The current death spiral of the Tory party, fast draining members, support and morale under the inspired leadership of "Agent Cameron", has led once again to talk of some kind of electoral pact with UKIP.
Many would say that the growth of UKIP and the eclipse of the Tory Party amounts to a major split on the right of British politics in the same way that Labour and Liberals split in the early 20th Century. Just as that split ushered in a Tory dominated century, this split would ensure the domination of the Left in British Politics for the foreseeable future. By this analysis how to deal with the 'Tory question' is the most important strategic issue UKIP faces.
However, there are reasons to be extremely cautious of a pact with the Tories for the following reasons.
- UKIP is developing its own unique identity and, if it is to have any hope of power, must look to appeal to voters beyond the Tory base. For example, Many UKIP policies appeal to people who would consider themselves 'Old Labour' types. Many such people would never dream of voting Tory for atavistic tribal reasons of class prejudice, and will not support UKIP if it is seen as being tainted by association and just a Tory mini-me. UKIP's position in Northern England and Wales, where we may shortly overtake the Tories in popular support, would be particularly damaged.
But it's not really about "stealing" votes from other parties: the biggest prize in British politics is to appeal to the huge percentage of the population who no longer vote or never have done, utterly alienated from the political process. The LibLabCon are rightly seen as part of an inward-looking Metropolitan clique totally out of touch with the average person. There is a huge opportunity for a party that continues to stand resolutely outside the tired old politics that have clearly failed the country.
- The Vision Thing. UKIP has a clear, unique and progressive vision for this country which chimes with the instincts of the British people. The eternally myopic Tory Party does not and never will have. The lack of a coherent alternative vision over the last 20 years has allowed the PC Left to dominate the debate and advance their interests almost without opposition, particularly in matters of culture. Irrespective of whether we ever hold formal power, it is vital our vision and message is clearly propagated to the British people as a viable alternative to our current wretched condition. On no account must that be diluted or subsumed.
- A huge realignment of British Politics may be coming. The rapid decline of the Tory Party may be followed by collapse of the Labour Party, many of whose suporters only continue to vote Labour out of hatred of the Tories. At that point the whole situation will be in flux and UKIP must have maximum mobility and freedom of action to exploit the situation.
- Although the Tory Party contains many decent people, historically it has always been dominated by a ruthless and careerist elite who believe in power at any price. A pact with such people is likely to end in tears and bitter betrayal.
- Many UKIP activists would feel uncomfortable being in a pact with a party whose leadership has repeatedly smeared us as racist.