NIgel Farage, the UKIP Party leader will pull out of any seat where a member of the major parties has committed to BOO. YOu would think this would send MP’s running to secure the withdrawl of UKIP from their Constituencies. But any Conservative MP joining BOO and becoming a BOOT (Better Off Out Tory) will not be permitted to serve on the front bench by David Cameron, for the sound enough reason that leaving the EU is not Conservative Party policy. Cameron does however permit MP’s to campaign on any topic they wish to including EU withdrawal, as long as they don’t hold aspirations to the Front Bench.
Sadly few Conservative MP’s have signed up to BOO as a result of this. There are many Conservative MP’s who share the aims of BOO in their heart of hearts, especially members of the Cornerstone Group, but they are busy doing good work on the Front Bench team, and the eurosceptic cause would lose influence if they were reduced to backbencher status.
UKIP are unwilling to extend their withdrawal from seats other than where they would face a signed up member of BOO. They could well damage the Eurosceptic cause by attacking people like Cash, Redwood, Paterson, IDS, Hayes and so on. UKIP should redesign its strategy and attack known europhiles only, and concentrate its campaigning resources into the 20 or so constituencies where the MP’s or candidates are known to be europhiles, such as Ken Clarke, William Hague and so on. It would become a badge of disgrace to be opposed by UKIP for a Conservative, rather than a source of sympathy and resignation, as it is now.
UKIP could offer to withdraw if the europhile MP or candidate is deselected. If UKIP would deploy hundreds of canvassers to each europhile constituency and fight against the Conservative europhile wing exclusively, they might start to win bigger shares of the vote there, as they would not be providing a blanket threat to the Conservative Party as a whole. They could well begin to influence selections within the Conservatives to the eurosceptic end.
Now that would be an intelligent strategy. Sadly UKIP are wedded to the curious idea that they must fight the Conservative Party at general elections across the board. No one is more delighted to see this than Brussels.