Crossing the floor of the House, as it is usually known, is something that, once done, cannot be reversed. David Lloyd George put it plainly: “A man can rat, but he cannot re-rat”. The only significant exception to that rule during LG’s lifetime was his friend Winshton, who started on the Conservative benches, was part of Asquith’s cabinet at the outbreak of the Great War, and went on to become a revered war leader and Tory PM.
Squeaky expense dosh finger up the bum time
But rumblings are now afoot that there may be another Churchillian double-crossing of the House floor as a result of events this past week in the land of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP, whose General Election campaign has progressed not necessarily to their advantage. Mr Thirsty failed (again) to get elected to a Wesminster seat, and Mark “Interesting” Reckless lost his.
The only surviving Kipper was Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell in Clacton, and even he suffered a significant reduction in his majority. Carswell can look forward to the next election in the sure and certain knowledge that the Tories will not forgive his defection, and next time, popular local support or no, they will be looking to oust him. And then there was a significant difference of opinion between him and Farage.
As a result of UKIP securing some four million votes last week, the party has had a significant amount of what is termed “short money” allocated to it, to help run its Parliamentary activities, some £650,000 a year, in fact. Carswell, ever the man of principle, has - quite rightly - said he doesn’t need all of that. Farage, on the other hand, appears keen to trouser as much legitimate expense lolly as he can get his mitts on.
It's the way he tells 'em
The Guardian has reported “Carswell … has dismissed suggestions from Ukip aides that he use the money to hire 15 members of staff for his parliamentary office as ‘completely inappropriate’ … Amid speculation on Wednesday that Carswell could leave the party over the issue, a Ukip spokesman said: ‘Nigel Farage met with Douglas Carswell this afternoon and there’s ongoing discussion about how best to represent four million Ukip voters in a way that is sensible and correct’”. And there’s more.
“Carswell has denied suggestions that he could attempt to rejoin the Conservatives; the bookmaker William Hill now has him evens not to be a Ukip MP by the next election … Should Carswell resign from Ukip, the party would lose the £650,000 a year in so-called ‘short money’ to which it is entitled after getting 3.9m votes overall”.
The thought that Carswell might “re-rat” is not this week’s news: that was one of the discussion points doing the rounds at the Mid-Bedfordshire count last week as weary party activists waited for the declaration - except, not surprisingly, not with the assembled Kippers. Douglas Carswell has always been an odd fit for the Farage fringe, with his genuine libertarian stance and positive view on immigration.
That even money bet could be worth a punt. Farage needs to act quickly, or he’ll be bust.
While I disagree with his views, Carswell has of late been striking me as a man of principles, and I can appreciate that. British politics could do with more like him in all parties.
Compare that with the increasingly slippery Farage, who couldn't even stick to his avowal to step down for more than 3 days.
"never fully trust a turncoat they have a history of betrayal"
I forget who said that
mm1145 - Presumably if Carswell is a turncoat for deciding that the Conservative party's beliefs were no longer aligned with his own, then so are the majority of UKIP supporters, who it has to be assumed used to support another political party?
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