So, Bob Spink, ex-Tory MP has defected to UKIP. I said it at the time and I’m still saying it – if the Tories had been honest on Europe, they would have gone all out on the Lisbon Treaty debates beyond a call for a referendum whilst explaining why, they would have voted on Bill Cash’s supremacy of Parliament ‘New Clause 9’ (on which the majority of Tories abstained), they would have engaged the public with the contents of the Treaty, and they would honour a post-ratification referendum even after the European Union (Amendment) Bill goes through Parliament.
People in general, including Spink’s constituents, are getting tired of this stuff – on Europe, immigration, etc.. due to the failures of Parliament – and I am positive they will not stand for it. As it happens, all we have had during the Lisbon debates were vague offerings of “we will not let matters rest there” which means nothing (ask any Conservative MP). I am very conscious that similar controls by the Tory Whips have also been used in the Lords this month – meaning, there is no real intention to stop this Treaty by the majority of Tories and the opposition has been a complete farce. Sounds like Spink knew exactly what was going on.
Is it the shape of things to come? Since an MP must represent his or her constituents, who tend not to like total governance by Europe, Spink was bound by obligation to defect to UKIP. I must congratulate Spink on his defection from a party that has failed to mean anything. And by that, I mean what Disraeli said of Conservative Party in that it is 'a national party or it is nothing'.
I hope it isn’t the shape of things to come, I hope the Conservative Party isn’t the Establishment party that cannot deal with the disaffection of ordinary people in politics (so much for “trust the people”), and I can't imagine many Conservative MPs defecting anyway - but since no comprehensible guidance has been given on the issue, there is no point standing on the platform for empty minds. It takes great courage to defect in this way – the major disadvantage, however, is that Spink will be powerless not as an individual but within a unifying party to change any of the Government’s policy on Europe.