Statsminister David Cameron lovet onsdag partiet at neste valgkamp vil bli utkjempet på en EU-skeptisk plattform. De konservative blør medlemmer og velgere til UKIP, UK Independece Party.
Cameron frir åpenbart til denne stemningen, selv om den bringer ham på kollisjonskurs med samarbeidspartneren, De Liberale. UKIP er i ferd med å gå forbi De Liberale som neststørste parti.
He said: “I want you all to be absolutely clear – we will go into the next election with a clear Eurosceptic position. It will clearly be in tune with the British people, we will be the ones offering the British people a genuine change and a genuine choice.”
He said that he wanted to “grab the opportunity” to win a clear mandate at the next election to reshape Britain’s relationship with Europe.
The comments will be seen an answer to the surge in the polls by the UK Independence Party, which has prompted some MPs to urge the leadership to make overtures to eurosceptic supporters.
Last month Ukip’s treasurer Stuart Wheeler told The Daily Telegraph that as many as eight Tory MPs could defect to the eurosceptic party. Mr Wheeler said he had passed their details to Ukip leader Nigel Farage.
Det kan være Cameron setter i gang noe han ikke kan kontrollere. Dårlige nyheter fra kontinentet, enten det er økonomi eller nye fordypningstiltak, som utløser enda større forpliktelser, kan rykke Storbritannia enda mer løs fra EUs indre kjerne.
Forsiden i The Times onsdag gjaldt avhopping fra toryene til UKIP og at «the switch» skyldtes stigendre frustrasjon med «immigration».
En av Toryenes største bidragsytere, Lord Ashcroft, tar bladet fra munnen:
The major Tory donor and Number 10 adviser said Ukip is stealing voters because many are uneasy about «the way life is changing in Britain today», fuelled by unhappiness about immigration and a benefits culture.
Amid polls showing a surge of support for Ukip, Lord Ashcroft commissioned new research showing 12 per cent of Conservative voters would side with Ukip at the next election. Half of those turning to Ukip are former Tories, he found.
It also showed that just seven per cent of Ukip voters say Europe is the single most important issue for them. It ranks behind economic growth, welfare, immigration and the deficit.
However, he said Ukip’s general outlook, rather than policies, is driving support.
«Certainly, those who are attracted to UKIP are more preoccupied than most with immigration, and will occasionally complain about Britain’s contribution to the EU or the international aid budge,» Lord Ashcroft wrote on his ConservativeHome blog.
Trolig er dette en beskrivelse som passer mange norske velgere.
«But these are often part of a greater dissatisfaction with the way they see things going in Britain: schools, they say, can’t hold nativity plays or harvest festivals any more; you can’t fly a flag of St George any more; you can’t call Christmas Christmas any more; you won’t be promoted in the police force unless you’re from a minority; you can’t wear an England shirt on the bus; you won’t get social housing unless you’re an immigrant; you can’t speak up about these things because you’ll be called a racist; you can’t even smack your children.
«All of these examples, real and imagined, were mentioned in focus groups by UKIP voters and considerers to make the point that the mainstream political parties are so in thrall to the prevailing culture of political correctness that they have ceased to represent the silent majority.»
He identified the typical Ukip voters thinking «Britain is changing for the worse».
«They are pessimistic, even fearful, and they want someone and something to blame,» he said. «They do not think mainstream politicians are willing or able to keep their promises or change things for the better. UKIP, with its single unifying theory of what is wrong and how to put it right, has obvious attractions for them.»