I am a little saddened by the events of the weekend, and I will explain why.
I am not a member of the Conservative Party, and I do not know Stuart Wheeler. The reason I am not a member of the Conservatives is because of their policy (or lack there of) on the EU. I want to join the Conservatives, and help make their arguments, but I feel the EU is the greatest danger to the UK's well being today. I have long seen membership of the Conservatives as a barrier to talk freely on this issue.
The way I see it, the EU is a straight-jacket, that locks the whole continent into an expensive long winded way of doing things. In doing this, we are endorsing protectionist practices that is slowly strangling Africa, that is slowly poisoning a once strong relationship with America, and is totally incompatible with us taking much more than a ceremonious lead in the Commonwealth. We are ignoring our history and hard earned lessons; we could have no better giude to our future than to look into our past.
The EU laws which are being passed affect every single person on this island, and yet they are devised by people who do not live here, and who were not elected by us; then ratified in a chamber where the UK represents less than 10% of the vote. This is how over 75% of the laws which govern us are devised. When we talk about what ilk's us, a path can usually be drawn back past Westminster, to Brussels.
Stuart Wheeler it seems is a bit of an attention seeker. But, when needed, he put his money up to help the Conservative Party, to which they owe him a great debt. I would imagine that when he put up £5m, he did so because he felt he was doing what he felt was right for him and for his country. I salute that, I suspect others do to.
Prior to this weekend, I suspect Mr Wheeler concluded that what was right for him and for the country was no longer funding or voting for the Conservatives in the EU elections, but by highlighting that the Conservatives are not an EU-Sceptic Party. They are usually unwilling to talk about the EU. The greatest thinkers and writers in the country today make sound compelling Conservative arguments against socialism, terrorism and statism, but mention the EU and they turn to trifle. Wheeler has not just handed UKIP a cheque, he has handed them an argument, and a mandate not to vote Conservative in the EU Elections.
Where will the young right-leaning EU-sceptic conservatives go now?
Since Mr Cameron spliced his leadership campaign with EU-Sceptic overtures, he has remained very tight lipped on the EU. He should be commended for bringing the Conservatives out of the EPP, but he took his time in doing so. What is the new grouping going to stand for? As far as I can tell the new group will not be for the UK exiting the EU, but for internal reforms of the EU. Mr Cameron clearly therefore see's the UK and his own future as an EU member state. I do not. His pledge on a referendum on The Lisbon treaty seems to be rooted in the knowledge that he will not be PM in time to stop it being enforced. Despite the plea's from the grass-roots to shore up and strengthen that pledge, the party leadership remains united in silence.
It pains me as I want to see this dismal and unhinged labour Party ejected for a very long time, but I cannot personally give the Conservatives my vote in the EU elections, though I will on certain matters argue their case. This weekend, through Mr Wheelers actions, the Conservative Party can no longer cling to even the ambiguous notion that they are the anti-EU party. They have not just ejected a principle donor, they have ejected the notion that with them in power the UK will ever leave the EU.
So, I am also pledging not to vote for the Conservatives at the EU elections, even though I wish I could give Daniel Hannan my vote. Daniel Hannan and Doug Carswell have presented an exceptionally compelling case in their book, The Plan that the way in which we are governed can be changed. I know from comments on this blog and others that they are fighting a good fight and winning the argument. But they do not represent the current direction of the Conservative Party, instead they represent what many of us would like that direction to be. I would not actually be voting for Daniel, but for a Party which does not represent my views. To those who say I am helping split the Tory vote, tough. You can not consistently be wrong and silent on such a major point and expect not to lose support.
Part of their argument is that the parties should hold primaries to allow constituents to select and run for their local positions. I wholeheartedly agree, as I did with most of the book; which is why I have wanted to highlight the Jury Team cause, and I will continue to try to help in their cause by writing about them. If you too dislike who your chosen party stands in your area then I urge you to try having a hand in the selection, by looking at who is running in your area for Jury Team and voting in the primary. The main parties will not let you have a say in who they run. In doing so, you might just find someone who represents your views and values better than the party you would normally vote for.
I started this blog because I wanted to do something positive and because I wanted my voice heard. I have stood next to many people and had many rational conversations about how things should be and how they can be different. But those argument which seem so simple to me, seldom find representation at the top of Government. I wanted to put my voice into the mix and see if I couldn't nudge the Conservatives and likely Conservative voters towards a more open and direct style of democracy. Grand and sometimes noble aims are seldom met in a short time and in the first effort. The notion seems distant and unreachable today, but that does not mean it will not happen in the future.
If I was in the proverbial doorway looking in, I am now stood outside in the rain. It will be harder to be heard, but I will just have to make myself louder and more visible.
It might turn out that the biggest winner will not be UKIP but Gordon Brown. I suspect the fight between UKIP and the Conservatives is about to heat up. If UKIP and Tories focus their efforts on the same pool of voters, it may just be that some of those will dessert both; a pox on both their houses.