So Douglas Carswell, a fiercely independent thinker and a passionate advocate for Britain to leave the UK has now decided to leave the Tory party, or to be precise, has decided to leave the Tory party led by David Cameron. Sundry political commentators who know a great deal more of the background than me complain that only a few months ago Carswell made clear that he would remain loyal because he trusted Cameron to negotiate an entirely new arrangement between Britain and the EU. If they're right then the answer is obvious, Carswell no longer trusts Cameron. My hunch is that the Old Etonion fops who surround Cameron indicated that this, that or the other was absolutely, definitely, take my word for it, old boy, at the top of the PM's list of 'must haves' when he starts negotiations with 'Juncker the Drunker'. However, gradually Carswell has come to the conclusion that it's all BS and that Cameron will be happy to go to Brussels and be tossed a fig-leaf or two which he will bring back home in triumph and then deploy the full weight of the government machine, aided no doubt by the Brussel's hierarchy plus the money and weight of the British Confederation of Industry, in a huge campaign - supported by Libs and Labs - to keep us in.
If that is what Carswell believes then I think he is absolutely spot on! I, for one, thank him for his political courage in not only leaving the Tories but immediately bringing about a by-election which, I hope and pray, he will win handsomely. If he does, there are a considerable number of other Euro-sceptic Tory MPs with slim majorities who might well be tempted to follow. My guess is that this morning there is genuine fear at the highest level of the Tory party and if Carswell wins big that fear will turn to panic. I also guess that even as I write, several young Tory apparatchiks are already busy re-writing Dave's conference speech to make it sound a lot tougher vis-a-vis Europe. The question is, will anyone believe him unless he becomes far more specific about his aims.
My admiration for Carswell is immense. He has probably ruined his political career by acting on a deeply held principle - you don't see a lot of that around Westminster! Of course, by opening a split he could have opened the door for a Miliband premiership next year as UKIP gnaws away at the Tory foundations, and that would be a disaster. However, it would be a short-lived disaster much as Hollande's socialism is proving to be in France, and anyway, Europe is still edging inexorably towards the cliff edge so they might do the job for us on their own.
Whatever, I just hope and pray that we regain our independence and get back to trading and operating around the globe for and on behalf of ourselves. From that, all sorts of good things will follow.
ADDITIONAL: I couldn't resist this photo montage by Carla Millar at The Coffee House: