For several years, a steady trickle of emails have arrived in my inbox about a no nonsense speech, apparently given by the Australian Prime Minister.
These emails used to tell me that former Aussie PM John Howard had said those wanting to live in Australia should adapt to Australian culture - or leave. I was even sent a transcript of what he is supposed to have said.
Then I got emails applauding Kevin Rudd, the next Prime Minister, for apparently making the exact same "integrate or leave" speech. Today I got another email keen to tell me how Julia Gillard gave a speech only last Wednesday, which happened to use the precise same words.
Except she didn't say those words. Neither did Kevin Rudd. Nor John Howard before that. No Australian PM has ever uttered those word. The speech is a hoax. A case of someone deliberately attributing to successive Australian leaders words that they never said.
It is really important that folk understand that this "Australian Prime Minister speaks" email is a hoax. Why?
Precisely because Australia does have a good, no nonsense approach to immigration. And because Australia has a good record of assimilation from which we could learn.
Learning from the Australian immigration experience means recognising what Australia's experience has been. Not falling for a falsehood.
Beneath the radar of the mainstream media, I fear many thousands of people have now read this hoax email - and they believe it. I hope those inside the Westminster bubble confront this falsehood head on. In the meantime, let's use the wisdom of the crowd to explain the truth.
If you get an email telling you what the Aussie PM is supposed to have said, please send the folk who sent it this link: www.hoax-slayer.com/gillard-muslims-leave.shtml
Or link them to this blog post.
It might only be Tuesday, but already I get the feeling that we Conservatives have had better weeks.
Where do we go from here? Up, actually. If we want to.
First of all, Ed Miliband. He can be beaten. He has been Labour leader for a couple of years, but has failed to inspire. His speeches read as a string of Westminster clichés. We could ensure that he becomes the new Neil Kinnock; much more appealing mid-term than on polling day.
To be sure, UKIP's success in the recent local elections ought to send a jolt through our party. I hope it does. But – without being at all complacent – doesn't UKIP's success at the same time illustrate that there happens to be quite a market for small state, free market, Euro sceptic politics?
Forget the row about who might have said what about Tory members in some Westminster restaurant. The internet not only means it has never been easier to build mass membership organisations (ask Italy's Beppe Grillo). It also means that increasingly, organisations that want to have a mass membership at all, will have to give them more control. Good news for grass roots. Game over for grandees.
Opinion-forming in Westminster, which for generations was the preserve of a self-regarding, leftist elite, is being democratised. On many of the macro issues of our age – Europe, immigration, energy policy – the elite is slowly but surely having to shift its views. And they are only moving in one direction.
Cheer up. The outlook for small state, free market Conservatism is actually rather bright.
54 percent of those aged 16 - 64 in Pier ward in Clacton in my constituency are on benefit, according to a report out by the Centre for Social Justice.
Having over half of those of working age living on benefit in an Essex seaside town cannot possibly be what Clem Attlee and co had in mind all those years ago when they set up the welfare state. We have got to change the benefit system.
I have held dozens of MP advice surgeries in Pier ward. Many of those that feature in this report as a statistic are people that I know by name. I know all about many of the daft decisions officialdom sometimes makes. But the case for change is overwhelming.
We need to do much more to encourage those that are able to work back into work. There were over 270 job vacancies in the Job Centre last time I was in there.
The council has already taken action to prevent benefit migrants coming into the area to live on welfare. In April, a new residency test came into force, meaning that unless you have lived locally for several years, you won't qualify for certain benefits. Those wanting social housing are now moved higher up the list if they are in work.
Conservatism can become a narrow, pessimistic, inward looking creed. And when it does, it loses.
Our ideals and aspirations ought to be uplifting. The things we say and do should resonate with the country at large.
When we speak, voters should think "yes, they speak for me!".
And when we get the chance to act, we should do so - the way we promised.
Here is Ronald Reagan doing it in 1964. Watch and listen.
A tiny, outspoken, vocal minority has been forcing MPs to accept its unrepresentative opinions.
I refer, of course, to the commentariat in Westminster.
Certain media pundits display a glorious lack of self-awareness when they dismiss as unrepresentative those who refuse to tag along with Westminster group-think. Pesky party members and insurgent backbenchers might hold views that aren't mainstream at editorial conference meetings. But there are - still - hundreds of thousands more party members than there are newspaper columnists. Most MPs - particularly those from marginal seats - have to engage with swing voters every week.
Perhaps it is the pundits who are out of touch the the rest of the country?
Here are several examples where Westminster's aristocracy of opinion-formers have turned out to be stonkingly, and embarrassingly, wrong:
In my book, the End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy, I suggest that the internet will democratise opinion forming. With blogs and twitter, we will no longer be so beholden to the prejudices and preconceptions of a few columnists.
We are starting to see elite opinion formers overthrown. The sooner, the better.
Weirdly, there's an article in today's Telegraph online attacking me – and other Eurosceptic MPs – for having large majorities and being Eurosceptic. I plead guilty, M'Lud.
The article suggests that being a Eurosceptic is a wild indulgence. Something that only MPs in "safe seats" can afford to do. Those in marginal seats, apparently, know better.
How odd. When I won my marginal seat from Labour in 2005, it was by a highly marginal 920 votes. In 2010, that figure increased to over 12,000.
During those five years, I fought – and sometimes won - all sorts of local and national campaigns as the local MP. But I can't help thinking that one of the reasons the 2010 result was so much better than 2005 owed something - not everything, but something - to the fact that I made it clear I want Britain to pull out of the European Union.
Or look at it from a Labour angle. What was it about the outspoken, Eurosceptic Gisela Stuart, MP for Edgbaston, that helped her buck the anti-Labour trend at the last general election?
It is always helpful to have advice from folk who have never won an election. It is not always sensible to take it.
Anyone wanting to impart advice on how to win votes should start by recognising that in an age of anti-politics, authenticity is everything. To suggest that one should decide what to say on Europe, and how loud to say it, merely to maximise votes is the very definition of inauthentic.
I bang on about Europe because I believe Britain would be better off out.
So there it is. Of those names selected in the Private Members ballot this morning, most of the top half dozen names out of the hat are sound Eurosceptics.
James Wharton MP, who came top, will now present a Bill for an In / Out referendum on Friday July 5th.
Perhaps God is a Eurosceptic, eh? (WARNING: for humorless lefty pundits, that was a joke).
The Conservatives will unite behind the Bill. So, too, will the country - 82 percent of whom want an In / Out vote. Will Ed Miliband?
Perhaps we will now see the Westminster churnalists focus on "Labour splits", as and when MPs from all sides make it clear they back this Bill?
I look forward to columnists writing about the kind of Euro obsessives who still refuse, point-blank to give the voters a say.
Will the Bill become law? I know all about the sort of guerrilla tactics that can be used to stop this sort of Bill. But crucially, if enough MPs turn up in support, a Private Bill can get the all important second reading vote.
Just imagine if our Parliament was to vote in favour of a referendum on our continued membership of the EU!
But will they vote that way? I reckon the numbers are looking surprisingly tight. There are decent, democratic MPs on all sides of the House.
There are an awful lot of Lib Lab MPs in whose seats a great multitude just voted UKIP. Fancy denying those folk a referendum?
"Why not have a Europe referendum now?" a constituent asked. He has a point.
Every continent around the world is growing - apart from Europe. Our exports with the rest of the world are rising sharply - but falling with Europe.
Being run by Brussels has left us less happy, less democratic and less free.
So let's quit! I agree. I want out. And most of the folk who read this blog will too, I'd reckon.
So why not now?
You and I might have made up our minds, but it is what the whole country thinks that counts. And the reality is that one in five folk are still undecided.
The numbers are still close enough to see our lead whittled away during a ferocious, Brussels-funded scare campaign.
To be sure of leaving the EU, we must win over the undecideds - the kind of folk who say "why can't we stay as part of a looser, decentralised Europe?"
What will win the undecides over? If every effort was made to achieve that looser, decentralised arrangement. And it failed. When that happens the position of the Outers becomes unassailable.
Be clear, it will fail. It's not just that the Eurosystem won't give us meaningful concessions. The Europhile Whitehall mandarinate are not seriously trying.
With every set of trade figures, the case for withdrawal grows stronger.
As I replied to my constituent: "I've a four year old daughter. I believe her life chances - and the life chances of every four year old - will be much better if she grows up in an independent Britain, not a failed-state called Europe. I am willing to wait until she is six or seven if that's what it takes to guarantee we leave".
Be patient. We are winning.
"What would David Cameron have to do in this Parliament" a journalist asked me "for you Eurosceptics to say "Yes, that'll do, thanks?"
For several years, I have been agitating for the Prime Minister to offer an In / Out referendum. He's now offering one. Cameron deserves much more credit for being the first Prime Minister in a generation to offer us the chance to vote to quit the EU. Not even Mrs Thatcher came anywhere close!
So, I can tick that off my list.
I have also been pressing for the legislation to be enacted in this Parliament. Yesterday the government published the EU referendum Bill. To be sure, the Bill cannot be brought in in government time without Mr Clegg's say so. But the chance to engineer a vote on it is now ours for the making.
As a member of Better Off Out, who has been campaigning for an In / Out referendum, I feel I can now say "Yes. Thanks, Prime Minister. On matters Europe, that's what I wanted".
Having woken up to the UKIP insurgency, many in SW1 want to respond by beefing up policy. I am happy to beef up all sorts of policy. I even wrote a book about it. But if we want to win back support outside Westminster, the thing that needs beefing up most of all is our plausibility – and not merely on matters European.
I know that many colleagues in the Commons read this blog. Here's what we should do to beef up our plausibility on the Europe question:
Will Ed Miliband? That is the question.
"What don't you like about your job as an MP?" I was recently asked in front of a classroom full of cheerful children.
I think I waffled something about late night sittings. Or perhaps I made a quip about Prime Minister's Question Time.
Anything to avoid telling them about the one thing I really do not like; when the state forcefully takes a child away from their family – and desperate mum and dad, or granny, come to see me about it.
I never feel so hopeless or so out of my depth. I have no way of knowing all the facts. I am not a lawyer and I certainly cannot second guess a court.
On the one hand, failure to remove a child that was at risk of harm would be too awful to contemplate. And yet, how hideous it would be to forcefully take a child away from its mother, and put it up for adoption, on the basis of an error. Are we not, in some cases, removing children from their families simply because their life chances might be better in an adoptive family?
"But that does not happen!" I have for months been telling myself. "The experts consider all the facts, and make sensible, balanced decisions." Really? In which other area of public administration are mistakes never made?
Can we really have confidence in our family courts? I am starting to wonder. I've seen too many cases that raise disturbing questions.
Perhaps part of the problem is that family courts are shrouded in secrecy. I fear that we do not see when things go wrong. And because we cannot see if mistakes are made, what chance is there that they get put right?
In Denmark, children are only very rarely separated completely from their mother. Of course those that need to be, are taken into care. But rarely are they formally put up for adoption against the wishes of the mother. Perhaps we need to learn from that approach?
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times