Magazine article The Spectator

Why I'm Voting for Ukip

Magazine article The Spectator

Why I'm Voting for Ukip

Article excerpt

Stuart Wheeler, once a major Tory donor, says that by failing to confront the crucial issue of Europe, David Cameron is betraying his country

I once gave the Conservatives their biggest ever donation, yet I recently took the difficult decision to support Ukip for the European elections on 4 June.

So I have been expelled from the Tory party. I am not an observant person but I do not seem to have been cut by anyone since then; rather the opposite. Goodness knows how many people, ranging from a vicar to a pensioner, have told me that they have voted, and will vote this time, Conservative in all national elections but Ukip in the European elections. Lord Tebbit, while carefully avoiding specifically recommending Ukip, which would have been a catastrophe for the Tories as they would have had to expel him, suggested not voting for the three main parties or BNP. Spot the difference between that and recommending Ukip.

Why do we do this? Because the Conservative party is failing the nation. I was at the Tory conference when David Cameron made the ghastly statement that the Conservatives were not going to continue 'banging on about Europe'.

There are two reasons why they should bang on about Europe. The first, the more likely to appeal to the Tory leadership, is that the voters mind a great deal about the EU.

Contrary to what seems to be received wisdom among Tories, voters are far from bored by this subject. The polls make this clear.

YouGov recently asked the voters which of ten things they would most like to see done.

What would you have expected them to say?

Reduce taxes? Deal with climate change?

Scrap ID cards? No, top came reducing immigration, and second, reducing the powers of the EU and increasing the powers of Britain's parliament - an astonishing poll result from pollsters who have a particularly good record of getting things right.

The other reason for 'banging on' is that the EU is a disaster. Do we want a European army? Do we want a semi-permanent president and foreign minister of the EU? Do we want the EU in charge of our criminal courts? Do we want to continue the Common Fisheries Policy which has destroyed our once-great fishing industry?

Do we want to continue the inordinately expensive Common Agricultural Policy?

I answer no to all those questions, but there is one matter which dwarfs even those: it is cost. …

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