This Game-of-Thrones election has been marred by a terrible injustice and we all know exactly what it is: the member for South Thanet right now should be UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the fact that he’s not is a totally bloody disgrace which reflects exceedingly badly on Cameron’s Conservatives and the political and media Establishment generally.
“Destroy Farage!” it often seemed was the single most important objective of their entire election strategy. Senior Tory after senior Tory was ordered into South Thanet to marshal the troops. Tame newspaper proprietors – who didn’t necessarily love Cameron but loathed and feared Miliband – co-operated by smearing UKIP with every desperate non-story they could trawl up and by dutifully trotting out the Lynton-Crosby-endorsed line that a vote for Farage was a vote for Miliband.
If Farage had been a weird lefty wonk or a rabid kilted nationalist or an eco-fascist loon this concerted campaign would have been understandable. But he’s not. As he’s shown time and again throughout his heroic campaign, he is a brave, decent, funny, likeable bloke who speaks his mind, has a good sense of humour and the common touch, and the kind of robust political principles – see the UKIP manifesto – with which the vast majority of Conservatives would agree wholeheartedly.
And still the Conservatives shafted him: far more viciously and determinedly, in fact, than they sought to shaft any of their true ideological enemies, whether Nicola Sturgeon, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband or Natalie Bennett. Why?
Well, of course, partly it was a Judaean People’s Front/Popular Front of Judaea thing: you always loathe those political rivals whose views accord most closely with your own. (Which is why the Nazis and the Communists so hated one another).
Partly too, it was straightforward Machiavellian commonsense. UKIP, by dividing the Tory party, had become an existential threat. Therefore UKIP had to be destroyed and the best way of achieving this was by decapitation.
Except we have a problem. Out there in the country right now are nearly four million UKIP voters who – having garnered 12 per cent of the vote – are feeling not a little disgusted that all they landed for their troubles was a single parliamentary seat. (Douglas Carswell)
Here, according to one tweeter, is the average number of votes it took for each party to win their seats. I don’t know how accurate they are except for the UKIP one, which is definitely right and tells you all you need to know about the injustice of it all.
These people are now the bitterest enemies of the government and if Cameron has any decency, magnanimity or political nous he’ll do something to sort out this problem quickly.
Decency requires it of him because what he and his party did to Farage was politically expedient but morally reprehensible. No one has done more to earn his place in Westminster than Nige.
Magnanimity requires it of Cameron because having just won a stonking victory which had more to do with fear of the Scots and of Miliband’s socialism than it did with his own achievements, he really ought to be of a mind to be spread his good fortune a little.
Political nous requires it of him because Farage is a brilliant, inspirational politician who deserves to be at the top table and because it makes no sense to make bitter enemies of a party which, though not the same as the Conservatives, definitely has much more in common with them than it does with Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems, the Greens.
What Cameron should do is follow the advice given by Lord Ashcroft in a tweet.
— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) May 8, 2015
If I were Cameron, I’d go a step further than that and offer Lord Farage a place in the cabinet. A seat in government is the least Farage deserves. It’s also the least UKIP deserves after all the effort it has put into this election and all the popular support it has won.
But it will never happen, I doubt. Even if Cameron were to countenance such a gift, Farage could never accept it because he would be seen as a traitor by his own party. He would be seen by the old Labourites within his ranks – Red UKIP – to have been co-opted by the enemy; while the Thatcherites and libertarians within his party would no doubt denounce him as a sell-out to the Conservative who destroyed Conservatism.
This pettiness, pride and factionalism is why I loathe party politics and why I’m so glad my attempts to become involved in it were so brief. I hate the fact that our two parties of the right now hate each other far more than the left-wing parties they ought to hate.
I wish there were some way of uniting the right. Anyone got any bright ideas?