The result of the 2010 general election left us with a government ‘cobbled together’ and then imposed on us by politicians; however, at least on that occasion we had a free choice of where to place our mark on the ballot paper. No longer, it would seem.

It now appears that two political parties, although both denying it, are discussing how they can assist each other come the 2015 general election. We have Fabricant, from the Conservative Party, proposing that in exchange for a EU referendum promise Ukip should agree not to stand against candidates of his party in constituencies where the Conservative candidate is not certain of victory; Nuttall, from Ukip, countering this by stating no deal is possible while Cameron remains leader; and Farage, leader of Ukip, hinting that a deal might be possible were Michael Gove to replace Cameron.

The fact that our democracy has descended to a point whereby a party with not one MP can attempt to dictate to a party with some the conditions of any agreement, while the latter party should feel it necessary to even propose that which they do; that both parties should even consider deciding whether there will even be a candidate for which their supporters will have an opportunity to vote, will hopefully not have escaped the notice of people.

This is not democracy; this is a few rabid, power-crazed collies discussing how, to their individual advantage, they can best herd the sheep.

24 Responses

  1. Sean O'Hare says:

    Not sure you are being entirely fair on UKIP here David.

    Fabricant’s discussion paper as it appears at Guido’s place would certainly suggest that the Conservatives are getting seriously rattled about UKIP. If you were the leader of UKIP, how exactly would you play it?

    NF wants to see the UK out of the EU and will do whatever it takes to achieve that aim (yes I do believe that!) If he believes that an in/out referendum is the best way to start down that road and a pact with the Tories is the best way to get it, then who is to say he’s wrong in at least showing a willingness to listen to overtures? I would hope that whatever, if anything, crystallises out of this will be put to the membership – if it isn’t I shall be out of the door!

    Why do you put it in terms of “dictating to another party”? A pact requires bargaining and the opening gambit is a referendum guarantee “written in blood”. I trust UKIP will not retreat from that.

    As you know I am a supporter of the Harrogate Agenda and believe it to be the way to achieve the democracy we would all like to live in. However, I cannot agree with you or Richard’s animosity to the leadership of the one party that may be persuaded to listen to and accept those demands. Has anyone actually approached the UKIP leadership re the Harrogate Agenda? Wouldn’t it be of benefit to the cause to have UKIP on board?

    • david says:

      Oh I think I am being entirely fair…….

      Maybe some Tory MPs are getting nervous of losing their seats at the 2015 general election, who knows whether that is just spin? If Tories are deserting to Ukip in the numbers we are told they are, why would Ukip agree to a pact?

      Farage wants an in/out referendum and Cameron said this afternoon in Parliament that is not what he will give – it will be a referendum on his negotiated terms of membership (if he achieves any). This entire question is being kept alive for potential electoral gain, I believe.

      To say that no pact can be had while Cameron remains leader does not sound like a negotiation to me – more a condition, in other words dictating…….

      The animosity that you refer to is purely because Farage has not – and seems will not – discuss life after the EU and how he sees the country continuing. Also from bitter experience I know it is his way or nothing. On the point of a referendum, when has he said how he would ensure it to be held on a level playing field?

      I’m not in the party but there’s nowt to stop you, as a member, putting the 6 Demands to Ukip – I can guess the answer though.

      • Sean O'Hare says:


        To say that no pact can be had while Cameron remains leader does not sound like a negotiation to me

        If it is true that the majority of Tory voters are sick to death of Cameron then that sounds like the kind of thing that might just spur them into doing something about getting rid of him!

        The animosity that you refer to is purely because Farage has not – and seems will not – discuss life after the EU

        Come on now! From all accounts he was a successful trader before getting into politics. There would seem to be little motive, other than hatred of the EU stemming from the malign influence it had on his business, for him to do that, so of course getting out is the number one priority for him. It may well be that he is single minded, but my experience so far is that UKIP the party, is broadening it’s horizons and political life after the EU is very much on the agenda. Why else float policies such as a flat tax and opposing the ludicrous green agenda and multi-culturalism? Could it be that the party is bigger than NF now? For sure he is still an important asset, but so are Paul Nuttall and Roger Helmer now they are allowed some media exposure. It isn’t quite such a one man band is it?

        I don’t mean to be obstreperous, but it seems that all the different groupings in opposition to the EU, including HA, are determined in every other respect to be at each other’s throats.

        I haven’t been in UKIP long enough to know or have any special access to the leadership, but yes I will attempt to bring the HA to their attention. If I’m successful in getting a hearing will you or anyone else present at the Harrogate or Leamington Spa gathering join me?

        • david says:

          Well, that seemed to stir a nerve…….. 🙂

          Well, when Cameron is removed as PM, perhaps those who accomplish that could turn their attention to getting him out of Witney? Again 🙂

          On a more serious note: Ukip may well be broadening its appeal policy-wise, but why is it I get the impression that good speaker that he is in that he does appear generally to connect with people; that NF seems to to give the impression that he is Ukip?

          I have no dispute with the aims of Ukip or that of Farage where escape of the EU is concerned – it is with the method that I disagree – and the lack of explaining how it can be accomplished.

          If you can get a hearing for the Harrogate Agenda with NF then I most certainly would join you to argue our case – in fact I would relish the opportunity.

          On your point that the HA is, like others, at the throat of other Eurosceptic Groups; that is most definitely not the case. What ‘troubles’ both RN and I is the fact that these other groups (BOO, CIB, Peoples Pledge) seem not to have ‘thought things through’. There are sugestions that Matthew Elliot should head up the ‘No’ side to any referendum and where that individual is concerned I do have doubts – I think he is but a mouthpiece of the Conservative Party and that he is in the ‘game’ for personal advancement. I attended a meeting of the CIB at which he spoke and I was not impressed. When I specifically posed the question about sovereignty and democracy and the deficits therein as illustrated by the 6 demands he refused to answer the question and ‘waffled’.

          Any ‘No’ campaign, bearing in mind the forces that will be assembled against it, needs extremely careful planning and forethought. The problem is that in trying to get all the eurosceptic organisations together involves too many egos, which/who will all wish to be top-dog in that campaign. Into that mix enters the likes of Hannan – enough said?

          • Sean O'Hare says:

            I sort of agree about the nomination of ME to head the “No” (I guess you mean “out”) campaign. Far to early to make a decision on that anyway. The point I am trying to make is that by stating that you think he is in it for personal advantage and implying that he is a Conservative Party stooge you are hardly making friendly advances to the Tax Payer’s alliance. Without support from such groups HA is going nowhere.

            • Andy Baxter says:

              Sean HA is not about seeking ego’s, personalities, celebrities or established political leadership or even an established party to further the gaol, its about grassroots support, alerting, informing and educating and appealing to masses of people that there is an alternative to the status quo and creating enough mass and momentum to reach a point of ‘dynamic tension’ even peaceful conflict for the demands to be heard and implemented.

              to go down the route of seeking enaything else as a strategy is doomed to failure in my view, yes we will encounter oppponents but also allies as we travel down this road but we must stay true to the aims and goals and strategy to be successful, I for one would seek allies and where our paths are in the same direction seek to hold hands and tread with them but I will not be swayed from the road for short term populism or be dazzled by personality; personalities can be decapitated by smears and whispers and destroy credibility of any organisation be it a movement or party, Farage whilst articulate and entertaining lacks substance to me simply because of his intransigence; to winimplementation of HA or even a referendum we need a clear strategy and HA offers that as its aims are incompatible with membership of the EU.

              • Sean O'Hare says:

                Andy, I know and agree with most of what you say. I did attend Leamington Spa under my real name (Hint: I was the last one on the published list!)
                . It is just that WfW seems to want to take a poke at every organisation such as the TPA that might just have been willing to support the agenda. Not the way to win friends and influence people is it?

                Just saying…

                • david says:

                  And I will continue to so do! When you have people like Hannan
                  who signs BOO and is also a member of a group that campaigns for Turkey’s admission to the EU; when Boris Johnson signs BOO and after a
                  week in which he calls for an in/out referendum, then says that
                  is not an option, one can only wonder at the individuals concerned
                  and the organisations to which they belong.

                  • Sean O'Hare says:

                    Quite agree when it comes to Boris. There is no chance that he sould sign up to HA. Hannan, I’m less sure about. He may just hae ad an ulterior motive in wanting Turkey in the EU. If anything is guarenteed to turn the German people against the EU it would be the entry of Turkey.

                    By all means attack the enemy David, but the likes of the TPAS are not really the enemby are they? They may be misguided on the EU issue, but we should be attempting to educate them, not pissing them off my being rude about their leading light.

                    • david says:

                      Come come, when have I been rude to the TPA or Matthew

                      All I have done in respect of ME is to question his
                      his credentials. He is of course if he reads this blog
                      entitled to rebut.

    • david says:

      So your sister thinks that nothing can be done…….

      And therein lies the challenge that we in the Harrogate Agenda have; and that is to convince people that there is another way and the benefits of that other way.

      Be not of faint heart!

      • Sean O'Hare says:

        Quite proves my point I think! The Harrogate Agenda is going to need lots of friends to get anywhere. Not only pressure groups, but political parties as well. Yesterday tweeted a link to the HA to the PPC for Labour during the last GE and quite a leftie. I was quite surprised at his reaction. OK, he thinks demands 4 & 5 are completely unworkable, but he hadn’t taken a lot of time to think about the impact of the others. The fact that he didn’t dismiss the whole thing as right wing claptrap I thought was quite encouraging.

        • david says:

          You will never get the existing political elite to accept the HA as it immediately removes the power the currently have.

          If HA ‘takes off’ from among that group will come a party based on the 6 demands!

          • Sean O'Hare says:

            I think the chap I’m referring to (failed 2010 Labour PPC) would be somewhat surprised that you think he his part of the elite. Although I regard myself as economically very right wing and he very definitely of the econimic socialist left, we get on very well at a personal level. Both of us acknowledge that politics isn’t everything and that bonds can exist outside politics. We first arranged to meet after the 2010 election and found that we had much in common outside politics. The bond was originally formed via Twitter and my wife and I subsequently made a point of seeking him out when the area he had since moved to coincided with a holiday my wife and I took there. I am very pleased to be his friend. We argue like mad on Twitter and I have written what I think are hard hitting comments on his blog, but never seem to talk politics when we meet.

            • david says:

              First, anyone that buys into the present political and democratic set up is,to me, suspect and part of that elite about which we all complain.

              Second,I have friends who believe my views to be ‘unacceptable’ and we discuss/argue like mad – so your point is?

  2. cosmic says:

    Farage is a politician and a much flawed character, as has been discussed. Political parties are not the answer to our problems, as has also been discussed. They are what we are stuck with now. They are not unimportant.

    Some of the Tories are seriously rattled by UKIP. Their party has no clear policy on “Europe” – well it does – stay in at any cost. It’s more accurate to say it has no policy it can state honestly. I’d say a lot of MPs were kidded by it, along with the public; growing numbers are worried by it.

    I think that Farage knows perfectly well that any arrangement with the Conservatives, they are likely to go in for, would do him no good and this business of contemplating such a thing were Cameron to be replaced was just Farage extracting the maximum embarrassment. There are a lot of Tories who think that Cameron isn’t the man for the job.

    What’s come from this story? UKIP acknowledged as a threat and mainstream. A damage limitation exercise on the part of the Tories and Farage taking the piss. Publicity for UKIP. I think Farage has milked this pretty well.

    As for the wider question of grubby deals, we are where we are, not where we would like to be.

  3. graham wood says:

    There is a related ongoing discussion on Dr North’s blog re Cameron specifically. One of the comments by ‘Comet’ is IMO so spot on that it is worth quoting – and note the clincher:

    “Cameron’s strategy is to keep the issue at bay until the next GE”.

    He has it in one, and in fact this has been the Tory strategy for years on the basis – ‘keep promising jam tomorrow chaps’ and the sheeple will continue to take the bait.
    Here is “Comet’s take:
    “No part of Cameron’s or the Conservative Party’s thinking involves leaving the EU and not being subject to all of its regulations. They are clearly determined it won’t happen.

    They’ve said consistently that their policy is not to leave the EU. I’m convinced they would rather not be in office than be in office and have to deal with leaving the EU. They’d rather see the Conservative Party reduced to a rump than face that. As it is, UKIP could damage them in the next GE, but it would be a very good result for UKIP if they got a couple of MPs. The ball will be safely passed to the Labour Party.

    They’ve had to put on a Eurosceptic side show over the years and a few apparent mavericks have been part of it, but we have seen the likes of Hannan and Johnson respond to the helm and support the repatriation/reform chanting, pretty sharpish.
    The Conservative way of neutralising the Eurosceptic threat has been to make a few gestures to give hope, and have a few vociferous sceptics giving the idea that the party could be changed from within, hoovering up Eurosceptic sentiment and letting it run into the sand. It’s worked very well.”
    Cameron’s strategy is to keep the issue at bay until the next GE.

    None of the political and administrative establishment want the UK to leave the EU. Seriously investigating an exit plan would put the idea of leaving indisputably on the agenda. Far better to continue pretending it’s so obviously disastrous and nonsensical that it simply isn’t worth considering.”

  4. Edward Spalton says:

    In the early days of UKIP we were rather like the small, aggressive chap who wants to fight the biggest man in the pub. It would be a sign of maturity to make a pact with the sound, declared pro independence candidates in the mainstream parties. There was a touchstone to establish their sincerity, an irrevocable declaration to electors, originally called the South Molton Declaration and later the British Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately UKIP would have no truck with it at the time. A Conservative candidate signed it openly in the market place and Roger Knapman, then leader, stood against him, gathering just sufficient votes to ensure the election of a rabid Lib Dem euorfederalist..
    Even Peter Kellner of YouGov ( Mr Catherine Ashton) reckons that UKIP will be the biggest party in the EU elections, something which will put the wind up many mainstream party MPs of generally Eurosceptic sympathies. it is an opportunity but doubtful whether there will be sufficient mutual trust to bring such a scheme into credible being.

    • david says:

      I would counter that of course, there is talk of a pact twixt Con/Ukip – they both wish to continue the present system of democracy and maintain ‘government’ as their power base. In that context there is no difference twixt Cameron and Farage. And that is why Farage will not welcome or embrace the HA.

    • cosmic says:

      There’s a big difference between a case by case policy of not standing against certain Conservative (or Labour) candidates and the Fabricant proposal, which was on a sweeping scale and included buying off Farage by making him the Minister for the Drought (or Floods, depending on which was the most ludicrous), in return for Cast Iron assurances on something or other. Anything along those lines would scupper UKIP.

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