Wednesday, 26 January 2011


What to make of the fact that UKIP is now polling ahead of the Lib Dems?

Add together the Conservative and UKIP votes in London, or Wales, or the West Country, or either of the Midland regions, or any of the Northern regions. You get far too high a figure for the number of natural Tories living there. Where are they the rest of the time? Half of UKIP's vote is Old Labour or, especially in the West Country, Old Liberal rather than Old Tory. Yet UKIP itself is emphatically not a coalition of Old Tories, Old Labourites and Old Liberals who agree, not just about the EU, but also about the threats to our sovereignty from America and Israel, from the Gulf monarchies and global capital, from Pakistan and Bangladesh, from Hindutva and Khalistan, from the SNP and Plaid Cymru, from Sinn Féin and the EDL, so that it opposes the neoconservative wars abroad, and therefore also the neoconservative war against liberty at home. Nor is it a movement as much in favour of grammar schools as in favour of British independence; it may have a policy to that effect, but don't expect to hear anything about it.

Who could legislate for the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, for its use to repatriate agricultural policy and to restore our historic fishing rights in accordance with international law, for the requirement that in order to have any effect in the United Kingdom all EU law pass through both Houses of Parliament as if it had originated in one or other of them, for the requirement that British Ministers adopt the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy until such time as the Council of Ministers meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard, for the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice or of the European Court of Human Rights (or of the "Supreme Court") unless confirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons, and for the disapplication in the United Kingdom of anything passed by the European Parliament but not by the majority of those MEPs certified as politically acceptable by one or more seat-taking members of the House of Commons?

Only a movement in the tradition of the Attlee Government's refusal to join the European Coal and Steel Community on the grounds that it was "the blueprint for a federal state" which "the Durham miners would never wear". Of Gaitskell's rejection of European federalism as "the end of a thousand years of history" and liable to destroy the Commonwealth. Of the votes of most Labour MPs, and one Liberal, against Heath's Treaty of Rome. Of the Parliamentary Labour Party's unanimous opposition to Thatcher's Single European Act. Of the 66 Labour MPs who voted against Maastricht, including, in Bryan Gould, the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so, while Nick Harvey also voted against and Simon Hughes abstained. And of the votes of every Labour and Liberal Democrat MP, without exception, against the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies annually between 1979 and 1997.

A movement in the tradition of that half of the French Socialist Party which successfully opposed the EU Constitution. Of that half of the UKIP vote for Strasbourg which, based on its geographical distribution, must be Old Labour or Old Liberal rather than Old Tory. And of the No2EU – Yes To Democracy list at the 2009 European Elections, which in London included Peter Shore's erstwhile agent, and which in the North West included the immediate past Leader of the Liberal Party, but which has now turned itself into TUSC, just another ghetto of sectarian Hard Leftism.

And a movement no less in the tradition of Ministerial defence of the grammar schools by "Red Ellen" Wilkinson of the Jarrow Crusade, and by George Tomlinson. Of their academic defence by Sidney Webb and R H Tawney. Of their vigorous practical defence by Labour councillors and activists around the country, not least while Thatcher, as Education Secretary, was closing so many that there were not enough left at the end for her record ever to be equalled. Of their protection in Kent by a campaign long spearheaded by Eric Hammond. Of their restoration by popular demand, as soon as the Berlin Wall came down, in what is still the very left-wing former East Germany. And of their successful popular defence in the Social Democratic heartland of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Ed Miliband, over to you.

But roll on electoral reform.

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