Before the First World War, the Germans developed an exceptionally large artillery piece which was generally known as “Big Bertha” — the name widely regarded as an unkind reference to Bertha Krupp, heiress and owner of the Krupp industrial empire, which built the weapon.
The gun was not hugely successful, and only a handful were built.
The Tory Party has its own artillery piece, a much more devastating device than the century-old German weapon. The Tories’ big gun has already shown itself quite capable of reaching London, and if news reports are to be believed, its fire may be directed against UKIP in the coming General Election. Let’s call it “Big Boris”.
Boris is a uniquely charismatic politician. His bumbling persona is clearly an artefact designed to charm, but beneath it lurks a cold strategic vision which would do credit to a Bond villain. Boris’ evident ambition, however, is not to dominate the world. It’s simply to become Prime Minister. And David Cameron knows that perfectly well. He should. He’s in the firing line.
All those formulaic phrases welcoming Boris’ decision to seek a seat for next year — “I want all my star players on the pitch” — were clearly delivered through gritted teeth.
Boris nevertheless has a down-side, and has enemies in his own party. He is particularly criticised for playing fast-and-loose with previous commitments, especially since he appeared to promise that if elected as London Mayor, he would not seek to hold two jobs at one time. That is, he would not seek a Westminster seat while Mayor. Yet now he is proposing to do just that.
I thought he was uncharacteristically tentative in handling that criticism, and as a very experienced politician, should have done better. I expected something like: “Look, I promised to focus 100% on turning London around and getting London’s economy back on track. While there’s always more to do, that major task has been largely achieved” (I’m not sure that it has, but that’s what I’d expect Boris to say). “Eight years is quite long enough for one man to be Mayor of this great city, so it’s time for me to look for new ways of serving the people of London, and of Britain”. (And if the idea crosses your mind, Boris — No, I’m not available as a speech writer!).
Never mind. It seems certain he’ll find a seat, certain he’ll win it, certain that he’ll be in a position to challenge Cameron for the top job.
But while Cameron may have big worries about Boris, Central Office see him as a huge asset in the coming General Election. Boris is the charismatic Tory Eurosceptic who can sweep away the doubts and bring wavering sceptical voters back from UKIP to the Tory fold.
Boris has said that Britain can thrive outside the EU. He’s right at that. He’s also said that renegotiation should be a doddle, which is absolutely not true, and is clearly a deliberate obfuscation designed to embarrass Cameron. Does Boris imagine that Brussels will accept immigration controls and abandon “the right of free movement”? Does he think that the French will compromise on the CAP, or the Spanish on the CFP? That Brussels will exempt the City of London from its draconian regulatory plans, or from its apocalyptic Financial Transaction Tax? Boris knows perfectly well that they’ll give no ground on these key issues, and that renegotiation will be still-born.
Too many people are prepared to say “Better to stay in (or OK to stay in) if we get renegotiation”. But that begs the question “What renegotiation? What outcome?”. I myself would even consider staying in the EU if it were reduced essentially to a free trade area, but that’s not going to happen. More likely Dave will come back from Brussels, like Harold Wilson in 1975, with a few cosmetic details that can be talked up in the media, and the EU Juggernaut will roll on regardless.
Finally, of course, Boris is just one voice in a Tory Party which is, on the whole, committed to staying in the EU, under a Prime Minister who has never made clear what his renegotiation position is, and who has never indicated, under any circumstances, that he would campaign to leave the EU. This is the Tory Party which (to a large extent) got us into this mess. The Tory Party that talks a good eurosceptic story at election time, and then reverts to type. For years I wanted to believe that the Tories would deliver on Europe, until decades of disappointment led me to leave the Tories and join UKIP.
Good luck Boris. You’re great entertainment value. But I don’t think that too many sceptical voters will be taken in.
Quite a few sceptical voters have been taken in by UKIP, so there is a good chance that a number of voters will also be taken in by the likes of Boris, who comes across to the gullible public as a thoroughly affable fellow, rather like another chap called Farage.
Voters can be taken in by the Tories, who imply they’re eurosceptic while remaining determined to stay in the EU. With UKIP, in the other hand, you get exactly what it says on the tin. We want out, and our main effort is focused on getting us out. So sceptical voters have not been “taken in by UKIP”. They’ve come to the right place.
Not only that but a number of voters (gullible or otherwise) cough up vast wadges of money and suddenly become peers. Not bad at £300 /day.
And then there is this:
Anne Glover, the EU’s Chief Scientific Advisor, has said that her opinions to the European Commission should remain independent from politics and therefore “not transparent” and immune from public scrutiny. The incoming Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, is considering to maintain her position after Barroso leaves, EurActiv understands.
But that is the problem. UKIP has the one policy – to get out of the EU and some may think that commendable. However when out of the EU what then? UKIP has no policy to deal with that.
That’s the key issue policy, Mantra: Every problem we face as a nation, from dustbins to national security has an eu component preventing it’s satifactory resolution.
Without escaping the clutches of the eu, prime objective, there can be no policy of any depth and meaning as it’s out of our area of competance and responsibily.
Before we formulate a policy we need a foundation and that foundation is self determination. It’s not all about you and your position.
Catalanbrian: You are just demonstrating ignorance, old lad, I’m afraid. As UKIP’s Energy Spokesman I have spent a huge amount of time and effort developing UKIP’s energy policy, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when people say “You’ve only got one policy”.
Yes, that’s the simple truth!
It was the atomic bomb in Aug 1945 that changed the course of world history:
Samre game, same result, different salesman.
I congratulate you on your constant stream of blogs about energy which I love reading.
However, pulling Mr Salmond to bits on TV was quite easy because he hadn’t thought independence through. Assuming that Scotland became totally independent of England – totally – no queen, no money, no common energy, no bail-outs – what would in fact happen? All he could offer was (video banned in England for Sassenachs) shouting and waffle.
We who are determined to leave Europe must not fall into the same trap. There must be a positive policy which covers all bases. Energy? Immigration from Calais? Exports to Europe? Relations with Russia? Position of French Immigrants in London? Driving the Spanish and Danes out of the North Sea Fisheries? etc…
Mike: Be reassured! We will roll out a comprehensive policy framework ahead of the General Election. But you are right to raise Scottish independence. I’ve always said that those who understand why a single currency (the dollar) works in the USA will also understand why a single currency won’t work in Europe. Equally, if you understand why Scotland is better off in the UK, it’s easier to understand why the UK is worse off in the EU. Political structures should match the identity and aspirations of the people. That’s why countries and counties work, while the EU, and European regions, don’t.
But, Roger, your energy policy on which you state that you have spent a huge amount of time is unclear, unrealistic and is based on the premise that there is no climate change and that CO2 emissions are good for the planet! I am not too sure that that is a policy that can be taken seriously.
I think it’s you who cannot be taken seriously with your constant socialist rants. I bet your a Jock.
So anybody who questions UKIP and its lack of policies is a socialist then? There must be quite a lot of such “socialists” about.
Like covering the world with useless windmills is a serious policy. Just returned from France and over Pyrenees. never seen so many stopped windmills in my life. At least France has nuclear as a back up. We don’t.
Our UKIP energy policy will deliver the secure and affordable energy that this country desperately needs. Whether you believe in AGW or not (there’s been no warming for nearly twenty years and many scientists, especially astronomers, and talking about the possibility of cooling) our current policies in the UK will have close to zero effect on CO2 concentrations and climate, but a massive negative impact on the economy and our quality of life. Why ruin our grandchildren for the sake of speculative risks which in any case we can’t influence?
You constantly state that there has been no warming for a number of years, but this is not, I understand, borne out by the scientists such as those at the World Meteorological Organisation. Scientists who I suggest know more about the Earth’s climate than the astronomers that you mention. All that has happened is that since 1998 (an exceptionally warm year) annual increases have been smaller than in the period prior to 1998. For the record 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record and 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000. How do you reconcile that with your assertion that there has been no warming for 20 years?
Brian, Please explain how cause and its effect can ever be reversed, heating water releases CO2. The CO2 may not therefor be responsible for the heating. One is the a cause, by observation. The other an effect, by observation.
You can do this in your kitchen within the hour and prove it to yourself.
Positive feedback is inherently unstable. Old straight valve radio sets used it. Very unstable.
No one is confused by climate change and global warming, apart from CO2 theory devotees. Support your favored theory, and explain this reversal.
Justin Rowlatt (Ethical Man) – BBC Newsnight: (kitchen type experiment on C02 behaviour)
BBC botches grade school CO2 science experiment on live TV – with indepedent lab results to prove it its of Gores origin, needless to say.
I saw this stupid piece, but its the performance of Professor Sir David King (UK’s former chief scientific adviser) that is bad.
This should be rolled out monthly I think and likely needs to be submitted to the US EPA with scientific evidence, not modeled results. That would be the EPA power-plant rule: (comments close October 16) – the EPA is going through the motions of public consultation on its proposed rule for reducing CO2 emissions from electricity generating plants
I am sorry but I don’t understand what this has to do with anything.
Boris will not tempt me away, lets hear that from all 38,000 members.
Don’t let us, the people be fooled all of the time, The E.U. is what it is, and will not change.
The British people must start believing in themselves again,
People of the U.K. will prevail with Love, Faith and Hope!