Coffee House

Audio: Douglas Carswell on why he was wrong to rebel

29 January 2014

5:55 PM

29 January 2014

5:55 PM

Douglas Carswell is one of the Conservatives’ most active Euro rebels. So we invited him to our View From 22 podcast to discuss this week’s leading article, which says the rebellion has descended into childish attempts to destabilise the Prime Minister. Given that he has rebelled dozens of times, we thought, he’d disagree.

To our surprise, he instead told us  he has had a rather substantial change of heart — and has decided to give up rebelling. Furthermore he says that, on reflection, he regrets not only signing tomorrow’s rebel amendment on immigration but Bernard Jenkin’s letter to No.10 on EU regulation.

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Towards the end of the podcast, he poses a striking question to his fellow Eurosceptic rebels:

‘What is it we now want, guys? We’re going to face a reckoning with the electorate in just over a year’s time. We’re two points behind the Labour Party. We can do this – we really can do this. If we lack discipline, we’re going to have five or six appalling years in opposition to dwell on it’

Here’s a sneak preview of what was supposed to be a debate about the wisdom of rebelling – but ended up being Carswell explaining why he believes his colleagues should now stop defying the government, and support the PM.

You can subscribe to the View from 22 through iTunes and have it delivered to your computer every week, or you can use the embedded player below:

Fraser Nelson & Douglas Carswell on rebelling Tories (from 8:38):


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Show comments
  • roger

    Douglas has a chin that’s just made for my left uppercut.

  • whs1954

    “If we lack discipline, we’re going to have five or six appalling years in opposition to dwell on it’”

    My God! A Tory backbencher gets it. Only problem is, some of his colleagues are happy to go into opposition – you can pontificate all you like and never take any responsibility.

  • david denton

    The problem is that too many Tory backbenchers are unable to see the most obvious truth, unable to filter out their terror of UKIP from the most basic of decision marking. The can’t even answer the question, “do I want a job as an MP in July 2015” without linking this to an utterly miss-guided loathing of all that is European! God help them (and us). http://getwd50.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/david-camerons-achilles-heal-poor.html

  • cdvision

    Another one who flattered to deceive – a la Hannan.

    In the end self-interest always wins over principle.

    Just don’t take the p!ss any more, Douglas.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Well Carswell has sold out and sold out for a brainless delusion. The Tories’ cannot win. He’s nothing more than another self-serving power hungry piece of lobby dertritus. There again he’s a Tory so what did we expect?

    And if the Tories get back in power will he go back to being a rebel when Cameron shafts the nation over Europe? Whats the odds that he’s been bribed with some shoddy PPS’s job or something?

    • ArchiePonsonby

      There was always something about that weak jaw!

  • Frank

    Simples dude, the majority of the electorate want a vote on EU membership. Dave won’t give it, issues a load of BS about re-negotiating terms of membership and tories abandon ship in thousands. You have clearly been promised a senior ministerial position, so enjoy it while you can.

  • bwims

    He’s always been a sock puppet. If he really disliked Europe he would have defected to UKIP by now. His primary purpose is getting a good living from a safe seat. A tame “eurosceptic” how toes the line is useless. We need euroPHOBES and Brexit.

    • trapezium

      The reason folk like Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell don’t defect to UKIP is because UKIP are still too mad. If Mr Farage succeeds in changing that, then he might attract serious politicians.

  • edlancey

    It was obvious after Carswell was souding off about Syria then voted with Cameron that he is an untrustworthy chancer.

  • Bluesman_1

    Continuity Carswell.

  • AnotherDave

    The Immigration Bill is a response to the fact that the _voters_ consider immigration to be an important issue, which the current government has not handled to their satisfaction.

    http://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/01/29/suddenly-whats-emerging-as-the-key-issue-facing-voters-is-not-one-where-the-tories-are-setting-the-agenda/

  • Patricia

    I expect the wife’s had a go at him – mortgage to pay, children’s education, nice job in Europe lined up….

    • AnotherDave

      Whatever his failings, I think Mr Carswell is a true believer in the anti-EU cause.

      • bwims

        Pah! Safe seat first, Party second, Country third.

    • Hello

      Good god! A politician that wants to be elected! How dare he want to be elected so that he can execute his agenda! Whatever next?

      • James Strong

        Does he want to be elected so that he can execute his agenda, or does he just want to be elected?
        That is the important point in all this.

        • Fergus Pickering

          You don’t know, do you?Perhaps it is a bit of both.

          • James Strong

            Well spotted.
            I don’t know. The clue is the question mark.
            But I will throw in a thought experiment, not original but I can’t remember where I first saw it.
            Tell a politician he can achieve 60% of his agenda if he has a Ministerial job, (or being PM if you like), or can achieve 70% of his agenda but somebody else gets the status and ‘glory’ of holding office, and what will he choose.?
            You can change the percentages if you like.
            But you’d need to inject a truth drug into the politician.
            My prediction, and I don’t take pleasure in being so pessimistic and distrusting of politicians, is that nearly all politicians would choose to hold office and achieve less of their agenda rather than see more of their agenda implemented, but by others.

            • Fergus Pickering

              You are simply saying politicians are human beings like you and me. What would you do?

              • James Strong

                I’d let someone else implement more of my agenda than I could; then I’d spend my time cultivating my garden. I’d pursue hobbies rather than work.
                What would you do?
                Politicians are very different from me; I’ve got much less desire than them to interfere in others’ lives, or to enjoy the staus of being ‘important’.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  I take it you have a fair amount of money and a biggish garden to cultivate. I would never, under any circumstances, be a banker, a lawyer or a politician. But I suppose someone has to be..

                • James Strong

                  ‘cultivating my garden’ was a literary reference. It’s from Candide.
                  In truth, I can’t stand gardening.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Good Heavens, James, I know where it’s from. Gardening? Our servants will do that for us.

                • blingmun

                  “I would never, under any circumstances, be a banker, a lawyer, a prostitute or a politician.”

                  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  OK. I’ll come clean. I am a beautiful banker with a law degree. I have a seat in the Ciommons and I’m your tonight for a tenner, you gorgeous hunk of manhood..

  • Chris lancashire

    Well done Carswell. Realism has finally triumphed.

    • HookesLaw

      Laughable really. Carswell is the sort of half way sensible mainstream chappie that Saint Nigel has said he want to replace the nutjobs with. Of course the nutjobs that St. Nige is stuck with howl their derision.

      • bwims

        Only halfway because he didn’t have the guts to defect. In the end, he is worthless.

    • Makroon

      Yes, finally some maturity from Carswell – the lad could yet go far.
      One small correction though, it wouldn’t be 5 years, it would be a minimum of 10, by which time Mr Farage will be comfortably retired, and his motley crew a fading memory.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    So this chap goes on RT etc and bashes the bankers, the Chancellor, the rest of the gang on Europe and now the points he made come to what exactly? His utterings have a half life that in terms of longevity would make the 2010 UKIP manifesto appear like the word of God.

    • Fergus Pickering

      But you’re not one of us, so who cares what you think?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …who’s “us”, lad? You socialist Camerluvvies?

  • HookesLaw

    What a pathetic response from the usual suspects to a blast of rare common sense from a tory backbencher.
    But these suspects are the loopy ones Farage has disowned.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Et tu Carswell?

    • Major_Eyeswater

      Quite. One more MP who has forgotten who he works for – and the best of the bunch too, which makes it doubly sad. Come on Mr Carswell! ‘Tis the grit in the oyster makes the pearl!

      • bwims

        I think he was a sham, tame “eurosceptic” sock puppet for Cameron. There can’t be any other explanation.

    • greggf

      Perhaps he’s been got at Wat, ….like that erstwhile EDL leader with the variable name and who is now at her majesties pleasure somewhere….?

  • Normandee

    once again the value of any politicians word is further devalued, not that there was a noticeable quantity left anyway. Another “blowing in the wind”politician runs home to mother skirts when it looks like they could win. I am thoroughly sick of listening to posh boys talking about it as if it is a game, I despise you all.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Ah, you chaps from the gutter, how we all admire you. Were you educated in a bog standard Comprehensive?. Are you now sweeping the streets? Ah, unposh buy, we love you.

      • Normandee

        wrong on all counts, no gutters, Grammar School, military service, and relative success in civvy street. Thoroughly despise politicians for this kind of behaviour, and people like you who are so filled with bile.

        • Fergus Pickering

          You sound quite posh, I must say. Well done you. Did you have any children? Where did they go to school? I am sweetness and light. Ask anyone that knows me. I thought you were rather rude about Mr Carswell.

          • Normandee

            wrong again, why don’t you just give up?, the gutter I wasn’t in was outside a council house, my kids went to ordinary schools in a small town in south Wales, but both went to Uni in London far ourstripping their father’s achievements. I was a senior NCO and now live off a relatively small pension in France because I cannot afford a house in the UK. So I suggest you keep your day dream misconceptions and excess of bile in control.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Ah, you’re Welsh. All is clear. And I don’t think there are any Grammar Schools left in that benighted land. Still, France sounds nice.

              • Normandee

                And still the bile, again misdirected, why assume I’m Welsh just because it suits your need to have yet another stab in the dark of your bile?. One thing is certain I would be anything rather than sad like you. I am only part Welsh, if I was to tell you the other constituents to my heredity your little mind would be blown with the amount of hate that would require, so I will save you the pain.

                • Makroon

                  Is overweening self-regard, a necessary condition to be a UKIPper ?

              • Major_Eyeswater

                Mr Pickering – you’re sounding all smug and superior. Please can you reflect a bit before you continue with the personal sneering at someone who, as you have now found out, has given more to his country than you ever have or will?

                • Fergus Pickering

                  How do you know this, Major? I am the civilisation that was being fought for.

                • Major_Eyeswater

                  You’re right, I’m just guessing. Please can you outline some of the ways that you have, or will, serve our country in ways that surpass Mr Normandee? Come now, don’t be shy, I’m all ready to be made to look a fool when you reveal your long personal history of endeavour on behalf of us all.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Certainly not. It is none of your business. I don’t know you from Adam, and I’d wager money you are not a major. .

                • Major_Eyeswater

                  Yep, thought so. If you must sneer at people please can you avoid aiming your personal remarks at those that probably merit just a wee bit more respect than you do? Otherwise people might think you’re a bit of a prat.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Come away with you. People don’t post here to make respectful noises at each other. You post here to be abusive, as do I.

                • Kitty MLB

                  I think you have upset the Major.
                  I maybe a newcomer to these murky blog pages
                  but I have noticed some need guidance with their put downs.
                  Perhaps, Pitt, Shakespeare or the excellent Cicero
                  might be of use to you- there is a way using the
                  English language ( And Italian)
                  without being purposely provoking.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Ah Kitty, he exists in order to be provoked. I am only a part of the grand design .Cicero? Nope. Catullus – now there was a man who could be provoking. Shakespeare? I think you will find he was a master of abuse…Were I to give the major bit half of what Lear gives to Goneril. What is he doing usurping a title already worn with distinction by another?…

                • Kitty MLB

                  I just sent a post to you and it was blocked!
                  You mention Catullus, I have not heard that name for a while! someone I knew on another political blog site and I used
                  to mention him and others quite a lot- usually in foreign languages.
                  Why not Cicero, he said politicians were not born they were
                  excreted- you might approve of that?
                  Not too sure a fine gentleman like the major would approve though.
                  Yes, Shakespeare was a master of abuse yet he was also represents the creative genius of the human mind-
                  So perhaps you might use Shakespearian terms and language – much better and less commonplace.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Noted, Kitty. Noted.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Well I should think so too.
                  Some colour clearly needs adding to those antiqued
                  and very grey cells. Although no one has to take my advice.
                  I must eschew this place now, the vicar was acting very strangely in the village the other day, a friend and I. are
                  off tonight to see what he has been getting up to.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Good Heavens! If your friend is Miss Marple I fear the worst.

                • Kitty MLB

                  I am actually responding to your latter post
                  ‘Good Heavens! If your friend is miss Marple I fear the worse.
                  It doesn’t wish me to send for some mind bogging reason.
                  Well, not unless he has had a gender change.
                  More like Poirot or the older mysterious brother of Sherlock Holmes- forgot his name..we have decided to wait until its dry!

                • Major_Eyeswater

                  You could well be right and despite what I said earlier (dander was up: I was sporting a hangover the size of Kent) you’re probably a decent sort of chap. I promise to try to make my insults more entertaining and less like Col Blimp (a man above my pay grade).

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Your very good health, Major.

    • Hello

      I’m not sure that I’d describe Carswell as a “posh boy”. I don’t think he even really pretends to be a posh boy does he? He seems fairly middle class to me, unless by “posh boy” you mean “Conservative”? Are you a bit of a “tw*t” — sorry, I mean “Ukipper”?

      • James Strong

        And are you a f****ng wa**er, sorry, I mean Cameroon luvvie?
        Regrettable that I’ve gone into insult mode here, but I don’t see why you should do it alone,
        Now, in a more temperate tone – go away and come back when you can discuss the issues.
        Carswell has come out with a significant change of position; he appears to have ditched some principles and that is what is worth discussing, more worthwhile than silly playground insults about UKIP supporters.

        • Normandee

          Thank you James, quite right, a shift from positions a lot of people find very important, some not even in UKIP, and some just completely hacked off with the way politicians brazenly move from one bandwagon to another with their eyes as usual fixed on a totally personal target.

          • XWheme1937

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        • Fergus Pickering

          When you change your mind about something you don’t necessarily ditch a principle. Otherwise we would ll be stuck with the silly opinions e had when we were young and knew nothing.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …principle isn’t opinion, laddie, not that you socialists would know the difference.

            • Dan Grover

              He didn’t say it was. In fact, he specifically said it wasn’t. You’re an absolute parody.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …again, and as you demonstrate, principle isn’t opinion, not that you socialists would know the difference.

                • Dan Grover

                  I have literally no idea what you’re talking about. What principle did I apparently pretend to promote?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Maybe you’re just a dumb socialist, lad.

                  No sense trying to un-dumb you types, generally.

                • Dan Grover

                  And I think your mind ceased to bother making the distinction between your waking and sleeping hours many years ago. Now it just welcomes the blissful simplicity of your cavalcade of nonsense. I mean literal nonsense – not logical fallacy or disagreeable opinion, but full on nonsense.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, opinion morphing into principle, again. You’re good at that, lad. Most socialists are.

        • Dan Grover

          Blimey, that escalated quickly! “F***ing wa**er”? What are you, a child?

          Anyway, if you listen to the podcast, Carswell puts together a pretty reasonable defence – that his best chance at leaving the EU lies with the Conservatives winning in 2015 (and the subsequent EU referendum in 2017). No other outcome is going to have *more* chance of that outcome occuring. As he said, your tactics should support your strategy. If your goal is to leave the EU – and I understand that, for a lot of UKIP supporters, it is – then that’s the best way. What else is there? Labour and the Lib Dems will veto any referendum, UKIP will hardly have two seats to rub together (I personally don’t think they’ll get any at all) and that’s your lot.

          So what should Douglas be doing?

          • James Strong

            The speed of the escalation depends on whether you think the original * was meant to replace an ‘i’ or an ‘a’.
            And you will see that the vast majority of my comments are reasonable and restrained, and lucid enough for considered agreement or disagreement.
            But in general terms I am not in favour of a proportionate response to aggression, because I don’t think the aggressor should set the limits, after he has initiated the aggression.
            In another field, if I were in the Oval Office and the RoP initiated aggression against my country I would obliterate/annihilate some venerated sites and cities.
            But I would announce the policy in advance, in the hope of deterring rather than having to punish.
            Not proportionate at all, but I’m happy that it sits OK with the principle of not initiating aggression.

          • BarkingAtTreehuggers

            No Dan, what will happen, not should happen, is that UKIP will blow away what’s left of DC and his mates and then Scotland will step up and do the rest in September.
            There is no time for complacency now, all this will go really quickly. The GE in 2015 seems years off by comparison, and I will suggest you forget about a referendum in 2017 as a United Kingdom may no longer be united then, never mind will there be anyone left dreaming about ‘UK’ independence.

            • Dan Grover

              Well I’m certain that UKIP will get more European Parliament seats than the Tories, but it’s an irrelevancy. Also, I’m certain that Scotland will vote No to Independence. Come 2015, you’ll still have the same question: Who am I going to vote for? And if your biggest issue is leaving the EU, who are you going to vote for? You’d be a loon to vote for anyone other than the Tories.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …so you spout off an opinion, and fancy it a principle?

                As I say, you socialists have not a clue of the difference between the two.

                • Dan Grover

                  Whaaaaat are you talking about? What opinion? What principle?! That was a prediction.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …yes, you socialists always like to try to get matters bogged down in semantics and definitions, don’t you? Language as a weapon of confusion, isn’t it? Well done, lad.

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    Is Britain REALLY on course to have her first –

    – de-facto, Conservative-Labour Coalition?

    Look at it this way. It is sad that some are losing their nerve and making some naive and irrational decisions.
    But it makes no difference when we accept that there is no way to stop Britain signing up to Federal-EU Governance as long as UK politics is so completely dominated by the Liberal-left.

    So where are we going? What if Cameron actually DOES manage to persuade enough disaffected Conservatives to forgive the most un-Conservative administration in living memory – and abandon their sworn pledge to support UKIP in 2015?
    So he gets a majority. But in getting that majority, he’s going to have a 5th column of committed democrats making sure he allows no further Sovereignty to be signed away to the EU.
    And then there’s the likelihood that, because Labour’s voters are ALSO leaving in their droves to support UKIP, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that UKIP could become the 3rd largest party in Westminster.

    Add 20 or so anti-EU Labour MPs, and the result is an under-pressure Cameron having to do permanent deals with Labour in order to keep Britain signed up to the EU’s Federal road-map.
    .

    • HookesLaw

      ‘look at it this way’? To look at it the way you do we’d have to be staring up our own backside.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …as you socialists would well know.

    • Colonel Mustard

      It is certainly on course to have a permanent Lib Dem government that nobody voted for.

    • bwims

      I’ve thought for some time that we have an oligarchy masquerading as opposing parties, but really operating as a puppet EU satrap.

  • monty61

    Just when you though you’d spotted one with a few principles beyond that of keeping his bum on a seat …. he disappoints. Didn’t we just have a (quite well argued) critique from Carswell last week essentially about how wrong the Cameroons were about just about everything?

    Still at least we have the Kippers to keep some of the big issues under discussion.

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