He joined the Conservatives 40 years ago and fought a number of elections for the party he loved, taking on Tony Blair in Sedgefield in 1983. He was constituency chairman to William Hague, when he was in the Cabinet and the party’s leader.
But the Tory party’s recent embrace of the left-wing columnist Polly Toynbee has stretched Toby Horton’s loyalty beyond breaking point.
In the most high-profile of a wave of defections that is shaking the party leadership, Mr Hague’s former constituency chairman has resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the United Kingdom Independence Party. Other defections include a local party chairman and another former parliamentary candidate.
It seems that Spam is doing a fantastic job for the Tories, eh? As The Nameless One, whose very monicker is a peon to Spam's ineptitude, pointed out recently, "One year on and for every floating vote [Cameron] has won from the centre ground I am willing to bet he has lost two from the right."
But what made me laugh was what Mr Horton described as the tipping point.
“I didn’t leave the Conservative Party, the Conservative Party has left me,” Mr Horton said yesterday at his home in Mr Blair’s constituency.
Mr Horton’s frustration has been building as Mr Cameron has tried to shed the party’s “nasty” image by ditching its past, focusing on issues such as the environment and social justice, and promising to show love to louts. But the final straw for Mr Horton came last month when the party embraced Ms Toynbee, who has made a career out of attacking all things right-wing. A Conservative policy review suggested that the party adopt her views on poverty rather than Winston Churchill’s, and Mr Cameron suggested that she would be invited to next year’s party conference.
“There was a Polly Toynbee moment — that was the tipping point,” said Mr Horton...
I'm not surprised! Polly Toynbee is not only a deeply misguided woman but a massive hypocrite to boot: I wonder if she'll be joining the Tories anytime soon? Given how Green the Tories suposedly are (though we've yet to see any policies, only promises of more "green" taxes), perhaps she's persuade Georges Moonbat to come with her?
Another defector is Mark Hudson, 36, a vice-president of the Bank of America, who was president and chairman of the Sevenoaks Conservative Association in Kent, and on the official Conservative candidates’ list.
“The way Cameron has led the party means I can’t be part of it, and there’s lots of people like me,” he said. “He’s turned it into something indistinguishable from new Labour, so what’s the point?” Kevin Davidson Hall, a former Conservative candidate in Peterborough, has also defected, declaring: “UKIP are now the only voice of opposition in this country, speaking up for all those who feel betrayed by the other parties.”
It's very true. And the more high-quality, experienced campaigners that we get on board, they better. It can only help to make the party more professional.
A clearly rattled Conservative headquarters issued a statement declaring: “UKIP is a party of the few dedicated to a single issue."
No, it isn't, as I keep poiting out. That's right, UKIP is so dedicated to a single-issue that we are attracting experienced Tory campaigners. Even were we dedicated to merely one issue, that issue is so important as to eclipse all others, frankly. The Tories will be unable to do anything effective anyway: Barroso says "no".
"The Conservative Party is the only political party that can replace this failing Labour Government.”
Actually, I think it likely that this is the case. I think that the Tories will—narrowly—win the next election; they will then prove themselves to be no different to NuLabour and it will be at the following general election that UKIP will have its chance to really shine. Though I would love to see even one UKIP MP elected this time around, simply because it enables the party to be able to table questions in the House and thus raise the issues that no one else is.
In the meantime, let's see if we can gain the support of some more Conservatives...