It would have been a fraught marriage; a shotgun held to both headsby Edwina Currie / October 16, 2014 / Leave a comment
What if, back in 2012, Ukip and the Conservative Party had done a deal? It would have been a fraught marriage; the shotgun held to both heads. In Westminster corridors, strutting Ukippers and glum Tories would have cold-shouldered one other. The easy relationships of Nick Clegg and David Cameron would have given way to an uncomprehending cultural chasm. The U-Con pact would not have been a happy one—but it would have led to a 2015 general election victory. And that’s where the problems would really have started.
It would have signalled the end for Ed Miliband, of course. Labour would squabble about who should replace him and the contest, still with its fiendishly complex voting arrangements and unpredictable outcome, would entertain the nation for months. After an especially nasty contest, the sleek, feline Rachel Reeves would trounce Ed Balls—the unknown quantity triumphing over the known bruiser.
As for U-Con, Ukip demanded a referendum on Europe right away. But the time required to legislate and prepare for a nationwide vote would have frustrated Nigel Farage, whose nose would have been put out of joint on learning that the vote could be no earlier than 2016 due to red tape. That would have given Cameron time for some nifty footwork in Brussels. He would have known that he is not alone in wanting border controls; the recent resurgence of right-wing parties such as Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and the Swedish Democrats put pressure on governing parties to tighten up on immigration. He may have got some concessions quite quickly, after which he would have been happy to call for an in-out referendum on Europe.
Funnily enough, Ukippers and Tories would agree on tax policy—at least on the abolition of the 55 per cent inheritance tax paid on pension pots when the holder dies. Neither party wants a mansion tax: that’s dead and buried for a generation, since the Ukip faithful are mostly elderly Tory geezers who felt the green-leaning Cameronians were getting too wishy-washy and obsessed with climate-change. And for a while, government would have seemed easy, with the Opposition in disarray and growth continuing at its recent hectic pace, outstripping even the 2.7 per…