Former Conservative Party MP and Times of London columnist Matthew Parris has today issued a plea to embattled Tory activists to “Fight Ukip. Fight their lies. Fight them now”. Parris doesn’t seem to mind telling some fibs of his own along the way, but at least he admits one thing outright: he says he is “frightened” of UKIP.
So he should be. UKIP is eating the Conservative Party’s lunch. But that a former Correspondence Secretary to Margaret Thatcher should publish something so disingenuous about a broadly Thatcherite party is a sign that not only is Britain’s political establishment rattled – they’re desperate.
Parris makes ludicrous leaps in his article:
“There are moments in life and in politics that are too important for tactics. Such a moment arrived for me this week when on to the doormat in the flats where I live in London’s East End, dropped the UK Independence Party’s election leaflet… it’s the first time I have felt just a little bit frightened. This thing has a bad smell. I picked up that leaflet, read the lies and saw the menace.
“…a young woman of Eastern European origin — always so pleasant and conscientious — who sweeps and cleans the entrance and staircase in the block, had arrived before I left. I wondered how the purple and yellow leaflets on the doormat would strike her, were she to look down. Put yourself in her shoes.
In the space of a few sentences Parris has moved from reading truths about Britain’s immigration problem – truths accepted by the former Home Secretary Jack Straw, and even a truth that plays a key part of the Conservative Party’s fatuous pledge to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ from the hundreds of thousands – to inferring threats of physical violence.
This is how desperate anti-UKIP critics are getting. It borders on defamatory to suggest that physical violence is implied by a leaflet calling for a reduction in immigration figures. It is also some leap to completely guess the mindset of Parris’s cleaner (quite in touch, isn’t he?). By the size and momentum of the group, she may well have been a member of the Friends of Poland in UKIP group for all Parris knows. But it was of course more expedient for Parris to simply assume the opposite – the liberal left are always keen to be offended on other people’s behalves, without asking them their actual opinions.
Such are the lies of desperate establishment types, who couldn’t congregate even a quarter of number of people as in Farage’s town hall last night.
So who is Parris speaking for when he quiveringly states, “I’ve always known [UKIP] was nasty, hypocritical nonsense but now, for the first time, I’m wondering whether it might catch on.”
If he was a responsible journalist, he would have reported that it already has caught on, and that the ‘extremism’ grenade that is lobbed at UKIPers speaks not to the 50 percent of people that claim to support UKIP in some regional polls, but only to Westminster’s political classes, desperate to hang onto power for fear that they have no talents by which to seek real employment. In other words, it is a dud.
Parris calls UKIP “an unpleasant mutiny within the Conservative party” – but speak to grassroots members of the Conservative Party, rather than he Tory leadership, and you’ll find that the unpleasant mutiny actually came about in 2005, when David Cameron and his Notting Hill set occupied and set out to drastically alter the nature of the 180-year-old institution.
No more were members given conference votes. No more did the leadership seek consensus from its base, or even seek to represent it. The Tory Party was subject to a coup d’etat – and they foolishly thought a fightback would never emerge.
While some have chosen to fight the usurpers from within, many Conservatives simply jumped to UKIP – making up around 40 percent of its swiftly growing membership base today. Even Parris accepts this: “Having placed themselves outside the party they pose as an external foe; but they have many friends within it, willing them on.”
“Many friends”, he notes. And he’s right. Many, many friends. So many that Conservative Party HQ and Number 10 have no idea what to do about them, and actually no idea who they even are, where the leaks are springing up, and therefore – no idea how to plug them.
And so they’re spraying and praying. Quite literally in some cases, with David Cameron suddenly announcing his God-fearing side, despite just a few years ago claiming that his faith “comes and goes”.
But we agree with Parris on one point. And that point applies as much to the opinion pages of the Times as it does to the Conservative Party’s leadership: “…there comes a time when you recognise something as bad: simply, unambiguously bad. This is the moment to put aside your calculations, tear up the strategists’ advice, decide which side you’re on, and shout it loud.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
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