To a Conservative Branch Chairman

Since leaving the Conservative Party for UKIP, I have been astonished, and very gratified, to find that with a few exceptions the reaction from former Conservative colleagues was much more positive than I could have anticipated.  The great majority understood and respected my decision, even though they may not have agreed with me (though some did).

But inevitably, there have been some criticisms.  I just had a letter from a Branch Chairman criticising my decision, and I have replied in the following terms:

Dear Branch Chairman:

Thank you for your letter of March 26th, which I have only just received.  I understand and respect your view, though you may be interested to know that a majority of Conservatives who have been in touch with me since my move to UKIP have taken a much more positive view.

You ask me why after years of association with the Conservative Party, I “finally gave up”.  This is easily answered.  I had been a party member for forty years or so, and a Conservative MEP for over twelve years.  I had been “fighting from within the Party for what I believe is right”, as you put it, all that time, but I finally had to accept the reality that successive Conservative leaders simply have no intention of taking back powers from Brussels.  Indeed this Tory-led government is handing powers to the EU faster than Blair and Brown did before them.

I concluded that the Conservative Party, like the EU, is beyond reform.

I may add that I have not changed the clear opinions which I expressed at successive selection meetings.  I know from long experience that the views of rank-and-file Conservative Party members in the East Midlands are much closer to my own views than to those of the leadership.  I can represent those views much more effectively from a Party which shares them, rather than from a Party which is embarrassed by them.

It is not just Europe.  For me, disagreements on climate and energy have been equally important.  I believe that our present energy policy (or lack of it) will on the one hand undermine our economic competitiveness and drive pensioners into fuel poverty.  On the other hand it will jeopardise energy security and lead to serious shortages and black-outs by the end of the decade.

I have also been angry at the Tory positions on university admissions, grammar schools, Nanny-Statism, immigration, the ECHR, policing and defence.  Indeed I struggle to find a Conservative policy that I doagree with.  I think it was Andrew Lillico who said “UKIP may not be conservative, but at least it’s not as anti-conservative as the Tories”.

You probably take the view that in these circumstances I should have stood down in favour of Rupert Matthews, who was next on the list.  I attempted to do so, but my attempt was blocked by Party Chairman Baroness Warsi, who has only herself to blame.  I find that many Conservative MPs in the region are a great deal angrier with Baroness Warsi than they are with me.

I hope that in 2014 you will compare the UKIP manifesto for the euro-elections with the Conservative one.  I think you will find that most of your members will find more to agree with in the UKIP document.

Yours etc.

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17 Responses to To a Conservative Branch Chairman

  1. Phil Richmond says:

    Roger,
    I was a Conservative Party member/voter from when I turned 18 in 1987 until David Cameron. I completely agree with what you said. Sadly if voting UKIP lets Labour in it just doesnt matter anymore as all three main parties are the same.
    I thought it was very illuminating yesterday what actress “luvvie” Helena Bonham Carter said (who is a close friend of the PM) about Cameron not being Conservative.
    Many Tory MPs should be worried as most of my friends and colleagues only voted Conservative in 2010 to get rid of Brown despite not liking/trusting Cameron. The fact that they are all private sector highly paid professionals and none of them will vote Conservative whilst Cameron is leader makes me think that he will be a one term PM.
    I joined UKIP as well last year. Keep up the good work.
    Phil.

  2. neilfutureboy says:

    There is a place both for those who join UKIP & those who continue to “fight fromm within” (so long as the latter really do fight rather than make the excuse they can do nothing). A comparison would be with the Protestant Reformation. In due course this led to many of the abuses the protestants had protested against being ended by reformersw withing the catholic Church. Had there been only the corrupt left in the church this could not have happened but neither would it ever have happened had there been no Protestants outside.

    The public image of UKIP is too much that we are simply Tories. I have never been a member of that party. I was a LibDem but had the good fortune not to have to make the decision to leave because the party (the Scottish bit which is even more loony than the rest) expelled me on a charge of believing in economic liberalism, lower housing costs and cheap nuclear electricity.

  3. Harry says:

    UKIP are a poor man’s Conservative Party.

  4. Gary Rickard says:

    Like Phil, I too joined UKIP last year.

    Eventually, you have to do what is right rather than following the flock.

  5. nicklincoln says:

    Wow. Phil’s comment above absolutely echoes my experiences down to a (spooky) tee. I also turned 18 in 1987; have voted Tory all my life; voted for Cameron just to make SURE Brown was elected out etc.

    Finally, to ape Phil’s life further, I too joined UKIP last year. I’ve maybe taken the “change” one step further than him: I am standing as a UKIP candidate for Local and County Councillor on 3rd May in Watford (a LibDem heartland).

    I feel (and really hope) there are lots of “Phils” and “Nicks” out there….

    • Rob Bryant says:

      Well done, Nick, and good luck. If our exoerience in Bromley is anything to go by you will be surprised by how many votes you receive. You will let all those UKIP sympathisers in Watford, who think they are alone, know that there are lots of them and they are not alone.

      Up the rebels!

  6. I am a libertarian and I have been concerned about the state of what I consider my home land – the United Kingdom. I have often wondered why UKIP doesn’t make a larger splash in the political pool but it is similar to the libertarian party here I suppose.
    I ran into a couple from England back during the election and asked them about UKIP and some of the other parties and they had not heard anything about UKIP.
    Keep fighting the good fight because I have been speaking with several of my friends here and the U.S. is getting so bad that we are going to have to come home and abandon these colonies…

    • rfhmep says:

      Recent polls show us ahead of the Lib-Dems, and the third party in the country. And we’re going to rock the foundations in 2014!

  7. Derek says:

    One reason why I have remained in the Conservative Party is that it contained people like you, Roger, and Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell, Peter Bone, Philip Davies etc. Now you have gone it is a little bit less inviting, but I still feel it offers better prospects than Labour under Ed Miliband. If UKIP were to reach say 25% in the polls and there was a clear opportunity of UKIP MPs and if I had an MP whose voting record showed he did not represent my interests I would then vote UKIP.

    I know it’s a catch-22 situation as unless people switch to UKIP you will never get to 25%; perhaps we should lie to the pollsters and say we will vote UKIP. I’m surprised how honest people are when completing these polls.

    • Gary Rickard says:

      Derek, I think this is where the next European elections become crucial. A very strong UKIP showing might just open the door to the prospect of voters supporting UKIP at the next general election.

      There is a great deal of apathy generally amongst voters for the Euro elections but not amongst UKIP supporters.

      The only thing that is for certain is that UKIP is on the way up but there needs to be a significant surge at the European elections to release the reluctant voter who wants to vote with conscience but is afraid of wasting their vote or helping Milliband.

      The other thing that a strong showing for UKIP might do is convince Cameron that he needs to be a Conservative or convince Conservatives that Cameron is sailing the Tory Titanic at full speed through an ice field and it might be a good idea to get a better Captain.

      UKIP won’t provide the next Prime Minister but it might just prevent the next Prime Minister from being a prat.

  8. David C says:

    I’d join UKIP like a shot if it wasn’t so cautious on immigration. Round here (Oxford) the place would grind to a halt without European and other foreign workers – the place would be devastated if they all had to go home.

    • rfhmep says:

      We’re getting close to the point where we have to say — just believe we can win, and we will. I’ve been amazed how many people seem to agree with us and support us.

    • Colin T says:

      David there are plenty of Britsh people out there who be only too happy to take those jobs if they were given the opportunity.

      • David C says:

        Colin:
        Almost half the children born in Oxford have a mother from abroad – my own children are in that number. UKIP immigration policies would devastate the community I live in. Many of my personal friends would no longer have a right to be here. The majority of children in my children’s school classes would have no right of citizenship and would be in danger of deportation. That’s not a world that I want to live in. And the idea of a sudden influx of people from elsewhere in the UK desperate for the vacant jobs is, I am afraid to say, ludicrous.

      • hernehillgavin says:

        I am afraid that the reason why these people have work rather than UK citizens is because they have a hard work ethic and a sense of flexibility. The UK citizens are more minded to wait until the ‘better’ job shows up for them…..

  9. Malcolm Edward says:

    You are right.
    Cameron and the Conservative leadership seem to be determined on following a non-sensical course that splits the conservative vote and loses the next election for their party. I don’t like their agenda of undermining the conservative cause, by manipulating the Conservative party into something which conservatism isn’t.

  10. Mike Spilligan says:

    I have never, in fairly long life (so far) belonged to any political party, so that I was free to assess what mattered most at each election. However, except for two occasions when I didn’t vote, I have always voted Conservative. Now, I’ve had enough of false flag Cameron and his acolytes, and a couple of months ago wrote to my local Party chairman, listing the reasons why my vote, and that of many others, will not be going in the Tory direction again. I won’t repeat what I said here, much of it being obvious to any one like myself, but adding that I believe Cameron’s “victory” was obtained fraudulently.
    After 40 years of our being a member of the EEC and successor organisations – and for 35 of which we’ve been told that the Conservatives will reform it from within, without an atom of evidence that that would be seriously attempted – I joined UKIP (about 2 weeks after you, Mr. H) and will do my best to try to get my local indolent MP unseated.

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