The Telegraph, of course, is no longer the Torygraph in the way the Guardian is Labour and the Independent LibDem.
But the Spectator is and a set piece editorial has appeared:
This week’s Immigration Bill gives another example of pointless rebellion. The Bill toughens up the current law a little, but that wasn’t good enough for the rebels. They decided to introduce a hopeless amendment: retrospective controls on Romanian and Bulgarian newcomers. This particular battle was lost several years ago and to re-enact it now is worse than futile.
There’s much in that vein, including a fanciful blurb on this supposed recovery – high street tills ringing, eh? Predictably, there’s a two-pronged attack – one against UKIP and the other against the Tory rebels. The cause was not helped by Carswell’s backsliding.
I wrote a piece on why there is no recovery but the Slog’s is more definitive. Cameron must have this recovery to have any hope of averting a split but it ain’t coming. Not only that, he may be able to cow a party through the spectre of an inevitable defeat but he’s not cowing a public which is mightily peeved:
# I am afraid that the consistent ignoring of the will of the public has put Cameron’s re-election as PM beyond his reach. The gay question has far more against it that many would dare to admit. I don’t trust him and the way he has forced unwanted legislation upon us and giving our (borrowed) money away is unforgivable.
# It may be that the Conservative Party, as we have known it, is finished. Nominally, it serves to provide an umbrella under which various right-wing politicians can shelter, but many of these espouse ideologies inimical to what has been perceived as traditional conservatism in Britain.
The only people who believe in Cameron now are a rump of pink Tories – while real conservatives, Lib Dem and Labour voters do not. The answer is for Cameron to go and for a real conservative to start putting policies the public have indicated in many polls they want. Militating against that, of course, is that the quislings in the party have the edge in numbers, with Labour and the Lib Dems joining Cameron to trample conservatism at each major vote.
UKIP still haven’t convinced the public as a whole and there’s no natural leader among the rebels. It’s a stand-off.
Autonomous Mind, quite naturally, poo-poohs UKIP as it militates against Richard North’s Harrogate Agenda and he may be right to say Atkinson and Co are simplistic but he’s not right to say we could not conclude trade agreements. It just would not be with the EU. It would be with individual countries in Europe and the EU would soon collapse. Trade is trade and transcends political niceties. That is, it will still go on irrespective. Customs formalities are not an insurmountable problem either.
I don’t see it being UKIP who actually do this, it is too early in any public consciousness, the public won’t put them in. Rather it is going to have to be a split Tory party with the conservative elements joining with those who’ve gone to UKIP plus other UKIPers from other parties. There’ll have to be some sort of political coalition of similarly thinking people on the major issues such as immigration, defence, education, hospitals, the law.
Once the momentum goes that way, many who stayed with the pink Tories for reasons of party solidarity will see where the conservatives really are headed and may finally move to dislodge Cameron and Osborne in favour of someone who could bring all the elements back together.
Cutting right through this, of course, would be bad economic figures and a strong UKIP showing in the European elections.