Tag Archive: Ukip

The Ukip problem

On the question of ‘Brexit’, only the other day it was put to me that I was ‘divisive’ in respect of Ukip when I knew very well what was at stake – which I thought a tad rich when I do not write about them as often – and as negatively – as others. Any criticisms I do make are not made from any personal animosity for Nigel Farage, nor his party; and invariably my criticism of Ukip is grouped with a similar dislike of any other political party.

One of the most repeated accusations that I make of Conservative, Labour, or Liberal Democrat politicians is one of ‘being economical with the actualité’; in other words being economical with the facts to the point whereby the electorate is misinformed, even lied to – and in this regard, where being ‘economical with the actualité thus leads to misinformation, Nigel Farage and Ukip are no less guilty than the other three parties.

A recent comment seen is that all this country needs is a free trade agreement so that we can make our own decisions; to which one response said that that is what Ukip proposes while expressing the wish that Ukip would untangle decades of laws. Another comment stated that a vote for Ukip meant Brexit and contained the wish that that party had an exit strategy and policy after withdrawal. After withdrawal? God forbid they go down that route as having withdrawn, what happens to trade, movement of capital, goods and people, while they negotiate a ‘bespoke’ trade agreement?

No-one would begrudge the fervour exhibited by any party’s activists in promoting the party they support, but Ukip MEPs and supporters seem to excel, especially on Twitter, with the inane, discourteous; and at times totally rude, comments; in particular on newspaper stories which are themselves incorrect – and in some cases, deliberately made so it seems.

One such recent illustration of what may be termed ‘Ukip hype’ concerns an article in the Daily Express which reported that the EU intended to impose road tolls; a story stating that European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc wants a standardised driving tax across all EU member states. The Express story was factually incorrect as what Bulc said contained a caveat that the Express chose not to mention; that omission being:

There are many options – a fee could be obligatory but it’s also possible to make it optional i.e. that countries decide themselves whether and on which roads they want to levy a road use charge based on kilometres driven. (Emphasis mine)

In fact, subsequently, on 27th January Bulc tweeted:

My vision for EU #tolling system would be optional for Member States. A uniform system would be fairer + more efficient for EU citizens.

On the day of the Express story Twitter was ‘flooded’ with comments from Ukip MEPs and supporters all adversely passing comment on this intended EU law. It is obvious that comment was being made without any attempt to investigate/research the veracity of this newspaper story – is that a logical response from a party that wishes the electorate to take them seriously?

Let us consider Ukips ‘policies’ – as so far published – together with the most recent publication: 100 reasons to vote Ukip. As an aside on the latter, this was most eloquently ‘filleted‘ by a blogger whose ‘diminutive’ is, I understand, ‘The Bastard’ – however I digress.

On the Ukip website we read:

We would negotiate a bespoke trade agreement with the EU to enable our businesses to continue trading to mutual advantage.

I well remember a telephone conversation with a Ukip supporter, one who is a frequent user of Twitter, who when I tried to explain that trade agreements with the EU take time, blithely said that my view was rubbish and that it could be done within a week, if not days.

Really? Let us consult the EU Commission on how free trade agreements are reached:

Many months of careful preparation take place before a trade negotiation begins. This includes public consultation, assessment of an agreement’s potential impact on Europe’s companies and consumers and informal and formal talks between the Commission and the country or region concerned to determine the issues to be covered. After these comprehensive preparations, the Commission requests authorisation from the Council of Ministers (made up of representatives of EU governments) to open negotiations. They agree the objectives that the Commission should try to secure. During the negotiating process that usually lasts several years, the Commission regularly informs the Council and the European Parliament on the progress being made. Once an agreement is reached, its signature is formally authorised by the Council. The European Parliament, using its new Lisbon Treaty powers, may accept or reject, but not amend, the text. Individual EU countries may also need to ratify an agreement according to their own national procedures as well as the green light they give at international level. The agreement enters into force on a particular day, but may be provisionally applied beforehand. (Emphasis mine)

Ukip also state:

We would review all legislation and regulations from the EU (3,600 new laws since 2010) and remove those which hamper British prosperity and competitiveness.

The inference of that statement is that all the legislation and regulation coming from Brussels is ‘EU Law’ – it is not. Where the setting of ‘standards’ is concerned, this is done within bodies under the aegis of the United Nations; for example: Codex (food standards); the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) based in Rome; the United Nations Economic Council (UNECE) based in Geneva; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) based in Paris; the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) based in Montreal; the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) based in Basel; and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) based in Bonn; the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations – known as WP.29 and held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Council Europe (UNECE); the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, which jointly manages the fisheries in the region. 

‘Standards’ are then handed down to members of these various UN bodies in the form of dual international quasi-legislation, or ‘diqules’, for implementation by governments and trade blocs. In fact the majority of the bulk of the Single Market regulation originates from these UN bodies, making the EU no more than an intermediary player, processing standards agreed elsewhere, way above the EU and over which the EU has no direct control. So the EU does not make law, consequently law does not come from Brussels. In any event the point has to be made that ‘EU Law’ is no doubt law that the UK would have applied anyway, had it had its own seat on the aforementioned bodies.

Where the statement:

We would reoccupy the UK’s vacant seat at the World Trade Organisation, ensuring that we continue to enjoy ‘most favoured nation’ status in trade with the EU, as is required under WTO rules.

is concerned, I am not going to waste my time pointing out that ‘most favoured nation’ would mean that the UK would still be liable to tariffs; suffice to say that in effect a horse and cart has been driven through WTO ‘most favoured nation’ rules by trade blocs, such as the European Union, which have lowered or eliminated tariffs among their members while maintaining tariff walls between member nations and the rest of the world.

Neither will I waste time with Ukip’s statement:

UKIP would not seek to remain in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA) while those treaties maintain a principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.

If Ukip wishes to negotiate a ‘bespoke’ trade agreement, then what would be simpler than a sideways move to EFTA/EEA while it did just that? That course of action would have no negative effect on the ability of UK business to trade with the EU, neither would it affect the other ‘three pillars’ involving services, capital or the movement of people. What it would do is allow any future government time to negotiate a ‘bespoke’ trade agreement.

The foregoing can but illustrate that, in common with the other three main parties, Ukip, too, is ‘economical with the actualité’ – or, in common with the other three, has no real idea on that which it pontificates.

There is an irony involved in the dissemination of political messages; in that parties spend an inordinate amount of time refuting statements from their opponents in order to negate adverse public perception of their policies – should not political parties also pay attention to what can only be described as the ‘crap’ put out by their supporters – ‘crap’ which also does the respective party no good whatsoever.

And on such ‘shallow’ ignorance, the electorate is prepared to hand over our lives, our future and be ‘ruled’ by any of them?


Down the Greece(y) pole?


Following the results of the Greek general election, there is speculation that Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, could herald the break-up of the European Union, by threatening not to pay his debts and exiting the eurozone, with his hard-line approach to negate austerity.

The idea that Greece with but a miniscule GDP, under $250 billion and not even one percent of the eurozone, is able to ‘out-gun’ the EU must be considered far-fetched indeed. That Tsipras, for all his rhetoric, could ‘bring down’ what must be ‘the’ policy of the EU, namely that of having a single currency, can but be laughable.

As Bruno Waterfield (Telegraph) reports, Angela Merkel echoes the fear that is obvious to the EU; namely that if voters in Spain and Italy, both countries where elections are expected this year, see that Syriza is able to win major concessions then Europe’s growing populist revolt will become unstoppable – and that just ain’t gonna happen. Waterfield’s article contains quotes by some of the ‘great and good’ within the EU; and Open Europe has others – all of which leads one to believe that Tsipras, instead of getting the haircut he seeks, now has a headache.

Today has seen the ‘Ukip faithful’ taking to the twittersphere proclaiming a similarity twixt Syriza and Ukip in that what Syriza has done in Greece, Ukip can do in the United Kingdom. When considering any similarity twixt Syriza and Ukip, unfortunately one can only come to one conclusion.

The electorates in Greece and the United Kingdom are each being duped by two men who have not thought through that which they propose, consequently having no idea how to bring about that which they seek.

In summary: both have committed the cardinal sin of having no credible exit plan.


David's Musings


Comments Closed

Carswell – will he, won’t he

A few days ago, commenting on the results of the by-elections in Clacton and Heywood & Middleton, I posed the question of how long it would be before Douglas Carswell began to exert some control over the ‘rabble-rousing’ elements in his new party, especially where that element might undermine good work he may do in the House of Commons.

A thoughtful article has appeared by Liam Halligan, from which:

As Ukip’s first elected member, Carswell can table Ukip parliamentary motions and lay Ukip amendments to legislation. He can question the Prime Minister on television and hold ministers to account. Above all, he can play a leading role in determining his new party’s economic platform ahead of the May 2015 general election and beyondCritics complain Ukip is a protest group, lacking serious policies beyond Europe and immigration. Well, now Carswell has the opportunity to shape an entire economic manifesto which, given his poster boy status and the media’s escalating interest in Ukip, is certain to command attention.

Carswell may well have said that he holds no leadership thoughts but the next few weeks and months could become very interesting – as Halligan writes, Farage and Carswell could come to blows (and let us not forget O’Flynn who the last I heard was Ukip’s economic spokesman).





David's Musings



Nigel Farage in the spotlight?

For those who haven’t heard but who are interested, it is reported that the Panorama investigative film into Nigel Farage’s financial relationship with UKIP will be shown on BBC1 at 8.30pm on Monday 13th October 2014.

Stay tuned, as they say……………

Carswell: what next for Ukip – and Farage?

When Nigel Farage entered a press conference accompanied by Douglas Carswell jaws may well have dropped, immediately followed by a realisation of the content of what they were about to hear.

In the aftermath of the announcement of Carswell’s ‘defection’ there are many imponderables; namely, will the Conservative Party actually move a writ or leave the seat vacant until May 2015; will Carswell retain his seat as a Member of Parliament, whenever an election is called; will Carswell’s ‘defection’ prompt more of his ex-colleagues to follow – unlikely, according to media reports and a recent statement by Nadine Dorries.

More intriguing – and hardly raised elsewhere – is the question of should Carswell still be the MP for Clacton post May 2015, what might happen to Ukip as a party. Will it still be Nigel Farage’s party were Carswell to be elected and Farage fail in Thanet? Media commentators seem to be of the opinion that Carswell has taken a risk, but in view of the foregoing scenario (Carswell MP – Farage not) it is logical to ask whether Farage has taken an even bigger risk.

Interesting times ahead, methinks.


On the subject of further Conservative MPs following Carswell: While it can be said that Carswell has taken an honourable course and resigned his seat, one has to wonder whether those being touted as further possible defectors are more interested in their careers than in facts which are staring them in the face on the question of Cameron’s renegotiation ploy and ability to hold a referendum by 2017.

Until such MPs can explain how Cameron’s policies can be delivered, my cynicism of them must remain.


David's Musings


Comments Closed

Pot, Kettle (2)

Peter Oborne has an article in The Spectator which will no doubt cause Farage, Ukip and their supporters to preen their feathers and revel in that which he writes. The article is headed: How Nigel Farage gave British democracy back to the voters. While that which he writes may have an element of truth in it, in that a subject (immigration) is now being openly discussed when it wasn’t years ago, I must take issue with some of his statements.

First, readers of this blog will not be surprised when I question how has Farage given back to the voters something that they never had in the first place?

Second, how has Farage re-invented British democracy? If Farage had his way we would still be subjected to representative democracy; albeit with referenda on certain subjects which would be chosen by him.

Third – and I hate to mention this – but how can a man be lauded for giving back to voters something that they have never had but who, more importantly also has no idea of how that might be accomplished?

Just asking……………………………

Afterthought: No doubt critics of any criticism of their hero will be up in arms at my views. However, if it is possible for them to calm down for a moment, I would ask them to remember Farage is a politician and as such has an agenda, one which he may not have spelled out but can be summed up in one phrase: power over his fellow man. If Farage managed to gain power and subsequently extricate this country from the grip of EU rule (two highly unlikely events) believing in independence as he reputedly does, he would promptly hand the country back to those that own it – the people.

Wallace, or is it Grommit, that wrote this? Oh and not forgetting Farron……

Appearing under the by-line of Mark Wallace is an article on Conservative Home about the European Elections, the debate this evening twixt the five contenders vying to be the next EU President of the Commission, democracy and a demos.

The article ends with these words of suppose wisdom about the aforementioned debate:

By contrast, Cameron’s speech demonstrates that the British union may have its issues but it rests on far stronger foundations. Those watching or reading about it, of all sides in the referendum and of all nations in the UK, know that it matters to them. They recognise the man delivering the speech even if they dislike him, they share his language (if not his accent), they acknowledge – even the Scottish separatists – that they are at present part of the same nation. And, even more importantly, they know that they can change the direction of that nation if they choose, by using their freeborn right to vote.

Instead of moaning that the British aren’t tuning in to the EU debate, the EU’s apparatchiks could do worse than tune in to watch events in the UK. They might learn what a real democracy – and a real demos – looks like, warts and all. (Emphasis mine)

Yes, the electorate can change the direction of our nation, but only every five years – they cannot do that at the time a policy is implemented with which they vehemently disagree.

No, we do not have a real democracy in that the demos obviously only comprises 650 of the inhabitants – and those 650 are but warts; there being no ‘all’.

If there is a freeborn right to vote, since when should a minority of us decide when the majority may exercise that freeborn right?

When highlighting crap presented as informed opinion (which leads me to believe even more that the above article must have been written by the dog) I received the following, unsolicited email from Tim Farron:

Click image to view it in full size

 Clicking on the video in the email to play it one is redirected here – and at which point the reader of this post will be able to view the video – which informs us the Liberal Democrat Party believe in a Britain that is open, modern, tolerant and diverse – which is all very well; but when have the people been specifically asked? They have not – they have had the policy imposed on them; and that is not democracy.

While I have no time for Ukip in its present incarnation, where the Liberal Democrats are concerned, one is forced to turn the question they pose around and direct it back: 

 If you want to know what sort of party the Liberal Democrats are, listen to what they say. Watch this video and ask yourself a question: Are you going to let these people win the next election?

In fact I would widen the recipients to which the question was originally aimed – do we really want any of the current political parties, in their current incarnation, to win any election now or in the future?


Political Merry-go-round

Having spent 4 days enjoying the best that the County of Durham can offer (company, food and leisure activities) I note that not much has changed during my absence from the blogosphere where our politics is concerned.

With all the problems we in the UK face it would seem that, according to Benedict Brogran’s ‘Morning Briefing’ George Osborne has achieved some flattering coverage in today’s papers due to the fact that having been on the  5:2 diet (which means restricting himself to 600 calories a day for two days a week), the mockery of his weight has come to an end. According to the Mail, Brogan reports, the whole Cabinet seems to be “a model of lean government”, with Cameron reportedly cutting back on his dairy intake (though Downing Street doesn’t like to comment on such matters); Nick Clegg starting kickboxing; and Michael Gove recently losing 2st on an “fat farm” in Austria. Ones initial reaction is that politicians of all hues have been milking it for some time now; that Clegg is always kicking against something or other; and that Gove is no doubt doing ‘Vine’ where losing weight is concerned – but I digress………. 

I note that Richard North has justifiably written about the shortcomings of Ukip and Farage, especially viz-a-viz Cameron’s seven ‘target’ areas for reform; that some MPs have been claiming expenses for riding their bikes even though one has ceased claiming as he realises it costs him nothing while another has claimed just over £400 for maintenance of his two bikes; that Farage has announced he would step-down within 12 hours of Miliband gaining a majority at the general election while Ukip went ‘seatless’ (the  Daily Politics interview  while it remains available, can be viewed here – starts at 12.12). Interestingly during this interview, Farage was questioned by Andrew Neil in regard to what preparations he was making for his debates with Nick Clegg, to which the response was that he had been ‘boning-up’ on his facts – specifically mentioning Clegg’s oft-claimed comment about 3 million jobs depending on the UK’s membership. Hmm, for a man not renowned for ‘doing detail’ the outcome will sure be interesting.

In other news today we have seen Viviane Reding launch her 2014 EU Justice Scoreboard, her accompanying statement ending with the words: Every national court is a Union court and thus justice policies are no longer simply ‘national business’. It is all very well Grayling being reported as stating: We have no intention of the UK becoming part of a one-size-fits-all EU justice system, and it is just this kind of meddling that really irks the public. The Commission claims the Scoreboard is a tool for promoting effective justice and growth. I do not believe that the Commission has any role in the detailed monitoring or assessment of the justice systems of Member States to secure this goal – he needs to go read Article 4(j) of the TFEU where he will find that the area of freedom, security and justice is a shared competence. In any event it is worth recalling that this document by the Spinelli Group is lurking in the background and if any new treaty is forthcoming and is based on that document, it won’t matter what opt-outs one has on this, that or the other – they will be worth squat-diddly, especially where our politicians wish to remain a full member of the European Union.

With the launch of the Tory Pro-EU EUMainstream event today (‘manifesto’ here) we are also treated with an article on Conservative Home by Jeremy Lefroy suggesting that Westminster, not the EU, controls our spending in the UK. It would seem that a concerted attempt is being made to further sway public opinion. Surely any political party worth its salt would be hitting the airwaves (eg: twitter?), especially one so opposed to the views of such a pro-europe group. If Labour can respond, should we not have seen something from Ukip? Er, don’t they have a Director of Communications, someone who moonlights as a chief reporter for a national newspaper? Just asking………….

Richard North is, again, quite right to infer that while we have politicians of all parties obfuscating; while we have a media who do not do the job that they should; and while we have a public so totally – and one might say, deliberately – uninformed, just why do we bother with all this talk about holding a referendum on our membership of the EU? The result will be, after all, a well-engineered given.



‘Flooding’ us with false information


During ‘the floods’ the public has been fed a ‘load of tosh’ by our political class (all of them!) which has been dutifully parroted by that section of our society known as the media. For sure our political class have, unknowingly to the public, ensured that parts of Somerset have been ‘levelled’ with up to 10 feet of water in places, but the one thing they have not done is ‘levelled’ with the public where the cause of flooding is concerned.


While understandably Somerset has dominated the news, other areas are still experiencing high levels in their rivers. Driving back from Camberley this afternoon, I crossed the river Windrush at Newbridge and witnessed the fact that river is still considerably higher than is normal. Further downstream from Newbridge is Northmoor Lock and its associated weir – just past which the Windrush feeds into the Thames. In view of the higher than normal levels at Newbridge, one can but wonder whether the sluices at Northmoor have been ‘regulated’ to spare areas further down the Thames – but again, I digress.


Not once, listening to Parliamentary debates, or reading/listening to our media, have I heard one politician mention ‘Sites of Special Scientific Interest’; the Birds Directive; the Habitats Directive, or the Conservation (Natural Habitats Etc.) Regulations 1994 by which the latter is better known in the UK. When I write ‘one politician’ I can hear the groans from some readers of WfW; accompanied by their thoughts that I am about to ‘have a go’ at Ukip and Nigel Farage – and how right they are!


Ukip employ ‘researchers’ – at least that is what they are called – so why did they not produce a report such as this? That would have enabled Ukip and Farage to ‘grab’ the news agenda; have thus enabled Ukip to ‘drive’ the debate; educated the public; and, more importantly, have provided Ukip and their spokesman untold publicity. Instead we were treated to Farage publicly stating that he knew not how the European Union ‘influenced’ the actions of the Environment Agency; and purely for that reason calling for a public inquiry. The man is an MEP of 15 years standing – should he not know about that which he complains? Of course, had he not thrown one researcher, worth his weight in gold, out of his pram in a fit of pique, perhaps he and his party would be better informed and thereby be more of a political force than they are? But again, abject apologies, I digress.


Digressing once again, I note that Ukip spokesman appear to possess good ‘heads of hair’ – why? Should they not all be bald, having torn their hair out at the roots in frustration of their leader being unable to hit the nail on its head?


(At this point it becomes necessary for the insertion of what might be termed a ‘declaration of interest’. I have always publicly acknowledged the expertise of the author of this linked report where his ability as a researcher is concerned. Before any accusations are levelled at me as one who is a sycophant of the author I should make known that I am no longer an active member of The Harrogate Agenda ‘hierarchy’, having resigned nearly a year ago due to a serious – and, on my part, deeply felt – disagreement over the methods of furthering that movement.)


The British public lack information about the European Union, its effect on their lives and that of the governance of this country – and they do not receive that knowledge from any of the Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat parties because all three of them, in one way or another, wish the UK to remain a full member. One has to ask why does the one party, whose basic raison-d’être is to make known that information, continue to exist while it does not fulfill the objective it should – unless of course it is but to further that which some of us believe: namely to keep its leader in the limelight, while keeping him in a lifestyle we would all like to enjoy.


Much is made in the media by political commentators that Ukip’s ‘support’ will disappear come May 2015 and the general election. That it undoubtedly will can only be laid at the door of Ukip and their penchant for missing the open goals that are presented to them on a plate.


Where our politicians, be they MPs or MEPs, are concerned, when cashing their payslips and submitting their expenses; why is it we metaphorically hear the accompanying words: More please, sir. It is not about time that we made a ‘Dickens’ of a row about this waste of our money vis-a-viz democracy?


There’s sovereignty – and there’s sovereignty (and Ukip)

There is an element of irony in the British government’s reaction to the dire situation in Ukraine with the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, complaining bitterly about the fact that Ukraine’s sovereignty has been violated and David Cameron viewing the Ukraine situation as ‘grave’.

It never ceases to both amuse and amaze me that our politicians expend so much energy defending the need for sovereignty, democracy and the independence of other countries while being complicit in the fact that that is exactly what they deny their own people.

If there does indeed exist an element of irony in this sad affair, unfortunately it also includes Ukip and their response to it. If one consults Google and inputs the words: ‘Nigel Farage’ and ‘Ukraine’, all that appears which is relevant to that query is a press release by the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group of the European Parliament, a statement quoting the leader of Ukip.

Some readers may well wish to castigate me yet again for ‘having a pop’ at Ukip, but for a political party that wishes to restore the UK’s sovereignty, democracy and independence their silence is puzzling to say the least. Is there not an element of hypocrisy in the pronouncements of those in the political class where sovereignty, democracy and independence is concerned? Should not Ukip be making more of this?

Now that Ofcom has upgraded Ukip to a ‘major’ party, is it not time that they began earning their promotion?


Hosted By PDPS Internet Hosting

© Witterings from Witney 2012