The desperation out there on the right, as Young Dave and his jolly good chaps battle Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers for votes, has been momentarily enlivened not by a defection from the Tories to UKIP, but the other way around, as MEP Amjad Bashir has decided that only Cameron can deliver a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Jolly good defection sheow!
So he has announced his resignation from the Kippers, only to find, by the merest coincidence, you understand, that Mr Thirsty was on the point of kicking him out, honestly. Farage went on The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning to tell, with as straight a face as he could manage, that Bashir was associating with some highly dodgy people, and that others in the party had been urging him to get rid since last Autumn.
“Under tight secrecy, Mr Bashir, who came to Britain from Pakistan aged eight, sealed his move at a meeting on Friday with David Cameron in the Prime Minister’s genteel Cotswolds constituency of Witney” noted the Telegraph, going on “Mr Cameron describes Mr Bashir’s personal journey, from [arriving] in Bradford in 1960 … as 'an inspiring story and one I'm very proud to have sitting as a Conservative'”.
Squeaky resignation finger up the bum time
Jolly good show! The Tel then rubbed it in by citing a UKIP candidate saying of Farage “He does make up policy as he goes, he’s always made up policy as he goes”, and Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn grumbling “People get the idea we are a racist party. Unfortunately we have a very small minority of people who seem to come up and say extreme things …We keep throwing them out but it's very, very disillusioning”.
So Farage decided to hit back, saying Bashir “didn’t tell us the truth about the employment of illegal immigrants in his business” and that he had been at a recent hustings meeting “where gerrymandering appears to have taken place” before concluding “My only surprise – and my genuine surprise – is that the Conservative party have accepted him. Caveat emptor”. There’s someone who’s sold a few used cars in his time.
But then the thought occurs as to what on earth they are all scrapping over. Bashir will not be contesting a by-election, as Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell and Mark Reckless did, and MEPs leaving UKIP between elections is hardly a first-time occurrence (pace Kilroy). We’ve come a long way from the 1970s: the Tories already have a significant number of BME MPs, MEPs, Peers and Councillors - UKIP have many BME members, too.
Why are Cameron an Farage going so OTT? Bashir won’t affect the arithmetic for Commons votes. His speeches at the European Parliament are most unlikely to be reported in the UK press, or on TV news. He’s unlikely to win the Tories any more seats in his home city of Bradford, where they have none, and will gain none in May. It all looks like both parties are protesting too loudly, and in reality just advertising their desperation.
Still, it keeps them usefully occupied, and out of trouble, so that’s all right, then.
And this makes this story even stranger/funnier:
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