Who are you going to vote for on Thursday? For me, it’s a real toughie. My local Conservative candidate Chris Heaton Harris is both a personal friend and exactly the kind of principled and sound candidate I’d like to see in Westminster.
He has been at the forefront of the campaign against one of my personal bêtes noirs – the hideous, expensive, environmentally destructive and pointless wind farms which have been despoiling our countryside. As a member of a party as vacuously committed to “renewable energy” as its Labour predecessors, he has done his career few favours by taking this principled stand. There is no question that he deserves my vote. But can I bring myself to give it to his party?
My dilemma, I know, is one that will be shared by many on the Thatcherite right. We’re natural conservatives, at least with a small “c” if not a large one. Yet if we vote for this particular lot of Conservatives we are tacitly endorsing a party we have long since ceased to believe in. Our party – the Vichy Tories, as the great Gerald Warner calls them – has been hijacked by spineless, vapid, closet, discreetly Europhile social democrats, led by David Cameron, (dis-)ably encouraged by a damp rag of squishy ‘modernisers’ including Oliver Wetwin, Nick Boles, William Hague and many others too depressing to mention.
And this isn’t snorting right-wing curmudgeonliness. This is plain, observed reality.
As “Conservatives”, the Cameroons have failed on any number of levels.
Under the banner “Vote Blue, Go Green”, they have slavishly endorsed the European Union green agenda, committing Britain to hopelessly unrealistic, economically-damaging “carbon”-reduction targets, driving up energy prices and funding with money the taxpayer simply cannot afford white elephant projects like offshore wind at three times the cost of conventional energy production.
They remain committed to another white elephant, HS2 which – like wind and solar – will lay a trail of destruction through swathes of our matchlessly beautiful countryside, at enormous cost but with economic benefits which remain at best moot.
They have pared our defences to the bone at a time when, thanks to the rise of ISIS and the sabre-rattling of President Putin, the world has rarely looked more unstable since the end of the Cold War.
They have presided over a continued period of mass immigration, pretending to share the concerns of the electorate who are deeply bothered by it, but doing nothing to control it – recognising, as they cynically do, that enlarging the economy (though not, it must be stressed, GDP per capita) is their best, fragile hope of offsetting Britain’s massive national debt.
They have proved utterly pusillanimous in the face of the home grown Islamist threat. (Note, for example, how it wasn’t government intervention that unseated the corrupt and divisive Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman, but four very brave individuals and a maverick judge).
They haven’t even been good at the one thing they’re supposed to have been good at: the economy. Sure it has grown – but then, so do fingernails on a corpse. The real point is that none of the underlying problems of the 2008 crash have been addressed because the Conservatives haven’t had the moral courage, the ideological rigour, or indeed the inclination to admit what the real problem is: free markets have been killed by an unholy alliance of crony capitalism, a too-big-to-fail financial sector, and a lawyer-parasite tyranny of compliance. Quantitative easing, far from making money more available to the small businesses which really need it, has simply served to empower the bloated City and concentrate still more money in the hands of the asset-owning classes. This has created the disparity of wealth which has fuelled the hard-left rhetoric of everyone from the SNP and Ed Miliband to the Greens, Canon Giles Fraser, Russell Brand and the Occupy movement. And who can blame the new Reds for seizing the opportunity when Cameron has created such an open goal for them? Cameron is incapable of defending capitalism because the bastard variation he has helped engender is indeed indefensible.
Do I want to vote for these people? Do I really?
And I haven’t even got to the most annoying thing of all about the Conservatives yet. That toxic mix of complacency and arrogance with which they have conducted their entire election campaign.
“Vote for us because you’ve really nowhere else to go. It’s either us or Ed Miliband and the SNP. And you’re far too smart a fellow to want that, aren’t you, peon?”
Well that one could be the clincher. As I say, I haven’t yet made up my mind – I’ll tell you what I think of UKIP tomorrow. But sometimes, I can’t help feeling, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do: vote with his heart not his calculating brain, raise two fingers and say: “Sod you, you insufferable, patronising tits.”
Don’t you reckon?