Quite recently the Conservative Party tried to bully the head of the oldest (small-c) conservative think-tank in the country by sending a legal letter to its chairman.
Benjamin Harris-Quinney was told by Conservative HQ’s hired goons that he was attempting to “pass off” as a representative of the party via the Conservative Grassroots organisation, which to my knowledge has never professed to be affiliated to the party. Alas, Cameron’s cabal thinks they own the word ‘conservative’ – a glaring error on their behalf, alongside the fact that the law regarding “passing off” doesn’t apply to political parties anyway. Own goal number 2.
But I was reminded of this little nugget by Matthew Parris’s insolent, frothing column in the Times yesterday.
He who couldn’t hack the House of Commons has petulantly taken to the pages of the paper to personally attack Douglas Carswell MP, who recently defected to UKIP.
Consider Parris’s lines of attack as I quote him directly:
“Never trust a man in love with his own probity,” he begins, failing to acknowledge the irony that soon becomes his own sanctimonious rantings.
He says Carswell, who has commanded the respect of libertarians and High Tories since his arrival in 2005 should now be treated with “immediate suspicion” over his defection.
“Here is a politician who, to get himself elected, wrapped himself in the mantle of the Conservative party, spent years at Westminster undermining the Conservative party and now renounces his party at a moment chosen to inflict maximum injury.”
Where to start with this one?
Parris conveniently dodges the fact that Carswell didn’t fake being a Conservative like him and his “moderate” (his words) colleagues. He is a conservative. At least more conservative than Parris.
He didn’t spend time at Westminster undermining the Conservative Party, he spent time at Westminster standing up for conservative principles while the Conservative Party chewed up and spat out the last vestiges of Toryism from the organisation. To this day we know that external consultants leave Number 4 Matthew Parker Street claiming, “they’re all a bunch of liberals” (and worse).
And yes, maybe Carswell did leave the Conservative Party at a moment chosen to inflict maximum injury. But that’s because men like Douglas Carswell are not loyal to their party over the interests of their country – an affliction that Cameron, Parris, and the other lily-livered pseudo-cons in Westminster would do well to catch.
“He is one of those characters who sometimes briefly thrives in the thin soil of Commons philosophising – a stupid person’s thinking person with a gift for making shallow oversimplifications sound wondrously deep”.
Already Parris has run out of road (just like his Commons’ career) and turned to hateful opprobrium. Playing the man not the ball, using ad hominem arguments to try and belittle a man whose “Commons philosophising” makes Parris himself look like a pipsqueak. Oh look now he’s got me at it… and while I’m there I’d like to point out that anyone who uses the combination of words “a stupid person’s thinking person” should probably not be a Times Opinion columnist.
And then Parris drones on for another 800 words or so talking about a coming Conservative Party schism. It’s really dreadfully written and awfully boring stuff, but read it if you must. He bleats on about the ‘moderates’ (read: liberals) within the party, and farcically attempts to lay claim to the term ‘Tory’, as his party tried with Conservative Grassroots, to lay claim to the word ‘conservative’.
“…we moderates must draw our own battle lines. And about this there must be no question: we aren’t shifting. We, the old, battered, wary, pragmatic, often-compromised, one-nation Conservative party, are the Tories”.
The reality is no one is asking Parris and co to shift. Carswell and his ilk within the Conservative Party have tried that approach for the past decade to no avail. They, like party apparatchiks who continue to threaten me, have never been willing to compromise. It is the right of the party that has always budged. But no more.
There is nothing ‘Tory’ or conservative about the party’s trade union-funded arm (more on this later). There is nothing pragmatic about wanting to remain in Europe at a cost to the nation. There is nothing old, or battered, or unifying about the modern, liberal, Conservative Party which prides itself on the fact that it no longer has active local branches, but instead buses young, promiscuous liberals around the country delivering leaflets in activist dead-zones.
In short: the Conservative Party is dead. Long live the conservative party: UKIP.