‘Milkshaking’ has become the word of the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections in Britain. It is a word now associated with Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage and McDonald’s and Burger King, but, in fact, is also a practice of doping horses to increase their stamina and make them run at full speed for longer.
Indeed, the illegal racing practice – which involves giving sodium bicarbonate to horses to decrease acidosis, the build-up of lactic acid in their system that occurs during exercise – bares many similarities to what we’re currently seeing with the accelerated takeoff of The Brexit Party Limited.
Starting from utterly nowhere only a few weeks ago, Farage’s yet to be properly regulated operation (that is, in fact, a business) has benefitted from donations from all over the world. It is not known where much of this money has come from and frankly, though, it has given this dodgy ragbag the ability to annihilate all others in the opinion polls.
Though tomorrow the main parties may be wiped out electorally tomorrow, the milkshaking of politics brings with it a toxicity that, just as with how it puts horses at huge risk in racing, will destroy trust in democracy further. This is something that should worry us all and it is something that we must all work to stop.
In a letter to The Times this morning, Sir John Major extraordinarily intervened in the wake of Lord Hesletine having the Conservative whip withdrawn. Clearly taking aim at the hapless harridan Theresa May, something a former Prime Minister would not do to one of his successors lightly, Sir John wrote:
Sir, The sheer folly of suspending Michael Heseltine from the Conservative whip defies both logic and belief. Michael has served the Conservative Party loyally and well for more than 40 years — in good days and bad. At a time of growing cynicism in politics, his convictions — his Conservative convictions — have remained solid, constant and true. Millions of Conservatives — myself included — share those convictions.
Withdrawing the whip from such a man — on an issue of conscience — is an over-reaction that will encourage many moderate Conservatives to follow Michael’s example.
Who are these blinkered people who have suspended the whip from a lifelong servant of the party?Moreover, a servant who has contributed to the social and economic welfare of our country on a scale that his critics neither can — nor will — ever match.
I am not the only Conservative who will be dismayed by this decision, which highlights yet again how far our party is moving away from the compassionate and moderate One Nation policies that have enabled the Conservatives to dominate politics for so long. If the views of the Michael Heseltines of our party are no longer tolerated within it, then our party has truly lost its way.
Sir John Major
Prime Minister 1990-97, London, SW1