If I may, as a UKIP supporter, I would like to respond to a number of points that you raise in your post.Update: Simon Cooke (Magus), author of the post, has tweeted rather weakly, in my view, that all of his comments miss the point. In what way? I'm happy to be corrected. I suspect I won't be because, rather than miss the point, the comments tell an inconvenient truth.
Firstly I get the impression that you're implying that UKIP is an exile party for former Tories. This is simply not the case. It derives its support right across the political spectrum. For example one of its heartlands is in the South West which is Lib Dem territory and one of UKIP's best recent performances was in Barnsley - a Labour stronghold. Asking UKIP members who used to be Lib Dem or Labour to vote Tory is a bit of a long shot to say the least. I personally have never voted Tory and am very unlikely to ever do so.
The second point I would like to make is the loose term of the word Eurosceptic - it is a term that is often misused. The vast majority of Tories want to stay in the EU.
You write "that half the backbenches in parliament supported an in/out referendum reflects that fact" That is not entirely true, the motion also contained an option to "repatriate powers" which means continuing membership - this what attracted backbencher support. The vast majority of Tory MPs agree with this latter option as indicated by your comment here: "My Party becomes more opposed to the continuation of EU integration with each passing day."
Repatriation of powers, though technically possible is not going to happen. Technically it's possible for me to land on the moon but the chances of it happening is precisely zero. Arguing for repatriation woefully misunderstands 'ever closer union' and the process of acquis communautaire. Euroscepticism is a term used to try to keep the Tory faithful on board while keeping EU membership - it is a deception.
And that leads me on to my third and more important point - that the Tories are not eurosceptic.
Andrew Carnegie once said “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”. This most definitely applies to Tories. In nearly 40 years, despite the rhetoric, they have:
Actions speak louder than words and no amount of rhetoric can cover the fact that the Tories cannot wait to constantly integrate further.
- Entered the EEC on a lie (read the 1971 internal document FCO 30/1048)
- Campaigned in the 1975 referendum for a yes vote, including Thatcher
- Passed the Single European Act
- Shadowed the Deutschmark in preparation to enter the ERM.
- Entered the ERM which directly lead to the early '90s recession
- Passed the Maastricht Treaty
- Have become, in Roger Helmer's words the most pro-EU government ever, since elected in 2010.
To use a football analogy; I have supported my team for over 25 years, in that time I've criticised players, managers and the board but every year I still renew my season ticket. That makes me a supporter not a sceptic. And the same is true of Tories, despite the criticism of some aspects of the EU, when that EU season ticket renewal comes up they gleefully renew. They are supporters not sceptics.
Then there's this comment: So long as UKIP leaches those votes, there will not be such a majority and we'll remain on that seemingly inexorable course to a federal Europe. Leaving aside the question of 'Tories are Euroscpetic' as countered above this assertion has been my experience for a long time as a PPC and a local candidate. Tories have a habit of accusing UKIP of 'stealing our votes' or 'splitting the vote so Labour gets in'. Not mine or UKIPs problem I'm afraid, party polices are rather like goods in a shop, if no one wants to buy them that's the shop's fault not the customers. The solution to the Tories haemorrhaging voters and members is to look in the mirror.
And it's for those reasons that I will never support them or any other of the main parties.
55 minutes ago