The Tories are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore. They’ve has had enough of MPs and voters defecting to UKIP. They want us to know that if you’re a proper conservative, theirs is still the party for you.
Well, maybe not if you reckon Britain should leave the EU, because only selfish Little Englanders think that. And not if you believe that taxes and public spending should be cut, to stimulate the economy and liberate people from the dependency culture, or you’re a callous, free market fetishist. And not if you question the growing influence of our self-satisfied expert class, because that would make you an enemy of pragmatism and reason.
Nor are you any kind of conservative if you believe in the sanctity of free speech, which everyone knows is a license for bullying and discrimination. Nor if you reject the sensibilities of the metropolitan elite, which would make you a suburban philistine, who wants to turn Britain into a 1950s theme park. Nor if you question the wisdom of measures designed to combat global warming, which only an unscientific boob would do. Nor if you’re a preacher of hate for failing to support the every demand of designated victim groups. And certainly not if you’re a virulent racist, who dares to wonder if unchecked immigration might be bad for our social and economic wellbeing.
In fact, if you deviate too far from the big-spending, open-bordered, eco-friendly, micromanaged, multiculti model of Western society, it would be best if you didn’t call yourself a conservative at all. You’re not what the modern party is about. You’re an unhelpful reminder of the bad old days, before everyone agreed that the state was too small, the population lacked diversity, and freedom was a racket that politicians have a duty to guard against.
Perhaps I exaggerate, but only just, and the fact remains that many conservatives feel let down by the Tories. Are they wrong to do so? Were they naive for thinking that David Cameron would honour his manifesto pledge of an EU referendum? Was it gullible of them to expect the promised bonfire of the quangos to really happen? Were they guileless for hoping the Conservative Party would be enthusiastic champions of free markets, immigration controls and traditional values?
The Tories are asking conservatives to be patient, and warn that a vote for UKIP could let Labour in the back door. But do they really expect disillusioned voters to follow them wherever they go, abandoning their principles if necessary, just because a failure to do so might help the Labour Party? Is that the best the Tories have to offer: fear, loathing and the promise of jam tomorrow?
This isn’t just a conservative issue, anyway. People from across the political spectrum are unhappy with the direction the country is taking. They want to know by what right people in high places tell us how to live. They cannot understand why it is suddenly racist to be concerned by the effects of rampant immigration. They wonder why name-calling is now a hate crime. They are angered that politicians are unwilling to separate right from wrong. They resent that decent, law-abiding Brits are treated like an unruly rabble that must be brought to heel.
When voters say that politicians don’t understand their concerns, this is what they mean. They’re not all pining for a welfare wonderland, as the liberal media imagine; they’re waking up to the fact that they have nothing in common with the people who claim to have their interests at heart.
They don’t care about global warming or gay marriage. They don’t see prejudice and oppression wherever they look. They don’t regard patriotism as a dirty word. They don’t want to be told what to think, say, eat or drink. They just want a better future for themselves and their families, and don’t appreciate being treated like bigoted rubes for not holding the ‘right’ opinions.
They might have put up with this nonsense while New Labour’s bubble was yet to burst, and while it was able to paper over the cracks, but times have changed. They have come to realise that the progressive agenda is at odds with what they want this country to be, and they’re no longer prepared to put political allegiance first. Until the mainstream parties wise up to this and are prepared to change their ways, UKIP will continue to have its day.