In it he suggests that because the only people who are likely to be PM after the general are either Gordon Brown or David Cameron and that UKIP cannot win seats, UKIP supporters should vote Conservative.
He goes on to say:
What I’d ideally like – and what I assume my UKIP readers also aspire to – is a situation where UKIP no longer needs to exist: where it can award itself a medal and retire with honour, job done. Obviously, we’re not at that point yet. But I worry that every activist who deserts the Tories for UKIP is retarding the prospects of a Euro-sceptic Conservative Party without taking his or her energies to an alternative party of government.
On the issue of Europe which appears to be vital to him, Hannan does not agree with his own leadership and instead agrees with UKIP. The only reason as far as I can tell that Hannan has not already defected to them is because he thinks he has more chance of getting what he wants on this by staying in the Conservative Party. The reason for this is because of our first past the post electoral system. It forces people like UKIP supporters into a position where they have to choose either to vote for their principles (and hence effectively waste their vote) or vote for an option that they don't really want to win but is the least worst option.
In the European elections last year, UKIP came second nationally with 16.5% of the vote. That was under an electoral system that is more proportional (although I personally do not like the D'Hondt system used and favour STV for Westminster). It shows that on this issue there is broad support for UKIP.
If we had a more proportional system for Westminster it is reasonable to assume that UKIP's Westminster vote (2.2% in 2005) would go up significantly as one of the main barriers to people voting for them is that one that Hannan mentions, they can't win seats. But it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They do so badly because people think they can't win. If suddenly there was a system that would give them their fair share then suddenly all bets are off.
I suspect that one of the reasons most Tories oppose any sort of electoral reform for Westminster is because they are afraid that it would lock them out of power permanently. They seem to fear that there would be some sort of permanent Lib/Lab coalition. I am sure this would not happen. There is no reason why we could not see a combined Conservative and UKIP administration under a system that gave fair votes.
To be fair to Hannan, he is one of the few Tories I have seen being more receptive to the idea of electoral reform (along with his close political ally Douglas Carswell) but it is situations like this that for me test how strong the principles are.
Instead of arguing for tactical voting against UKIP, he should be shouting as loud as he can that it is the electoral system that is causing this and trying to persuade his colleagues in the Conservative Party of this fact.
Arguing for the death of a political party that he largely agrees with just because the electoral system is unfair to it is not the right way to try and get the change our electoral system needs. It Is in fact an attempt to lock in perpetuity the binary choice that increasing number of people in this country are sick of and UKIP's showing last year confirms.