If all the effort going into UKIP infighting, would instead go into activism within the Conservative Party, the eurosceptic cause would be far advanced on its current position.
The most effective strategy for eurosceptic activists now would be to campaign at Constituency level within the Conservative Party for deselection in the Europhile seats, and to pressure for eurosceptic candidate selection, especially at Open Primaries.
This would now achieve more for the eurosceptic cause than joining in the growing disintegration at UKIP.
UKIP’s had its moments in the past. Its two strategic achievements were first the initiation of the Referendum on the EU Constitution, which was then copied by Michael Howard, then Blair and then Chirac, which he famously lost.
The second one was the role of influence UKIP played in 2001 in assisting IDS into the leadership against Clarke and Portillo. After the 2001 General Election, it seemed possible that UKIP could become a force in British politics, which could threaten many Conservative seats. This levered MP’s towards a eurosceptic leader.
Without IDS, there would not now be David Cameron, as IDS reset the Party’s direction, permanently rejecting the Euro, and initiating Local Democracy and the Social Justice agenda, policies that David Cameron has taken up and is running with.
Since the Kilroy flurry, the fact that UKIP is a run by an anti-democratic cabal more interested in in-fighting than serious politics has finished them as an effective force. All they achieved in the 2005 General Election was ensure about 20 euroseptic Conservative MP’s were not elected to Westminster. Counterproductive or what?
They are now a Nigel Farage speaking venue, working with the bizarre idea that they can replace the Conservative Party. Many have dreamed that dream in the past. Pre-IDS it might have happened when Hague talked of ‘keeping the £ for one Parliament’ but that era is now over. With the eurosceptics fighting back hard within the Conservative Party, UKIP has little further useful role. With a hung Parliament scenario seen as increasingly likely, UKIP could do real damage.
If the UKIPPERS would use their activism and enthusiasm to fight within the Conservative Party, the eurosceptic wing would be stronger, and the Europhiles could be further worn down.
Hague is still trying to outmanoevre the euroscepticism of the majority of Conservatives, but with Cameron as leader, the power of the Europhiles in league with the media is far less than it was. Partly as a result of the work done by UKIP, Conservatives are now aware of the EU game, which they mostly were not in 2001. Times have moved on. The battle is now ensuring the eurosceptic wing of the Party moves into the ascendant.
The spur of competition from the so-called Right will be the BNP now. It’s time for Conservatives to close ranks and fight for power.