Friday 24 January 2014

Ukip: A party that stands for nothing

Ukip:  The self-ridiculing party
And so it begins.  I have maintained for some time that the tabloid media was building up Farage only to knock him down when he ceased to be useful.  The steady torrent of publicity has now turned into a gradual drip of embarrassments for the party.  The biggest embarrassment yet is not the bizarre behaviour of it's ever more absurd representatives.  In this instance, it is the party's own manifesto.

When told what was on the Ukip website, Mr Farage said: ‘When it comes to websites, I’m not the expert.’ "He also claimed not to know about a compulsory dress code for taxi drivers and proposal to repaint trains." says the Mail.

Let us just digest that for a moment.  A party website is the closest thing in politics you can get to a shop window.  As much as it is your portal to the public, it is also a primary resource for activists.  If the party leader is not familiar with the content of his own website, what then can be said of his competence?  Here we have a leader who doesn't even know what his own party stands for.  Hardly surprising then that his followers don't either.

Moreover, Farage has effectively disowned his own party, because a great many Ukippers do actually think like this.  Just read the Daily Telegraph comments on any given day should someone so much as whisper the words "European Union". Farage has also admitted he has no idea what he has been fighting for since 2010.  All we have is the vague ambition of leaving the EU, without any notion of how, or what we will replace it with.

I wish not to dwell on the contents of the manifesto itself.  Who has that kind of time to waste?  But with a cursory inspection you can see it's an infantile wish-list of diktats and directives that lay waste to any claims that Ukip is a libertarian party.  Strip away these juvenile, cringe-worthy ideas and what remains simply hasn't stood the test of time.  It is a rag bag of parish-council suggestions box submissions, written with an Ikea pencil on a piece of torn up notepaper.  I'm not surprised Farage wishes to disown the manifesto.  I certainly would.  But then how did this nonsense make it as far as the website in the first place?  Somebody in the Ukip high command evidently thought they were credible ideas.

I have not made any friends by saying Farage is a lightweight who will crumble under scrutiny, but yet again, my predictions are coming true.  As we approach the euro-elections, and the prospect of leaving the EU is openly talked about, eyes will fall upon Ukip as to how credible their alternative is.  And it hasn't got one.  Now Farage is in the position of abandoning the party manifesto, and so until such a time as they produce a new one (sometime in the next 18 months, we are told), Ukip is making it up as it goes along.  Does this sound like a serious party to you?

Here is another prediction.  The next Ukip manifesto will not be a set of principles or a blueprint for a new Britain based on a philosophy.  It will be yet another rag-bag of updated suggestions box scribblings, cobbled together with a fact-free, fantasy-land exit plan.  Just for once I would like to be wrong but I fear Ukip will implode before then.  A house built on sand cannot stand.


  1. I'm puzzled as to where the 2010 General Election Manifesto IS on the UKIP website. I can't find it. Under Manifestos, it doesn't have a link to it. Perhaps Andrew Neil had an old copy.

    But anyway, once a General Election is over, a non-winning Party's Manifesto is defunct. In fact, once a General Election is over, the winning Party's Manifesto is usually also defunct because they seldom do what they promise and occasionally do the complete opposite. Challenge Miliband on his Party's 2010 Manifesto and he would cheerfully announce that it was no longer relevant either.

    So I think Farage was perfectly within his rights to say that the 2010 Manifesto is defunct and, if he then chose to offer the opinion that much of it was drivel, it seems to me to be an honest admission that it wasn't up to scratch.

    I gather that the Party is now working on its next Manifesto, as are the 3 mainstream parties. You won't find them standing by their 2010 Manifestos either ..."time moves on; facts change; so do their policies .. blah, blah, blah.

    In UKIP's defence (I am a member - not a senior one) when this Manifesto was drawn up the Party had less than half the current membership and very few politically experienced people in its ranks. It has far more of both now and it is working hard to improve ... but it will take time.

    Meanwhile, the Establishment is recognising the threat which UKIP poses to their cosy elected cartel, by highlighting every single negative story it possibly can. Representatives of the 3 establishment parties are not subjected to the same level of scrutiny - or the numerous cases of "misbehaviour" and downright criminality would be plastered all over the papers every single day.

    Finally, constructive criticism is always appropriate, but some bloggers - you and your father included - don't seem to offer CONSTRUCTIVE criticism: just continual sniping, which is a shame because otherwise I find EU Referendum.Com a very informative and interesting read.

  2. Farage is a mountebank. He's just made up this pro-handguns policy. UKIP isn't a proper political party, it's his creature, there to do whatever his will is that day. He is a salesman, not a strategist, but he cannot tolerate good people around him as they will show up his limitations. If its polling stays high, be sure the media and UKIP's political opponents will subject its policies to close scrutiny as the election nears.