Excuse me, Mr Grayling

chris-grayling_237873kOn reading Chris Grayling’s telegraph article this morning [link] I came dangerously close to spewing coffee all over the keyboard. The article was entitled:

“Don’t be tempted by UKIP’s nice Nigel Farage.” 

I was astounded to find such a blatant disparity between the title and content of Mr Grayling’s article. I was rather hoping for a mercurial dissection of Mr Farage and his band of “clowns”. Instead Mr Grayling doesn’t actually spend much time addressing Mr Farage or UKIP, it is actually a discussion of Labour’s policy failings. He accuses Labour of not lacking ideas, and of stealing ideas they do have from the Conservatives. Fair enough you might say. This is however coming from a government that had to send MPs away for 2 weeks extra holiday simply because there wasn’t enough new legislation to debate [link]. Furthermore, it is from UKIP that the Tories are now stealing, on Europe, immigration etc. Hmm.

Grayling goes on to detail carefully the Conservative “plans” for the EU and a referendum. This changing stance has been a response to UKIP’s EU policy credentials, so you might think fair enough. But the whole process is steeped in uncertainties and ifs. First and foremost, this isn’t even a government bill, it comes from MP James Wharton’s private member’s bill.

We’ve been told now that any vote to pledge a referendum won’t be legally binding [link]. Add that to the fact that Cameron has U-turned on it once before doesn’t incline one to much trust. Were, as Grayling suggests, the Tories to get back into full government in 2015, we can have no guarantee that the Tories won’t simply change their minds. My great fear is that voters will be wooed falsely back into voting Tory on the promise of an EU referendum. But there is precisely nothing stopping the Conservatives from deciding that the vote “is no longer in the UK’s best interests.”

Cameron recently appointed a new Downing Street policy advisor, Daniel Korski, an infamous EU federalist [link]. This is a classic example of the bait-and-switch politics which we have now come to expect. How can we trust a Prime Minister who promises an In/Out referendum in public, yet takes advice from a Federalist in private?

At no point does Grayling address policy differences between the Tories and UKIP. But it is not just him. No Tories do, because they don’t actually have policy responses to UKIP. So they shout things like “clowns” at them instead [link].

He also wrings the tired old mangle of the now proven fallacy that UKIP voters are all disgruntled Tories. In actual fact a serious proportion of UKIP’s support is now drawn from former Labour supporters, to the extent to which Farage was facing a rebellion from party members for suggesting a deal with Tories at the next election [link]. Grayling is implying that UKIP is a Tory problem. It is not, it is a Westminster village problem. The barbarians are at the gates.

But this all pales in comparison to the last line of Mr Grayling’s article. He states, “You have been warned” as if poor Johnny Voter is unable to think for himself. Well that is the common point of view of Lib/Lab/Con. If there is no other reason to never vote Tory again, this is it. Those four words sum up not only the mentality of the Tory Party, but the mentality of all three Westminster parties. It is of a condescending Paternalism. A Paternalism that if allowed to continue after 2015 will merely preserve the hegemony of three patronising old social democrat political factions. The simple fact is that all three disdain the general public and are run by indentured activists.

Forget for a moment that the Tories, Labour and the LibDems might be stealing policies from each other and from UKIP, and think about what real change actually means. It means out with the old and in with the new. Voting UKIP is no longer a dirty protest to the Tory party. It is a vote towards a new way of thinking. A fourth way. Its time for a change. We have a clear and present opportunity to consign Paternalists like Grayling to the dustbin of history.

Edmund Greaves is co-editor of The Libertarian Press. He also writes travel articles at the www.curiousenglishman.com


  1. What entertains me about Mr Grayling’s pitch is that it seems to be something along the lines of “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

    Which is an odd admission for a Tory politician to make. That he accepts that for a significant chunk of Tory voters, UKIP are closer to them politically than the Conservative party themselves.

    Is that wise Mr Grayling?

%d bloggers like this: