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.
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.
- We should leave the EU,
- The idea that humanity's activities are having any significant effect on climate change is crap,
- Although climate change is happening, the best way to adapt is not to make everyone poorer through taxation,
- The taxpayer should not fund political parties,
- Schools should be privatised and funded through a voucher scheme,
- We should have a Flat Tax system,
- We should acknowledge that NI is simply another income tax and incorporate it into a Flat Income Tax,
- The Personal Tax Allowance should be raised far above its current rate,
- We should have a smaller government,
- Corporation Tax should be substantially lower,
- Capital Gains Tax should be abolished,
- Inheritance Tax should be abolished,
- Prison works and we should build more of them,
- 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),
- 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?