Letter to the EDP: Why is the Tory message not getting through?
As published 14 October 2014
Sir, Some of the people of Clacton say they voted UKIP because they felt neglected and wanted a change. So they voted for the same person who has been their Conservative MP for the past nine years and has now merely reappeared in different colours.
The way to improve Clacton and create more local jobs is to help business to grow the economy. Britain under a Conservative Prime Minister now has the fastest growth rate in the western world and has helped create 1.8 million new jobs.
Certainly much, much more needs to be done to control immigration. But most of the immigration over the past 15 years hasn’t come from Europe – UKIP has successfully misled people into believing it has. Conservative Ministers have already made a significant start in cutting non-EU immigration. But EU migration needs controlling as well. And David Cameron has made it clear that EU ‘free movement’ rules will be on top of the changes he will negotiate in the EU. UKIP has also misled people into thinking that if we leave the EU, then all the irritating “human rights” issues will be solved. Not a bit of it. We’d still be signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which is nothing to do with the EU. Only Conservatives have undertaken to reform ECHR or withdraw from it.
But the only way you will get any change in our relationship with the EU and other institutions is if we have the political will and meaningful renegotiation, and put the results to the ultimate test – the approval of the British people. UKIP can’t bring this about. Only the Conservatives have the firm intention and the power to deliver what the British people want. And only Conservatives are offering that vital in/out vote on our EU membership. If we cannot get meaningful change, then I too shall campaign for Out in that referendum.
It is perverse to imagine that any of the changes that so many are demanding will be brought about by voting UKIP. In fact, the reverse is the case. Clearly UKIP are not going to be swept to power as the government of our country. It is noticeable that, although UKIP did well in the Heywood and Middleton by-election, Labour increased their proportion of the vote. It is Conservative votes that UKIP threaten. If Conservative voters are tempted to vote UKIP at a General Election, the most likely outcome is that we will have a Labour government. And surely memories aren’t that short.
Every policy move that David Cameron now makes will be jumped on by the usual suspects as a ‘shift to the right’, as if that is a bad thing. Actually it is not a shift to the right, but doing the right thing – on the economy, on welfare, on immigration, on schools, on English votes for English laws, and on restoring national sovereignty. I agree that we need more passion in politics – along with more urgency and greater clarity in our aims. The Tory message is the right one, but it is getting drowned out by clutter from all directions.
Two fingers to Government might be OK in a by-election but the prosperity and security of our country and the future of our young people are too important for that. Good but disgruntled Conservatives need to get more involved and make their voices heard before it is too late.
Geoffrey Van Orden MBE MEP
88 Rectory Lane
Chelmsford CM1 1RF