Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Kipper Ties

UKIP will be humiliated when it comes second to Labour at the European Elections. But it ought to be pleased.
There was never any requirement to change the electoral system for those elections. Tony Blair did it purely in order to purge his many critics among Labour MEPs.
In the wildly improbable event that UKIP ever had topped the poll, then the whole thing would have been put back to First Past The Post, leaving UKIP with no seats in 2019, just as it will have no seats in 2015.
Yes, that would have added up. And Nigel Farage knows that it would have added up.
UKIP is in any case highly unlikely to exist by 2019. But even that existence is more likely than there ever, ever being any change to the electoral system for the House of Commons.
Not that it would matter if there were. One or other of Labour and the Conservatives would still always provide the Prime Minister, Labour would still do so with an overall majority three quarters of the time, and each of those parties would still never drop below 200 seats.
A party with 200 MPs is a major political force even if it has no other members in the entire country. A party with no MPs is simply not a major political force, and that is that.
People who say that Labour, the Conservatives or both would dissolve into "constituent parts" under a different electoral system know absolutely nothing, not the first thing, about Britain. They "learned" it all out of books, and those books were about other countries.
Ask any member of either of those parties to which "constituent part" he or she belonged. Anyone who has ever been in or around either of them will have read that last sentence and laughed out loud.
UKIP, on the other hand, is very split indeed. Over half of its voters support same-sex marriage. It has a very heavily neoconservative activist and voter base in foreign policy terms. And so on.

It is beyond improbable that the ardently Thatcherite UKIP lot will have been at all impressed by Cameron's "Christian country" spiel even while he was calling the Police on the Bishop of Oxford for having dared to deliver a petition on food poverty to his constituency office.

(Incidentally, how stony a heart it would have taken not to have laughed very loud indeed as the Mail on Sunday's fraudulent "story" on food banks collapsed before the very eyes of the Internet, and as the charity in question experienced a huge surge in donations as a result.)

Rather, the Kippers come out of the school of Enoch Powell, who insisted that Christianity had no political implications whatever, and of the likes of the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs, fiercely of the view that churches ought to behave as if that were the case.

You never, ever hear that from even the most militantly atheistic sections of the British Left, with which extremely few of those letter-writers to the Daily Telegraph were identifiable, and who in any case pointedly did not say that. You never have done. Well, of course not.

I expect, however, that you would hear what amounted to precisely that over the gins in the golf club bars of UKIP country: "Christmas Carol Services for the kiddies, and giving a nignog a good kicking so that he knew his place, which was in Nignogland. That was what it was all about, before the C of E succumbed to Political Correctness gone MAAADDD!!!"

In all fairness to the dear old Church of England, no, it most certainly was not.

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