Yet again Dan Hannan has been calling on the Tory Party to come to some rapprochement with UKIP. Following on from his earlier blogpost calling for some kind of merger, he now suggests an unspecified form of 'pact'. Spooked like most Tories by UKIP's rise, his thesis is that unless the eurosceptic vote is united, the Europhiles will remain in the ascendant.
Well, the first thing to say about that is that in the days when the eurosceptic vote was more or less united within the Tory Party it didn't seem to advance our cause very much.
Been there and bought the T-shirt, thank you very much.
However, a much more significant point is that it shows how little commentator's of point left and right really understand what the rise of UKIP demonstrates: still stuck in the days when UKIP was more or less a single issue pressure group, they remain resolutely behind the curve in understanding that UKIP are emerging as a fully-fledged broadly libertarian party which is attracting people - particularly young Libertarian's - for positive reasons.
What is going on is the full de-merging of the classical Liberal and Tory wings of the Conservative Party. Are not UKIP the modern-day incarnation of the Whigs? Radical, committed, fractious, visionary and courageous. And are not the Tories...well, the Tories: pragmatic, cynical, cowardly, defeatist, myopic and elitist.
For UKIP to accept any kind of merger with the Tories would be akin to a puny kid who through sheer guts and determination trains himself up to be a professional athlete, only to then think it a good idea to inject cancer cells into his own bloodstream. For the cynicism of Toryism corrupts everything it comes into contact with: time and again we see the careers of good and principled men and women in the Conservative Party being brought down by those who believe in power at any price.
If you want to see what would happen to UKIP in a merged UKIP / Tory party, then you need to look no further than Mr. Hannan's own career. A well-meaning idealist who constantly deludes himself and his readers with his belief in a better Tory tomorrow, he has been left with egg all over his face time and again, most notably perhaps when he assured us that Ol' Cast Iron was working hard for a veto on the Lisbon Treaty. His more worldly comrade-in-arms, Douglas Carswell, is plainly now very disillusioned, likening Cameron to Heath.
The strange thing about both Hannan and Carswell is that both men are well-read with a strong grasp of political history, and yet they remain in denial about the true nature of the party they belong to, deluding themselves that there is something called the 'Tory soul' that can, presumably, be reclaimed.
But there is no such thing as the Tory soul, and never has been. As Boris Johnson (amongst many others) once correctly observed, the party exists purely for the pursuit of power. A correct reading of history shows that for the most part the Conservative Party only does the right thing, or for that matter the wrong thing, out of fear of losing power to others. It therefore makes far more sense for UKIP to bully the Tory party from the outside rather than be suffocated by it's cold and cynical embrace from within.
Sunday, 29 April 2012
Sorry, Dan, but we are no longer interested