Sunday, 29 March 2009

Which one is a Conservative?

Answer: Neither.

The two men above share many characteristics. Both are self-made millionaires. Both are English patriots. Both feel a deep resentment at the interference of the EU in British affairs.

Both have given large donations to the Conservative party. Both have committed large donations to UKIP as well. And both have tried to hijack Conservative party policy by putting extreme pressure on the leadership to adapt its policies to their views.

The fact that, at different times, neither of these men has been satisfied their pressure has worked – and consequently they have redirected their wealth at UKIP – shows the Tory party, at least, is not easily for turning by the screw of wealthy donors.

And that, unequivocally, is a good thing.

But what about the polices these, undoubtedly sincere, men wanted to achieve?

The one on the left (above) has been a eurosceptic campaigner for nearly twenty years, joining and leaving the Conservative party many times over the EU.

His first resignation, in 1991, came when John Major forced the Maastricht Treaty through parliament. He joined again, but resigned again over Major's flirtation with the euro. In 1997, he subsidised Tory candidates election expenses as long as they stood on a eurosceptic manifesto. Soon after, he formed the all-party Democracy Movement. In 2000, he was persuaded to join the party once more under William Hague. But after some months he was finally expelled over his non-party line on EU statements.

The man on the right (above) made his most significant donation of £5 million to the Conservatives before the 2001 election. Asked what he hoped to gain, he said, "I don't want anything from them at all."

Since then, he has been a frequent voluble critic over his wish that the Tory party stiffen its resistance to the EU, especially over the Lisbon (Constitutional) Treaty.

Last year, he sought a High Court injunction to stop Gordon Brown ratifying the Treaty without first holding the referendum he, and other main parties, had promised on the pre-Lisbon version. He failed and Gordon Brown rushed the Treaty through parliament before an appeal.

Now he wants David Cameron to reiterate his promise that in government he will hold a referendum. Cameron has promised a referendum, but has left the issue open if the Treaty has already been adopted by all EU states. And this is where the two finally came unstuck.

There is no doubt this man is deeply sincere over the present annual cost of EU regulation of Britain (£1000 per head) being an unjustifiable burden on our population. And EU influence in domestic, judicial and foreign affairs becoming an ever-enlarging menace to our liberties.

But David Cameron is merely reflecting the view of most of the population in wishing issues concerning the EU to simply go away. At this moment, there are bigger fish to fry, rigging to clear and hulls to caulk.

Pol-e-tics believes lobbying political parties for policy change is an honourable part of the democratic process. But changing policies on the demand of one wealthy donor just appears corrupt. However worthy the cause, financial reward makes it tainted. Better he takes his money to UKIP.

Note: Pictured on the left, Paul Sykes and on the right, Stuart Wheeler


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I watched Mr Wheeler on the Politics Show earlier and he said that David Cameron hadn't promised a vote on the Libon Treaty for over a year. My vote in June and at the next General Election goes to the party that gives a cast iron guarantee that a referendum will take place.

Pol-e-tics said...

Thank you Finchley blogger.