Ukip if you want to, but only Conservatives can deliver change
As we prepare to cast our votes in the Euro Elections of 2014, there is no doubt that this has been the most fractious, fraught and fascinating campaign probably in the whole (brief) history of elections to the European Parliament. Most polls have Ukip poised to win a stunning victory, reflecting (according to Ukip), a general discontent with the aloof and unaccountable oligarchical governance to which we are routinely subject, and which we are powerless to affect. While that's undoubtedly part of the 'Farage against the Machine' appeal, the reasons for Ukip's surge are actually more complex and nuanced, seemingly reflecting a general cynicism and deeper discontent with our institutions of state if not the whole political system which has ceased to be responsive to the concerns of the British people.
The European Union is bureaucratic, opaque, inefficient, incompetent, corrupt and anti-democratic. Peter Oborne of The Telegraph goes further, calling it a "criminal organisation". In response, the 'mainstream' parties advocate engagement to effect change; Ukip sees the whole project as completely unreformable, and we would quite simply be better off out.
After 40 years in the euro wilderness, you'd think the cartel of corruption would be self-evident to all who have eyes to see. It is perplexing and intensely frustrating when people do not see the world quite as we do, but diatribes of irritation and patronising abuse persuade no one. And, regretfully, there's too much of that from both sides.
The rise of Ukip is entirely the fault of the establishment parties: they long ago ceased to offer real choice in their mainfestos, and the people are increasingly discontent with the interminable tinkering at the peripheries of politics. And when it comes to the EU, all rivalries are invariably set aside to rig whatever votes are necessary to ensure that the juggernaut merrily rolls on to its pre-ordained end. The teleology of "ever closer union" is immutable: to believe in it with all one's heart, soul and mind is to have reached the seventh circle of enlightenment; to have attained the superior knowledge and insight of the political elite who have moulded the political parties in their image, and who rule the hollow corridors of our perishing democracy.
You may think that Nigel Farage - fag between fingers and pint in hand - is more in touch with your concerns and the pressing needs of wider society. You may believe that Ukip is pursing a purer form of politics and restoring meaning to democracy. It is certainly true that Ukip membership grows while the other parties are being deserted in droves. But it would be a profound error to conflate popularity with righteousness, or mistake arty sophistry for wisdom.
Ukip can no more change policy in the EU than the Conservatives: the PR system of election and QMV system of voting are designed to ensure that the Union will achieve its ends, whatever the expressed discontent of the people. And should those pesky national populations become recalcitrant, the Oligarchy nullifies democracy and appoints regional governors to bypass national democracy and ensure compliance, as we have seen in Italy and Greece. In that sense, it really doesn't matter who you vote for: British MEPs are just actors in a political façade designed to ape the parliamentary process and delude the electorate into believing that democracy matters. It doesn't, and it was never designed to from its very Monnet-Schuman inception. What do the people know about the economy? How can they possibly make sound judgments on social policy? What do they understand of justice? How can they grasp the imperatives of immigration and supranationalism?
No, in all these areas and more, policy must be left to the guardians and philosopher-kings. As Harold Macmillan prophesied, we have overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts. And these anti-democratic guardians and philosopher-kings are anonymous, unaccountable and immovable. You may justifiably hold them in contempt, but voting Ukip will not make them known, or accountable, or unfix them from their castles and courts.
David Cameron leads a Conservative Party which is pledged to offer the first referendum on Britain's EU membership in a generation. Of course, the outcome of this Euro Election has no direct bearing on that, except to say that any weakening of the Conservative Party is more likely to put Ed Miliband into No10, and he is not offering an In/Out referendum. We know that Cameron has his flaws and himself inclines to support EU membership, but, in Augustianian terms, he is the lesser evil of all the base and nefarious powers which seek to exert themselves. Yes, like his MEPs, he is himself impotent to effect change, but he and only he is offering an opportunity for us to deliver change. He did, after all, fulfil his pledge to withdraw Conservative MEPs from the federalist EPP, for which he still endures shame and ridicule.
You may think he's a pathological liar and the Conservative Party simply cannot be trusted. Well, His Grace has suffered the deceit and poisonous slanders of both, and yet he can still see that the only way to escape the malign Euro-morass is to pinch his nose and support the only party which is offering a solution. Compromise often grates on the conscience, but, in the absence of righteous governance and pure motive, it is a necessary part of the human social contract.
Certain people are saying that no Christian can support Ukip. Those who are propagating this lie tend to belong to the religious or political elites who are directly responsible for the perpetuation of the whole artificial construct, and who somehow benefit from its existence (or hope to). The greater truth is that no democrat can support the European Union. Those who have come to understand this fact appreciate how urgent it is for Britain to reclaim its liberty, revive its Parliament and restore its democracy.
This is not a partisan feud or a trivial left-right squabble. It transcends tribal allegiances because it cuts to the heart of what it means to be free. You are free to vote Ukip, and that is your democratic right. But, for as long as we are in the EU, that freedom is an illusion and that democratic right a pretence. Ukip cannot hasten UK secession because they will never form a government and Nigel Farage will never be prime minister. You can make David Cameron squirm and sweat, and you can enjoy his embarrassment and discomfort, but that infantile pleasure is ephemeral and risks damning the nation to an eternity of EU decrees, binding diktats and unaccountable political lobbying, leading ultimately to our inescapable abasement in a United States of Europe.
"Our constitution cannot be reduced to a mere treaty for co-operation between governments. Anyone who has not yet grasped this fact deserves to wear the dunce's cap."
(Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, President of the European Convention, 29th May 2003).