“I fundamentally believe, as David Cameron does in his heart and has certainly said until very recently, that the Conservative Party will only win by addressing the centre ground.”Nigel Farage, UKIP's leader, questioned Portillo thus:
“With a million young people unemployed in Britain should we really be opening the doors, unconditionally, to two very poor countries with a population of almost thirty million nest year. Is that right wing?”Portillo replied:
“I happen to believe that quite a lot of immigration is going to be absolutely fundamental to this country.”That’d be the Spaniard in you, Michael. You know, the foreigner taking the mickey out of the English? Later in the programme, Andrew Neil, the show’s host, wondered:
“Mr Cameron followed your advice in modernising or rebranding the Tory Party and in the process you created a huge political space for UKIP to occupy. How do you deal with that?”
PORTILLO: "By not being concerned about it.”
NEIL: “Not being concerned about it? That’ll work.”
PORTILLO: “It will work! It will work.”
NEIL: “And when they beat you in the European elections, that won't matter?”
PORTILLO: “Not at all. Who gives a stuff about the European Elections?”Nice to her the unvarnished truth from a politician, isn’t it? The EU elections do not matter to the Tory Grandee. Perhaps the local elections don’t matter either? Perhaps a corrupt establishment believes that, no matter who the electorate vote for, the same old self-servers will remain in power.
Once the fix is in.
Just a thought.
Shortly afterwards, Farage said:
“Things have changed in British politics.”Portillo replied:
“And they’ll change back. And they’ll change back… Five or ten years ago there were Green politicians sitting there with the smug look on their face that you have on your face now.”The normally unflappable Portillo got pretty animated during the course of the show and it seemed pretty self-evident that, despite his assurance that he was a ’profound Eurosceptic,’ he was no fan of Nigel Farage or UKIP. However, after UKIP’s excellent showing in the 5 May local elections, Portillo said this in the 8 May edition of The Times:
“The UK is unhappy in the EU… Europe’s political elite is so self-satisfied with its self-proclaimed virtue in uniting Europe that it never doubts itself nor tolerates those who point out the damage that it does and its sheer incompetence…Oh yes, a retired politician is still a politician. And, if he’s been where Portillo has been, he’s going to say and do everything in his power to keep his own class on top of the pile.
The default position of the political class is defeatism: the belief that Britain could not survive outside the union; and the political class assumes that the public shares its defeatism…
The euro is a disaster. It has created hardship, unemployment and division on a dangerous scale. It is the result of an ideology; and the ideologues who pursue the goal of union do not count the cost in human misery. Why should they, since it is paid by others?”
In this case, that would include the stealing of all the UKIP clothes he can lay his hands on. Even if, a few days before, when confronted by Farage’s popular appeal, he was giving us his best impression of an Edwardian heckler down at the old Bull and Bush.