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Dr Prem Sharma: UKIP - a truly Conservative government at last?

Dr Prem Sharma OBE is a former Chairman of the Berkshire Area. He is a Founder Patron the Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India, and was awarded the OBE in 2010 for services to community relations in the UK.

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 11.31.32Does UKIP represent our best hope for a government that will fulfil Conservative dreams of bringing home the powers that we have drained away to Europe, providing free choice to the people, and restoring common sense and economic prosperity? That is clearly what many Conservative Party members think. It is reported that up to one third are considering joining UKIP. Some have already done so.

I can understand their frustrations. But I can't understand their thinking. Looking to UKIP is only a dream – one which will very quickly turn into a nightmare. Here are the reasons.

UKIP has no base. The only people who listen to it are Conservatives, desperate for change, but seeing only the short term. UKIP can never come to power and form a government. Nigel Farage always appears with his glass of beer and cigarette. Do you seriously want this man as leader? Even if you do, he can never become leader. UKIP can only lead us back to Labour. The result of supporting UKIP will be to bring Labour back to power.

You have only to look at their record to realise the true nightmare that this would be. Under Tony Blair there were promises, promises, promises, but no substance – apart from Iraq. The numbers on welfare increased dramatically, and under Gordon Brown the economy went down still further. There is no evidence that things would be any different at all under the present Labour leadership.

The coalition has not been articulate. It has made some serious mistakes and alienated its own Conservative constituency. But David Cameron has put forward good policies and taken some bold steps. Many laws have been repatriated, and there are more to come. The promised referendum on the EU will be the best – and only – opportunity to give real choice to the people. It's vital, of course, that we make our own laws here. At the same time, we are part of Europe and that is important for our business and social progress.

I have been a member of the Conservative Party since 1974. I have seen the huge progress since that time, under bold and visionary leadership. I suffered from racial prejudice in those early days, but I didn't leave, because I believed in the party's principles. Other parties approached me with generous offers, but I decided to stay where I belonged and help to improve the party rather than pull it down. Looking back, I am happy that I didn't move away.

So I urge my fellow Conservatives: be patient, and understanding of the constraints of government – especially a coalition government, which is a new situation for us. UKIP is short-lived. Let us discuss the issues that concern us, rather than leaving the party or crossing the floor, which are not the right options at this time. We need to focus on the next election, to ensure that a Conservative government is elected with a proper majority. Then we can do a great deal, not just in relation to Europe but addressing many other issues as well.

The best hope for a truly Conservative government will be for us to elect it. Then we will be able to decide our future, not UKIP.


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