Who is right? Ann Widdecombe (whom I admire but not necessarily agree with on this point)? She says that, despite having found herself questioning her own loyalty "since Cameron forced through gay marriage against the wishes of his own party":
At the General Election a vote for Ukip [right-wing UK Independence Party] will be a vote for Miliband and all that Britain has gone through in the interests of putting the economy right will be brought to nought. I make no apology for repeating what I have said before: the note from Liam Byrne, the outgoing Labour treasury minister, summed it up: “There is nothing left.” There never is after Labour governments.Or UKIP's leader Nigel Farage, who says: "A young Margaret Thatcher would join Ukip instead of today's Conservatives"?
In tomorrow’s [local] elections much the same warning applies; a vote for anything other than Conservative is a vote for Labour and thus for high tax and high spend at county halls.
Don’t do it. Vote instead for the party that has imposed a benefits cap, promises an in-out referendum, is sorting out educational standards and is slowly restoring financial sanity. No other party that can win offers all that.
So vote Conservative even if through gritted teeth.
He added that Ukip would stand down candidates to help the Tories if they pledged to take Britain out of the European Union.
He considers the prospects of a deal with David Cameron to be just about zero, but thinks that other Tories exist with whom his part could do a deal, "there are some very good-thinking people there, like Michael Gove, who doesn't just dismiss somebody else's point of view, he listens to it and engages with it."
Mr Farage believes that Ukip has "every prospect" of taking first place in next year's European elections.
He said: "It seems to me that we get to the point where if Ukip does become strong enough as a result of this year's local elections and the European elections next year, that is the moment at which we can have a serious conversation about realigning British politics.
"We are not there yet, by a long chalk, but don't think it can't happen.
"I think Ukip could be the catalyst over the next two years for a really fundamental realignment of the way politics is structured in Britain."
Tories are so desperate that they have resorted to any means, including the ones which are commonly employed but are usually the Left's prerogative, i.e. calling people (in this case UKIP candidates at the UK local election of 2 May) names, e.g. "homophobic", "racist", "neo-Nazi" and the like. Together with Labour, the Conservatives have also produced fake leaflets to discredit the UK Independence Party, leaflets that look like they have come from UKIP and carry messages like "An apology, we got it wrong" as well as attacking candidates for that party. A similar strategy (the use of the striking yellow and purple colours of UKIP for the Tory leaflets) had already been employed and failed in the recent Eastleigh by-election where the UKIP triumphed.
Despite all these attempts, Britain's bookmakers are betting on UKIP making major gains in Thursday's local elections.
The bookies know what they are doing. The most recent opinion poll by ComRes gives these results:
- Conservatives 31%
- Labour on 24%
- UKIP 22%
- Lib Dems 12%
It appears to me as if those politicians and media commentators who use these tactics to scare off prospective UKIP voters have understood neither the reason for the party's electoral success nor indeed the people of this country, who increasingly support it. Otherwise they would realize that accusing UKIP's candidates or members of "racism" and "homophobia" is exactly what will make its popularity grow: the public opinion has started recognizing these terms, to which we can add "Islamophobia", for what they are: an attempt by people without either arguments or principles to frighten the population into silence and force them to cower into submission.
These insults, the modern version of accusations of heresy, say much more about the persons who use them than about the persons they are used against.