What a way to bring down the curtain on an impressive political career. Is it really 37 years since the Yorkshire schoolboy chided the Tory party conference, saying that many of them would not be here in 30 or 40 years time? Perhaps the seeds were sown that very day, and 37 years later Hague probably wishes he could be elsewhere too. For he finds himself the hero of Kippers everywhere, instrumental in securing a £900,000 donation for UKIP.
Multi-millionaire Arron Banks, who describes himself as a self-made man, has made substantial donations to the Conservative party. Today he announced that he would be throwing his weight behind UKIP, and to put his money where his mouth is he came bearing a cheque for £100,000.
But that just wasn’t enough for our William. Possibly using the same judgement that led him to wear a baseball cap on a roller coaster, Mr Hague, reacting to the news that the Conservative party had lost a donor, referred to Mr Banks as a “nobody”.
As an aide–mémoire, Mr Banks has just announced that he will now be giving UKIP one million pounds.
Perhaps the only thing better than the successive defections of Tory MPs and donors is the truly nasty reaction of the Tories. They have not accepted being handed the mitten with aloof dignity. Rather they have shown their true colours, vindictive, arrogant, nasty. If I were making the impossibly difficult decision to jump ship, I think the Tory reaction to my erstwhile colleagues would perhaps make up my mind.
There is some chippiness in the media about this. Many were expecting another juicy MP defection. Those gathered at the UKIP press conference were less than impressed at being dragged down from the Tory party conference in Birmingham for a mere £1million donation. Coming so soon after the horror of discovering that there was no free press bar at the UKIP conference last weekend, one can appreciate their suffering.
Not for the first time, the media has missed the point. A one million pound donation to UKIP, from a Tory donor, is huge news in anyone’s book. Had this been announced just a month, or even a week ago, the reaction would have been seismic. It shows how far UKIP have come, in such a short space of time, that an announcement of this magnitude is almost seen by the media as small beer.
This defection is more potent, more useful to UKIP’s immediate objectives, than the defection of another MP. The party can now concentrate it’s well funded fire on 3 by-elections. As delicious as another MP defection would have been, it would mean fighting a fourth, and at the moment, in the word’s of a game show contestant, I think I would take the money!
Welcome to UKIP Mr Banks, your generosity is hugely appreciated and will make an enormous difference. And, of course, thank you Mr Hague. Rumours are that your complimentary membership is in the post.
Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office