Thursday 28 August 2014

Douglas Carswell's honourable error

UKIP have an MP. Well, almost. There is still the matter of a by-election in a safe Tory stronghold and trying to prevent the understandably upset former UKIP candidate having a hissy and disrupting the program. Carswell is popular and reportedly a very good operations man. But he has made a mistake.

By doing the honourable thing and defecting and then immediately calling an election, he has avoided the charge that he lacks candour and is an unprincipled bounder of the Shaun Woodward type. Woodward left the Tory party, having been elected in a safe Tory seat, and joined Labour, who welcomed him with open arms. 
 Despite all sorts of protests from constituents and party Woody refused to hold a by-election and served out the remaining two years until the election, when new Labour parachuted the multi-multi millionaire, butler employing, 7 homes, Sainsbury husband into a safe Northern Labour seat, to the disgust of that local Labour party, and to the further erosion of voters faith in the electoral system.

So Douglas has done the right thing and declared he won't be just taking his previous voters for mugs, and will pit himself and his new beliefs against those of his former colleagues at the ballot box.
There are lots of good reasons for doing this. his integrity. The views of his constituents. Detoxifying his defection. Shutting down the very negative betrayal aspect of the story. Its a very Kippy thing to do. To be seen to be doing what loacal residents would wish, and not what Westminster masters would want.
And best of all, holding a by-election keeps him, and nigel and UKIP, in the news for months.

But its a mistake.

UKIP have no MPs. The defection is great news for Nigel.  But is Douglas Carswell fails to win the seat its a disaster. Quite possibly a catastrophic one that would irrevocably damage UKIP so soon before the big election. 
Carswell could quite easily have remained in place. Citing the sound precedent of every MP that has ever gone before him. A few nasty remarks from Labour quashed by the Woodward story. The liberals silenced by Emma Nicholson, who pretty much did for John Major. The Tories themselves have serial floor crosser Winston Churchill to point to. Carswell could have ridden out the taunts with ease.

But by taking this course, Doug has made it much less likely that other defectors will follow. 
An MP who has to immediately stand for re-election is taking a large risk. And others who are wavering won't have Carswell's fortune to be standing in the seat considered to have the most UKIP profile in the land. So only those very sure of a win, or those so sure that they will lose in the 2015 election that it makes the gamble worthwhile, will even consider a defection.

In february the UKIP Treasurer said he had had talks with seven disaffected Tories, who he was hoping to persuade to jump ship. 

Once those waverers see just how awesome the funding, manpower and resources the Tories are going to put into winning Carswell's Clacton seat, they may well decide not to open the box, but keep the money.

Carswell will probably win anyway and become a UKIP MP.
But his honourable stance on the by-election might well mean he is the only one.


Nick Drew said...

excellent commentary Mr Q, we can guess at how your own deliberations are evolving ...

go on man, jump!

Electro-Kevin said...

Possibly a mistake - but it is such tactical (party political) thinking which has ruined this country.

He should stand or fall on his principles - as should every MP and every party, including UKIP (and if they fall it doesn't matter how soon.)

One thing's for sure. The country is beyond recovering.

I'm never voting Tory again. I'm ashamed that I ever did.

BE said...

This is much bigger than Carswell and UKIP defections. The dam might have burst.

My little rant earlier was timed well!

Anonymous said...

At last someone is willing to put their head about the party political parapet and point out that Cameron has no intention of leaving Europe or negotiating any meaningful deal.. In addition we should laud Carswell for having the balls to stand for re-election.
We should rejoice in Carswell's honesty and hope that this is indeed the first step on unravelling the current political complacency.
However I am not holding my breath as 95% of all politicians are self-serving, self-promoting scumbags.
I feel better now.

Electro-Kevin said...

Anonymous - Those who voted for Mr Cameron at the EU elections have already been forgotten.

They didn't bother to count how many returned to the Tory party for the promised referendum. They aren't interested. A wasted vote.

A vote for the Tories is a mandate for Cameron - a federalist, Common Purpose champion.

Peter Whale said...

Principal came first I think that is a winner over spin and expediency . Good luck Carswell your country needs you to win.

CityUnslicker said...

One thing Mr Q.

It's not a mistake but it is a gamble. Also when the elction comes, UKIP with an MP and a healthy double digit polling score will be much harder for the electoral commission to say they are a minor party.

Farage wants debates with leaders and profile, every time he does it UKIP soars.

It's a gamble for sure, but not a mistake.

Bill Quango MP said...

ND: I think I lean rather more to Groucho's principle comment than Doug's. - When the election looms I shall what they are.

EK - It was certainly very refreshing. And will give UKIP some powerful ammunition for their lockers. But it shows up their political innocence.
Doing 'what's right' hasn't been the party way since Macmillan.
Doing what has the most advantage is the way to get and keep power.
Despicable, but it is the reality and has been since near death MPs were dragged into the House for crucial votes.

Which is why we can hope he wins. One seat won't make much difference and a precedent will have been set.

BE: Potentially a big deal. He has to win first.
Unlikely all his election team will join him. Some must be loyal Tories.

Its going to be a civil war seat. The Tea party rebels dumping the Post-Iraq war-consensus into the Tories harbour.
Newark shows that the Cameroons have enough money to outspend their rivals three or four to one. Labour and the Libs will stay out of it, except to stir the blue on blue infighting.
All the high profile Tory cabinet ministers, the women's 'quota cabinet' the armies of foot soldiers will be thrown into the cauldron to bring off a Tory victory.

The real winner will probably be Miliband. Who by doing not very much, as usual, reaps an undeserved reward.

BE said...

CU is correct as usual.

A big issue is that many (and I now include myself) see the Cameron party as so useless that it doesn't matter if UKIP "let" a Labour government in.

Cameron's bold promises about reform have come to nothing. Why waste another five years putting him back in if he'll just play on his iPad instead of doing what he said he wanted to?

Bill Quango MP said...

Anon: Someone who says what he believes. very rare. He is abit..erm..tea partyish ? Recall his comments in 2012. Amongst the very sound proposals were some oddball ones. A bit like Nigel he can go that one step too far with his rhetoric and undo the gains made.

Mr Whale: Good luck to him indeed. A rarity in politics. Doing the right thing.

CU : A gamble or a mistake?
I still think a mistake. The media have the former candidate for UKIP, Roger Lord, doing the rounds right now looking for a deal. The Tories might recruit him as spurned candidate. The Liberals would.
He is a highly aggrieved individual. Farage has not shut him down. 24 hours later he's still ranting and is saying very odd things...Won't end well unless Nigel closes him down very quickly.

{Blair would have done..Blair knew exactly how much soft soap, lofty promises or gold his minions required.}

So, a mistake. But only a smallish one. The prize is worth the risk.

But I still contend that Carswell could have just announced his Kippery and remained in place as the standing MP, giving UKIP what it has dreamed of for years, automatically putting UKIP on a par with the Greens, without any risk at all.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@BQ: why the fuck should I care if Cameron/Osborne get in next time? There is no substantive difference with Labour. NONE.

The country is run by unaccountable Common Purpose Marxist Quangocrats that this government has done nothing to rein in. They have introduced 299 tax increases. They have dismantled our armed forces. They naively supported the progenitors of ISIS in the Syrian civil war (but now we hate them, of course!). We are still not in control of our borders. Government spending is higher today than yesterday, higher this year than last year. There ARE NO CUTS. They have done nothing to crack down on the fifth column Islamists in our midst, yet keep wittering on about how they have "nothing to do with Islam" - yeah, right. On the plus side we did get 'marriage' for poofs. Whoopee! I can't tell you how excited everyone was done our pub. As one regular put it: where's the foetus going to gestate? In a box?

For the piece de resistance, Cameron's promises on renegotiation with Brussels are a straightforward, deliberate, knowing LIE. I will not vote for the lying cunt.

The Conservative Party is packed full with self-regarding, nest feathering, onanist cowardly spineless spivs, of which Cameron is merely the most prominent. A plague on them. Better you lose the election so we can get a proper opposition in place for the 2020 elections to clear up the mess.

Jan said...

Fortune favours the brave and I admire Carswell for following his principles. John Redwood was good on steadying the Tory ship on the Today programme this am. He always talks sense.

I do wonder if UKIP have the backing to go very far not just the money but the machinery of a viable political party. It's all very well having a good frontsman in Nigel Farage but you need people behind the scenes as well.

CityUnslicker said...

UKIp could well be the new SDP - a flash in the pan, destabilise the Tories and then pass away into the night.

I rather hope not, but hey ho.

Re risk, I see very little. UKIp need the Big Mo' and this is it - it it blows up in their face, its over. However, without momentum they were looking at 10% of the vote next year and no MP's.

This is a calculated risk, a make or break risk. They have had an MP in Bob Spink before, the point of standing again is to prove UKIP can win - no one has ever won a seat for UKIP.

Milliband is getting in anyway, my bets on that are 3 years old now. The important thing is to push EU onto the agenda as so many things like border control rest on it. Plus a successful UKIP pulls politics to the right.

Labour will be little worse than coalition. I have had 4 years of coalition govt and my day to day life has more taxes and the same regulation as before. The tories changed nothing of substance and even have given up on the major education and welfare reforms.

Nick Drew said...

No-one has said the obvious

Boris should stand against Carswell

Steven_L said...


What a silly idea! The tories need some nondescript local party bod that no one has ever heard of. Cameron can say he's a sound hardworking, dedicated sort of chap.

Then when he loses it's no biggy. But when Carswell tries to oust Farage ...

Bill Quango MP said...

Seb: Why should you care indeed? Cam/Osbo ?
Much too little. They could have done a lot more things that cost not much.
Even some of the ideas that they said they would tackle.
Voting fraud.
Hospital parking charges
Passports for infants

and so on.

These are tiny, tiny measures, but are big headline grabbers.
They could have done one such 'life bettering' plan a week.

We will soon have labour's Stalinist propaganda telling us every hour how wonderful everything is. It will the silence of the coalition's infrequent announcements.

Clearly you are too long gone for Dave to hope to win you back. Even the threat of the Miliband can't pull you back.

This is Beppe Grillo territory. Where citizens are foolishly wasting their votes, or voting against their own interests out of stupidity.
Except, of course, they aren't stupid. They are, like yourself, well aware of what the consequences will probably be, but do not fear them.
"Enough is enough."

Could be a UKIP slogan that? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Jan: Looks unlikely. I've seen that booted out kipper on tv three times already this morning. UKIP press office and executive left a spurned man to go around bad mouthing them to the telly people.
He's been on both Vine & the UKIP hating James O'Brien already.
Its truly shambolic. I can hear he's just about to pop again on LBC now.

Typical UKIP. Take a major PR coup and let it become a negative.

Bill Quango MP said...

ND: re the UKIP pr disaster unfolding.

Sometimes a defection seems the most profitable route.

There is a line in the original Planet of the Apes.

Charlton Heston and his fellow astronauts are watching the human hunter/gatherers scrabbling about amongst the corn fields.

Heston says to his companions
"Well..if that's the best they've got... we'll be running this planet in 6 months"

BE said...

Noooooooo BQ, can't you see that gimmicks like parking charges and baby passports are EXACTLY what piss people off. The Tories didn't win in 79, 83, 87 and 92 by being soft and fluffy. The Tories are the cold, hard, sort stuff out party. The 2010 manifesto was a proposal to tear up bureaucracy, shrink the state, let people sack their MPs, shout at their councillors, and so on. The coalition agreement had boundary reform, recall elections, big bang localism and a repeal bill. We were promised a bonfire of the bureaucrats.

Not effing hospital parking charges.

BE said...

And what about the central unifying cause which brought the coalition together: the savage cuts needed to stave off bankrupcy?

There was a graph floating around on Twitter recently which showed that local councils have slashed their spending and payroll, but that central government had pretty much expanded into the space. Darling said he would halve the deficit. Osborne hasn't even managed that.

Carswell's Telegraph blog today asks why the Prime Minister needs to be involved in setting the level of parking charges (sort of). Perhaps the honourable member for Surreysex could explain.

Timbo614 said...

@BE once again I am with you.

We were *promised* bonfires, we got U-turns.

As I think I said here a few months ago, Nigel needed to maintain some momentum, recruit more front men because he can't do it alone. Recently I wondered what was happening at UKIP headquarters 'coz it had gone very quiet. This is a major step if Nigel pulls it off.

I say keep at it Nigel! We need someone upsetting apple carts and poking the established parties until they squeal. Nigel is our only hope of this at the moment. Keep out of dark alleys and dodgy aeroplanes Nigel!

Bill Quango MP said... see...doing stuff is terribly difficult.
Even pretending you are doing stuff is quite tricky. What with the interweb and tweetface and whatnot.

And big project government reforms take for ever to get anywhere - in this case Education, NHS and benefits reform. So far..not much joy.

So there has to be a raft of piddly little ones going all the time.

Otherwise we have the charge, heard all the time, this government has done nothing!"

BE said...

Education is a good example of Cameroonism. Take the popularity hit for proposing something bold, endure the heat of the unions, opposition, local campaigns, allow the minister to suffer personal attacks and insults, then, just as the new policy is starting to bed down and show some results, sack the guy who did all the hard work and replace him with someone who might look better on a leaflet in Worcester.

Bill Quango MP said...

That's the coalition all the way through. Talk tough and get the bedwetters soaking the sheets, but actually only carry out a tenth of what they proposed.
Everyone is annoyed.

Once the end has played out in May, I shall be referring to some 2011 blogposts.

I said from the start that 'Arnhem' Dave was going a bridge too far.

hovis said...

BQ: "This is Beppe Grillo territory. Where citizens are foolishly wasting their votes, or voting against their own interests out of stupidity"

A truly corporatist line, even if softened by the next one. Indeed enough is enough, however the polis is fragmented like it hasnt been in a long time, (if ever?)Are UKIP up to it? I doubt it, they really arent radical enough.

Of course the problem the Tories had when coming in was that the market forces they usually proclaimed were utter neutered and not allowed to come to their natural conclusion with a State supported banking system and QE .. so their position was idealogical untenable from the start. to be fair no one has answered that one.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@BQ: since the actual government is in Brussels by definition all votes are wasted. That is exactly my point. As for hospital parking charges - Jesus, give me strength. This country has real problems and our 'leaders' talk like the parish council.

Many of us hoped that the present shower would do something. They have not, they are no different from Labour - except they are perhaps even less honest. So the Conservative Party as presently constituted can fuck off and take their snouts out of the trough.

Bill Quango MP said...

To put a serious face on then - I agree with the commentators. I think a crossroads has been reached and a number of people aren't prepared to continue following on down the road anymore.

The previous election it was essential to do everything in everyone's power to shift the dangerously unhinged prime minister and his cohorts from office.

But that was to rid the nation from labour tyranny.

This time its a vote to judge the coalition on its performance.

If we were a generous marker we might go as far as a C+
Many would give a D-. And these are the supporters.
The coalition's opponents seem to think Thatcher has been reborn and are foaming in their indignation at the injustice in the country.

When I mention Grillo I mean it quite sincerely. We All know on here that a vote for UKIP is going to be a vote that brings Miliband closer to number 10.
UKIP cannot rustle up 70 mps. Unlikely even to get 7.
So miliband will win.

CU don't much care. Commenters here don't much care.

Its not a toy/pram thing. "Dave's not Tory enough so I'm having a hissy at him."

No.. It is , I believe ,a genuine reaction to being continuously ignored and deceived by all government.

The Grillo reference is well made. Italians knew that not only might they not get a government, they might not have an economy. By voting for 'no government' they were voting for EU exit, Euro exit, turmoil and almost certain calamity.

But faith was so low that a very sizeable amount didn't care. Almost welcoming the disaster in order to try and renew from the ashes.

Americans didn't chuck the tea into the harbour because they preferred coffee. It was reaching the point of not fearing the consequences of the path they took. The future "War with the mightiest nation on earth" was preferable to continually being disenfranchised.

I think that is where some 20% of the nation is now.
Not in the revolutionary way. But in the mindset of almost

"so what? Are you telling me it will be worse? how much worse could it really be?"

Timbo614 said...

@BQ. That comment is probably the most far sighted thing said on this blog for a long while.

"But faith was so low that a very sizeable amount didn't care. Almost welcoming the disaster in order to try and renew from the ashes."


Foreign Policy (ME Etc) is Fucked Up.
Our Health service is Fucked Up.
Our Culture has been Fucked Up.
Our Pubs(so essentially British) have been Fucked Up.
Our Tax system is Fucked Up.
Our Railways are Fucked UP
Our Utilities are Fucked Up.
Our Police Force(service!?) is Fucked Up and powerless against namby-pambies

With all the money in taxes all those highly paid supposedly highly trained fucking people we can't even protect 1,400 Children from being Fucked Up.

Our country (MY COUNTRY that I knew and grew up in) HAS BEEN FUCKED UP, by both Red and Blue and it's taken 40-50 years to do, it's time we started on the road back to Britain as it should be (NOT WAS!) - an advanced rich and egalitarian society.

What the Fucking Hell! we go it alone. Go for Purple how much worse can it get?

And that's all my swearing for the rest of the year, Ohh Last one - Fuck the EU too,

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I couldn't have put it better, Timbo.

Electro-Kevin said...

What if Labour offer an EU referendum ? Wouldn't that pull the rug from under the Tory's "Vote UKIP, get Labour - and no referendum" ?

Malcolm Tucker said...

Ideologically Labour are with the Liberals and totally pro-EU.

The unions , who used to loathe the EEC, are now very cozy with the directives of the centralising, socialist super-state.

Union bankrolled Miliband is about as likely to offer a referendum as Merkel is.

BE said...

Timbo is right, but amazingly Britain is still one of the better places to be. We are not France or Italy. Spain appears to be on the mend but with entire towns of spare housing. Ireland is growing again but houses are still 40% below their peak value. America is not exactly brimming with confidence. China is going pop. Japan is in the same rut that it's been in for twenty-odd years.

I disagree about pubs. The choice of places to go and the food and drink on offer has never been better. The random Sarf London local I went to yesterday had several good ales on offer. Nobody has to make do with Watneys and a cheese roll any more.

It wouldn't be that difficult to sort out a lot of Timbo's list with a bit of effort. None of it requires any more than some hard thinking and political drive.

It's the political drive that's missing. We don't have any passionate political leaders. If the best we can manage is Boris and Nigel then we know we are lacking in that department. People like Thatcher and Major don't go in to politics any more, or if they do they get broken down by the system so we are left with people like Tristram Hunt and Chuka Umunna.

But whose fault is it that politics is so anodyne? Well probably all of ours. We demand that nobody can be PM who admits to having smoke a joint at university. We demand that their personal lives are primmer than a 1950s housewife. We jump on anyone who goes against the party orthodoxy, and sneer at anyone who accidentally shows a bit of intelligence. We're willing to sacrifice our freedoms as long as house prices keep going up.

Suffragent said...

“The random Sarf London local “and that’s just it,
take a trip outside the M25 and this so called recovery is just a myth. The housing boom in the south west is just a result of all that QE money sloshing around in the Market, Russian and Europeans trying to hide their wealth in assets and don’t forget all those central bureaucrats syphoning money out of the system into their own pockets.
Take a look outside the southwest Bubble at the rest of the country and its every bit as bad as France or Italy but with one big difference. The social fabric of society has been systematically destroyed and the heart of that was the village pub. That was where discussion and arguments were put forward by your peers and if enough of you were pissed off you would take it to your LOCAL council. This is social engineering and its intention is to remove people’s access to the government so they can pillage what they want without persecution.

Now people sit ALONE at home and listen to the talking heads on TV as they present their spin on every anal issue of absolutely no importance. But whose fault is it that politics is so anodyne? Well probably all of ours. Well not exactly. The “person” on the street, with no access to put their point forward but being told that “everybody” thinks gay marriage is the number one issue of the day, is getting increasingly frustrated. I’ve noticed it in dinner parties when conversation always reverts back to the same issues of immigration, corruption……). Can we vote these thieves out of government? No, as they all come from the same universities. Can we put our view point forward? No, we are represented by some socialist mouthpiece on the talk show sofa or some comment from Twatter . Anybody who actually tries to raise a valid argument is trashed as an “ist”.
It’s not because of Apathy that the population has turned its back on Politics its because it has no representation. Despite what the government say, the low voter turnout is a wet dream and is by design.
Nigel has done remarkably well considering the forces against him and its refreshing change to see a Politian doing the right thing which won’t go unnoticed. These are dangerous times we are living in and people are looking for someone/anyone to lead us out.

Suffragent said...

When Paddy Pants Down, John Major or Even Tiger Woods had an affair their popularity went up. It’s not the “people” who demand this whiter than white crap. It’s the media and the placemen on Twatter. Most people don’t give a stuff about somebody having an affair as long as it’s not our money that’s paid for the room.

andrew said...

the clever move that you seem to have missed is that we in England will be spending the next few weeks talking about Carswell and UKIP and not the Scottish referendum
- laying bare the fact that we dont really care anything like as much as the scots think we should. in a finely balanced contest small things like this can make a difference.

If the scots leave, chances are we will leave the EU.

Electro-Kevin said...

BE - of food and pubs.

The most prescient Peter Hitchens said in one of his laments on the passing of Britain, "What do I tell my forbears of what we made of their sacrifices ? That we've forsaken the country but - oh my ... the restaurants are so much better !" Or to that effect - I quote from memory.

I often yearn for the cheap pint and the inexpensive cheese roll in a busy pub. Even on my (allegedly) high wages I cannot afford to make a habit of going to a pub (certainly not eating in one - at least £100 to celebrate my boys' GCSE results the other day)

In any case:

- the Tories are bankrupting us at least as fast as Labour

- the Tories are out immigrating our culture at least as fast as Labour (the most common birth name a variant on Mohammad - and who is Theresa May calling upon us to be suspicious of in her latest shrill warnings if not young Mohammads ?)

- the Tories (via the EU) have brought us to the brink of war with Russia with our forces depleted to fund welfare

- clearly the exodus of 300,000 crap people as opposed to the influx of 500,000 pub/restaurant/taxi workers is making some people happy. I see that we're so under staffed that we've even had to import Big Issue sellers !

How long do you think cosy pub meals are going to last ?

BE said...

I doubt it could be inferred from my comment that I believe that it is a simple choice between a more transparent democracy and decent pub food.

What I was suggesting was that it isn't all awful all of the time. Clearly you think I am wrong, and there is very little I can do about that.

andrew said...

I would like a decent democracy and transparent pub food

Better representation and lose weight !

Anonymous said...

"certainly not eating in one - at least £100 to celebrate my boys' GCSE results the other day"

If you're prepared to wipe the table clean yourself, find a Wetherspoons on say a Tuesday night. £56 for seven people including drinks - we then added a perfectly decent bottle of Aussie red for £7.50 !

Don't go to them often but food is decent (not cordon bleu) and lots of real ale. Don't know how they do it for the price - min wage staff on zero hours ?

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