ConservativeHome reports HERE that Sir Malcolm Rifkind (for it is he) is positively encouraging Eurosceptics to defect to UKIP. Thanks Malc. Really helpful. What is it with these relics that they feel they have to clamber out of their political tombs every now and then? It's a kind of Attention Deficit Syndrome - they're crying out 'See? I'm still here. Look at me me me me me'. Some of us stopped looking in 1997. Anyway, now I've got that out of my system, let's look at what he's arguing for.
By arguing that Eurosceptics should defect to UKIP, Sir Malcolm is effectively saying that the Conservative Party should become a narrow based sect. Successful political parties are broad coalitions of people who agree on most issues but may differ on a few. Until the mid 1990s that's exactly what the Conservative Party was. Unfortunately it then discovered ideology and ideology over Europe become the Party's watchword. Look where that got us.
They don't come much more Eurosceptic than me, but I can quite happily co-exist in the same Party as Ken Clarke and Ian Taylor. I'll argue my case over European policy and they will argue theirs. It's quite clear who is in the majority in the Party, so to argue as Sir Malcolm effectively does that the majority should now leave the Party is just plain crazy. Frankly, there wouldn't be much of a Party left. If this is the most constructive thing Sir Malcolm has to say it is best to remain silent. As Sir Denis Thatcher once said to Fergie: "Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove any doubt."