….at least, until they understand the actualité.
Via Twitter my attention is drawn to an article on Trending Central, one authored by Barry Cooper who is Chairman of Ukip Buckinghamshire and a prospective Ukip MEP candidate in next years European elections. The article is headlined: The EU debate is hotting up; are you ready? - and immediately one can only point out that of all the people who should be ready, Ukip most definitely cannot be counted among those to whom Cooper’s article is addressed.
No doubt Barry Cooper’s heart is in the right place – unfortunately I am unable to locate exactly where is his brain situated. Allow me to state, at the outset, that while there are those who implore me to support Ukip as they are the only real alternative to the other three main political parties; it becomes increasingly difficult to so do within the course of direction that Ukip currently follow. As an aside I recently had a ‘Twitter-Spat’ with David Cockburn, another ‘leading light of Ukip, who posted on Twitter the findings of an opinion poll that was five months old. When I queried the relevance of that, all I met was sarcastic abuse in reply.
Coopers article begins: As the European Union (EU) membership debate matures, it becomes incumbent on those of us on the “out” side of things to marshal our resources and solidify our arguments. We are benefitting [sic] from being drawn in to the “mainstream” of debate, and must make sure that we are armed with more than rhetoric and sound-bites when going up against increasingly sophisticated (and slightly terrified) opponents who are determined to see the UK remain part of the EU.
For the representative of a party to complain that rhetoric and sound-bites should be avoided, perhaps his complaint should be addressed to his Leader rather than we, the public. Even Cooper himself indulges in the use of ‘sound-bites’ by repeating part of an EU report that there are 600,000 who are economically inactive and reliant on benefits. One has to ask whether Barry Cooper actually read the 282 page EU report – at least, for the benefit of everyone, someone else did.
Earlier, in his article, Cooper asserts that: In many ways, even more important (to me at least), the second “cost” of EU membership is a moral one. Fundamentally, it boils down to this – the British people are no longer in a position to hold accountable those that create and pass the laws and regulations which govern and affect them. The democratic deficit inherent in the EU as an institution makes a mockery of centuries of law and government, and indeed of the very basic principles of democracy itself. Regular readers will, I trust, forgive the required repetition but just when have we had the principles of democracy in this country? When have we ever been able to hold accountable those that create and pass laws that we must obey – invariably under pain of imprisonment – except retrospectively? That is democracy?
Cooper deplores use of the term ‘banner-bearer’ in relation to Ukip where Euroscepticism is concerned, but as the only political party opting for withdrawal from the EU, should they not – must they not – assume that mantle? Unfortunately, other than continual indulgence of rhetoric and sound-bite, they appear totally disinterested. Where are the detailed speeches and articles about how we escape the iron-grip of the EU? Where are the speeches and articles about life after membership of the EU? Where are the speeches and articles about exactly what will need to be done in relation to treaties of which we are a participant – but only because we are a member of the EU? Yes, Farage has mentioned Article 50 as a means to cease our membership of the EU – but when has he actually spelled out how he would use Article 50? When has he spelled out that which he would be demanding – other than he would want a free-trade ageement?
It is my belief that Ukip, as a political party, will never gain credibility with the British people until they begin to ‘professionalize’ themselves; to begin dealing with the actualité; of spelling out their vision for withdrawal and ‘life thereafter; and finally, drop the sarcasm when anyone attempts to engage one of their representatives in serious debate.
Currently, where ‘rhetoric’ and ‘sound-bites’ are concerned, at least one can acknowledge the fact that they can be considered ‘past masters’ of that regrettable art.
Afterthought: The Bruges Group are holding an International Conference on Saturday 9th November 2013, 10.30am until 6.15pm on how Britain can leave the EU. The speakers are: Christopher Booker, Professor Tim Congdon, Ian Milne, Professor Patrick Minford, Dr Richard North, Professor Roland Vaubel and Mary Ellen Synon. Now I can’t wait to see Booker, North and Synon vs Congdon (especially), Minford and Milne – I’ve got my ticket……….!