhile the promise of a referendum on Europe was avoided and the whole drift of the Government is to follow daft Liberal policies whereas even Mr Clegg recently acknowledged that he was one sixth of the coalition, not even half.

    And now you have the effrontery to compare loyal British Subjects, please note, not citizens, in case the difference is lost on you, to the loud mouthed, bull necked left wing authoritarian louts who comprise the BNP. (You may know, or perhaps you did not, in view of your words, that George Orwell correctly identified in 1948 that the left were the authoritarian side of politics. And Mr Brown and Mr Balls and Mr McBride and their tribe are modern proof of the observation).

    In the past I was of the opinion that lawyers were well educated, well informed and highly intelligent. Indeed I used to live with one. However if, Madam, you cannot find something useful and constructive to say to further the Conservative cause it might be best if you kept your opinions to yourself.

    Yours faithfully

  88. Derek Emery
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I doubt if any of the the main parties will have a referendum. On the other hand the EU is incapable of delivering GDP growth that matches that in the BRICs and others. It never has and never will. They have caught up technologically and economically. Within another decade the EU will be trailing behind and very uncompetitive. The EU response to their failure is always to reduce democratic accountability and put more unelected place-holders in positions of power.
    There is no way any set of unelected bureaucrats can create an innovative competitive EU as innovation is beyond their understanding.
    I expect there will be increasing distrust throughout the EU with the increasing loss of democracy over time and the lack of wealth due to low GDP growth. Young well qualified will increasing find they can have a better life outside the EU where GDP growth is much higher and will leave.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      The BRICS have not caught up technologically or economically to Eastern Europe, let alone Western Europe. High GDP growth doesn’t equate to high salaries or high standards of living.

      Also the bureaucrats (MEPs) are elected using proportional representation.

  89. rd
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    When push comes to shove in 2015 how many UKIP votes could Cameron get by promising a referendum?

    • HW
      Posted May 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      None – because no-one will believe him again after his ‘cast-iron’ promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

  90. Vanessa
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    The “elephant in the room” of tories is that they are the party which took us into the EU project and therefore will never say it is wrong for us to be a member. The party will never be euro-sceptic but does have a few eurosceptic MPs who love to make a noise – it means nothing.
    David Cameron is certainly NOT eurosceptic, he has signed us up to more EU legislation than the Labour government before him. Example – European Investigation Order, we could have had an opt-out but, no, he could not wait to sign up.
    The country certainly is fed up with the EU that is why there was a jump when Cameron “vetoed” the ghost Treaty.
    The other reason why people are not fully aware of how awful the EU is, is because no government tells us which laws originate from the EU.
    The hike to 60p first class post is indirectly down to EU Directives on competition.
    The increase in surveillance and looking at emails and phone calls is down to the EU Directives.
    The VAT on hot pies is down to the EU Directives.
    The increase in energy prices is down to EU policy on global warming and carbon trade.
    The EU is taking control of our water – hence there is not enough for us.
    HS2 is directly down to the EU – Maastrich Treaty on harmonisation of transport.
    I could go ON and ON and ON. At least UKIP tells us the truth.

  91. Tad Davison
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be succinct. UKIP says all the things the Tories ought to be saying. If the Tories adopted the same policies, they’d sweep all before them, but they’re not, and they clearly aren’t.

    There just has to be another reason why no mainstream party wants to cater for the greater majority of public opinion. If a party really wants to get elected, that is what they must do. Easy really.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  92. Damien
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    John as ever your points are well made however having read 113 comments (17:26) I see that many of them see things quite differently.

    Protest votes for UKIP are not necessarily about a ‘breakthrough’ but rather about ‘sending a message’. Some feel that even with the large eurosceptic number of MP’s they are unable to influence policy on europe. The cabinet is europhile.

    Conservatives can ignore that 15% voted for UKIP but I certainly think that the EU will be joining the dots of this result and similar results around the EU.

    It would be useful to see how the coalition respond to these results and hopefully eurosceptics have a bigger representation in cabinet.

  93. Barbara Stevens
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Whatever you think John, UKIP have increased their overall vote, taking from the Conservative vote and Lib Dems, the failure of your party to listen to what the electorate want is showing. UKIP have never thought it would make great inroads, but its success in recent times shows its damaging the Conservatives. At the moment I’m watching the TV and Ken is chasing Boris very closely, and Boris may lose. I hope Boris wins but its going to be close. What does that tell you?
    As for the local elections that’s what they are local. Cameron will need great changes to make inroads with the public. He’s not doing what they have cried out for. Referendum on the EU, immigration, done some things but not gone far enough. We just do not believe what you tell us, for after a bit it all unravels and nothings been done.
    We now hear there’s secret meetings, Britian not included, to make the EU the United States of Europe, with one leader either the wet rag or Barroso. Cameron as done nothing to stop this onslaught, and that’s why you’re losing seats, its a warning shot across the bough. If you don’t change UKIP will gain at your expense, for they are your potential voters that are bleeding support. I hope Cameron does what’s expected of him, if not get rid of him before it’s to late. If not you’ll lose the next election, full stop.

    Reply: The main story of yesterday is the large swing from Conservative to Labour, and that is what will most worry the Conservative High Command.

    • Norman
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 1:48 am | Permalink

      more proof of how completely deluded they are, not that any more is needed. there was no swing. Tories either stayed at home or protest voted

  94. matthew
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Ukip are viewed as a bit oddball
    They have no chance of getting just one MP

    Look at the sdp experiment
    It doesnt matter how brilliant you are or fantastic your policies are if the experiment doesnt work then forget it

    100% behind what youre trying to do

  95. harry
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    You will find UKIP`s policy on England besides it`s eurosceptism that has gained it votes,labour tried to eliminate everything English and the tories are just ignoring the English calls for recognition.

  96. Bazman
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    UKIP is a bit like Scottish nationalism, put the country right standing alone against the world after a lot to drink in the pub, but when it comes to reality and the ballot box everyone sobers up. They in fact do make some good points I have noted, but are you going to let a one issue party of often unstable people be in charge of important things like street lights and dog crap? The question has been answered and UKIP and their sympathisers do not like the reply. How far would a fanatical right get? Not far for sure and what do the anti democratic forces do to rectify this to make us ‘understand’ how much better we would be without a welfare state, health system and minimum wage and working conditions? Ram it. UKIP have been.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      I found an interesting story about a former Conservative Councillor who joined UKIP and claimed that the unemployed shouldn’t be allowed to vote, while the rich should get more votes because they pay more taxes. It seems UKIP is going very far to the right.

    • Posted May 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      The ones (with distorted vision-ed) are chaps like you who imagine it is modern to advocate a “me-to” third way socialism as Tory. Down the Pub most punters are realizing their country, England, is being erased by toff weaklings. It took a woman to restore this nations backbone; this time it will take those brave enough to join UKIP! Wake up.

  97. Bazman
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Local election in my small area was won by an independent. 890. Con 288 Lab 85 UKIP 84 Lib Dems 53. He is a local man who put in a lot of work personally, the boring stuff like plodding the streets knocking on doors, not that posh around here either, and writing and paying for his own flyers. The Tories where expected to retain their seat. Good work from a local resident who lives a few streets away and not a fan of Tory ideology he said on my doorstep. Got my vote.

  98. AJAX
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I suggest you turn your consideration to the appaling record of the Tory Party of selling England into the Euro Union over the last 4 decades Johnny, instead of clumsy attempts to smother UKIP in its infancy every chance you get.

    We’re not going away, we’re out here in increasing numbers, & we don’t buy into the stagnant political paradigm anymore that you’re apparently quite content to occupy a comfortable place within.

    & We haven’t forgotten the lessons of the Rotten Parliament either & what it revealed about the political class.

  99. Monty
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    If you try to fight the next general election with Cameron and Osborne at the helm, you will lose.

  100. rose
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I do think a lot more could have been done by Lady Warsi and others to overturn the propaganda on the government being incompetent. What was so incompetent about seeing off a fuel strike over Easter?

  101. Bob
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    You said you would sign the Peoples Pledge before, but you name is not on the MPs list yet.

    Do you intend to sign it?

    Reply: I said I am happy to do so. I have not done so as far as I am concerned saying I support it means I support it, and I have not found time to go on and negotiate it to restate the obvious that I support a referendum and have voted for one! They can add my name anytime with my permission.

    • Bob
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Redwood,

      The sign up page is here: http://www.peoplespledge.org/

      All you need to do is put your name, email address, post code and door number and click “Sign the pledge”. It’s easy, and shouldn’t take any more than about 45 seconds, depending on your typing speed.

    • Paul
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Why are you not part of the Better Off Out group? Do you not want Britain out of the EU? If it’s about a possible position in Cameron’s cabinet don’t hold your breath, you’re a conservative.

    • Jon burgess
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Anyone else think that’s an odd response?

  102. Francis King
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood: “I have always argued that the only way to get the UK out of the current dangerous embrace of the EU’s political union is to stay within the Conservative party and to argue from inside.”

    You might be able to do this, but the average person cannot. When you join a ‘modern’ political party, the party takes the membership fee (Ta!), and then assumes that you welcome stuffing envelopes and being lectured at.

    If on the other hand you are not a member of a party, they have to earn your vote, and you are no longer taken for granted.

    This is a perverse situation.

    Isn’t that why parties these days are more interested in big donors? Big donors are needed to make up for losing their party membership.

  103. Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m no supporter of UKIP, but I have to agree with your first commenter that mass immigration is a bigger and bigger issue, and may even overtake the economy on the next general election. UKIP certainly split the centre-right vote, and I would like to see an analysis of the areas where they came second or even a close third. As the Conservative or any other party does in this situation, these are the areas they will pour resources in next time.

  104. Bob
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Tory Tunbridge Wells leader Bob Atwood loses seat to UKIP

    Their respective reactions:

    Bob Atwood (Tory)
    “I think UKIP have a national agenda, which is almost xenophobic, and has nothing to do with Tunbridge Wells and the way the council is being run.”

    Piers Wauchope (UKIP)
    “All I want to say about Bob Atwood is that he is a good man and a good local councillor but the people in Rusthall were reluctant to vote Conservative, as they did in the past, because of the policies of the government rather than what Bob Atwood did or didn’t do.”

    • Norman
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      but the shrill voices are ukip, not this chap or warsi

  105. RP
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Labour in government believed in high tax and high spending.
    Conservatives and Lib Dems in government believe in higher taxes and higher spending as you keep pointing out.

    For me Europe is not the issue – who is there to vote for if you want lower taxes and lower spending?

    I voted Conservative at the last four general elections but Cameron, Osborne and Hunt ensure I won’t be voting Conservative again.

  106. crispy
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    “I have always argued that the only way to get the UK out of the current dangerous embrace of the EU’s political union is to stay within the Conservative party and to argue from inside.” Simple question: If that is such a good argument for staying with the Conservatives why is exactly the same principle not good for staying within Europe again “to argue from inside”?

  107. BobE
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Vote UKIP there is no other way

    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      People keep asking, what can the PM learn from Boris?

      I would say, to be himself, and not be intimidated by the class bigots. Most people aren’t bigots, whatever the Guardian/BBC axis says to unnerve him.

  108. uanime5
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    For those wondering why the Conservatives are following Lib Dem and Labour policies, rather than UKIP policies the reason is simple; they want to remain in power. The Conservatives need to get more MPs from the north of England, Scotland, and Wales to get a majority in Parliament so they need policies that will appeal to these people. Copying the policies of parties that get elected in these areas, rather than those that don’t, is the simplest way to get more support.

  109. Boudicca
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    UKIP achieved 14% of the vote – across the country. That is a significant achievement and although the FPTP system prevented us winning many extra councillors, we are now second in a great many seats. That is the basis on which to build.

    The CONservative Party is not EU-sceptic. Yes it has a few MPs who have a brain and can see that the EU is doing us immense harm, but the Party Elite are totally wedded to the idea of the EU and will do nothing to take us out.

    Why on earth should we celebrate Major getting an opt-out from the Euro when he had the opportunity to completely scupper the Maastrict Treaty which led to its creation? We are now being sent the bill for the EU’s arrogance and incompetence for creating a single-currency that was flawed from the outset and Osborne is paying up. What madness is that!

    I will only consider returning to the Conservative Party when the pro-EU dinosaurs are ousted: Heseltine, Clarke, Hurd, Howe, Patten, Brittan, Major, Cameron and the rest. I’m not voting Tory for fear of Labour. I’m voting for what I want. A Sovereign, independent, self-governing UK. And the only party which is offering that is UKIP.

    Reply: U<IP polled nothing like 14% overall. In Wokingham it came fifth behind Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Green in that order.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I think you will find that, had we vetoed Maastricht, Germany, France and others would have gone ahead on their own, creating a two ring Europe. With the benefit of hindsight, that would have been the right thing to do.

  110. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I will be voting UKIP for the first time. I am not at all happy the way the Tories are going far to leftie for me. They are not doing what they promised.

  111. Freeborn John
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives could not win a majority against Gordon Brown with UKiP getting 3% of the vote. This article’s most obvious error is to ignore that FPTP puts a higher threshold than UKIPs current support base on representation in parliament. But you are living in La-la land if you think the Conservatives can ever win a majority under that same system with UKIP polling 13% in council wards where they put up a candidate. 

    The other error in your article is to suggest that voting for the Conservatives would get us another John Redwood ally. It is far more likely to return more lobby fodder who would obey orders from Cameron and Clegg to vote for more EU integration.

    Cameron is in any case nakedly looking forwarding to another coalition with the federalist liberals even should he win a majority. He can have only one reason to do that, i.e. to avoid having to depend on the votes of MPs such as yourself. Given this fact i am sure that 13% of the electorate at least are smart enough to realise that the only way forward is to get rid of Cameron. And  best way to do that (unless Tory MPs do it themsleves) is to ensure a crushing defeat for the Tories in 2015; not by voting labour (for whom a vote would be misconstrued even if it makes little difference in policy terms), nor for the liberal allies of Cameron, but instead for the only choice (UKIP) which sends an unambiguous signal of why the Conservatives are perenial losers.

    Your party has to wake up the post-masstricht reality that you will never win another election as federalist fellow-travellers. One would have thought 20 years of failure would have been enough for the penny to drop … but it seems like we have to show you once again in 2015.

    Reply: Electoral arithmetic is more complex than you suggest. In the local election seat where UKIP got their highest share near me, the Conservative vote share also rose, and the Conservative majority increased substantially, as the Lib dems fell. The seat under more pressure was from a surge in Green votes.

  112. Tim R
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    John

    I decided not to vote Tory again in Parliamentary elections whereas I have always done so and restricted UKIP to Europeans and local elections.

    When the vote came up last year on a referendum, my Tory MP, just trotted out the Cameron and co party line and disdained his own natural electorate. I just felt what’s the point in voting Tory if doing so my representative missed the boat by a mile on such a straight up and straight down motion.

    I recognise that transferring to UKIP may well damage the Tories and let in a worse crew but frankly, I’m beyond voting for the least worst option. I want a party and a representative I agree with (at least on the big issues). If you don’t vote the way you feel and instead calculate shades of grey all the time, then nothing ever changes. Unfortunately the Tories have lost my support and vote
    Sorry.

  113. Rob
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Sadly I don’t think that UKIP can make a breakthrough. A pity because I don’t really have anywhere to go with David Cameron and his liberal chums, Osbourne, Warsi, and co leading the party down a liberal, big spending path. Shame for true Tories like yourself that UKIP will never be able to wake the Tory leadership up from its liberal complacency.

    • APL
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Rob: “David Cameron and his liberal chums, Osbourne, Warsi, and co leading the party down a liberal, big spending path.”

      Well, that can’t go on for much longer, ten years, less if the EU or the USA or Chinese economy collapses first.

  114. Ieuan
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Just to add to the previous comment, I think that the Cameron variant of modernization has been particularly damaging. His emphasis on the environment, gay rights and lords reform, only appeal to a small section of the population in suburban constituencies who probably wouldn’t dream of voting Conservative. Yet on the other hand, this approach has alienated millions of traditional Tory voters, many of whom will now either vote for UKIP, or not at all. More to the point, it’s stunting Conservative efforts to win over working class voters, who might have voted for Thatcher in the 1980’s. These voters are much more interested in bread and butter issues such as the economy, crime and immigration. A government that delivered tough, no-nonsense policies on these (such as the Thatcher Government), could win them over. But the trouble is, even if the Conservatives were in a majority, I doubt we would see these policies from Cameron, whom I believe is genuinely committed to pushing the Tories into becoming a blue version of the Liberal-Democrats. In doing so, I believe he has permanently destroyed the Conservative Party’s electability.

  115. Spinflight
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Personally I think JR, Hannan and Guido are deluding themselves.

    Unite the right to oppose federalist parties? With respect to the individuals involved that might have been appealing a decade or more ago but not now. No-one really cares what the senior Tom thinks ( the longest serving private in a unit) so whilst your ‘achievements’ are laudable you have been woefully ineffective.

    I was once a conservative party activist. Since joining UKIP I’ve had nothing but brickbats and insults thrown my way by an increasingly arrogant and out of touch party whose briefing notes on dealing with questions about UKIP clearly include mentioning the BNP in the same breath and insinuation racism.

    John if I were in your constituency I would not vote for you. Not for any fault on your part, it is your party which is at fault and even if they promised the moon in a legally binding way I still would not vote for them.

    You see the 68% of people who didn’t vote in pointless local elections don’t want career politicians, most of whom appear to have no concept of working for a living. The political class from which all three main parties draw their personnel are despised. Hated. A noisy irrelevance.

    Personally I am amazed that UKIP polled 15% in the seats they contested. That they contested so few tells you a great deal about the relevance of the elections themselves.

    What would 15% do to the conservative party at the next general election? In 1900 Labour polled 3% of the vote. By 1918 that was up to 8% and in 1923 they formed a weak government with 31%.

    UKIP is only heading in one direction, the conservatives clearly heading in another.

    Worryingly CHQ,in between upsetting their large donors, seem to think the UKIP vote is theirs for the taking. A quick about turn, a promise here and there will bring them back into the fold. I think you are deluded if you think they are correct. I personally would welcome the utter destruction of the conservative party no less so than that of Labour. As we all know the ability to destroy something is the absolute definition of power.

    So who cares what the senior Tom thinks, particularly the one on the other side of no man’s land.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      UKIP was founded in 1993 so if they followed Labour’s example by the 2010 election they should have polled 8% and by 2015 they should be forming a minority government. However they only got 3.1% in the 2010 election and currently have no chance of forming a minority government in 2015.

      • HW
        Posted May 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Labour had the support and financial backing of the Unions. If UKIP had the same level of support and financial backing, they would probably be in the same position.

        • sjb
          Posted May 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          Stuart Wheeler donated £5m of his £90m+ fortune to the Conservative Party in 2001. He fell out with the Tories over the Lisbon Treaty and gave £100k to UKIP. Last year he became UKIP’s treasurer. I think years back there was another multimillionaire supporter (Yorkshireman?).

          I found it surprising UKIP did not field more candidates in the recent elections, so perhaps the problem in some wards was finding ten electors to sign the candidate’s nomination papers. If not, I would be interested to know the reason(s).

          Reply: They usually only fight in good Conservative areas for the reasons their reps here have set out. In Wokingham constituency in the Borough seats they fought they polled fewer votes than in 2008 when these seats were last fought. Contrary to their theory, I do hold my Eurosceptic views for fear of UKIP, so they need not worry. I am not about to become less Eurosceptic because their vote fell.

  116. Terry
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I believe you have the “mission” of UKIP, completely wrong.
    Their aim is to create such a swell against the pro European Tory MPs that they have to change their policies. They do not expect to eventually have to run the country. They are there to force change.

    John Redwood, you cannot accept that the present incumbents of Downing Street are from the old, True Blue, Tory party, can you? Cameron started his own downfall when he reneged on the Lisbon Treat Referendum. It was accepted that the result would have not affected the actual outcome, thanks to moron Brown’s hand in it but it would have shown the EU exactly where our country stood. That betrayal exposed the left hand tenancies of Cameron and aligned himself more to Blair that to Mrs T.

    Whatever his strategy is now, it isn’t working and our country is crying out for proper Tory Leadership. But that is falling upon deaf ears because they are all dumb in Downing Street.
    So it is down to YOU and your fellow Tory MP’s, John, to read the riot act to Cameron and tell him to buck up or ship out, else you will do a ‘Geoffrey Howe’ on him and put him out of the Street. Rather ignominiously, too.

    Come to think of it, why don’t you have a mini-referendum in Wokingham amongst the Conservative Association? Ask them what they want from their Tory Prime Minister, then send Cameron the results.

    Reply: I did take a vote of all interested Conservative members in the leadership before the final ballot for the leadership in 2005. The membership at the meeting to decide it voted by a large majority for David Cameron. I had been voting for Liam Fox, but agreed to vote for Mr C in the final ballot. None of the members have sent me messages to say they have changed their minds on this matter. The few who had gone off to be in UKIP did not of course participate.

    • Spinflight
      Posted May 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      The mission of UKIP is to win power through the ballot box. The same as any other political party.

      I know that Tories hope and pray that we aren’t serious, it is however a forlorn hope. We are not your friends, we are not your allies, our mission is to crush you.

      I hope that makes it simple enough.

    • Terry
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Re my May 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm and your subsequent reply.

      That explains, very clearly, why you remain as MP for Wokingham. You actually take note of your members.
      I might explain that I am not a member of any party but would favour the True Blue Tory party, if the Country was lucky enough to have one, again.

  117. David Langley
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I was a bystander with no election vote, living in Macclesfield I had no council up for reelection, no referendum for a mayor or a vote for a mayor.
    All I had was tons of media comment and the results were apathy again.
    Perhaps my voice becomes shrill, but I prefer to think of it as desperate.
    What evidence is there that the Conservative Eurosceptics will sway the cabinet to adopt a vote for repealing the 1972 European Communities Act and subsequent amendments?
    I will be on the street campaigning for UKIP and their sensible policies. Its not fair to ask a man to be made redundant and then give his wages via the government to India, Eu etc. What kind of sense is that?

  118. Posted May 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Two years ago I would have made the same argument you are making, or one very similar to it. Indeed I did on my blog arguing that the defeat of Gordon Brown was the top priority and we could sort the rest out later. ( One reader even took the trouble to phone me up to thank me for helping him not to defect to UKIP. )

    Well now I have a UKIP party card rather than a Conservative one, so I have some explaining to do.

    The answer is hinted at in your argument – all Eurosceptics in the Conservative party have been able to do is delay and stall a few measures. The direction of travel is constant, with pauses for the occasional obstruction. If there’s something the EU really wants it will just wait for Labour to be in office to hand it over ( see Social Chapter for details ). The law and treaties mean nothing to Brussels – so guarantees and laws requiring referendum before powers are transferred are worthless.

    In addition social liberalism is just an anathema to many of us who were in the Conservative party. It now doesn’t matter who you vote for of the main parties you get The Equality Act and the destruction of marriage whom ever you vote for. I cancelled my party standing order when I heard David Cameron bully that hall ( mostly of paid lobbyists as party conference is these days ) into supporting the end of marriage and the replacement with his friends idea of what it should be.

    UKIP need to sharpen up and improve greatly. But with today’s Conservative party the war is already lost. I prefer to fight without near hope with the partisans than the Vichy defeatists who have already surrendered in their hearts.

    Nothing would please me more than for UKIP and the Conservative party to get back together, but that means a direction of travel out of the EU and I just don’t believe the Conservative party can deliver.

    Its a great shame – but if we don’t start we will surely never finish. All is lost with the Conservatives anyway.

  119. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Looks like this blog has set two records.

    First, 247 comments (as I write) is surely the biggest response by quite a margin.

    Second, for the first time ever I did not bother to read it as I knew from the title there would be nothing new or interesting.

  120. Gwyn Jones
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I agree with many of your political views John as I do with David Davis and that is why I joined Ukip. The truth of the matter is that David Cameron treats you with the same contempt that he treats the rest of us.

  121. dave roderick
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Last week our Prime Minister and his Deputy, Cameron and Clegg, confirmed that the House of Commons has little say in the running of this country.

    You will recall that our democratically elected MPs had debated how much extra of our hard-earned money we tax-payers were to give to the European Union. Cameron and Clegg wanted to give the EU any increase that it asked for (no matter how much suffering this inflicted on the British people).
    To their credit, our MPs actually voted not to give the European Union all the money it demanded.
    However, Cameron and Clegg then stated that the MPs democratic vote did not matter because the other countries in the EU demanded our money!

    We already knew from a report by the Bundesverfassungsgericht (the German Constitutional Court) that approximately 80% of our laws and regulations now come from the European Union.

    Now it is confirmed (in speeches by Cameron and Clegg) that the Houses of Parliament do not decide where British tax-payers money is spent for that is decided in other countries by people we do not elect.

    This is a clear case of “Taxation without representation”.

    This is in direct contravention of Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights (The Senior Laws of our land) and is therefor illegal. In contravening these very important treaties Cameron and Clegg are commiting Treason and any official who knows of this treason and fails to do anything to stop it commits the serious crime of “Missprision of Treason”.

  122. dave roderick
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    you made a comment that ukip were a bit iffy
    let me remind you that the combination of lib lab cons are a considerable worse bunch see below

    I don’t believe it !!!!! – I do believe it!
    635 Employees
    Unbelievable but true, and probably worse in the USA or even Australia??
    Thought you might find this interesting ……

    Unbelievable!!!!!

    I bet this will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

    Can you imagine working for a company that only has a little more than 635 employees, but has the following Employee Statistics.

    29 have been accused of spouse abuse,
    7 have been arrested for fraud,
    9 have been accused of writing bad cheques,
    17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses,
    3 have done time for assault,
    71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit,
    14 have been arrested on drug-related charges,
    8 have been arrested for shoplifting,
    21 are currently defendants in lawsuits,
    84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year,

    And collectively, this year alone, they have cost the British tax payer £92,993,748 in expenses!

    Which organisation is this?

    It’s the 635 members of the House of Commons.

    The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

    What a bunch of crooks we have running our country – it says it all…

    And just to top all that they probably have the best ‘corporate’ pension scheme in the country – whilst trying to ensure that everyone else has the worst possible!

    If you agree that this is an appalling state of affairs, please pass it on to everyone you know .

    Reply: I wonder how reliable your figures are. There 650 MPs for starters, not 635.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. 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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