Coffee House

Eastleigh result: the Tories aren’t panicking, but that doesn’t mean they won’t

1 March 2013

Don’t panic, don’t panic! But are the Tories actually panicking about the Eastleigh result? Coffee House readers will have seen Stewart Jackson’s call on the government to get more robust on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, and Gavin Barwell’s plea to his colleagues to stay calm. But backbenchers aren’t really flapping their arms in terror today, other than taking positions we’ve already heard them take. Even backbenchers who really don’t like David Cameron are clear that even though coming third is ‘deeply disappointing’, it’s not a catalyst for disaster right now.

But that doesn’t mean Cameron’s opponents don’t have some sort of vision of how the next few months could pan out. It turns out that some see quite a clear trajectory for the government which they still think will lead to uprisings like those against Gordon Brown. Whether those coups are of the James Purnell or Geoff Hoon type remains to be seen, but for them to be more successful than those two Labour attempts would require someone who MPs could sincerely imagine stepping straight into the shoes of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It’s worth reading Adam Afriyie’s piece on ConHome to see his latest attempt to reach out to the grassroots.

But there is what one MP described as a ‘combustible mix’ that could bring about some panic.

One thing that a number of them think will create considerable trouble for the Prime Minister is the trial of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. It’s not something that really registers on the radar currently, but regardless of the verdict in the case, there will again by questions about the Prime Minister’s judgement in hiring Coulson and his friendship with Brooks. There are other factors, too. This May’s council elections would be bruising for the Tories if only for the simple reason that the party made so many gains in May 2009 when Brown was in power. But many are expecting these elections to show quite how hard the gay marriage legislation has hit the party, too. One senior backbencher says to me:

‘It’s going to be a sodding awful year up to the end of this calendar year. We’re going to lose seats at the May elections because we’re coming off the 2009 watermarks. We may have Coulson and Rebekah Brooks too. That in my view is a combustible mix and of course Eastleigh doesn’t help.’

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But what will really spook the the Conservatives is if their position in the polls starts to move significantly below 30 per cent. The party is currently averaging around 31 per cent across the polls. At that stage, backbenchers tell me, those in marginal seats really will have cause to get very jittery indeed.

And then there’s Europe, still hanging over the party. One backbencher says:

‘The Eastleigh result was deeply disappointing because it shows that the strategy with regard to UKIP hasn’t really worked out as well as we would have hoped. We have done the move to the Right: we did that a few weeks ago on Europe. The trouble is we’re just not trusted and the same if we talk about immigration: yesterday we had some reasonably statistics but the public just don’t believe or trust that from the current leadership.’

Cameron’s Europe speech seems shrouded in the distant past now, even though he delivered it just five weeks ago. And it didn’t deliver the poll advantage the party had hoped for.

But what Tory MPs fear will happen is that while the EU referendum pledge was a Good Thing for the party, the other parties will still catch up on Europe, and the Tories will have to go further (what was it that John Major said about never being able to please some MPs?). One MP, who believes the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties will both make similar promises so that they avoid a drubbing in the 2014 European elections, says:

‘The next logical move is for a group of those who rebelled on the EU Budget will say well, Dave, you need to differentiate your European policy again. And that would mean introducing a referendum bill. Now of course if we asked them to do that, Downing Street would say that they’d never get that sort of legislation through the Commons. But that’s not the point. The point is that if Labour and the Lib Dems voted against it, they’d look awful and every Tory MP can say to his electorate “we voted for a referendum and the others stopped us, so bring it on”. That’s how Cameron could toughen it up.’

That MP believes the legislation needs to come before Labour and Lib Dems make any sort of move on the referendum front in order to give the Conservatives the maximum advantage. There is of course already a Private Members’ Bill trying to make its way through Parliament at the moment, from John Baron, which might be one option for forcing the party leadership to consider the idea.

So no panic just yet. One Tory who has been involved in a fair few panics before says (perhaps not entirely accurately) ‘the Tories only panic in a crisis’.

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  • PierrePendre

    A backbencher acknowledged that the Tories aren’t trusted on Europe.
    This is hardly surprising since everyone knows that Cameron said he would never vote to leave the EU (Osborne said the same thing in the United States) which more or less cripples his negotiating position in advance.
    To be serious about this negotiation, he would have needed to go in saying give us what we want or I’ll recommend leaving.

    Doubtless Merkel will lean on the French to agree to some cosmetic form of repatriation of powers and exemptions for the UK in the hope that these and a scare campaign will terrorise a majority to vote reluctantly in favour of staying in the UK.
    None of this will solve the problem of what happens when the EU moves to fiscal and political union which it will do quite soon.
    If the British are fundamentally hostile to the EU as it is, how will they react when Cameron, Miliband and Clegg say they’re going to surrender British sovereignty and independence and make the country a satrapy of Brussels.
    Good luck with that, boys.

  • peterjack12

    What seems strange to me is that many of those who voted UKIP have admitted it was a “protest vote”! What’s the point of voting UKIP just to scare the government, and then saying “I didn’t really mean it”? Dim, I suppose, that explains why they always vote Libdem!

  • Liberanos

    Since the three main parties have identical views on the EU, those fearing the consequences of unstoppable European immigration have no option but to vote UKIP.
    A UKIP government would almost certainly be a disaster. But they would quickly fail a vote of confidence and disappear, once they’d removed the existential threat to our public services of merciless, unlimitable population growth.

    • Daniel Maris

      The unfortunate element with UKIP is that it adopts a free market approach to economics and social matters. No doubt a lot of you here like that but it does have the unfortunate effect of radically restricting the support they can gather in a general election. If they adopted a centrist approach on work, wages and welfare, let’s say similar to the Lib Dems, I think they would be unstoppable.

      • Liberanos

        This is true, and as a member of the Labour Party I find many aspects of their offer disheartening. However, the short, sharp shock they represent over Europe is far more important. It could save our public services and our culture.

  • William Thomas

    UKIP is a one-plank party. But it is missing the point to call those who vote for it “misguided” or “nutters”. Some are – but most are definitely not. They are desparate Tories who want to show Cameron and his mob what arses they are.

    • JoeDM

      I suppose I’d vote for them for that reason.

      One thing is sure though, I will not be voting for a Cameroonian Tory Party at the next GE.

  • Douglas Macdonald

    By all means call a referendum. A straight in or out question. That is the only route anyway. All this claptrap about renegotiation is pure waffle. We have to use Article 50 The Lisbon Treaty, the EU HAVE to negotiate then by law. But it does mean saying “The UK wishes to leave”. Who has got the nerve to say it? Once again all this, lets see what we can get back from the EU is time wasting delay tactics and all the parties know it.

  • jazz606

    Grass roots Tories must be deserting in droves. They look at the Eastleigh returns and know that half of UKIP’s vote should have been theirs. Cameron is leading the Tories to destruction. The question is. Is he doing it deliberately ?

  • paulus

    What is the point of commenting, its useless your beyond help: its not about schools, its not about hospitals, immigration, the EU. Its about redefining marriage, this is a central plank of conservatism it is the deck they walk on and its now been dragged away.

    It has led to the biggest rebellion in conservative history and that rebellion is supported by the overwhelming majority of conservatives. The leadership of the conservative party have taken the majority on a fringe tour. They are so far removed from the main stage they may as well cycle to a nearby train station, employ a passing jack russel and bash out songs from a guitar for the dog to dance too.Its fucking pointless because they are stupid, beyond redemption and stupid.

    The only reason why Labours strategists don’t strike is because they havn’t a clue what they are doing, they think it either genius or beyond belief. A 15th Cent French master swordsman stated that the would rather fight the second best swordsman in France than some idiot with a cudgel .As he will know what they are doing.

    Thye sad thing is they will be looking and thinking its a master stroke, they have now appeared to be ephileptic in order to fool them. No they really are fools, you must take the bait.

    • Wessex Man

      go away

  • eeore

    This analysis only reinforces why the Tories will never win an election again.

  • David Lindsay
    • Hexhamgeezer

      A mirage of a castle built on sand…..

    • Wessex Man

      No you may not you little old progressive you

  • dennis_redburn

    It would be interesting to know if Fraser Nelson knows who is the Conservative MP about to join UKIP and if he is allowed to say?

  • Radford_NG

    The solid UKIP vote [not protest vote] seems to consist of c.7 or 8% of former Conservative voters.This will continue to be a problem for Cameron.If he had got their vote in 2010 he should have been within 2 seats of a majority,potentially enabling him to form a minority government.Is he going to do better next time after alienating so many voters[if they vote UKIP or otherwise]?

  • rollahardsix

    It’s one thing to create a populist policy (EU renegotiation then in/out referendum after 2015) in the hope of greater popularity, fair enough, but changing that policy shortly there after (eg to an in/out referendum before 2015) because Plan A didn’t revive popularity sufficiently – looks like clutching at straws. The ”any policy will do so long as we stay in office” approach, rather than basing policy on conviction. So is politics about the pursuit of power or the pursuit of principle? No doubt the former, but foolishly I like the notion that it could be about the later.

    • Daniel Maris

      Well power and principle – it’s both isn’t it? Paris may be worth a Mass or maybe not…that’s what politics is there for – to decide such matters.

      The problem with both Labour and Conservatives I think is that they have never entirely resolved their attitude to the EU. Personally I detest the inbetweenie

      ground our politicians like to inhabit. I would prefer it if the parties decided once and for all whether they want out or want to be wholehearted members of the EU. I don’t think Cameron is planning to resolve that with his referendum. It’s just a PR exercise.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Dont forget, Corporal Jones had a fought in real battles and in (scripted) reality had a spine.

    • Daniel Maris

      Well said, the character was nicely played…Corporal Jones clearly knew what was involved in war but was always prepared to do the right thing.

  • Michael990

    “We have done the move to the Right: we did that a few weeks ago on Europe.”

    What rubbish.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Exactly – H2B has done his acknowledgement of the Right with his Janus face. He hasn’t moved one jot.

  • David Lindsay

    Labour support increasing in Lab-Con marginals such as Corby. Labour support increasingly dramatically in Lib-Lab marginals. Lib Dem vote holding up in Lib-Con marginals such as Eastleigh. The Conservatives ought to be panicking, all right. That would be just as true if UKIP did not exist. But it does.

  • Gawain

    There really is little point in panic. Dave just is not in control of his government or his party. If he was he would have shown the people whose votes he needs to win the next election (middle class voters like those in Eastleigh) that he understood their problems by sacking his Treasury team. Osborne and Alexander really don’t have a clue and their departure would at least suggest that the Prime Minister understood that things aren’t going brilliantly at present. Instead Dave seems reconciled to being a lame duck premier for the next two years. Conservatives are going to have to tolerate a diet of two more years of Labour bile, UKIP fluff and Liberal blancmange. The only rational approach is to start organising for opposition now, think of ways to build a membership base in the 21st century and start the search for a leader with the moral and intellectual toughness to return the Conservatives to government. There is likely to be a need for once the Eds have fouled things up again.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree. The fact that he puts up with Osborne, just underlines how much he is a PR front man and not a serious thinker or doer. Contrast with just about every other post war PM who all really had a pretty good handle on what they were trying to do economically (even if they failed).

    • James Strong

      Isn’t there another rational approach?
      The Conservatives can get rid of Cameron as their leader.

      • Gawain

        The problem with that is we would then have to find another one and with Boris out of Parliament that could all become very messy. That said, if things get much worse I would agree it’s an option.

        • John McClane

          Why is Boris the answer? Since he flip-flopped on the EU referendum issue (yes, we should have one; no, we shouldn’t have one; yes, we should have one if it’s the right question) I don’t trust him at all.

          • Gawain

            I am not sure I do either, but, a lot of the people who would have a vote in a leadership election do trust him. I suspect that a lot of Tory MPs trust him even less than we do which is why I suspect that Cameron is safe, for the present.

            • Tom Tom

              Boris Johnson at least keeps the Eton Faction appealing to the populace…….must be essential for the fringe party in the Southeast

        • M_MK

          The solution to Boris being out of parliament is straightforward. A friendly Tory MP in a London seat resigns, Boris is selected as candidate and then wins the by-election. (Because lets face it, most Tory constituency parties would love to have Boris as their man).
          A stalking-horse candidate stands against Cameron in a leadership contest, then when Cameron gets a rather poor level of support, a full-on leadership election ensues, which Boris wins.
          It will have to be done this year so that under Boris the government can implement some new policies and have time for them to work through in 2014 ready for a 2015 election.

  • Smithersjones2013

    And once again the article misses the punch line. All this leads up to the big test. What happens if UKIP win the Euro elections and the Tories come third (or even perhaps fourth behind the Libdems). The Euro elections will be the foundation for the General Election in 2015. If UKIP can go into those elections with the Euro Election bragging rights and the Tories discredited on Europe/ Immigration etc (as any such result would imply) then the Tories will be in serious trouble with no time credibly change.

    In such circumstances the outcome of 2015 could be worse than 2001 for the Tories and with UKIP waiting in the wings such failure could ensure the Tories are done as an independent party of Government.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep, and the master strategist Osborne has arranged it so that Europe will be a big issue in the General Election campaign. Brilliant Mein General!!!

    • Tom Tom

      Whatever Conservatives win seats in the Euro Elections are bound to jump ship to LibDems after the result – they seem to have started a trend on that

    • Mycroft

      Oh wonderful, 13 years of Labour government ahead!

      • Wessex Man

        What do you want then another Tory Lib/Dem Government that it more Labour than Labiour? Man up and let’s get rid of this rotten Government!

  • Austin Barry

    The detached, remote and posturing Cameron has a vision for the Conservatives which is misguided and singularly strange and is costing him votes and party members.

    His ‘heir to Blair’ claim was initially seen as a somewhat curious comment, but it now appears to be evidence of some form of continuing psychopathy. He is Blair’s political stalker, obsessed with the puerile, pious politics of the centre left.

    The rise of UKIP shows that he is wrong, his backbenchers tell him he is wrong, but his psychopathic sense of being ‘the right man’ means he cannot accept that he is wrong.

    He is headed, perhaps hurtling, to his public downfall.

    Sad? No, a glorious moment in this country’s political history to be savoured by the people as it approaches, inevitable and implacable.

    • Graham McCracken

      Well said, pure and simple.

    • Colonel Mustard

      “…a glorious moment in this country’s political history to be savoured by the people as it approaches, inevitable and implacable.”

      But somewhat tempered by the certain knowledge of yet another Labour government.

  • Russell

    ” introducing a referendum bill. Now of course if we asked them to do
    that, Downing Street would say that they’d never get that sort of
    legislation through the Commons. But that’s not the point. The point is
    that if Labour and the Lib Dems voted against it, they’d look awful and
    every Tory MP can say to his electorate “we voted for a referendum and
    the others stopped us, so bring it on”

    This is almost word perfect to what I suggested 5 weeks ago following Camerons unconvincing EU position statement that he would campaign for the UK to stay in, and the only way Cameron would stand even a remote chance of winning in 2015.

  • AnotherDaveB

    Cameron’s Europe speech was ‘mañana’. That’s not a concession to anyone. It’s contempt.

  • Archimedes

    Oh phew! You always know that you can trust people when they feel the need to tell you that they’re not panicking.

  • Mike Barnes

    AAA rating gone.
    Beaten by UKIP.
    Manufacturing data suggesting an unheard of triple dip recession on the way.

    Erm if they’re not panicking, why not?

    • Tom Tom

      You forget a currency headed below $1.50 which means higher Energy, Fuel, Food Prices

      • JoeDM

        Exchange rates need to be left to the market and left to reflect real economic conditions. They are not part of the problem for us.

        Just look at the impact of not having an exchange rate to allow to float is having on those EU countries. Another woefull impact of the EU !!!!

        • Tom Tom

          You are completely demented of course ! Maybe you don’t buy Electricity, Gas, Petrol, Food….certainly you don’t because you are institutionalised. Maybe you are Gideon Osborne ? Only a cretin could suggest people should ignore their Cost of Living because The God Of The Market demands they live with Inflation – “they are not part of the problem for us” ? Which hospital are you incarcerated in ? Broadmoor ? Rampton ?

    • A Serial Luncher

      There’s not much to celebrate and won’t be for a while but there has only been one dip. The ONS estimates which that the double/triple dip narrative relies on weren’t accurate.

    • Noa

      The laddy’s not for turning.

      well, not yet, maybe.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    One mistake is to call any policy change a move to the right. There is no right-wing in what UKIP are saying, unless left vs right is in fact national vs international. It has nowt to do with the real left and right, collective vs free-for-all. In fact UKIP is merely populist. And if any party is so nobly (or misguidedly) non-populist that they cannot carry the electorate along with them, they are going to lose in a democracy. The tories are going to lose because they have shaped their policies to seem to appeal to a lot of people who are never going to vote for them anyway and thus lost support from people who might vote for them. If they do not turn this around this year they are stuffed. And they will deserve it.

    • A Serial Luncher

      If UKIP can convince the electorate that a 31p top rate of tax is not right wing then all power to them given what happened to the Tories Osborne dropped it to 47.5p.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        Is tax rate a left/right characteristic in theory? I know it is in reality, but nobody ever claims to be a high-tax party, do they? Or is it about envy deciding tax rates on the rich? That is an indicator.

      • PaderB

        It is possible that such a move may become palatable to the electorate if it can be shown that revenues will increase because ALL income of the rich earned within the UK irrespective of where they are based will be taxed by removing all tax-loopholes and opportunity for off-shore payment.

        The tax system in most Western Countries is far too convoluted leaving myriad opportunities to evade. A simple, across the board system, may well be welcomed when they consider that a millionaire boss of a large corporation pays less tax than his cleaner under the existing system but under the new system, the Country will see tax revenues of 31% of the total earnings of everybody

        Yes, the high earners will still have more money than the lower paid but 31% of a £1 million salary is £310,000 which is a lot more than many pay now.

    • Adrian Drummond

      This is a good point. Who or what determines our center of political gravity? The BBC? Certainly issues labelled right- or left-wing in the UK by the Main Stream Media can often be considered quite the opposite abroad.

      • JoeDM

        Yes. If you look at the BNP’s policies they are clearly very left-wing, very Old Labour with added nasty racism, but the BBC insist on following the Guardian/Labour party line and call them Right Wing.

        • crosscop

          Joe – I did as you suggested but I couldn’t find any of the “nasty racism” that you led me to believe I would find there. Some of their supporters’ comments were a bit iffy – but there’s no “nasty racism” in their manifesto. Most disappointing.

          • PaderB

            Of course there are no ‘racist’ policies in the BNP manifesto, they are trying to make themselves electable. They are attempting to rebrand themselves in exactly the same way that Blair did by forming ‘New’ Labour and as Cameron is trying to do by changing the Tories into a non-‘nasty’ party. Both Blair and Cameron have made parodies of their respective parties but to give legitimacy of any kind to the BNP by electing them to Parliament will see the opposite effect. They will revert to their original racist policies.

            • peterjack12

              Sounds as if you’re determined to be biased whatever they do!

        • peterjack12

          Could you please point out something in their manifesto which is racist?
          I won’t hold my breath.

    • Youbian

      True. And also true no true Tory trusts Cameron any more. And why should we?

    • JoeDM

      But the big problem is that Cameron and his Cameroonian chums are fundamentally pro-EU. And the EU is the basis of almost all of our (and the rest of Europe’s) problems.

      There is no point having a Tory PM who campaigns for a Referendum and then supports a “Stay In” vote. It is utterly false.

  • Haldane1

    Shouldn’t the editor contribute a few sagacious remarks on this subject? I’d love to know if he still agrees with the Tory high command that the faithfull will return come a general election when faced with a possible Labour victory. Who knows, he may even write a piece that actually mentions Ukip!

    • Swiss Bob

      the faithfull will return come a general election when faced with a possible Labour victory

      UKIP voters can’t see a cigarette paper’s difference between the current Labour and Tory parties so UKIP voters don’t care if Labour is handed a General Election victory, they’re playing a long game, plus UKIP supporters don’t think a Labour Govt would last long given their spending plans!

      • Tom Tom

        Continuity Cameron and the Treasury Minion Osborne show how little Labour needs to be in government to have its policies entrenched

      • Mycroft

        Then they’re idiots, Labour could well stay in power as long as the last time if the anti-Labour vote remains divided. UKIP voters are so deluded that they imagine that their views represent majority opinion in the country; they are the British equivalent of the tea party, which is doubtless also playing a long game!

        • Tom Tom

          “majority opinion in the country” Who does represent that ?

          • Wessex Man

            It’s not Call me Dave and White lie Legover!!!!!!!!

          • PaderB

            Actually, UKIP policies indicate that it is more likely to form a ‘Thatcherite Tory’ type of Government rather than a right wing one. That is one of the reasons for the defection of so many Tories who wish to go back to Tory Party values but are denied them under the existing Tory leadership.

        • Swiss Bob

          UKIP voters are so deluded that they imagine that their views represent majority opinion in the country
          Funny becuase Labour think they represent the whole of the UK and the Tories are the ‘One Nation’ party. . . .

          • Mycroft

            The point is that the Conservative party is quite a broad church, and it needs to appeal to a wider range of opinion than just that which can be found among UKIP supporters if it is to win elections. UKIPers so hate the left wing of the Conservative party that they want to destroy the party and replace it with something different; the problem is that, even if they did that (the process would actually take years), and produced a pure right wing party, with either UKIP taking over or the Conservatives being totally reformed with the left marginalized or pushed out. it wouldn’t appeal to enough of the population ever to win an election. Sad but true.

  • Stalwart Steve

    I have just been told by someone I trust that a Conservative MP will shortly join UKIP as a result of the showing in Eastleigh. Can’t share any names but it is supposed to happen soon. Maybe this coming week.

    • jim geraghty

      Oh, please let it be my MP!

      • Tony Quintus

        No, Mine!

        • Hexhamgeezer

          Definately won’t be mine!

          • Wessex Man

            No no iot’s mine!

      • PaderB

        It certainly won’t be mine. I have been lumbered by that rabid Europhile, Stephen Williams. He was not even elected by the people where I live because the last round of boundary changes were actioned immediately AFTER the General Election in 2010 and my area was transferred to a neighbouring ward meaning that the people in my area were effectively disenfranchised. Strangely, there was not a word said by the Electoral Commission on that subject.

    • Daniel Maris

      Good. UKIP should have a voice in Parliament.

      • Radford_NG

        UKIP two Members in the Lords.

        • Radford_NG

          That’s Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Lord Willoughby de Broke,both of whom keep the government busy over the EU.

          • dennis_redburn

            It’s being mentioned on the Daily Telegraph site as well that a Conservative MP is about to join UKIP.

        • Daniel Maris

          Apologies, I was aware of that – I meant the Commons.

    • Tom Tom

      What will they do with William Hague ?

      • Wessex Man

        No no please no!

  • an ex-tory voter

    The British Army did not panic at Isandlwana either!!

    • Minekiller

      What an interesting comment. Isandlwana is held up a huge defeat for colonial forces by a bold and noble native enemy, and sure the British lost. No, the soldiers at Isandlwana did not panic or flee and fought to the death whère they stood, this is borne out by Zulu accounts of the battle. Indeed the Zulus were quite dismayed by their victory, as in thier way of war, opponents surrendered when in a hopeless position. The British did not do this and it had a significant morale effect on the Zulu army. Further, lacking medical treatment, most Zulus wounded in the battle, died of thier wounds. Zulu accounts note that up to five thousand of their warriors died at the battle or afterward from untreatable wounds. So this was a best a Phyrric victory for the Zulus. Translated in context to Eastleigh, who really won here and who lost? Labour rejected utterly. Conservatives and Lib Dems hammered by UKIP. Political right,if we can include the Tories won over 20,000 votes, that’s what Clegg needs to look at. Lesson for Cameron, listen to traditional Tory voters, capture discontented Labour votes on key issues such as immigration. Lib Dems won, but this is Phyrric victory, their days are numbered if Cameron steadies himself, drops the metro lefty nonsense and wins the country back.

      • Daniel Maris

        Yes, the political right won 20,000 votes in a very prosperous community – not translatable to the rest of the country where most people are under serious financial pressure now.

        The political right in the early 70s could unite around a pro-EEC, anti-Communist, anti-Trade Union and pro-business programme (what became the Thatcherite agenda).

        No longer.

        The EU project is deeply divisive now people realise to be pro the project is to sacrifice a good slice of sovereignty.

        A pro-business programme is now a very ambiguous proposition. Pro the mass immigration which business backs? Pro the domination of our economy by the finance sector? Pro massive income rewards for CEO and bankers?

        Externally, although there are threats, there is not the single threat of the Soviet Union around which the right wing could unite without difficulty. Is it more or less right wing to be in favour of Afghanistan? I don’t think anyone can really say, opinions so fluid.

        I don’t think there is any prospect now of the right uniting in a single party. The fractures run too deep. But they could certainly work in a coalition.

        • Wessex Man

          This is a ver zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        • Andy

          You’re missing the bl****** obvious here. The ‘EU project is deeply divisive’ not so much because people realise the loss in sovereignty, but because it just does not work. People can see this quite plainly. The Euro, far from being this glorious project for European Unity, is destroying Europe. People are not stupid; they can see that perfectly well.

  • Charles Hedges

    But surely Ms Brooks embodies everything Dave loves?

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