Tories in Fantasyland

TWO ARTICLES in this weekend’s Sunday Times here and here caught my attention.

The first, by Political Editor Tim Shipman, is headlined “Tory threat to oust PM after EU vote” and includes this quote from “another leading Eurosceptic” referring to David Cameron:

He looks like he doesn’t give a s**t about party unity. He’s trying to pick a fight with us

As an example of irony this remark must be in a class of its own and as an example of the lack of self-awareness common to most fanatics it almost defines the genre.

Those of us who have followed the global warming “debate” over the last decade or so are accustomed to this sort of behaviour which might even be categorised as ‘projection’ (defined as ‘denying the existence of one’s own unpleasant impulses while attributing them to others’) but this is the first time I have come across such a blatant example in the political sphere.

I have made the point in other fora that there is no doubt a case to be made for the UK to leave the EU (‘Brexit’ as it is commonly known) just as there is a case to be made for remaining in and I shall be attempting to make the latter case in a future article. What the case for leaving might be is not going to be helped by this “leading Eurosceptic” and other like-minded of his fellow Leavers.

A brief history lesson.

The Leavers have been around since 1975. Their pope is Bill Cash who has never accepted Britain’s membership of the EU and has been joined (inevitably) by John Major’s “bastards” and such luminaries as Liam Fox, John Redwood and Owen Paterson — all carrying their grudges like war medals.

They and a significant number of the Conservative party but never, at least until recently, a majority, have spent 40 years making life as difficult as possible for every party leader from Margaret Thatcher onwards. What part they played in the electoral defeats of 2001 and 2005 it is hard to say but two former party leaders from those wilderness years — Michael Howard and Ian Duncan Smith — are among those now enthusiastically calling for Brexit, Howard (unconvincingly) on the grounds that a vote to leave will galvanise the EU into frenzied activity to give Cameron everything he is asking for (plus free access to the vaults of the ECB, 72 virgins, and Juncker’s head on a platter, for all I know!).

To which my reaction is (i) in your dreams, Michael, and (ii) so bloody what, because the usual suspects as outlined above would still vote to leave whatever Brussels came up with.

Back to the lesson. By 2010 the party had at last elected a credible (sort of) leader though one 10 years older and with some idea of the world outside the incestuous little hot house of PR would have been better. Regrettably that lack of gravitas and experience of the world undermined his confidence to the extent that he was happy to settle for coalition with the Lib-Dems and everyone knew it so that is what he got.

By a certain amount of good luck the Conservatives managed to scrape an overall majority in 2015 so his enthusiastic supporters rallied round, cheered him to the rafters and pledged undying loyalty to the party’s Saviour, right?

Not exactly. Barely was the door of No 10 closed after Cameron’s return from the Palace  than the usual suspects were hard at work undermining his government and before negotiations with Brussels had even started they were niggling away at any media person who cared to listen that the PM was not sincere, that his demands were pointless, that he was bound to fail, and that he and the Civil Service were conspiring to shut the Leavers up.

Once again, ‘psychological projection’ (or maybe plain paranoia) rears its head. Space does not permit a detailed list but it is not hard to find the evidence that the Leavers have been busy practising the very negative arts of which they accuse their opponents. Indeed if they had their way, based on available press reports over the last year, the Remainers would be allowed to say virtually nothing while the Leavers would have carte blanche.

The second article I referred to is by Adam Boulton and is headed “Win and Cameron still faces a neverendum”.

He quotes “a senior veteran of Thatcher’s cabinet” as expecting a challenge to Cameron’s leadership within 24 hours even if the Remain vote wins. Remember that Cameron has already made it clear that he does not intend to serve a third term as PM so any such move, win or lose on June 23, can only be described as a shotgun blast aimed at both feet.

After 13 years out of office, five years hamstrung by the Boy Nick and his fellow nine-year-olds, the Conservatives — instead of making full use of the majority they have and building the foundations for a resounding majority in 2020 — are now proposing to open the doors of Downing Street to a Labour party whose ability to organise themselves a haircut must be seriously questioned.

Correction: with their attitude to Trident in mind, a party that cannot even make up its mind whether to organise a haircut!

Staying in the EU must be better than letting these clowns — on both sides of the aisle — loose on the future of the UK.

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