Wednesday, March 23, 2016

David Cameron is most fortunate in his enemies

For a serious party of government, which with all our faults the Conservative party still is, last week has to be considered a bad week.

There was a lot of excellent material in the budget, but having to pull a significant policy within two days and losing a senior cabinet minister, who is also a former party leader, is not the kind of thing a credible government can afford to do too often, especially when party unity is already under pressure because of the referendum.

Frankly, an opposition which was anything other than completely and utterly useless should have had us on the ropes this week, and everyone knows it. As John Rentoul wrote of today's Prime Minister's Questions, Cameron and Osborne simply couldn't believe their luck.

Incredibly, as today's news has demonstrated, the sort of week the Conservatives have just had not merely does not make us the most divided party in Britain.

It does not even make the Conservatives the second worst divided party in Britain.

We'll have to settle for number three after Labour and UKIP, unless the SNP fancy jumping into the game and forming their own circular firing squad to make us fourth.

Labour's circular firing squad ...

I can only assume the reason that Jeremy Corbyn totally failed to lay a glove on David Cameron, or even mention the IDS resignation, is that he considers it completely normal for political parties to be riven with factions who hate one another and are constantly trying to stick knives in the backs of their supposed colleagues.

How else can you interpret the report in The Times of the list drawn up by Team Corbyn of the "Core Group" they trust, the "Core group plus" they get on with, a group of MPs they regard as "Neutral but not hostile" and two groups of enemies - the most hostile of which includes both Labour's candidate for Mayor of London (who nominated Corbyn) and, most bizarre of all, their party's Chief Whip!

Not surprising that one of Cumbria's Labour MPs could not contain his frustration and published a tweet, since deleted, describing his leader's performance at PMQs as an absolute disaster and that this list had made his party as a laughing stock. Except that the adjective used before "disaster" and "list" was rather ruder than "absolute."

And then there's the UK Independence Party.

They've also formed a circular firing squad:

I really cannot believe these guys. Their number one objective in life for years has been to get Britain out of the EU. Because a Conservative government is honouring the promise to hold a referendum on this subject, in three months UKIP have a genuine chance to achieve this. It may well be a once in a lifetime chance.

Those UKIP members who are sane, as some like Douglas Carswell and Suzanne Evans are, have been working their butts off to build alliances with other people of all parties who share their view and appeal to floating voters, to make arguments attractive to people like me - pragmatists who can see a lot of flaws in the EU but don't want to take risks with the economy, people who are willing to listen to evidence.

But other Kippers would rather appeal to true believers and throw out insults, childish comments and scaremongers of the sort that annoy people like me even more than what has been coming from "Remain" does (and I'm not pleased about some of their stuff either.)

Instead UKIP have spent the past few months fighting like ferrets in a sack, engaging in silly tricks like threatening to withdraw the UKIP whip from Carswell. Which they found they can't do, as it would require a vote of the UKIP parliamentary party, which consists of Douglas Carswell MP.

And now today they have suspended Suzanne Evans, one of the four best known UKIP members and one of their most effective campaigners, from the party for six months for "a number of transgressions" which appears to mean failing to ask "How high?" when Nigel Farage said "Jump."

Evans took UKIP to court over the suspension but failed. Douglas Carswell pointedly praised her today. The splits at the top of UKIP make those in the Conservative party look minor.

But you know what is the saddest thing of all?

None of this is in the best interests of the people of Britain.

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