Sunday, March 4, 2012

Better late than never

I did see this news item earlier or, to be absolutely accurate, early yesterday evening but decided to have dinner at the best Polish restaurant in London (well, one of the two best but this one is a good deal cheaper than the other one).

We have another and quite an important defection from the Conservatives. No, not Douglas Carswell or Daniel Hannan. Heaven forfend. But Roger Helmer, who has had a good deal of trouble with the party and has been semi-detached in the European Parliament for some time, has finally taken the plunge.

I first saw the news on Autonomous Mind (the Boss's great buddy) who linked both ConHome, where Tim Montgomerie does a fair job of explaining Helmer's decision and where the comments are surprisingly well balanced  and the BBC news item.

It took him a long time and a good many problems not least the most recent one over who should move up to take his place at the head of the Conservative list when he retires. As readers might recall, Mr Helmer decided to stay on when he realized that CCHQ was going to mess around with the list to prevent Rupert Matthews from becoming an MEP. Now CCHQ can rejoice at having lost an MEP as Mr Helmer will not resign but then nobody ever does when they cross from one party to another. With the party list system that is undoubtedly a problem but so far nobody has managed to solve it. Then again, individual MPs who cross the floor in the Commons refuse to resign and have a by-election so all arguments for Mr Helmer to resign will be ignored.

At the moment UKIP is whooping with joy. But problems will arise. What will happen at the next European elections? Will Mr Helmer stand? If he does he will expect to be top of the list in East Midlands. That might cause some frictions. Even more importantly, just how does the Great Leader, Nigel Farage feel about this? He is, naturally enough, grinning happily as he stands next to the new UKIP MEP. But let us not forget that the question, which is raised every time UKIP does badly in elections about the leader, "if not Nigel Farage then who" will now have a very different answer. It is no longer nobody but "what about Roger Helmer". Interesting times ahead in UKIP.


  1. Spare your worries about UKIP. Helmer will be retiring by the 2014 European elections.

  2. I recall hearing once that UKIP tried to force an MEP candidate to step down so that the leadership could foist their choice as the "rightful heir" in succession to a seat. So Baroness Warsi was following in Farage's footsteps in trying to exclude Mr. Matthews.

    When UKIP leader Michael Holmes resigned from the party in 1999, some people thought he would automatically forfeit his seat, as the election is on a party list system. Nobody (except perhaps Michael Holmes) knew what the position was.

    My wife phoned up an official somewhere to clarify the situation and was rapidly passed from one government department to another, arriving at the Cabinet Office in a very short time. This was early in the New Labour era and she has a Scottish accent which was an immediate passport to the top. In those days the Cabinet Office did not know the answer either!

  3. Mildly OT; but which are the two best Polish restaurants in London? I may invite some friends to a meet up in London some time, Polish cuisine would be interesting.

  4. It never ceases to amaze, how bitchy a certain group of bloggers are about Farage…

    "Women scorned" come to mind, however good (and they are) their blogs are.

  5. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid, malicious, ignorant and defensive some people of either gender are when they worship Farage. Yes, right_writes, I do mean you and your comment.

  6. Edward, as I recall, Michael Holmes remained in Parliament for some time after resigning from the party. I do also vaguely recall to the other story you allude to.

    AKM, the one I went to on Saturday is Patio in Goldhawk Road almost on Shepherds Bush Green. The other one, is rather grander is the old Daquise, which was a great West London institution but went through various vicissitudes and has now been taken over by an excellent restaurant in Warsaw. It is upmarket but very good. Next to South Kensington station. Its name is a little longer now but Daquise still comes into it.

  7. Thanks for that Helen…

    However, I disagree, the stupid and ignorant are the people that don't understand that their behaviour does nothing for the cause... talk about ego...

    Once upon a time, there were some people that started out with a shared conviction, and then a few of them threw their toys out of the pram because they felt ignored…

    Ah diddums… Does it hurt… Mummy kiss it better.

    On the other hand, there is the rather more intelligent approach of one of your co-founders, namely Gerard Batten… Talking to him the other day, when he was helping my son out by hobbling (back injury) around our local streets delivering leaflets and talking to voters, he made it quite clear that he does not have much time for Farage either, but he recognises the value of fighting for the cause alongside.

    On another point, there is a presidential election coming up in the US, and the best candidate by a country mile, is Dr. Ron Paul… Unfortunately, he suffers from the same problem that UKIP suffers from, a concerted campaign to stop him, orchestrated by the TPTB in the media and the establishment…

    I agree with your contention that Farage may have some competition from Helmer, but I have the feeling that Helmer will not contest aginst him, I reckon he really does want to retire.

    It may be so that, his defection could lead to some far more capable politicians than Farage defecting to UKIP though, and in my book that would be good… You see, I don't worship him, I just think that he is currently the most capable front man in UKIP and he is doing OK… He is even overcoming the US style media blackout that dogs Dr. Paul.

    Question: Let us suppose that in the past, before you and "the boss" left UKIP, that things had gone differently and that different people had prevailed… Would UKIP be…

    A: More successful than currently?

    B: Less successful than currently?

    C: A distant memory?

    ...Just a thought.