I see that both Richard North and Autonomous Mind have indulged in further – what some might call ‘Ukip Bashing’ – but which I prefer to call ‘Forensic Dissection’. At the outset, let me make clear that I fully endorse the criticisms that are made by both of them. Like both I wish Ukip well – and like both I hold out little hope that they will do well.
Ukip is the only political party wholeheartedly campaigning for the cessation of the UK’s membership of the European Union – do note that I did not use the phrase ‘full membership’ as I doubt anyone in Ukip is even aware that an ‘arms-length’ form of membership even exists.
Ukip stand in elections, both national and European, asking the electorate to vote for them – but based on what? Why would the electorate trust a political party headed by someone who has been an MEP since 1999 but who has no idea how much the EU affects the actions of the Environment Agency? Why would the electorate trust said politician who calls for a proportion of Overseas Aid to be diverted to home use when it is patently obvious that this cannot be done? Why would the electorate trust a party when a Director of that party publicly states that flooding is not the fault of Brussels?
Nigel Farage, during his Spring Conference speech (which some have exalted as brilliant, but which actually did not rank as high as a damp squib) mentioned that there were just 84 days until the European elections. What better opportunity then for Ukip to discuss ‘matters EU’; to discuss exactly how the UK could cease its membership; the problems entailed therein – and the benefits; to enlighten the electorate about just how much the European Union affects and intrudes into their daily lives; to discuss democracy per se (especially relevant for a party with the word ‘Independence’ in its name) and the fact that it is not to political parties that the UK belongs, but to the people of the UK – but on that latter point, I digress.
Autonomous Mind writes about open goals that have been missed – well here’s another that Farage and Ukip have missed. Nick Clegg has challenged Nigel Farage to a public debate about the UK’s membership of the European Union – some may say Clegg’s motive is a last throw of the dice to bolster his vote come the EU elections. It is well known that both Cameron and MilibandE will go to any lengths to avoid discussing this subject. It is also well known that the European elections are used by the electorate to thumb their noses at whatever political party is in government – in other words the European elections are not about the European Union, but merely used to express their dissatisfaction with the ‘government du jour’. Were I Farage I would have issued long ago a public challenge to both Cameron and Miliband for a similar public debate as that with Clegg – and I would keep issuing that challenge every day and every hour – assuming of course that Farage learns to do ‘detail’. Should Ukip not be using every means at their disposal to make other political leaders talk about a subject they would rather not; should not Ukip be using every opportunity to ‘educate’ the electorate about the European Union and how it impacts on this country’s sovereignty and independence?
Having said that, debate is not a subject on which Ukip seems very keen – for example, on Twitter I have confronted prospective Ukip MEP candidates about things they have said, pointing out that as Twitter is not the forum for debate – limited as it is by character content – and providing them with my email address and telephone number to allow such a debate to be had. The response? Zilch, da nada, nothing! In the comments section on this blog I am asked to ‘lay off’ Ukip because they are the only hope we, the electorate, have. Hope for what exactly?
Vanessa, commenting on Autonomous Mind’s blog writes that she too agrees with his comments; that she has written to the ‘top table’ within Ukup but to no avail. Speaking from personal experience when a member of Ukip and branch chairman of Witney, Vanessa: save your time and effort, I’ve got the ‘T’ shirt! Having become disillusioned with Ukip and those in ‘Witney Ukip’ I resigned as branch chairman, but whilst my membership was still active offered my services to Aylesbury for leaflet distribution, their campaign involving litter picking, etc – response from Aylesbury? Once again Zilch, da nada, nothing. Having been an active member of the Conservative Party and seen their ‘organisation’ in operation (campaigning with the MP, door knocking) I offered, at my expense, to visit every branch in Oxfordshire to talk about Electoral Law (again of which I have experience, having acted as Election Agent on more than one occasion) and campaigning per se. This offer was made, in person, to Steve Harris, then South East Regional Organiser (he may well still be, I know not) and, yet again, the response was Zilch, da nada, nothing.
Readers should realise that why I relate matters ‘internal’ it is done for a very basic – and important – reason. Ukip are asking the electorate to trust them with matters national and international. If they are unable to deal with – and understand – what might be termed mundane matters (which they are not, by any stretch of the imagination) what hope is there for their future as a coherent, competent and trustworthy political party?
Ukip wishes to save the United Kingdom – methinks the United Kingdom needs saving from Ukip!