A visceral, unyielding, slow-burning anger
Then looking darkly at him swift-footed Achilleus answered: ‘Hector, argue me no arguments. I cannot forgive you. As there are no trustworthy oaths between men and lions, nor wolves and lambs have spirit that can be brought to agreement but forever hold feelings of hate for each other, so there can be no love between you and me, nor shall there be oaths betweens us, but one or the other must fall before then to glut with his blood Ares the god who fights under the shields’s guard.
– Homer, Iliad
The process by which I fell out with the current Conservative Party has occurred in several stages.
First, there was the initial astonishment that David Cameron could not muster a proper election victory against a Labour Party led by Gordon Brown, of all people. Then there was the frustration of the coalition years, when it was not always entirely clear how much Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats might be shouting down and diluting the conservative “better angels” of the Tories. And then during the 2015 general campaign there was the incredulity bordering on rage that no, in fact the LibDems if anything had been a restraining influence on the more despicably authoritarian Tory tendencies, and that Cameron envisioned the same dismal society built on the continual feeding and worship of our public services (and sainted NHS) as Ed Miliband’s rootless Labour Party.
But until now, my beef with the Conservative Party leadership (and supportive rank and file) has been ideological, not personal. I had accused the Tories of selling out ideologically and failing to boldly make a proper conservative case to the country, but I still saw it in terms of political calculation.
No more. The EU referendum has awakened a rage against the Conservative Party within me that I do not know how I will manage to suppress when it comes to local and national elections, even (especially?) if it means handing victory to their enemies. Why? Because on the single most important political decision this country has to make in a generation, they lie and cheat and tilt the balance, and do so with such smug, smarmy condescension and aristocratic entitlement that it beggars belief. From the prime minister on down, with too few honourable exceptions, the Cabinet and parliamentary party are comprised of craven careerists who are in the process of selling out their country – and democracy itself – either out of laziness, ignorance, greed or a toxic combination of all three.
Now, in other words, my problem with the Tories is personal.
Case in point, David Cameron’s attempt to sow more fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the British electorate by peddling false myths about Brexit. It now appears that the prime minister is going around the country coming up with tailored apocalypse scenarios for different voters and demographics in every region of the country.
Writing in the Gloucester Citizen, David Cameron warns:
In the South West alone, more than 60,000 are employed in agriculture and more than 28,000 in food manufacturing, with the region having received around £371million in EU Common Agricultural Policy grants in 2014 supporting those jobs.
Between 2010 and 2014, the total income from farming across the South West increased by 49 per cent, to £666million, as farmers – along with all British businesses – reaped the benefits of access to the single European market of 500million people.
If we leave the EU and our farmers have to operate under World Trade Organisation rules, things would be very different.
They could be faced with annual tariffs of up to 40 per cent and huge additional costs – for example, £240million for beef and £90million for lamb.
Protected status enjoyed across Europe by our unique products, such as Gloucestershire cider, Single Gloucester cheese and traditionally-farmed Gloucester old spot pork, will be lost.
In other words, if you so much as think warmly about Brexit and regained British independence from the EU, the commercially protected status of locally produced foods will be not only threatened, but definitively lost.
This is a lie. I’m sorry, but there is no other word for it. This blog is slow to anger and slow to impugn the motives and character of politicians, preferring to go for their ideas. But when he writes these words in a local newspaper, the prime minister is lying to us.
Richard North wearily explains over at eureferendum.com:
As usual though, the fear tactic relies on half-truths and deception – and the ignorance of the media and politicians. And not least of these deceptions is the omission of rather crucial information: the scheme also applies to third countries.
Applicants from outside the EU can register their products with their national authorities, which then pass on the details to the EU, where they are then – after due process – recognised as protected process.
The system can be seen at work here, when in May 2011 four Chinese agricultural products received protected status in the EU, bringing the total to five, with another five being processed through the system.
In a reciprocal move, the Chinese authorities set in motion the recognition process for “ten celebrated European products”. These were: Grana Padano; Prosciutto di Parma; Roquefort; Pruneaux d’Agen/Pruneaux d’Agen mi-cuits; Priego de Cordóba; Sierra Mágina; Comté; White Stilton Cheese/Blue Stilton Cheese; Scottish Farmed Salmon and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.
Thus to represent British products being at risk when we leave the EU is a plain, outright lie. And even if the Prime Minister doesn’t know he’s lying, some of the people briefing him must know the truth. There is almost certainly calculated deceit being perpetrated here.
So the prime minister is blatantly lying. He is suggesting that protected status for foodstuffs is contingent on EU membership when this is clearly not so. And he is appealing to the basest instincts of Gloucester farmers, producers and citizens, hoping that they will unthinkingly vote for what he tells them is their personal interest without thinking for themselves.
Completely unable and unwilling to articulate a positive vision for the European Union of which he is so desperate to keep Britain a part, David Cameron is reduced to peddling outright falsehoods, deceptions and lies in local newspapers as his grubby Remain organisation trawls for votes.
North goes on to give the wider context, painting (as always) a vivid and fascinating picture of a world of global regulation and harmonisation in which the UK is constrained from fully participating by having to operate through the filter of the European Union:
Furthermore, these reciprocal arrangements are only the tip of the iceberg of what is, in fact, a vast global scheme based around the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), administering what are known as “geographical indications”.
The scheme relies on a network of treaties and agreements, starting with the Paris Convention adopted in 1883, the Madrid Agreement of 1967, the Lisbon Agreement of 1958 and the protocol to the Madrid Agreement concluded in 1989.
These tie into the 1995 WTO TRIPS Agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), which enable the system to be extended globally. Part of the WTO Doha round, this agreement is opening the way for other trading nations to protect their own traditional products and brands, to the same level enjoyed under EU law.
Despite this, there are complaints The EU is using its coercive power and the UK outside its system could provide a vital corrective, helping other nations to develop their own systems.
All pertinent information which is lost as soon as our prime minister opens his mouth or takes out his pen and begins lying to us – and when the press fail to do their own due diligence, either parroting his scaremongering as unquestionable truth or doing the Fox News “fair and balanced” thing where they allow two deceitful idiots to yell half-baked untruths at each other for five minutes in place of objective reporting.
But exactly how much of this tawdry and manipulative behaviour are we supposed to accept from our prime minister, and still reunite as a big happy Conservative Party family afterwards, let alone as a nation?
I for one have reached my limit. I never renewed my Conservative Party membership when I returned from the United States in 2011 out of suspicion that things would go this way, but I still expended time and energy defending David Cameron and his ministers on this blog, which I now bitterly regret. And to this day I still believe that my natural home lies within the Conservative Party – albeit a more Thatcherite version, rather than David Cameron’s lame Ted Heath tribute act. So I will remain here, hanging around on the margins, waiting to see if the Tories one day rediscover their soul and become again the party which saved this country from decline and permanent irrelevance.
But this present betrayal will not be forgotten, and if I am ever in a position to cause David Cameron and his band of lying, manipulative fellow Remainers within the Conservative Party even the slightest annoyance, inconvenience or frustration I will do so with great relish and personal satisfaction.
David Cameron has made an enemy of me – but not only me, also the thousands and even millions of Conservative voters who found their prime minister fighting against them on the wrong side of this EU referendum campaign. This may not trouble Cameron now, while his opponents on the Left remain largely incoherent and disorganised. But this lack of effective and united opposition will not last forever, and at some point in the future David Cameron will be in need of allies and ideological defenders.
And on that day, the prime minister will come to realise his mistake in recklessly and brazenly encouraging open hostilities on his right flank.
Top Image: Gloucester Citizen
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Having voted for the conservatives partly because I could not bare the thought of Miliband being in charge of the country and being trampled on by the unions, I am utterly disappointed and ashamed I have been so foolish.
There is a mood for revolution in all quarters and I’m not sure where it will lead but UKIP has moved from a fringe party to significant prominence in 15 years and the real grassroots of labour are showing again. With the massive help of social media, lots of folk who have never been bothered about politics are voicing their anger and something has got to give.
We live in very interesting times indeed!
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Well said. Hopefully all of the anger out there can be channelled into something productive and positive rather than the sullen disengagement we have seen so far (or the awful choice between a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton style leader).
I agree with everything you wrote. I first joined the Tory Party decades ago. I won’t be chased out by these people: At least not yet. We the members get a say on who is to be the next leader. Rejoin and have that say. Then if the party cocks it up again walk away and never come back.
Many thanks David for reading and sharing your perspective. I have sometime toyed with the idea of rejoining the Conservative Party as a kind of libertarian / conservatarian “entryist”, in much the same way as left-wing voters joined Labour en masse to deliver victory to Jeremy Corbyn.
I may therefore do as you suggest, and rejoin when the time comes. But since only the top two candidates go through to the wider party membership for voting, if we are forced to choose between the likes of Theresa May and George Osborne then it will be a very short-lived membership!
I’ve struggled with the temerity with which Cameron has manipulated this whole referendum. Should we remain, this matter will not be settled for a generation because his approach has undermined the integrity of the political event.
I miss Thatcherite levels of leadership within a party that is now conservative only in name. This dual party centerist paradigm we appear to be in does not serve the public well. For someone engaged in politics, I find it bemusing that I cannot find a party to represent my views. Certainly not Cameron’s Conservatives.
Well said, Indiana. I think you hit the nail on the head when you speak of the “dual party centrist paradigm”. I felt very much as though the Tories fought the 2015 general election on a soft-Labour, “fetisihise the public services” platform which I could just not get excited about. Now that the Labour Party has a leader outside the centrist mould, I would like to see the Conservatives do the same when it comes to picking David Cameron’s replacement. After all, if Corbyn’s Labour Party is so unelectable, why all the ideological timidity? Now is the time for a new Thatcher, someone who is unafraid to take advantage of the incoherence of the opposition and boldly lead the country toward a future of greater personal responsibility and smaller government.
I come from a totally different perspective. Before a couple of years ago, I never voted, never took any notice of anything political, never even followed elections – hardly ever watched the news considering it to be all full of doom and gloom. I just wasn’t interested. My world was the arts and natural healing which I combine with psychology.
The utter shock and revulsion and deepening anger that I now feel daily really worries me. I never realised how corrupt and deeply evil the world of politics is and seems, to always have been. Day after day, I see people on Facebook who are in the same position as myself. People who literally have no expression or outlet for their anger and disgust.
It’s a world I would like to run away from but having been confronted with it head on, I am now obliged to fight and I am in this fight up to my neck.
I don’t really see it from the perspective of one party or another because they are all deeply corrupted. Historically, all over the world this corruption is deeply embedded and sadly I believe that today, even if there was one honest, ethical, principled and courageous leader who stood up for what was right and fair and just, he/she would be knocked down so fast that we would hardly realise that they had existed. Many of those who start off with the right ideals are quickly blackmailed or bribed into corruption.
There is much more honesty and right-minded thinking amongst the public – the huge masses of population all over the globe that need a revolution. I have no idea how this could be managed – I am very doubtful that it is even possible. We need a true people’s party. A party consisting of people with life experience and skills which would enhance the role of government….bit this is an unrealistic dream………it’s all gone too far…………
In the meantime, the only way I can personally fight is to keep outing the liars and the lies – to keep trying to open people’s eyes and stir them into action. There is something revolting and utterly despicable about David Cameron, George Osbourne, Jeremy Corbyn, Hilary Benn, Chuckup Umanna, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Chris Philp and many others who one senses know perfectly well that they are lying. Many others are simply ignorant. For them it is just a career. Not for them to do any research and discover the truth of what their leaders say.
Tristram Hunt admitted to Andrew O’Neill the other day that he hadn’t even read The Five Presidents Report – a document so important to know about in the light of our retaining our democratic freedom that it should have been compulsory reading for all those in Parliament. This man now has my contempt as do all those who “can’t be bothered.”
It needs a very large broom to sweep away the majority of parliament as it stands today – who could possibly wield that broom? – the only answer is the “people” but I fear that most are too sunk in the mire of survival and depression to muster up enough courage or strength for such a monumental task.
Please forgive me for this rant – it has mostly been for my own benefit and I realise that it does not really contribute anything to your discussion, but I read this blog a lot and it seems to ne that there are some decent level headed, intelligent thinking people around when I read it and that is a great comfort. even if not a solution to our “problem.”
In terms of character, you’d have the advantage over me in that you were prepared to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt. I’m too cynical and never was prepared to lend him so much as an iota of leeway. (Hoping you’ve read ‘The Cameron Delusion’ by now?)
So in my case, whilst there’s no pleasure in being proven broadly justified, I can see the justified anger of those who gave him the chance. (Rather like those who were so cynically spoofed by Project Blair).
So I’ll strip Cameron entirely from the matter for these purposes. I was certain he would prove a blatant liar and the evidence that he is exactly that shouldn’t trouble the most scrupulous researcher. My personal anger then turns to that Party, and the wider remit of Parliament. If there are MPs or senior party activists (no matter the party) who still remain unconvinced that the electorate have been intentionally deceived by route of Parliament, then they would be by definition, unsuitable to hold any form of Political responsibility.
That must leave those who know full well they’ve been lied to, and that the electorate has been similarly duped. These are people who have foregone the most fundamental duty of any Parliamentarian – to respect the probity of the democratic process. We then pass that down to a party, half of which use these lies as an ally for their purposes, and the other half of which dare not state the lie for – staggering as the instinct may be – ‘party unity’. I await with genuine expectation to hear (for example) Gove or Paterson state openly and in plain English language that the electorate have been intentionally lied to. That persistent silence is deafening.
Similarly the ‘opposition’ dare not highlight the lie because once again, to them the lie is a helpful assist for policy, or at the individual level, the facts are entirely concealed by the mental fug that many political activists lovingly cultivate.
I know – through club associations, Round Table, Rotarian etc – very successful Accountants or Solicitors. Long term members of the Conservatives. In particular one Solicitor who has a senior representation in the Law Society who was once celebrated for having found several significant legal flaws in an oft-used legal document nearly five hundred years old. Yet present such people with party policy which is entirely at variance with observable fact-on-the-ground and the Party chip in their heads acts like an offender’s tag – preventing their intellect from proceeding into the unapproved and unchartable territory.
I don’t believe the Conservatives can be rescued from this. I’ve been watching this for decades and the culture never changes. We were lucky for a while in that Thatcher (for some fairly major faults) was at least both a competent party leader AND competent Prime Minister. It concealed some long-term weaknesses and critical structural faultlines in that party. At the moment in its current haphazard state, UKIP is hardly a credible alternative for Government – but compared with what alternative? Labour, teetering on the brink of yet another page of their endless Civil Wars? The LibDems, utterly irrelevant in Political terms or proficiency? A Conservative Party using the levers of the state for primarily its own convenience and exigency – and demonstrating no potential (let alone courage) to break from that?
The shame about the election in 2020 is that they all can’t lose.
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Your ‘journey’ towards utter dislike of Cameron and the Tories is almost exactly the same as my own.
I have always voted conservative, and for a long while was prepared to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt. But no longer.
Which ever way the referendum goes, Cameron has single handedly destroyed the conservative party. And frankly, I cant see any of the current leadership contenders being any better.
Do we just not bother to vote in 2020?
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