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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Persuasion

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/28/2007 08:32:00 pm

Matt Sinclair has weighed into the debate around the Tories.
Parties are coalitions of people with broadly similar approaches to politics. The actual challenge for someone with a view outside the political mainstream (the position we share on climate change is another example) is, in the end, to find the party whose approach to politics is most compatible with their own and then try to convince them of the merits of their position.

Correct. I have found a party whose approach to politics is most compatible with my own as a minarchist libertarian, and that party happens to be UKIP.
Once that party is convinced it can attempt to seek a parliamentary majority on that basis. If you do not like the leadership's position on the European Union then convince the membership and, at the next leadership election, you can get the kind of leaders you want.

Yup, which is what I am doing. Where I disagree with UKIP, I can communicate with the leadership and the research groups directly and try to convince them that I am right. On a number of occasions, I have done so: it's one of the advantages of being in a small party.
As such, the only reason to leave the Conservative party is if you think its members aren't those who will be easiest to convince of your position (they're easily the most Eurosceptic portion of the population so that seems unlikely) or if you think your cause is hopeless but would rather be screaming at the wind than be dirtied by the compromise of contact with the Conservatives. If you can't convince the Conservative membership you're never going to be able to convince the public at large and the problem is in the case rather than the party.

And blah...
Every time a Eurosceptic leaves the Tories and joins the UKIP they remove themselves from the debate within the Conservative party. They replace their voice and vote with a threat...

The vast majority of UKIP's members are older people, a vast number of whole have been Conservative members or voters for most of their lives. That they have left to join UKIP would suggest to me that these people have realised that a party as large (and well-funded) as the Tories does not have to listen to its members and, indeed, that these people have become sick of shouting themselves hoarse and getting nowhere.

And no wonder: you've all read the media. On the road-pricing issue (very emotive) how many newspapers have mentioned the EU's involvement?

In the great ID Card and NIR debate, how many people in the mainstream media have mentioned the EU's involvement?

What is the point in trying to make yourself heard when both the mainstream media and political classes refuse to talk about the root problem, eh?
...to hurt Conservative election prospects...

Oh, get over yourself, for fuck's sake! Do you really think that people who vote UKIP do so to hurt the Conservatives? Don't be such a solipsistic prick, seriously. You'll be telling me that everyone who votes Labour or Lib Dem are just doing so to spite the Conservatives next: it's pa-the-tic.

People vote for UKIP because they want UKIP to win, you daft bastard.
... but there is no evidence that this is a threat which the party responds to in the way UKIP would like.

Well, boo-fucking-hoo! In that case, the membership of the main parties will continue to fall and membership of UKIP (and others) will continue to rise. And the number of people who do not vote at all (currently about 40% of the eligible population, I believe) will continue to rise.
Instead it creates a defensiveness that may be what came across to DK, in Oliver Letwin's speech, as arrogance.

No, what Letwin came across with was arrogance; if his reasons for remaining within the EU are so fucking brilliant, then we did he not lay some of them out? He answered all the other questions are tediously inordinate length, for crying out loud.

The trouble is with Matt is that he acts as though the EU is the only area in which I differ from the Tories and that this assumption is wrong should, by now, be very fucking clear. I said that the Tories' attitude to the EU was a sticking point: however, given that they have shown no sign of even offering a referendum, there are, as it happens, a whole bunch of other policies on which I disagree with them too.

Besides, since the Tories' rhetoric has never matched their actions in regard to the EU—"we're EUsceptic!" they cry, whilst prancing around with a multi-fucking-million quid fountain pen with which they have signed away yet more of our sodding sovereignty (e.g. Maastricht)—I would have to see Cameron sign the agreement in his own childrens' blood before I really believed that they were even actually going to hold a referendum, the cunts.


Were the EU the only area in which I differed from Conservative policy, well, maybe I'd try Matt's approach, but it isn't. Here are a few areas in which I disagree with the Tories (as far as we know what their policies are) and agree with UKIP.
  1. We should leave the EU,

  2. The idea that humanity's activities are having any significant effect on climate change is crap,

  3. Although climate change is happening, the best way to adapt is not to make everyone poorer through taxation,

  4. The taxpayer should not fund political parties,

  5. Schools should be privatised and funded through a voucher scheme,

  6. We should have a Flat Tax system,

  7. We should acknowledge that NI is simply another income tax and incorporate it into a Flat Income Tax,

  8. The Personal Tax Allowance should be raised far above its current rate,

  9. We should have a smaller government,

  10. Corporation Tax should be substantially lower,

  11. Capital Gains Tax should be abolished,

  12. Inheritance Tax should be abolished,

  13. Prison works and we should build more of them,

  14. What I do in my time is my own and the government should not be allowed to dictate what I do with it (Working time Directive, for instance),

  15. And a few things that are conditional on point 1, because we no longer control these areas:

    • We should trade freely with the rest of the world,

    • We should control who comes into our country (if only to stop convicted criminals),

    • We should replace VAT with a local sales tax.

And that's off the top of my head and not thinking about it particularly hard.

Now, I have decided (at this stage in my young life) that it is far easier to work to make electable a small party the majority of whose policies I agree with (and, occasionally, help shape), rather than to attempt to swing a large party (which seems to believe that it has a god-given right to govern) to my thinking on all of these fucking points.

Now, I don't understand: why is this such a hard concept to grasp for some people?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/28/2007 08:32:00 pm


15 Blogger Comments:

Blogger Matthew Sinclair said...

"...to hurt Conservative election prospects...

Oh, get over yourself, for fuck's sake! Do you really think that people who vote UKIP do so to hurt the Conservatives? Don't be such a solipsistic prick."

You've taken that a little out of context. My point was that the UKIP strategy has to function by threatening the Tory vote; that's hardly contentious and I've heard it from plenty of UKIPers.

I don't think the rest of your post really undermines my conclusions. For almost all of your priorities you'll struggle to amass the votes for a parliamentary majority without the support of Conservatives. If you think you can't convince them you're screwed; if you can why not change the Conservative party?

Even if just through leadership elections the membership can affect the leadership.

3/01/2007 12:56:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

I don't think the rest of your post really undermines my conclusions. For almost all of your priorities you'll struggle to amass the votes for a parliamentary majority without the support of Conservatives. If you think you can't convince them you're screwed; if you can why not change the Conservative party?

Why is this so difficult to grasp, Matt; I'm really trying hard to explain this simply but it just doesn't seem to be getting through.

Let us imagine that I am thinking in terms of many years here, OK?

Do I think that bringing the Tories around to my point of view will take more time and effort than making UKIP a powerful party? Yes, I do.

Also -- damn it! -- I have fucking principles. Why the hell should I help a bunch of people get into power when I don't agree with their fucking politics?

UKIP may not do anything in the next GE but at least I will know that I voted with my conscience and not with convenience.

DK

3/01/2007 01:02:00 am  
Blogger Matthew Sinclair said...

Why do you think "bringing the Tories around to my point of view will take more time and effort than making UKIP a powerful party"? That's the answer I'm looking for.

Particularly given the fact, which I'm glad you haven't disputed, that Tories are the most eurosceptic significant section of the electorate. Convincing others to join the UKIP is more difficult, surely, because it involves convincing people less Eurosceptic (other people) than conservatives.

If standing by your principles like this leads to a government which is further from your principles doesn't that imply that you've allowed the moral satisfaction of avoiding compromise to overwhelm the objective of getting the best possible government (from the point of view of your principles. Isn't that self-indulgent rather than principled?

3/01/2007 02:29:00 am  
Blogger Bretters said...

Matt, I'm with DK here. As a life-long Tory voter I have reluctantly looked at what I am being asked to vote for next time and it no longer represents what I have always thought the Conservatives stood for. What I can't understand is why Cameroon et al think that the list which DK has produced would scare any voter away. If they published that as a firm manifesto tomorrow I truly believe they would win a landslide at the next election. I have no animosity towards the tory party per se but I cannot vote for them in their current form. If a sufficient number of people think as I do, and this leads to another Labour government, then perhaps the Conservatives will come to realise their error. Why can't they take the opportunity now to sieze the initiative?

3/01/2007 09:37:00 am  
Anonymous knirirr said...

I'm not at all convinced (yet) that you're correct on point 2., but that's presumably because like all we dastardly scientists I'd say anything to get a research grant. Spot on with point 3, though.
I am considering joining UKIP, but I'm still waiting to see if the local branch are, or can be convinced to be, sufficiently libertarian.

3/01/2007 09:52:00 am  
Blogger The Nameless One said...

I'm probably going to do a post on Matt's musings later but for the time being I would point out this comment neatly sums up where I stand:

Also -- damn it! -- I have fucking principles. Why the hell should I help a bunch of people get into power when I don't agree with their fucking politics?

I won't vote for the Tories as it stands because I do not believe in what they are saying. It doesn't matter one iota that I have agreed with - and voted for/supported - the Tories in the past. It is not the party I am interested in, it is the policies. Power for power's sake is not acceptable to me, and I sense it is not acceptable to the likes of Bretters and the other Tory refugees
who are joining/toying with joining UKIP.

3/01/2007 10:07:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Why do you think "bringing the Tories around to my point of view will take more time and effort than making UKIP a powerful party"? That's the answer I'm looking for.

Because I think that they are a bunch of liars who will, self-evidently (why else would they appear to abandon their principles), do anything to gain power (and that's not just power in this country).

Further, although the Tories have constantly maintained their EUscepticism, they act in precisely the opposite way.

How long did it take the conglomeration that became Labour to become a serious force in politics? Less time than it would take to turn the Tory leadership round, I think.

And that's really the only thing that matters here: what I think.

DK

3/01/2007 02:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Lurch said...

"Tories are the most eurosceptic significant section of the electorate"

The members? Yes (excepting UKIPers).
The parlimentary party? Fuck no, are you having a laugh?

3/01/2007 02:47:00 pm  
Anonymous GCooper said...

Matthew Sinclair contradicts himself. If, as he claims, Tories are the most EU-sceptical members of the electorate, how, then, does he account for the presence of young Master Cameron and the pack of Eu-weenies that surrounds him?

By the same token, how dare he suggest that joining the clapped-out wreck of the Conservative Party could ever have the slightest influence over the bastards that run it for the sole purpose of enforcing their wills on us, regardless of our opinions?

The UKIP may well be a hopeless case. It may even be about to collapse. But an anti-EU vote for it is certainly no more wasted than it would be for a lying toad like Cameron.

3/01/2007 05:59:00 pm  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"God-given right to govern" - exactly! Don't worry your little heads with policies; we'll tell you what they are when you have elected us, because we KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU. Just like New Labour.

3/01/2007 06:36:00 pm  
Blogger Prodicus said...

Oh, bugger. If everything on your little list is UKIP policy, you just gave me fifteen reasons to vote UKIP. I am not happy.

3/01/2007 10:18:00 pm  
Blogger Jackart said...

I keep giving the reason to swallow your principle and vote COnservative: Gordon cunting Brown.

3/02/2007 08:00:00 am  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

I've heard people on all sides say pretty strange things about Northern Ireland, but I've never before heard it described as "simply another income tax".

3/02/2007 09:40:00 am  
Anonymous tasteless_analogy said...

A woman goes to an introduction agency. She is shown several profiles of men, all of which she turns down. Then she is shown a profile of a successful, rich, handsome etc etc man. "Great", she thinks, "at last someone worth meeting".

The woman across the desk from her says, "Lovely, isn't he?" The singleton says, "Yes, worth a drink, sure." "OK," the agent says, "when suits you?" "Wednesday lunchtime."

"Fine," says the agent, "I'll ask him he's free then. Did you know he's a paedohile?" "He's a what?!" "Oh, does it not say it on his profile? Well, it's something that some people can, you know, overlook. He's got a lot going for him otherwise if you see that as a problem." "AS A PROBLEM?!"

Now, as a voter, I'm the single woman in that scenario and the Tories are the seemingly good profile - much of what they say (or at least used to say in the olden days) is attractive. But their attitude to the EU is the "turd in the punchbowl" at the end. That is why I cannot vote Tory. Get it?

DK - you seen Private Eye this fortnight?

3/02/2007 11:25:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Tasteless,

I have it, but i haven't got around to reading much apart from my letter about the BBC and Microsoft's DRM yet!

DK

3/02/2007 12:47:00 pm  

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