Guest Post: Toby Young: Unite the Right!

The most common objection to a CON-UKIP pact is that neither David Cameron nor Nigel Farage will touch it. So why waste time discussing it?

This was driven home by a YouGov poll last month which found that a formal electoral pact between the two parties would benefit Labour more than the Conservatives or UKIP, with Labour’s share of the vote increasing from 40 to 45 per cent as angry Conservative and UKIP voters deserted both parties. Apart, the two parties polled a combined total of 44 per cent; together, they could only muster 35 per cent. It’s clear that if either leader endorses a full-blown pact they will alienate significant numbers of their own supporters.

But a pact doesn’t need to be endorsed by the leaders of either party. What about a pact between the supporters? What I have in mind is a tactical voting alliance – a unite-the-right website that tells supporters of both parties which candidate is best-placed to win in their constituency, whether UKIP or Conservative. That wouldn’t be the sort of top-down arrangement that YouGov discovered would put off supporters of both parties. It would be a bottom-up initiative, with no formal party involvement. And it could have a significant impact on the next general election.

Take Eastleigh, for instance, a seat currently held by the Lib Dems. UKIP came second at the February by-election, so the advice on the website would be to vote for Diane James in Eastleigh because she’s the candidate best placed to defeat the incumbent. It wouldn’t need every Conservative voter in Eastleigh to follow this advice in order to oust Mike Thornton. Just a small percentage might be enough. And, of course, Conservative candidates would gain if UKIP supporters follow the website’s advice in constituencies where the Tories are best-placed to win. As Lord Ashcroft pointed out last month, Conservative MPs are currently on course to lose their seats in at least 32 CON/LAB marginals thanks to the surge in UKIP support. If some of these UKIPpers could be persuaded to vote tactically, those seats might not fall to Labour.

Sceptics will say the Eastleigh example is misleading. In the majority of constituencies, the advice will be to vote Conservative, either because there’s a sitting Tory MP or because the Conservatives came second in that seat in 2010. Why should UKIP supporters enter into any sort of tactical voting alliance with Conservatives when the quid pro quo will be so one-sided?

The first thing to say is that the arrangement won’t be as asymmetrical as some UKIP voters think. The website wouldn’t just base its recommendations of who to vote for in 2015 on the 2010 election result. The aim will be to predict as accurately as possible which of the two parties’ candidates has the best chance of winning in each constituency and, to do that, it will need to take other factors into account, such as the results of by-elections, local elections and the European election. That will mean there’ll be numerous constituencies in which Conservative supporters are advised to vote UKIP in 2015. At present, the constituencies of Eastleigh, South Shields and Rotherham all fall into this column, to name just three; many more would after the European election.

Who will decide which candidate the website endorses? I like the idea of a Unite the Right committee made up of equal numbers from each party. Yes, there will be arguments, but in most cases it will be pretty clear which candidate is best placed to win the seat. Where the committee can’t agree, the seat will just be declared “Too close to call.”

Okay, say plenty of Ukip supporters. Maybe such an arrangement would increase the chances of some UKIP MPs being elected in 2015. But the other impact of tactical voting would be to increase the chances of the Tories winning an overall majority. That is, of seeing David Cameron remain in Downing Street. And that’s the last thing they want. What I’ve failed to grasp, they say, is that the vast majority of UKIP supporters have no more time for Cameron than they do for Miliband or Clegg. Indeed, many of them would prefer to see Ed Miliband in Downing Street after the next election than Cameron. At least Miliband makes no bones about being a social democrat. And after five years of a Miliband-led Labour government, who knows, people might be willing to elect a UKIP majority government.

There’s a simple rebuttal to this argument: EU referendum. At present, our best hope of an EU referendum is if the Conservatives win an overall majority or if they’re in coalition with UKIP. Tactical voting along the lines I’m suggesting makes both of those outcomes more likely. If Ed Miliband wins an overall majority, by contrast, or if we end up with a Lib-Lab coalition, there won’t be a referendum. Is the hatred of UKIP supporters for David Cameron really so great that they’d prefer to sacrifice what may well be our last chance to extract ourselves from a United States of Europe rather than see him get re-elected? (As for the argument that “cast iron” Dave would renege on the referendum promise, don’t you believe it. If he did, he’d tear his party apart, as Adrian Hilton convincingly argues here.)

There’s a longer argument to be made, too, which has to do with all the other things we agree about. Supporters of both parties believe in low taxes, controlled immigration, freedom of speech, school choice, a welfare cap… the list goes on. The things we disagree about, by contrast, are fairly trivial in the grand scheme of things – what Sigmund Freud called “the narcissism of small differences”. Okay, it’s unrealistic to think the leaders of either party will put aside their narcissistic attachment to these differences, but the parties’ supporters?

The LibLabCon rhetoric belies the fact that we’re all, essentially, members of the same family. We’re all conservatives with a small “c”, even those UKIP supporters who voted Labour in the past. Whatever your feelings about the present leader of the Conservative Party, surely a Cameron-led government, committed to an in-out referendum, would be preferable to a Miliband-led government, committed to price fixing and land confiscation and God knows what else? And make no mistake – that’s what we’ll get if we can’t put our differences aside and unite the right.

I’m not asking supporters of either party to betray their principles. Rather, I’m inviting them to come together in the national interest. Think about what Britain would look like after five years of Ed Miliband. The economy in the toilet, immigration out of control and the last remnants of national sovereignty transferred to Brussels. The Great Britain you know and love would be gone, replaced by a politically correct dystopia in which no dissent from left-wing groupthink is tolerated. Will the last person to leave the country please turn out the Ecozone, energy-saving Biobulb?

Obviously, some UKIPpers will stick to their guns, as will some Conservatives. In all likelihood, most will. But if only a few of us are prepared to do vote tactically, it will still have an impact. As Tim Montgomerie reminded us in the Times a couple of weeks ago (££), Neil Kinnock came very close to denying the Tories a majority in 1992. “If only 11 Conservative candidates had together received 2,473 fewer votes in total they wouldn’t have been elected and John Major might not have been Prime minister,” he wrote.

If a Miliband-led socialist government doesn’t appeal to you, join me in trying to heal the rift among conservatives. Help me set up a tactical voting website. Become a member of the joint Conservative-UKIP committee. Email me at conukip@gmail.com, including your constituency in the subject line, and let’s unite the right. I’m looking for website designers, psephologists and tactical voting experts. I’m looking for disillusioned Conservatives for whom stopping Miliband is more important than giving Cameron a bloody nose. I’m looking for eurosceptics who recognise that if Labour wins the next election our last chance of an in-out EU referendum may vanish into the ether.

Above all, I’m looking for conservative-minded voters who love their country and are willing to heal the rift between us before Britain is permanently enslaved by a socialist European superstate.

We hang together or we hang separately.

Unite the right.

  • http://gravatar.com/filthylucre500steps Ben

    “The Great Britain you know and love would be gone, replaced by a politically correct dystopia in which no dissent from left-wing groupthink is tolerated.”

    This is the Great Britain we have at the moment, and this is with a Cameron led government.

    Still, I am persuaded that weakening Conservative support would result in it being less likely we would have an in-out referendum on Europe, although I do not believe that Cameron can be trusted one inch on this matter. So overall I would vote tactically to avoid the dreadful burden that a Miliband government would place on an already suffering populace.

  • http://blogitics.org right_writes

    Since the communising of British society in 1945 and the seemingly relentless hardening of the various communist “competences” by a combination of highly politically motivated bureaucrats and politicians from BOTH major parties ever since.

    I would conclude that the Tory party, apart from the exception that was Thatcher, is not fit for purpose, and rightly is well on the same path that the Liberal Party took in the 1920′s when faced with Labour.

    Better make the move soon Toby.

    RIP Tory Party.

  • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

    Toby, Are you going to give your movement a name ?

    May I suggest “The Flogging a Dead Horse Society”.

  • Simon Roberts

    Problems with this idea:

    1/ Miliband will be offering a referendum by the time of the election.

    2/ The Conservatives are not conservative any more. In many respects Cameron is more left wing than Blair.

    3/ UKIP are not a right-wing party, many members are ex-Labour.

    4/ Cameron cannot be trusted to deliver a referendum. In fact, “he” isn’t offering one at all. He was pressured into backing a private members bill against his wishes.

    5/ UKIP isn’t only about the EU any more.

    I’ve already given a longer response on your blog (http://www.nosacredcows.co.uk/blog/comments/2314/unite_the_right_conservative_and_ukip_supporters_must_put_aside_the_narcissism_of_small_differences.html#view_comments) but, in a nutshell, you’re looking at this whole issue from within the Westminster bubble.

    You are seeing it as a matter of working within the current system in order to get out of the EU. The problem is that we are voting UKIP in order to blow up the current system as it is corrupt and unrepresentative.

    Long story short – UKIP will ensure that the Tories are never elected to power again until either:

    a/ They start to represent the average person again (which is an open goal now that Labour has abandoned the working class). or

    b/ The Tories die away and make way for a new party – which will be UKIP.

    I don’t particularly care whether a new, representative party is UKIP, the Tories or the Raving Loonies – as long as they destroy the current system and go back to proper democracy.

    • http://blogitics.org right_writes

      There was a brief respite (oddly by the most successful and long serving PM of the 20th C), when the Tory party looked like it might be interested in representing the vast majority of the British people…

      She was NOT a traditional conservative, she was an economic liberal, although socially a bit conservative, due to the protestant upbringing I suppose…

      UKIP is not conservative either, but it is being noticed by the (silent) majority that it has a lot of good ideas, that represent their interests… Farage himself and a good proportion of members are economically liberal, and also socially liberal.

      Simon has it nailed with his comments above.

      People are easily caught up in the Westminster bubble, I noticed this at the UKIP conference… There are probably very few people that even noticed Godfrey’s antics… But it was sheer frenzy there on the day.

      From my point of view and something that drew me to UKIP from around 1996-7, their most important philosophical policy which gets very little mention, is their devotion to the concept of local direct democracy…

      …Push power down to the smallest constituency at every possible juncture…

      Which is not “anti” anything!

  • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

    “……You are seeing it as a matter of working within the current system in order to get out of the EU. The problem is that we are voting UKIP in order to blow up the current system as it is corrupt and unrepresentative……..”

    Good point. Blowing up the current system is the only (faint) hope we have.

  • http://twitter.com/Iainmckie_UKIP Iain Mckie (@Iainmckie_UKIP)

    Bath and NE Somerset UKIP branch asked their members whether or not they should field a candidate against the reputedly Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg. 76% voted against a ‘pact’ and will be fielding a candidate against him in 2015. I expect other branches will soon follow and ask the members what they want. After all, Farage said that this is a matter for the local associations.

  • Michael

    There’s a reason that once people pick UKIP they don’t change their mind again. It takes a while for people to wake up and see the truth about what is being done to this country and where that path ends up. But once you see that truth, you can’t un-see it, and you have no choice but to support the only Party that is making any sense at all.

    And it’s obvious when those that haven’t figured out complain about trivialities about them, “oh they are fruitcakes” or “they are only a protest party not fit to govern” – some people are going to be stuck in the matrix until it ends.

    And the idiot media think that at the end of the day they can spin, lie, smear and obfuscate and all of us UKIP supporters are magically going to go back to the Tories (or increasingly Labour) in the general election. They are absolutely clueless and have NO IDEA what is going on and why people are so dead set on UKIP. This is not just an election for the 2014 European Elections or the 2015 General elections, it’s a movement, and it is not a season of X-Factor that ends in the Spring. It’s a hope to secure Liberty for future British generations. UKIP is garnering more votes by orders of magnitude compared to 2010, and so many of these media fools thinks it’s only “mid-term blues”.

    Month by month, the cracks in the oligarchy power structure grow as they slowly lose control of their giant pyramid scheme. At some point the masses will awaken and realise this is not the way.

    • http://blogitics.org right_writes

      Good comments Michael, I suppose I should make it clear that when I use the term liberalism/liberal, I actually mean libertarian in the same sense that Locke used… Not as in ‘effin LibDim!

  • Alan H

    Little hope of any CON-UKIP pact regarding the Constituency of Rochester where so called Euroskeptic Mark Reckless is M P. Our team of UKIP activist have already been out campaigning here and would think it crazy to do so after the positive response we have received over the months. Mark Reckless may be a very nice man but he is a Tory and as a Tory has helped to damage our Country. UKIP can make its own way in politics and need no pacts. I know for a fact that we will be going flat out in Rochester for a UKIP win at the next General Election.

  • Brimstone

    A bit of history for you:-

    1950s: The Tories tried to get us into the EEC when the Treaty of Rome was being drafted. Labour was against. The deciding factor was the French veto.

    1960s: Tory governments made further approaches to the EEC for the UK to be admitted. Both Labour and the French remained against.

    1973: The Tories took us into the EEC without a referendum and without revealing the long term plan to transform a trading block into a political union. The French had changed their view. Labour policy remained against.

    1983: Labour changed their policy and became supporters of the UK’s membership of the EEC.

    1986: A Tory PM signed the Single European Act which laid the ground rules for the EU.

    1992: Another Tory PM signed the Maastricht Treaty which created the EU.

    2007: A Labour PM signed the Lisbon Treaty.

    Why should the people trust either the Tories or Labour with the long term future of the UK?

    • http://blogitics.org right_writes

      Yes Brimstone… In 1970 that same PM stated that he wished to negotiate entry into the EEC… NOT join, then once he had got the go ahead from Brer DeGaulle he stated that the UK wouldn’t actually accede without a “substantial” majority vote in Parliament…

      His majority was 8. The Tory party had an overall majority of 38, so he couldn’t even get full support from his own party.

      • Brimstone

        Thanks for that. I wasn’t aware of the level of lack of support.

  • Brian Williams

    “The most common objection to a CON-UKIP pact is that neither David Cameron nor Nigel Farage will touch it. So why waste time discussing it?”

    This is a well known fallacy, generally known as the “false dilemma”. A third option is that the Tory rump, realising that their weaselly slimeball of a lying leader is going to lose them the next election come what may because of a catalogue of alienation, dumps the piece of poo and enters into a coalition with UKIP, rather like the Canadian Reform Party.

    The sooner the better really – get rid of the wets like Ken Clarke, and the metrosexual who wants to cement over the countryside, let them join the Lib-Dumbs and create a REAL conservative party, not a CINO.

    Farage only said that he would not deal with Camoron – and who can blame him? – Moron Cam is not to be trusted with the petty cash, let alone the country.

  • Brian Williams

    How can Toby Young pretend that getting another Tory/Lib coalition led my Moron Cam would be any better than Ed the Millipede?

    They are BOTH crypto-Marxists! Would a REAL conservative redefine marriage when there is a perfectly good civil partnership? Would a real conservative, having seen the end of Looney Huhne give his department to Raving Davey and see our power bills become unaffordable by the poor?

    No. I’d rather see Millipede than Mr shiny faced weasel boy back in power. At least then he would be chucked in the Thames with 1922 knives in his back. We would then be set for a proper UKIP victory or coalition in 2020.

    TOBY! GET RID OF CAM THE MORON OR L-O-S-E-!!!!

  • Brian Williams

    “The LibLabCon rhetoric belies the fact that we’re all, essentially, members of the same family.”

    WRONG. The LibLabCon “rhetoric” proclaims the FACT that the 3 parties are essentially alternative faces of the SAME puppet oligarchy EUSSR satrap. They are ALL cynical crypto-Marxists toeing the line for an EU sinecure and fabulous pension, hence WILL NOT rock the EU boat.

    They are NOT to be trusted. ANY of them.

  • kevinsmith2013

    Personally, I believe getting an In/Out Referendum is THE most important issue we face. I would like to see UKIP be the party to lead us to that, but I can’t see it happening, not whilst we have the first past the post system. UKIP could potentially receive 25% of the popular vote and still have not one MP in Westminster, I don’t see that happening, but realistically how many will they get? They don’t have the resources (yet) to fight every constituency like an Eastleigh.

    Best bet would be a re-invigorated conservative party, getiing rid of Cameron, Osborne, Clarke, Hague and all Bilderberg attendde’s, not just from government but from the party. Return to traditional tory values and then create a pact with UKIP, someone Farage et al can work with.

    Sadly, this won’t happen, and most likely scenario at the moment is Red Ed will get in by default, but, if he offers a referendum, then that achieves the main objective.

    • Brimstone

      “Return to traditional tory values”

      It was “traditional Tories” that took us into the EEC/EU without seeking the consent of the people of the UK.

      See my previous post, “A bit of history…”

      Any attempt at a pact between the Tories and UKIP would see UKIP lose a lot of support. A great many members were Labour supporters.

  • http://theskinner.blogspot.com Neal Asher

    “the narcissism of small differences”

    I don’t think so. Cameron is still in love with the idea of vote blue get green. Only in UKIP do you get any sense on CAGW. Saying yes or no to this nonsense is the difference between crippling our country and blowing vast amounts of money on ‘green schemes’, or not.