The Tories reserve their strongest words of the day for UKIP, the self appointed “respectable” party of the hard right. These are people who have singularly resisted the various charms of successive Tory leaders to urge the Party into being a little more reasonable and realistic. They have been given a real boost by the advent of David Cameron who is testing resolve like no other. They have been described by some as “the BNP for the Posh”.
UKIP have clearly concluded that if they, UKIP, can make enough noise and threaten the Tories enough electorally, they, The Tories, will come rushing back to the Right and start banging all those offensive drums again.
Thankfully we have joined the rest of the population in 2006 and realise that leading the country today requires rather more than lighting daily candles at Lady Thatcher’s alter, rebuilding the gun emplacements around the coast of East Anglia and deporting anyone we don’t like. Leading Britain today means understanding and responding to Britain as it is today. It is about time these people understood that Britain is as it is today because Thatcherism happened, not because Thatcherism stopped.
The great irony is, of course, that by doing what they are doing, they are actually advancing the very things they most want to prevent, EU integration, ID cards, unfettered immigration etc. If UKIP had just voted Tory at the last election, New Labour would have 30 fewer seats and an unmanageable majority of just 21 and the landscape would be looking very different. Not an ounce of political sense between them. Just those most attractive of qualities – belligerence and dogmatism.
Sadly however, Cameron was misguided to mock them in this way. It’s been tried before and it didn’t work then. The Party has a little more changing to do before those particular stones make it out of our glasshouse without the sound of shattering.