The Brexiteers are acrimoniously divided with a psychodrama between Banks & Cummings. The sort of people you would normally lock in an attic

3 Oct 2015 at 08:22

The Conservative party conference in Manchester will no doubt be slammed by the media as being far too stage managed and lacking the fizz of real debate at Labour’s wake. Actually the fizz was more like the fizzle of Corbyn’s rocket failing to take off. Both the Lib Dem and Labour conferences were glumly delusional. Unless there is a miracle or an economic car crash both parties have become an irrelevance for the medium term future. And then there was UKIP. Another sorry mess which is getting messier by the minute. This party appears to only exist to feed Fromage’s insatiable ego. He has trashed and humiliated Suzanne Evans for the second time by blocking her as the Mayoral candidate. He has silenced Patrick Flynn and he has unleashed the ghastly Aaron Banks on the public. Their membership is down and conference numbers were dismal. When will what is left of the membership realise that Fromage is electoral poison?

The EU debate is his last chance to to grab the limelight before he is thrown out with the garbage. But so far his intervention has been a fiasco and to my great joy has divided the Brexiteers. The right are horribly divided but spend more time indulging in insults than trying to gain a narrative with the electorate. It’s just a screaming match and a jockeying for power by some rather unpleasant people. A psycho drama between Dominic Cummings and Aaron Banks who are the sort of relatives whom you would normally lock in the attic. Whether it was wise to put an eighty two year old former chancellor who is a climate change denier, as the heavyweight figurehead to pull us out of the EU, will be hotly debated. Lawson was an innovative and reforming chancellor who deserves respect. But when he cocked up it was really big time. He admitted in 2010 that the unintended consequences of his Big Bang reforms led to the financial crisis of 2007/8. And by dangerously relaxing fiscal controls he stoked up seriously inflationary pressures leading to recession. He resigned after a very public row with Thatcher advisor Sir Alan Walters whom he felt was undermining him, which of course he was. Despite popular myth Lawson did not bring us into the ERM. As Lawson also lives in France there is a lot of baggage revolving around the carrousel. Norman Lamont would be more of a threat, but I don’t think that he would stab Cameron in the back. He is close to Hague who was his PPS who in turn is close to the PM. And Cameron stood loyally by Lamont at the time of his humiliation and eventual downfall after Black Wednesday. I would imagine that they still have a close bond. I may be wrong, but I do not smell betrayal in the air.

So rather than there being a seamless robe of Eurosceptics united in their zeal to remove Britain from the wickedness of Brussels they are a complete shambles. And Cameron’s not so secret weapon is the immigration crisis. Shengen is dead and all of Europe’s borders are going to have to be protected. Merkel’s open door policy has been an electoral disaster with mass protests in the streets. It could be the beginning of her demise. Cameron has played it cannily. Compassion mixed with reality. The other not so secret weapon is that the battle has been effectively won over EU benefit tourists by a helpful European Court decision. So provided Cameron keeps his cards to his chest and doesn’t reveal the details of his negotiating position until a deal is done there is everything to play for.

Now back to the Tory Party conference. Nobody sane will be having a crack at Cameron and Osborne. They are winners. They have delivered an election and some remarkable economic results. But never underestimate Boris’s compulsion to cause mischief and mayhem in pursuit of his pathological ambition to be Prime Minister. He will play on his conference darling skills with witty swipes at those he wishes to destroy. But he has already been publicly humiliated by May and Osborne. Does he want to risk another punishment beating? We’ll know on Monday as Boris, May and Morgan will be addressing the throng. Nicky Morgan? I know. Best not be cruel.