Friday, 3 May 2013

Why the Tories are damned by UKIP

The surge in support for Nigel Farage's unlovely bunch of populist xenophobes is already sending shire Tories into meltdown.  From a cursory scan of the self-justifications coming out from unseated Conservative dinosaurs it appears that the two things that have damaged Cameron's mangy curs beyond repair are the Coalition and gay marriage.  A Freudian field-day could be had, given that the only genuinely unnatural alliance is between a liberal, tolerant organisation and a bunch of chancers who would have difficulty recognising a principle if it bit them.

Now the Tories will feel the need to cosy up to UKIP as its rise is taking some of their natural supporters even further into the far-right wilderness.  This can only be good news for the progressive left - even as Dave makes rightist noises about what an incoming Tory administration would like to do to Europe, the poor, the Celts and any other group that does not default to the cretinous maw it makes the Coalition look like a brake on madness rather than the betrayal that a certain skewed logic implied three years ago.

Cameron is damned if his flirtation with Farage succeeds or fails.  In his mendacious positioning as a break from the Tory past, he was gambling that the core support would stay loyal; as it is many of them have voted for the kind of snarling incoherence that Thatcher promoted, and more may have refused either to vote or to campaign for their old party.  Denuded by the right, and exposed as afraid when it comes to modernising, he has little choice but to tack right - and then blame both the Liberals and UKIP when he emerges as a petulant child crying from the top of a pile of manure.

This is an end-game - and over the next decade the Tories will retreat yet further as they have no discernible ideology or evidence of regeneration.  Their activists mutate from brain-dead to worm fodder, without new mutants emerging behind them.  Instead, they rely on inertia and the electoral system, both of which will come back to bite them.  They have relied on polarisation on the left, which is now happening on the right.  Democracy is not served by a system that cannot cope with a plurality and fragmentation of opinion - and a three- or four-way split across the UK will produce perverse and unpredictable results.  Sowing the wind will reap untold electoral upset, and they will not be able to blame this one on Nick Clegg.

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