Tuesday 23 December 2014


I'm out of here. Here's wishing my complete bastard readership a very merry Christmas and a complete bastardy new year.

Monday 22 December 2014

Twisting the knife

As a Populus poll shows Ukip tanking on 12%, we're having some festive fun at Ukip's expense over on EU Referendum. I can only echo the sentiments of Autonomous Mind in the comments
A good number of people have been highlighting UKIP's flaws for a long time and got nothing but abuse and mockery for it. The solutions were put in the public domain, but the true believers told us we were wrong and demanded we back the party and the party sneered and ignored the recommendations.

We can see that that which we were being implored to back unconditionally is exhibiting exactly the failings we warned about. The issues we said UKIP had to address have been left to fester and now are coming back to undermine the party. 
The media feeding frenzy at Ukip's expense was predictable and predicted. The Ukipists were told they would need message discipline, policy and in-house expertise. They were told that Farage's blasé approach, and his management of the party as his own personal fiefdom would harm Ukip.

They were told that the flagrant populism would make it a folk demon for the left, and its immigration stance would invite accusations of racism. They were told that the bilious and hackneyed invective of their activists would prove to be a turn off. They were told their contradictory and incoherent message would sow confusion and leave the party wide open to attack.

Those who took the time to say so were unpersoned by Ukipists who would not have ill spoken of their tribe or their cult leader. The trap was set and Ukip walked right in, refusing to heed warnings of those who know the nature of the Ukip beast. "Dregs of rejects" we became.

Well, all I can say is, suck it up losers. You made your bed, enjoy your slumber.

Friday 19 December 2014

Comment of the week

The following comment is by Julian Williams on EU Referendum blog.

This talk of teflon was never correct. Matthew Paris once wrote an article about Tony Blair during his teflon period, the imagery has always remained with me; he likened Blair's New Labour to a pond. If you threw junk into the pond it disappeared, it seemed to everyone that every time you threw more junk into the pond it would disappear. Then one day you threw in an old bicycle and afterwards the handlebars could still be seen, a few sack fulls later nothing big could be hidden in the pond any more. A few weeks after that even the smallest bit of rubbish would not sink into oblivion.

The UKIP Pond has in fact always been rather shallow, it has not taken long for the UKIP pond to be filled. Quite soon even the smallest scandal will stay on the surface. Most people have hated UKIP from the start, The reputation of EU sceptism was always tarnished because for years we were branded a being xenophobic Little Englanders, it took us 15 years to get rid of that image. Farage quite deliberately chose to make xenophobia the raison d'etre for voting UKIP, so our pond was always going to fill up rather easily. Farage has single handedly destroyed the the credibility of the sceptics and already made it impossible for us to win a referendum, whether or not we have one. He is the blessed child and play thing of all EU luvvies.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Reactionary right-wing bores

It's hard being a right winger sometimes because it means sharing the same boat with sneering reactionary bores, and today they're super tedious. The ECJ has just ruled that obesity is a disability. It is. Some people, through no fault of their own are fat. In fact, I should be a fat fuck. I don't eat anything that does not involve pastry or bacon, I smoke, I do little exercise and I drive to work even though it's quicker to walk the 200 yards, and I rarely trouble myself with sobriety. By rights I should be a sweating mound of blubber. But I'm skinny, and that's just how I am. So if folk are just how they are, then it follows that some poor buggers are fat whatever they do. And what a debilitating, miserable thing that must be. 

Sure there are people who don't do themselves any favours, but as a smoker I'm not in a position to throw any stones. It will be up to a medical professional to decide if the level of obesity is in fact a disability, but it is a medical condition that does require support and treatment and if you're one of those people who think it is solely a matter of eating all the pies, then you're a judgmental prick. Sometimes it is a case of eating all the pies, but even then, that is telling of an impulse control problem or a mental illness. Whether this ruling enables fat lazy chavs to quit work and soak up benefits is nothing to do with the ECJ and everything to do with our morally and systematically corrupt welfare system.

Charity? Bah humbug!

One thing myself (and evidently a third of the population) can agree with Ukip on is that charities are not to be trusted.

Ukip voters are by far the biggest cynics towards charity, research has found, leading some to dub the party's supporters the "Scrooges of the coming Christmas season". According to a poll, over half (53%) of Ukip's supporters have little or no trust in charities, which is 20% more than Conservative voters (33%), 25% more than Labour backers (28%) and 29% more than the Lib Dems. By contrast, just over a third (35%) of the public have low trust in charities.

This is not surprising. With charity bosses being up there with council executives for having their snouts in the trough, and the Labour era being responsible for corporatising charities, making them entirely dependent on local authority funding, they have since become arms of the state. They have also become lobbying organisations which essentially means government is paying to lobby itself.

We often see Labour MPs quoting social sector "charity" reports which are indirectly taxpayer funded which amounts to little more than anti-democratic corporate special pleading. Moreover, since these charities worked out there is more revenue to be had from providing statistics to local authorities than genuine community level activity, they have become self-serving brand name entities who have long since departed from their original purpose. They stand in the way of genuine social enterprises. They are bed blockers and parasitic in nature.

In recent years in the face of cuts we have seen an increase in social entrepreneurship, with individuals and co-opes doing excellent work in the community, without state funding, without paid staffers and without corporate branding. Food banks are part of it and now that councils are essentially scrapping welfare assistance funds we will likely see more such social innovations doing tangible good in ways that government and quasi-charities cannot.

That state funded charities are closing down is something to be celebrated. It's a real pity David Cameron was unsuccessful in communicating the meaning of "Big Society", but actually, this is the manifestation of it. Real people making a real difference with resources sourced locally without prompting by the state and without emotionally blackmailing taxpayer. This represents communities spontaneously organising for themselves, and not reliant on bloated government and self-serving officials on final salary pensions. It is also true altruism rather than charity at gunpoint.

This is why the left hates it. It's why they hate food banks. The people are realising they don't need nanny state government and are better off without it. This worries the left. It means days are numbered for their non-jobs, and their early retirement plans are out of the window. Hence this new propaganda campaign. If you're against giving to corporate and state funded charities, that must means you're a big meanie! The left have never understood that pointing a gun in someone's face and taking their belongings isn't charity, and it comes as no surprise that they don't recognise a genuine charity when they see one.

So this Christmas, I won't be donating to Children in Need, Help for Heroes, Save the Children and the likes. I'll be looking out for real local charities or better still, sticking my hand in my own wallet and giving it directly to homeless people. To paraphrase Steve Hughes, they might only spend it on drink and drugs, but that's exactly what I was going to spend it on.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

The bedroom tax is the right thing to do

Labour are spreading lies about the bedroom tax on Twitter this week saying that two thirds are affected are disabled. If you look at the statistics, it actually says it included those who "do not currently have difficulties with daily activities". The Equality Impact Assessment report also notes that a bedroom for a non-resident carer will also be taken into account in determining the relevant size criteria where that carer provides necessary overnight care for the claimant or their partner.

So really it is wholly immaterial whether it affects disabled people (as though they were elevated to sainthood). There is still a large number of disabled persons under-occupying social housing designed for families.

Moreover the statistics also include those presently registered for depression, which you won't be surprised to learn is in high concentrations in remote former industrial areas where unemployment is high. One of the crucial effects of the bedroom tax is to remove the viability of long term welfare dependency in these areas, spurring people to move to smaller properties closer to jobs. It takes the disabled off the warehouse shelf and recognises that they can and should make a contribution.

Labour is moving to end the policy. Labour needs a constituency of helpless serfs who need their local authority overlords to look after them. Labour doesn't want independent disabled people. Nor does Labour want to end welfare dependency. Labour wants disabled people continuing to believe they are helpless clients of the state. It doesn't care who it has to use or how to win power. Their powerbase comes from welfare dependency and they need you to believe disabled people are victims.

This policy is controversial, but it is fair to the taxpayer, good for the economy but most of all, reintegrating long term welfare claimants back into the economy, getting them economically mobile, and getting them out of welfare slums in the valleys is the right thing to do. What people actually mean when they say there is a housing crisis is that there are no large properties exactly to specification in the location they want them, paid for by somebody else.

Monday 15 December 2014

The ten most terrifying words in British politics

Officials in Rochdale are turning to “radical” measures to help its struggling town centre by slashing shop owners’ business rates bill by 80pc. New businesses moving into empty shops will get an 80pc discount on their business rates for the first year, and a 50pc cut in the second year. The proposal, backed by leader of Rochdale Council Richard Farnell, is expected to be approved when it goes before the council’s cabinet on Monday.
“Like a lot of industrial northern towns, our town centre has been hit hard over the past 20 years. We’ve got to do something. It’s not good enough for policy-makers and councils to sit there and watch the gradual decline of the town centre. It will cost us a lot – we’ve got major budget problems already – but we have dug deep into our pockets to fund this,” said Mr Farnell.
This is not an uncommon attitude among councils. They are revealing words too many utter without a hint of self-awareness - and it is a view that prevails in local government. It is the mindset that commerce and human activity is something councils have to "dig deep" to afford. It is the notion that commerce is some abstract curiosity that distracts councils from their duties. It is the notion that our high streets and our businesses only exist in thanks to the munificence of our rulers and we must be grateful they allow us to inconvenience them.

It is this mindset that creates our fundamental economic woes. It is the assumption that the state is the economy. We have a parasite that thinks it is the host. What's worse is that unlike most parasites, government does not seek an equilibrium with the host to ensure mutual survival. This type of parasite will suck the host dry even if it results in the death of both.

The reason I find those words so very terrifying is that they are uttered as though all wealth necessarily belongs to the state is a truism - as sure as apples fall from trees. That such sinister words can be delivered without a hint of caution, hesitation or sense of delinquency should be a cause for alarm. Mrs Thatcher may have killed off socialism, but the brainwash is still as potent as ever. Until we have tackled this mindset we will continue to limp along, stumbling from one economic crisis to the next.

Same old Ukip

Ukip have declared Bradford South one of their most winnable seats. It is one of the very few constituencies where they have developed a strong local base over many years. They have worked long and hard at it and their local man, Jason Smith, built up a branch from scratch, and even outside the council has made himself a leading contributor to Bradford politics. This makes him more of a threat than most deadbeat candidates. Even without a party banner, Jason Smith would still do well.

Consequently there have been attempts to smear him as a fascist and a racist, which have rightly fallen flat. I have met Jason Smith and can categorically say he is nothing of the kind. He's a Bradford lad and about as good as they get. He's fairly articulate, has an excellent grasp of his party brief and does not flinch from debate. One might say he is the ideal Ukip candidate. He is not mistaken when he says Bradford South is one of their most winnable seats - and that is more to do with Jason Smith than it is to do with Ukip.

If he under-performs in the general election, that will not be on his back. That will be a consequence of the party undermining him at every turn with their continued incompetence. That said, both the Telegraph & Argus and the Daily Record are having a crack at him for a what appears to be a lame come-on or a bit of a friendly banter on Facebook. It's hardly an Fifty Shades of Grey. Smith rightly laughs it off, saying that "we all do it". He said: "If that's the best they can do, it's shocking".

Jason is right, in that we've all done or said something similar, and no man is a stranger to making an ill-judged come-on that has fallen flat. I am not in a position to criticise anyone's online conduct either. Facebook is my Friday night lounge where I'll have a good bit of banter with online friends in the company of a bottle of Talisker. Many are the Saturday mornings where I wake up early with a blistering headache but manage to muster just enough lucidity to delete the more egregious status updates I might later regret. But the fact Ukip is vulnerable in this way is telling.

Despite claims to the contrary, Ukip is not short of a few quid. At this point it should have paid regional agents working full time to protect candidates from these kind of media enquiries, giving candidates advice and support where needed. Any halfway competent agent would point out that in this stage of the game, in the run up to an election, a public and open personal Facebook page is a liability in ways no individual could ever possibly conceive - until such a time as the shit hits the fan.

While I doubt there is anything breathtakingly controversial on Jason Smith's Facebook wall, I expect he is in the minority. Were I a candidate, the media would be having a field day with my social media by now. My attitudes to social welfare make Francis Urquhart look like a simpering leftie.

Like it or not we live in the era of political outrage. The media is jumping the shark with each attempt that falls flat, and some of the anti-Ukip brigade are capable of Ukipist levels of mental contortion to find something offensive. But be that as it may the vultures are circling, trying to sniff out that killer blow. That Smith's Facebook, along with many other prominent Ukipists, is wide open tells us they have no online strategy, no message discipline and a completely ineffectual back office party machine, failing to work in the interests of their candidates.

This is not news to me. It has been said from day one that Ukip would need an effective central office to support candidates and it would need to be a professional outfit, only to be overruled by Nigel Farage who routinely directs party resources to his own campaigns, leaving any halfway competent candidates with their backsides hanging in the breeze. This is precisely what Richard North was saying, it is what Will Gilpin was saying - along with half of the staffers who have since been ejected by Farage.

After twenty years and millions of pounds, Ukip is still the same amateur organisation making the same mistakes with the same vulnerabilities. The Bolter affair wasn't the first or the last scandal and while Jason Smith has little to worry about, it is precisely this lack of professionalism that will bring about the killer blow.

It is no accident that Ukip continues to fail in this way. Nigel Farage is the obstacle in every instance and is letting down every single Ukip candidate badly. Any other party would have had this down by now. There are rules to this here game and ways to avoid own goals but Ukip is still wide open chiefly because of Farage's galactic ego. Farage is spending a lot of party funds appointing his cronies, yes-men and drinking buddies as "media strategists" but there is no evidence the membership are getting their money's worth. Were I a Ukip candidate, I would be asking for my money back.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Ukip: clinging on to wreckage

This blog has been predicting an inevitable collapse of Ukip for some time. Nobody can say for certain when it will happen, we only know that it will. It's been a rough few weeks for Ukip, struggling to get any counter message out through the noise of multiple unforced errors. The recent saga reveals the true face of Ukip. Wee see a serial fantasist helped aboard into a prominent position by a lecherous old man, only to be replaced by a crook in a dodgy selection process, only to end up with the original candidate who turns out to be Alf Garnett, resulting in major donors throwing their toys out of the pram.

While there's a degree of media smearing going on, much of what we learn only reinforces what we already know or suspect about them. The overall public perception is that Ukip is a sordid little one man band playing to a misanthropic gallery becoming more populist left wing by the day.

For all the talk about Ukip being a party that dares to say what nobody else will, it has in fact chosen the most pedestrian, conventional and orthodox line to take on a number of topics. Gone has any sense of radicalism. Ukip has surrendered ground on the NHS sacred cow and is all but silent on the matter of welfare reform, which is in fact a policy area that ought to be integral to tackling a great many of our social and economic problems, including immigration. The more populist it becomes the more conformist it becomes by buying into popular narratives.

It is now so obsessed with immigration that it is more a single issue party than ever it was, with the EU question barely getting a look in on high profile shows like Question Time. We are told the great genius of Farage is that he has broadened the appeal of the party. But there is no evidence that substantiates this claim. Farage has successfully consolidated the protest vote but has maxed out the credit card and squandered all the political capital to do it.

Now whenever Ukip gets media exposure, the better part of their efforts now has to go into defending the reputation of the party rather than promoting ideas and policies. Their main effort is spent on damage limitation and cannot even hold line without having any policy to speak of. That would at least allow them to reframe the debate, but on current form it doesn't look like they can.

In Ukip we see nothing more than a squirming bag of loathing - of everything. And it's a huge turn off. Rather than offering a genuine critique it spits bile in all directions at anyone who is not of the tribe and brand loyalty comes before any sense of moral purpose.

All of this has been put before Ukip on this blog, inviting them to make their case but those days are over. I no longer seek any kind of explanations from Ukip or Ukipists. They are now permanently on the defensive and no contortion is now too ridiculous to salve their cognitive dissonance. I know some otherwise rational Ukipists who know I'm right, and have always known, but still cling on to Ukip as though it were a lifebelt in a storm. But it isn't a lifebelt. It's a waterlogged piece of floating wreckage that burns more calories clinging onto it than simply letting go and treading water.

As we wait in the cold long night in hope of a lifeboat we must do all we can to survive, and if eurosceptics want to survive 'til dawn, some hard choices need to be made because even treading water is preferable to sinking with the wreckage. Now is not the time to be retreating into comfortable delusions. Now is the time to start facing facts and to recognise that a new alliance of eurosceptic organisations is required to fill the void left by Ukip. Ukip has poisoned the well and doesn't care that it will drag everyone down with it.

I am told that Ukip is teflon, but the polls will not hold. A recent YouGov poll puts Ukip on 13%, and there is still more scandal and ridicule to come, and more own goals to be scored. Yelling "steady as she goes" as the lower decks flood is suicidal. Those still true to the idea of a an independent, free trading Great Britain can't afford to be associated with the Little Britain Party. Any movement to leave to EU will have to be promoting a bold, realistic and positive alternative based on something of substance. Whichever light you hold it up to, Ukip is not that. The Mr Angry party has run out of steam and what is left is an ugly thing to behold.

The only reason it will continue to limp along is because of the long years and emotional investment many good people put in to make it a household name but, now is the time to face up to the fact that Ukip is now a cancer on the face of euroscepticism and a spent force in politics. There may be a few last hurrahs to come but Ukip is a dead man walking. If we really do want to leave the EU we cannot afford to waste any more calories clinging on to wreckage.

Friday 12 December 2014

Violence is the answer

Some readers might well recall my campaign against bandit bailiffs. For my trouble I ended up with over two thousand pounds worth of costs and a criminal record for defending my property against unlawful fees - when no money was owed. A curious message to send I think.

So-called “petty offenders” which includes shoplifters, vandals and people who assault their spouses regularly escape criminalisation. Even burglary can be dealt with by way of a community order but if you make a stand on a point of principle, they will cripple you.

I have seen this in action. While defending myself against a speeding charge some years back (going at moderate speeds in good conditions), I witnessed a recidivist walk free with only small deductions from benefits to pay a fine, having ruthlessly battered his sister and taken the contents of her purse to go drinking with.

A second offender had walked down the high street, smashing car wing mirrors off and kicking in shop doors. He was given a small fine, again deducted from benefits. As to me, I was hit with the full fine and banned from driving for a whole year, costing me my job, my relationship and consequently everything I owned. It is for this reason I hold the police, the court system - and the politicians who make these laws in bitter contempt.

This is conveyor belt justice, eroding the very concept of criminality, where the system is run for its own convenience, much like the police, and our only role is to pay up and do as we are told. But today I discover a new standard has been set.

A man who hit a bailiff with a cricket bat, then challenged his sentence for it, has been given a suspended jail term. Richard Burton, 35, attacked debt collector David Knight when he went to his house in Phipps Road, Oxford, on March 5 last year. He was convicted of assault by beating at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on October 14 and was given a 12-month conditional discharge.
He was also told to pay £100 compensation, a £15 victim surcharge and £200 costs.

So there you have it folks. From this message, one might conclude that one should not attempt to resolve these matters through the courts and not attempt to resolve it peacefully, and instead find a cricket bat and get violent with these people. That way, you might argue, these people will get what they deserve, will rightly be fearful in doing their jobs, and if you do get caught, there is no real punishment - and it is much, much cheaper. 

Grammar schools won't fix anything

There's a lot of debate this week about grammar schools. It's a wholly redundant debate. No doubt that schools able to select pupils will prosper, but if any school performs well, parents who care enough will do whatever it takes to get their child in. So in fact there is already a large degree of self-selection according to what parents can afford. What this tells us is that schools are only really as good as the parents.

In any deprived area you will find under performing schools, but that's not due to lack of resources or poor teaching. When teachers are faced with poor raw materials, our expectations are too high. Teachers face children sent to school in their pajamas, with parents expecting teachers to dress their children and feed them breakfast. Whatever discipline is put upon the children, it will not be reinforced at home. Thus the kids are overtired from staying up too late, ill-disciplined, disruptive and impossible to teach.

Poor schools are merely a reflection of the selfish, spoiled parent who feels entitled to spawn offspring without investing any of their own time, effort or money in such a venture, with all the expectation in the world that the state can and should do their job for them - and a state that is all too keen to accept such a responsibility despite having now aptitude for it - or moral obligation.

I am of a most peculiar generation. Hardly anyone I know my age is having children or has any intention of doing so. The general feeling is that it costs a lot of a money to do the job right, and doing the job right simply isn't financially possible. Consequently, it is they whop are taxed to pay for those who feel no such fiscal obligation to their children meaning all the wrong people are becoming parents, whose offspring are never exposed to such concepts as self-reliance, discipline and hard work - and such entitlement attitudes are then self-perpetuating.

Put simply, having a child no longer requires any commitment or sacrifice or planning. One can spawn a replica on a whim and a battalion of social workers and state officials are waiting in the wings to ensure parents are ever held to account for their decision to have a child. Having a child is now a lifestyle choice where the financial consequences are anybody's but your own. That we manage even mediocre schools, state run or otherwise in such a climate, is something of a miracle.

Until such a time word gets round that having a child without planning and saving is a life ruining choice, we will continue to incubate yet more feckless non-contributors and we will continue to tax the bejesus out of the people who should have children - to the point where they don't. It's getting to the point now where those who actually want their children to do well but cannot afford private schooling have to resort to homeschooling and supplementary tutoring. Their children out outnumbered by children whose parent don't care and think everything in their lives is the responsibility of someone else to provide.

We will never get a decent education system until we fix the inputs, and that means ruthless welfare cuts, cuts to child benefit, along with massive income tax cuts for married couples. Until then we will continue to churn out sub-literate untermensch incapable of holding down any kind of meaningful employment, and the workforce will continue to need a steady influx of immigrants to prop up the economy. For the moment, even if we have a revival of grammar schools, without serious welfare reform, they'll be selecting from a very shallow gene pool.

Thursday 11 December 2014


I had expected to watch BBC Question Time, but now I have a Twitter account, I can get the gist of it without having to cast my gaze upon either Nigel "poundshop" Farage or Russell Brand. As predicted, the debate is entirely dominated by the immigration issue. Consequently we can now say that Ukip is no longer an anti-EU party. It is a single issue party centred around immigration and has little else to say for itself. Euroscepticism is now without a political champion. Which is just as well, for it is better to be without, than to be associated with Farage and his obnoxious entourage.

Not a job for a woman

Twitter is aghast that Labour MP Frank Doran has said it was not sexist to say he was unsure whether the post of fisheries minister was a "job for a woman". I happen to disagree. The right kind of ball-busting woman who was on the side of the industry would rapidly command the respect of fishermen, but in the context of today, where so many ministers are metropolitan appointees, parachuted into safe seats under some all-woman shortlist, resulting in the likes of Stella Creasy, it most definitely would not be a job for one of those women. Or indeed any other ministerial post for that matter.

British trawlermen (the one's I've met) are about as rough as rough gets and don't tend to share London's "enlightened" values. This is not to say they are inherently sexist, but they're perhaps not the most subtle of individuals and will spot a vulnerability a mile off. It's not a job for someone who lacks convincing empathy for what is a male dominated and dangerous profession, and any government in a hurry, wishing to rapidly earn the trust of the industry, would at the very least recognise such in their ministerial selection, above and beyond any wider window-dressing considerations.

This does not necessarily mean it isn't a job for a woman, but from the meagre pickings available in the current parliament, where female genitalia matters more than competence, you could be forgiven for thinking Frank Doran (Aberdeen North) has a point.

Meme politics

One of the most irksome things about modern politics is the reliance on intellectually dishonest memes. A report last week had it that public spending would necessarily decline to 1930's levels. This prompts MPs such as Luciana Berger and Dan Jarvis to equate this with 1930's levels of poverty with street urchins sleeping in the gutters.

The statistic refers to percentage of GDP, entirely unrelated to poverty. GDP is far higher than it was in the 1930's ,and material wealth, education, access to knowledge and technology is unprecedented. Not by any stretch of the imagination could we return to 1930's levels of poverty even if the state were cut in half. It is also a base a assumption that the state alone can be credited for lifting people out of poverty.

Scaremongering with this kind of meme cheapens politics. What's worse is they're all at it, including Ukip, who profess to be a different kind of politics. It is little wonder people cannot be motivated to vote when their representatives take them for fools and insult their intelligence.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Thick and fast

The BBC neglects to say why but Ukip campaign director and disgraced former Tory MP, Neil Hamilton, has withdrawn from the selection process to become a prospective parliamentary candidate for UKIP in Essex. Channel 4 news makes matters a little clearer, with Ukip demanding urgent clarification from Hamilton over his recent expenses claims.

At this stage of the game, the mere suggestion of impropriety is enough to create smoke and Hamilton was always going to be under a watchful eye. It should be noted that it was Farage who thought this ill-conceived appointment was a good idea - and that Kerry Smith was deselected to make way for Hamilton.

More of that Ukip professionsalism

There is little worth saying about the Natasha Bolter affair. She claimed she was a student at Wadham College and graduated with an upper second class degree is philosophy, politics and economics which has afforded her a prominent position in Ukip. But a spokesman for the university said they could find no evidence she had ever been a student there.

A statement said: "We’ve recently seen an interview transcript in which Natasha claimed to have attended Wadham and can therefore confirm that Oxford University has no record of a Natasha Ahmed with a birthday of 12 July 1975 having attended Oxford."

As a commenter at the Guardian notes, it's worth pointing out, amidst all the froth and righteous fury flying around, that the existence of texts and emails from one point in time do not rule out that harassment took place at another point in time. Bolter may or may nor have been upfront about their relationship, but the fact that Bird might have some texts or emails from her (And may even been in a relationship with her) does not mean that all of a sudden sexual harassment could never have taken place. But that's by the by.

One ought to be immediately suspicious of a woman leaving the Labour party for Ukip. That in itself is enough to set alarm bells ringing. Why a left-leaning, supposedly educated, pretty gal would want to join that set of bozos ought to be a matter of intrigue. Though with Ukip lacking any self-awareness, such questions were not asked and no background checks were done before appointing her to a high profile position within the party.

What this speaks to is a rush to grab any tokenistic figleaf so long as it has a pulse. An ethnic minority female is Christmas come early for Ukip. Thus there is a more subtle reverse sexism at work, along with a degree of political correctness, which Ukip claims it doesn't do. You only have to listen to the woman to know that she isn't an Oxford PPE graduate, but like everything else Ukip does, expediency trumps all other concerns. A party wishing to avoid any such embarrassments would have taken a little more care, but using Natasha Bolter for propaganda purposes proved all too irresistible for Ukip.

Farage should know by now that his party is a target for ambitious no-hopers who wouldn't make it in a mainstream party, and it wouldn't be the first time an ethnic minority has attempted to use the party as a platform. In their rush to be seen as non-racist, they have cut corners and this is the result. I expect she is not alone either, and there will be more such instances to come.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Beyond salvation.

That's right. The UK's most influential eurosceptic website is de facto a lefty child abuse apologist site by way of criticising Ukip. They say a picture paints a thousand words, but I think this really does answer the question of why we can't get through to to them. Inside the twisted mind of a Ukipist, anyone who doesn't support Ukip is a "quisling", "a German spy" and now it seems a paedophile. One can only conclude Ukip is not a party. It is a paranoid delusional fantasy.

I would like to be able to say this was one of the more egregious examples of Ukipism, but this seems to be the emerging norm, and while the language of some Ukipists may be a little more sophisticated, the mindset is absolutely identical. There is no reasoning with them. There can be no debate, and nothing is served by communicating with them. They are lost unto themselves and cannot be helped.

If this is what is allowed to represent euroscepticism then the game is lost already.

Black is white, up is down

I'm reluctantly blogging this because because I feel duty bound to chart the gradual decay of Ukip. It's actually becoming a bit of a chore now. I find few allies in doing so in that the cultists are not receptive to criticism of any kind and Twitter's growing community of Ukip haters are mostly leftists who espouse politics I have zero time for. But this matter is worth a mention. Here we have Farage yes-man, Stephen Woolfe, suggesting that renationalisation of the railways is something Ukip "should be considering".

To point out how ridiculous such a suggestion is seems redundant and I will not go any deeper into it other than to urge you to watch this video, which is a stark reminder of just how dreadful British Rail, championed by prolific pedophile, Jimmy Savile, actually was.

But if ever you wanted a sign of a clear departure from anything approaching Ukip's founding ideals, then this is it. I'm not sure what contortions Ukipists are spinning to gloss over it. I just can't can't look. But we can see how Woolfe himself justifies it from this New Statesman article.

Woolfe, who was economics spokesman until Patrick O’Flynn took over the role this year (though he retains the financial services brief), accepts as much. “People call that Red Ukip versus kind of Blue Ukip,” he says. “That’s a perfectly natural tension and I’m pleased about it.” He accepts that, “there’s going to be challenges between what people like to call old Ukip and new Ukip”, but insists that, “the brilliance about between a broad church is we can have these internal disagreements and still get on with each other.” 

That's right! That Ukip is a ragbag of conflict with no uniting thread apart from misanthropic miserablism, is not a mistake to downplayed but a brilliant achievement to be celebrated, it seems. As to those "challenges", the Twitter rumour mill has it that Farage and Carswell are barely on speaking terms and that no funds have been made available for either Carswell or Reckless to defend their seats. Both said to be "livid". I'm presently seeking some kind of verification, but it has just the right ring of Farage treachery to be true. This is his modus operandi.

With Lunchtime O'Flynn quietly dropped as Ukip's media guru, and the left of the party lining up behind Woolfe, there is no where to go for the Ukip old guard but behind Carswell, who will no doubt find Farage's blade wedged deep in his upper vertebrae any time soon.

Course this is all speculation, but anybody who really knows what makes Ukip tick knows that a bloodbath among this incoherent and duplicitous rabble is a matter of when and not if. Farage will be pulling the strings and for my money, I'll bet on his yes-men inheriting the party, leaving old Ukip out in the cold. This will come as the biggest betrayal yet, as long standing members have pushed their cognitive dissonance to the max to stay true, and will have to either abandon their strongest held beliefs, or worse... admit I was right. I expect the latter will be harder for them to do.

Meanwhile the slow motion train-wreck continues apace with each day bringing more embarrassment, intrigue and ridicule. Yesterdays farce of Farage blaming immigrants for his failure to navigate the M4 prompted a swift response from Ukip's newly "professionalised" press office, launching a policy out of the blue, apropos of nothing, declaring that Ukip will abolish the "punitive and discriminatory 20% VAT rate on listed buildings repairs". That's right. The masses long ignored by the "LibLabCon" are yearning for tax relief on their Grade 1 listed building repairs. VOTE UKIP!

Incidentally, the picture below is a listed building, home to Bill Cash... Ukip's Heritage Spokesman.

Monday 8 December 2014

Savage cuts

Plod boss, Neil Rhodes, seems to think his force faces going out of business. He said "minor offences such as criminal damage and theft would have to be largely ignored, while investigations into issues such as historic child sex abuse and cybercrime would stop". Much like it was when police numbers were never so high and budgets never so big. If we're not getting the service we pay for, why pay for it?

Sunday 7 December 2014

I'll change the record when you do

So we've had #thingsthatarenotmosques, Ostentatious breastfeeding mothers who should go and sit in a corner, spoof accounts, Ukip Trumpton, sluts cleaning behind the fridge, and now Farage thinks the M4 is no longer navigable to Wales because, you guessed it, foreigners.

The Ukipists are busy trying to spin it all away. Some of the outrage is manufactured, but some of it isn't, but in any case, Ukip seems to spend most of its time putting out brushfires and working hard on damage limitation. In and of itself, it's all rather trivial but it does point to a more serious andyawning credibility gap emerging from the Ukip end of things.

I'm not the only one to remark that Ukip spoof accounts are only barely distinguishable from the real thing, and when it comes to Farage, his galactic ego means he will never turn down an opportunity to waffle on at length which increases the odds of him either contradicting his own policies or simply stating something utterly stupid. This is Ukip's unswerving ability to make every unforced error possible, gradually painting a canvas of an unelectable rabble lacking ideas and competence.

The Times is still digging for that killer blow, but it seems like Ukip is determined to hoist itself with its own petard. Sooner or later something the Times digs up will stick but the the thousand small self-inflicted flesh-wounds are starting to reach critical mass. Ukipists think these nontroversies only carry weight with the "metro-elite" but they do have a way of filtering through to become the received wisdom of the apolitical. It's more about the vibe than the substance, and no amount of backpedaling can undo an avoidable mistake. Ukip gives off a vibe of being incompetent and shallow because that is precisely what it is, personified by Nigel Farage.

We were told that this rampant populism was to expand the party beyond that of a single issue party but now thanks to Farage, it's more of a single issue party than ever it was, only that issue is no longer about the EU. It is now known globally as the UK's anti-immigration party and is now a laughing stock - made immeasurably worse by the cult-like adulation of Farage's followers and their total lack of self-awareness.

None of this permeates the walls of the cult mind you. In their eyes it's a "LibLabCon" liberal establishment media conspiracy to discredit them - and rather confront the glaringly obvious elephant in the room they cry unfairness and bias. This is how children behave. A grown up party would have recognised long ago that the playing field was not level, the game is indeed rigged and there are ways to play the game. Ukip have manifestly resisted any such realities, attacked anyone who dared to criticise, and even now as their chickens gradually return to the roost in greater numbers, they are still blind to the causes of their woes.

Now I know full well I'm sounding like a broken record by this point. I would rather be doing something else. I would actually prefer it if the eurosceptic party was competent and wasn't so lamentably inept at everything it does, but I think it necessary to record this slow motion trainwreck, not least so I can remind all those obnoxious Ukipists that they applauded their leaders in bringing a disaster to hand.

Ukipists defence is to latch on to any poll that tells them what they want to hear, but anyone with halfway sophisticated understanding of psephology knows that voting intention polls do not paint a national picture, nor do they accommodate localised nuances. The LibDems are trailing badly but will still hang on to a respectable number of seats, when Ukip will barely scratch three seats IF they can hold Rochester, which on current form is not guaranteed. This time last year I would have been a little saddened that such hard work had come to naught, but ever since they became a sanitised BNP, I can't help but think "good riddance to bad rubbish". It is a fate they richly deserve.

Thursday 4 December 2014

The problem with the yoof of today

The media is biased: It's so unfair
Blogger and Ukipist, Katabasis, is in full apoplexy over the Leaders live debate. Outside the Ukip bubble, it wasn't that bad. When you're inside the cult every opinion that is not in keeping with your own is an example of media bias. But this was actually one of those vary rare television debates that was measured, fairly comprehensive, and one where Nigel Farage was allowed to speak without interruption - and exchanged views with some not untypical yoof with views fairly representative of their ilk.

Clearly the opinions of these youngsters is received wisdom, informed by popular media but that's the state of play we find ourselves in. The outrage over the imagined bias is one of the many reasons Ukipists come over as tinfoil hatters. These perceptions of Ukip do exist, are not uncommon, and here Farage is getting all the opportunity he could possibly want to make his case.

It's not an unreasonable observation that Ukip does indeed attract the support of some pretty unsavory people, including Nick Griffin. The accusation was put to Farage and he was allowed to speak. Similarly, it's not unreasonable to question sources of Ukip funding either. You would think Farage would welcome the opportunity to set these matters straight. In fact, it would be refreshing if so-called "adult" debates were conducted in a similar way. Which begs the question, what exactly do Ukipists want? Do they want Farage on television being thrown softball questions? Are they so worried that people cannot listen and make up their own minds? You can argue that the other parties get an easier ride of it, but it was always going to be this way.

But there's a more important consideration here. While these youths and their received opinions are the product of our media they are also exposed to the same Ukip advertising as the rest of us, which has been immigration obsessed since May. The "29 million people are after your job" poster was brought up. Farage and his followers can try and spin it any which way they choose, but no rational person could say that such was not implied both by the text and the imagery.

Communicating nuanced policy in the white noise of modern media is difficult, so it becomes about brand, image and the message, and the Ukip brand and image is now in inextricably linked to those posters where the message wholly self-evident, and quite obviously designed to be controversial. Consequently, when people speak of Ukip, that is where they draw their perceptions from. And there's a price for that.

The programme was divided into four sections yet immigration dominated over half the show with the EU barely getting a look in. And these young people are (in my view rightly) not imbued by the Ukip message. That was entirely predictable. Kids are raised in a politically correct environment and that is the sea in which Ukip must swim, whether it thinks it's fair or not. Temper tantrums that reality is not as we would wish it are entirely redundant. Ukip made the bed in which is has to lie - and nobody can say this programme did not allow Farage to make a rebuttal. In fact, it would have been somewhat negligent of the producers not to have explored these issues.

What this demonstrates is that Ukip has not considered the environment in which it must fight. You can hardly blame these kids for thinking the party wants to privatise the NHS in some way because the party has always leaned in that direction (to some extent) until very very recently. Similarly Farage's lack of awareness of what Ukip education policy is speaks to the overall policy confusion within the party, and why would the public have a more accurate idea of what Ukip is about if their own leader does not know? Claiming bias in such circumstances is akin with blaming a rape victim for wearing a short skirt. The confusion and misinformation about Ukip is everything to do with its own confusion.

And this takes me to the point about the 1975 referendum. The deck was stacked then in media debates, as it has been throughout, and will be more so should we get a referendum in 2018. Every opportunity must be taken to reframe and inform the debate, but here Farage failed. Those kids will walk away from that debate as blissfully unaware as Farage that the EU is not the single market and jobs and trade not depend on the single market and not the EU. It's a large distinction and it matters. If Ukip had a Brexit policy most of the criticisms leveled at them could be put to bed.

Instead it's still going to be a debate bogged down in the usual dry and hackneyed memes about immigration with both sides talking past each other. And given that's exactly what the establishment wants to happen, and that's why they will keep wheeling out Nigel. He's the one who has to fight from a negative premise and is instantaneously on the defensive. The EU debate will now be entirely one about immigration, and while Ukipists will never be appeased by Cameron's package of reforms, there's a good chance the public will. They've bought bigger whoppers than that before.

The media, in their fog of incomprehension, will dutifully report it in the way explained to them with no further analysis, and Ukip will have nothing in the box apart from a temper tantrum about bias. Instead of leading the field with viable and credible alternatives, muting the traditional europhile arguments, Ukip has put as all exactly where we didn't want to be - fending off cries of racism and fascism, against a media who will lend no help in correcting that perception.

I don't deny there's a war we need to have against the system and the media that produces such youth, that is part of a wider culture war, and one that will take a  generation to fix. Now was not the time to pick that battle when we have a more immediate and important battle on our hands in leaving the EU. Now our forces are divided and at odds with eachother, with Ukip making the overall objective all the more harder to achieve. Cry that it's not a fair fight if you will, but nobody here said it would be. We won't start to win until Ukip recognises the war it needs to be fighting.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Carswell goes full Ukip

I know it's not good form to mock the afflicted, but here we have journalist, Iain Martin, asking senior Ukipist, Douglas Carswell, to clarify what a Ukip government would do to tackle the deficit. "Iain, you sound like a propagandist" shrieks Carswell, ducking the question.

Those familiar with the Ukipist disease will know such statements are routinely followed with "you are a LibLabCon paid shill" - or better still, a "German spy working for the EUSSR". It gets them all eventually. You have to suspend any and all critical faculties to join Ukip and Carswell is no exception, so it can't be too long before he starts suspecting everyone who demands a straight answer as having some kind of shadowy ulterior motive. Such is paranoia within a cult. It can't be too long before Ukip's Waco moment now. I'll bring the barbecue sauce.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

If Ukipists don't get it by now, they never will

A little while ago I made some unpopular observations abut Ukip. You can see from the comments how Ukipists go into full attack mode rather than engage the points. We're used to that round these parts. The tribe can do no wrong, there isn't a problem and Ukip's leadership know exactly what they're doing and I should shut up and go away.

I really don't envy these poor dears. You can drive yourself to some quite serious mental illness when you're in deep denial about something. Y'see, while your average kipper is thick as two short planks and couldn't possibly comprehend the points I'm making, quite a few of them are not entirely stupid, and having to go on the defensive in light of very real and glaring problems with policy, message discipline and professionalism must cause all kinds of internal discomfort. Having to admit I might just have a teensy-weensy bit of a point must be grating - and quite a bit embarrassing having gone on the attack.

Just to hammer the points home, just this last week we've had Ukipists saying far more embarrassing things than even this weeks "plague" of fake Ukip accounts. And then we've has Ukip's top people speaking at odds with eachother, and now...
Nigel Farage has claimed to have no knowledge of one of the party’s key education policies. Mr Farage said he had “never advocated” a ban on sex and relationship education for primary school-aged children. The policy was announced by Paul Nuttall, the party’s deputy leader, at the Ukip conference in Doncaster in September, to rapturous applause from delegates. Asked about the policy on Bite the Ballot, an ITV youth debate show, Mr Farage said: “I’ve never advocated that policy. If someone in the party in the past did, so be it.” 
We have been here before. Not just once have we remarked that Farage doesn't do detail, though rather than rubbishing the entire manifesto, Farage is now ok with simply "whatever we said last time".  Are you telling me this is a serious party?

If you ask me, this is a telling insight into a man who simply doesn't care. A leader who did would have a full command of Ukip's limited "policies". It's not difficult. It doesn't take long.  And if he doesn't know, how can he demand the same of his top people? This is a charlatan abusing his position, enjoying the trappings of the position he has afforded himself, but is taking the party for a ride. The destination is not important to him. Farage can climb off when it suits him and walk away from the wreckage, enriched and unscathed. He is throughout a cynical, lazy man with a talent for manipulation. I am both shocked and dismayed that people I took for intelligent have fallen for it.

Why the corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of Ukip is not glaringly obvious to it's followers escapes me. The party that claims to be anti-politics and against establishment politics is playing pretty much the same establishment games by rigging candidate selection. It's not news to us that it continues, and given what Ukipist candidates actually say you can see why they'd have to, but since this current crop of pre-selected clowns keeps making the same mistakes, you can work out where the problem lies simply by looking at who's doing the hiring.

And these is not "smears". We're just reporting on what Ukip says and does. We're not imagining any of this stuff, and virtually everything we said about Ukip is evidenced on a daily basis. Just keeping pace with Ukip's unforced errors is almost a full time job - yet there is still not a hint of self-awareness from them. Fore sure, it's only media obsessives who notice every such instance, but you'd have to be delusional to think it doesn't have a snowballing effect in the run up to the election and any subsequent referendum.

These are all things said by Mark Wallace of ConHome, James Delingpole of Breitbart, Alistair Heath of CityAM, everybody at the Telegraph and Times, and a growing army of "rejects" from Ukip. Is it all just "mainstream media smears" or do some of these astute individuals have a point? Just what lengths will Ukipists go to in their mental contortions before they admit they have a serious problem and it starts with Nigel Farage? How much more of this slovenly, cavalier incompetence are they prepared to tolerate?

The answer is of course, however much comes, and for as long as it takes to irrecoverably destroy Ukip. That is what it will take for them to wake up and realise they have been taken for fools. Deservedly so, on reflection.

Monday 1 December 2014

Basically, Ukip can take a hike

This blog has been predicting that Ukip would increasingly make even bigger dickheads of themselves by having nothing approaching policy and no message discipline. I've pointed out many such instances on this blog, to no avail. In fact this is something that caused an argument in the comments section of EUreferndum.com, where Ukipists arrived mob handed to shout us down with snidey abuse and personal remarks for daring to say such horrid things about them. One of the main reasons why we think Ukipists are scum.

And as with so many of my observations, some hack at the Telegraph will make similar some remarks some months later, or ConHome will venture an opinion, and then all of a sudden it becomes acceptable fare (for the dwindling number of Ukipists whose braincell count is still in double figures). I am not a licensed dissenter you see. But I, like so many others, am wasting my breath in any case.

Paraphrasing EUreferendum, if someone gave Ukip the benefit of a thoroughly-grounded seminar in the principles of policy-making, they wouldn't have the wit to understand what they were being told, much less put it into practice. Through their fog of incomprehension, the only thing they are capable of doing is lashing out at those who don't fawn over their incompetent leaders. Slow of wit and quick with insult, they are a bunch of pathological losers.

And if  this post sounds sour, it's because the things that were said of me some months ago, that I was obsessing about Ukip because I held a grudge, were simply untrue. You will note from this post, from earlier in the year, that my tone was conciliatory in the hope that some of the brighter ones might pull their leaders up. What I got for my trouble was a belly full of bile.

So now I most certainly do hold a grudge because Ukip is making a royal pigs ear and poisoning the eurosceptic well. Now the referendum will be about immigration - and now Ukip is newly endorsed by Nick Griffin - and, in the eyes of Metro readers, it's members think Westminster cathedral is a mosque, Ukip simply cannot win that argument.

I don't know how much more evidence Ukip will have to provide to demonstrate to their followers that it has become a toxic anti-everything party before they wake up. I suspect that if they cannot by now see a glimmer of truth in the things I have said then these people are simply beyond reason on this or any other matter.

I have every reason to be pissed off because the war of words over EU membership is heating up. Pat McFadden, shadow minister for Europe, sets the tone of the debate with some remarks that we would not disagree with.
The answer, he says, is to ‘set rules at all levels to govern a globalised but unstable world and which provides people with the opportunity to make the most of it. This is not a conversation we can have within the borders of Britain alone. ‘To think that you can relate to that world just through a national debate is a mistake … You do need some global rules to govern this world, and we’ve seen the response to the financial crisis try to develop those … It’s got to be a world with rules.’
This is nothing we haven't been saying for some time and that the case for Brexit cannot be framed as debate between nativist isolationism and progressive internationalism, because the former will lose. But that's exactly what Ukip has become, it has irreparably damaged itself, and now looks like it will drag the cause down with it. Nothing in Ukip's repertoire of glib remarks and hateful bilge will ever compete with the more rational sensibilities of middle Britain.

So we find ourselves virtually alone, battling to make a rational eurosceptic case heard, only to find that our allies are undermining us and friends turn their backs for daring to say what everyone else apart from Ukipists can see as they travel deeper into their collective self-hypnosis. Give me one seriously good reason why I should not despise Ukip and anyone who associates themselves with it.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Internationally recognised stupidity

By now, the word is out that a Ukipist has is taken Westminster cathedral for a mosque. That a Ukipist Twitter activist is a total moron is not exactly news to me. Nor is it news that Ukipists harbour a fear of all things Islamic. But that's really not the story here. Ukipist stupidity is now internationally recognised. Reported in the Washington Post, the headline reads "British anti-immigration party mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral for a mosque".

Read it again. The "British anti-immigration party". From the outside, and over the Atlantic, without knowing the context of where Ukip came from, the perception of Ukip, from the message it sends is that Ukip is an anti-immigration party. That's now what it is perceived as. Not just to the yanks, but to anyone who doesn't particularly follow politics. Ukip has become an "anti" single issue party, and it isn't even about the EU.

That is a direct consequence of those ill-conceived posters back in May. That is the stigma Ukip has created for itself, and will likely never shake off. And not only that, their global ambassador here is a stupid, paranoid islamophobe. And that's now the face of euroscepticism here at home. This is supposed to be a "tee-hee" funny story, but when you think about it, this is no laughing matter at all.

Ukip jumps the shark

Ukip has jumped the shark. They have launched a new campaign advert claiming the Conservatives have failed on immigration. It points out the failure of Conservative ministers to succeed in their pledge to bring down net migration to "tens of thousands within this parliament".

It's a fair thing to say. The Tories did say they would bring down immigration. Turns out they haven't, but that is, as Ukip will never discover, easier said than done for any government. To make such a claim was a foolish error by the Tories.

But this advert tells us something. It tells us that Ukip thinks immigration is still their best bet for a campaign feature as we count down to the general election. This is a boneheaded. See, the thing is, it was the Ukip immigration posters that brought all the "anti-racists" out of the woodwork, who have been busy beavering away feeding into the public consciousness that Ukip are a racist party. It works too. You can fool quite a lot of the people a lot of the time. Whether it is or isn't a racist party is now irrelevant. Ukip is now on the backfoot to make the case that it isn't. This means Ukipists will have to spend more time defending their reputation than making their arguments.

You might argue that the controversial posters were a masterstroke that helped them cannibalise the BNP vote in order to do so well at the Euro elections, but after such rapid expansion, what Ukip now has is an ungovernable clan of moaners, united by nothing and prone to fragment if they come down firmly on a particular policy that isn't boilerplate "save the NHS" motherhood and apple pie stuff.

The inherent problem with this is that anyone who was going to be brought to the Ukip fold with this kind of politics already has. By staying the course on immigration, making the EU issue almost incidental, Ukip becomes primarily the anti-immigration party, which cannot grow much more than it already has, nor can it win, and can't win a referendum either. It appeals to a particular demographic; mostly grumpy old white men.

It is still a party campaigning on negatives, it still has no ideas to sell and beyond being a vehicle for a generic protest it has nowhere to go. Just look at the comments on the linked piece. "Anybody who votes LibLabCon at the next general election is a quisling." says a Ukipist. And I'm not cherry-picking either. Any thread on any vessel where Ukipists congregate you can find this boilerplate trash lifted directly from the Ukipist phrasebook. It is a limited repertoire.

Another remarks "As a Brit driven abroad for work due to Mass immigration it angers me that net immigration is used. It's white flight!!" Basically it's a racial concern; that British people taking full advantage of freedom of movement are people like them, escaping Britain because it's become a foreign land. In reality, people taking advantage of such freedoms are working abroad, experiencing life, starting businesses and making the most of life, primarily so they don't end up being miserablist Ukip scum.

Pandering to this element with more anti-immigration rhetoric does no bode well for our chances of leaving the EU, especially if these toxic idiots infest the comment pages to make the case for Brexit. These foul creatures are rapidly poisoning the well and will only cement the view from outside the cult that Ukip is a party of sneering losers, afraid of foreigners and would recklessly pull out of the EU overnight - and hang the consequences.

Any case for leaving the EU will have to be a moderate progressive one that expertly deals with the minutia of how it is done. Leaving it to the amateurs ensures we stay in the EU. As if our problems weren't big enough in fighting for Brexit, it seems eurosceptics have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a very short time to detoxify eurosceticism and reclaim it from Ukip so that decent people can be associated with it.

Ukip will go as far as it can with it's toxic anti-immigration agenda, with fools like Mark Reckless continually putting his  foot in it, until Ukip reaches peak exposure and peak appeal. It doesn't end well. Ukipists are deluded enough to think they represent the silent majority. They don't. Eighty per cent of Brits have no intention of voting Ukip and Ukip's growth since the euro-elections is tiny. As an anti-everything party is has no hope of ever broadening its appeal.

Odds are still on for a violent swing against Ukip. Sniffing around on a constituency by constituency basis, a lot of assumptions are going to prove false at the election. The general election is not going to be an extinction event for the Lib Dems, and while Ukip can affect the order of the runners up, it doesn't look like there are more than a couple of places where they can make a breakthrough, and it's by no means a dead cert that Mark Reckless will keep his seat.

It's looking like a two party squeeze as predicted, and because the Lib Dems will be hammered where they are not incumbent, any constituency where they finished second in 2010 will mean the incumbent MP keeps their seat. More than that, close to the election, the public mood will focus. We don't yet know the full effect as people take a long hard look at Ed Miliband and try to picture him as Prime Minister. Many may not wish to chance it, and who can blame them?

After the election, public interest in politics will tail off, as indeed it always does, and interest in Ukip will follow suit. By then, the whole of the electorate will have had the full dose of Ukip, and a belly full of their negativity, petulance and nativist isolationism. After which it will self-destruct in a bloody civil war. It can be no other way.

Whether something more palatable arises from the ashes is another matter. If it does, and it forms around an intelligible ethos, clarity of purpose and some detailed, credible policies, then I may pitch in and help it rebuild. But if it remains a diminished and sniveling anti-everything Fargista cult, then I will be glad to see the back of it so we can get on with fighting (and winning) a referendum. As it stands, Eurosceptics don't need scum like Ukip on their side - and the sooner they are out of the picture, the better.

Censorship at the University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia are well known for distorting debates and shutting them down. But this might just be a new low. A petition on change.org has evidently secured a victory in shutting down a Ukip public debate.
We are asking UEA to cancel the event and organise it at a location away from the University campus. This is in order to protect students who feel intimidated or degraded by the party. Help us keep our campus a safe, productive, and caring place, where we can all work together regardless of who we are and where we come from.

The University of East Anglia, and its campus, is home to thousands of international, EU, and national students who are representative of many cultures, countries, and languages. Our university is known as an advocate of diversity, integration, and tolerance. It is a safe place for people from all over the world to learn, discuss, and socialise.
That's right folks! Our kiddies need to have their feelings protected. They are seriously telling us that bright university students can't take on a Ukipist in a debate on their own turf and win. How pathetic? How sad!

It is not the job of a university to shield kids from ideas. They are supposed to expose them to more ideas. If you are going to shut yourself off from the world in such a fashion then you might as well go live in a cave and save yourself the tuition fees.

Ukip are scum with some pretty stupid ideas but they're not exactly Romper Stomper skinhead thugs. They're old men who just happen to think Jeremy Clarkson is right about everything. And what they're saying here is that they consider such people to be ideologically threatening; that they need their own ideas to be policed and protected to safeguard the purity of young minds.

This is the very worst kind of authoritarianism. It has no place in a free society. Ukip are a political party who engage in the democratic process. If you don't like them, you are welcome to do likewise by engaging them in debate, but shutting a Ukip debate down makes you more of a nazi than they are.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

The silence of the Ukip lambs

There's two possibilities here. Either I've become such an obsessive EU bore that I think the speech given by Owen Paterson yesterday was top story in British politics and it has been buried by the mainstream media OR, a Tory backbencher giving a speech on the EU to a bunch of think tank wallahs isn't all that exciting. Call me predictable, but I'm going to go with the former.

While the content of the Paterson speech is not, and will not for the foreseeable future be Conservative policy, it does put clear blue water between the right wing of the Conservatives and Ukip.

If Paterson can cultivate support for his ideas then we have a a pragmatic, sensible Tory right who can take us out of the EU and it's political constructs, to take us back to to a single market arrangement - which is what most Brits thought they were voting for in 1975. A fairly uncontroversial prospect that is easy to sell. This is as opposed to Ukip who have categorically ruled out any single market membership mechanism but have yet to outline what exactly it is they would do.

Naturally this does not give Ukip any wiggle-room. The issue Ukip ought to own outright has been snatched away from them. The party is now rudderless with a leadership that has nothing to say on the very issue it was set up to campaign on - and the silence from Ukip is deafening.

Meanwhile, David Cameron should welcome this timely interjection by Owen Paterson because it ought to convince Tory Ukip sympathisers that there is a movement within the party that represents the most realistic option for an EU exit - and one which can reasonably capture the centre ground in ways that Ukip cannot.

What it also does is reframe the debate. For too long the debate has been centered around dry economic issues, when at the heart of the EU debate lies something more fundamental. By making it a choice between the single market and full integration, including joining the Euro, it will be the first time an honest choice has been put before the public, where the realities of the EU project are brought to bear. A referendum on those terms is one we cannot lose. Little wonder then that the Guardian has been so reluctant to offer comment or allow a debate on Paterson's ideas.

Critics of the plan, including the front runner federalist advocacy groups, have been quick to leap on the "fax democracy" bandwagon, ever quick to convince us that Norway has no influence in EU decisions. Well, so what? Norway doesn't have influence in US government decisions either. Nor does the EU for that matter. That's how national governments work. We are saying that the EU is a federalist project with the ambition of becoming a new country, and while we would be happy to be friends and allies with that country, we don't want to be a county of it.

We need not reiterate how much more global influence we would have as a leading EEA member, with seats reinstated at the top tables, but we have not said the Norway Option is the final destination either. We have repeatedly made the case that unravelling ourselves from decades of integration will take almost as long. Thus for a quick exit from the federal aspects of the EU, we choose an off-the-shelf solution as a departure lounge mechanism. What lies beyond that is decades away - and a whole debate in itself.

The genius of the Paterson plan means that the usual dry economic arguments are entirely sidestepped by remaining in the single market, and the more nuanced and accurate approach to immigration means there is no danger of brand toxification as has happened to Ukip.

One might argue that the damage is so severe to Ukip now that it has nothing to do but to live with it's little corner of politics as a sanitised BNP, fighting its fringe culture war, divorced from the EU debate while others make the running. The more pragmatic members of Ukip will soon come to realise that sitting on the sidelines waiving a Ukip flag and complaining is not going to get them out of the EU, and working to further these ideas within the Tories will at least get them some of what they have wanted from the beginning.

Soon the gravity of Ukip's strategic errors will hit home if they haven't already. They've had their underpants pulled over their heads and been wrong-footed on what was their central issue. Were I Nigel Farage, I would be keeping a low profile too. Ukip has become a sideshow. Again.

Monday 24 November 2014

The woes of Ms Monroe

Readers will probably be aware that I'm not a fan of Little Miss Self-entitled, Jack Monroe. In fact, the very first post on this blog was a prediction of sorts that turned out to be quite near the mark.

But it seems she's landed herself in a spot of bother and has been thrown under the bus by Sainsbury's for her remarks on Twitter. She said David Cameron should resign for using his ‘dead son’ as a front to privatise the NHS. Or words to that effect.

Andrew Percy, a Tory member of the Commons health select committee, said: ‘This is not just a distasteful tweet, it is sick.‘If a Right-Wing politician or columnist had made such a comment, Miss Monroe would be writing hand-wringing columns about how evil or cruel such a comment was.’

Charlotte Leslie, Tory member of the health select committee, added: ‘Anyone of any integrity is left pretty speechless. 'Not only is this incredibly callous and hurtful from someone who is supposed to be in a position of some responsibility, it is also utterly inaccurate.

Andrew Percy rightly points out the hypocrisy of the left in general, but it should also be noted Ms Monroe is no stranger to using her, very much alive, son as a stage prop. And Charlotte Leslie is quite right too. Those who enjoy a privileged position in the public eye do have a certain responsibility.

Many people on the right have refused to jump on the outrage bus because we live in a time of "trial by Twitter" whereby good people have been brought down for saying much less, and to jump on the bus in this instance would be to perpetuate that current trend. I am not one of those principled individuals, because I'm more than happy to use the outrage bus as a means of dispensing with people who need to get got.

I was not in anyway sad to see Chris Huhne sent to Coventry, nor did I lose any sleep over the sacking of oaf, Godfrey Bloom, and, if I wasn't already having an awesome day today, the news of Monroe being thrown under the bus would be a cause of some celebration.

The simple fact is that there's rules to this here game. Rule number one is "don't say stupid things on Twitter that will wreck your career". It's a simple enough rule and there are plenty of reminders as to why you should not break it. Thinking before one speaks in the public domain is generally considered good practice.

While you or I might be able to get away with saying such crass and stupid things, those in the public eye do not have that luxury. If you wade into a swamp, you will get covered in leeches. This does mean I don't get to complain when one on my side is shot down, but this is just how the game is played now, and there will be casualties of war. That much is not going to change.

Some might argue that there is a higher principle of freedom of speech at stake here. I don't think that's true. You have a right to an opinion but you don't have a right to an egregiously stupid one without relentless mockery, and companies like Sainsbury's are perfectly well within their rights to distance themselves from such stupidity. And why wouldn't they?

Monroe is a ghastly creature, a sanctimonious hypocrite, a liar and a manipulative, calculating, nasty piece of work. She has enjoyed far too much privilege for far too long and it is long past the time karma caught up with her. There is a certain wisdom in a Twitter mob and if you live by the sword then you WILL die by the sword. The only pity is that the sword is a figure of speech.

Thank Ukip

Patrick O'Flynn of Ukip tweets "Cons now broken key pledges on all top 3 issues: getting rid of deficit, no top down NHS shake-up and net migration to tens of thousands."

He tweets that on this day in politics - which is all about the European Union. So here we have Ukip of all people not even in the game, when Twitter is alight with Brexit talk. Even the prominent Ukipists have been quiet today. Ukip have set about being a main political party and have all but abandoned any real focus on the EU. 

This is a good thing. Since most Ukip bletherers have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to Brexit, and have no policy on it, all we are likely to get from them is more embarrassing gaffes that hurt the cause.

The media trap was set for Ukip to paint themselves into a corner, and Ukip obligingly walked into it, and the recent outburst by Reckless makes it even harder to dig themselves out of the anti-immigration hole. If Ukip had a PR problem before, they have a really big one now. They can't say they weren't warned, but that's all water under the bridge.

If the silence from Ukip is a deliberate tactical ploy, it is the first sign of any strategic acumen from that  party. It can only mean they have finally understood how damaging Ukip is to the Brexit cause, and having poisoned the well, it's something they are best distancing themselves from if they want to achieve one of their main objectives.

The case for Brexit must be made by reasonable, rational people with good arguments and a positive vision. Ukip certainly doesn't fit the bill on that score, so I would like to offer my thanks to Ukip for staying out of the picture, and I encourage them to remain quiet so the grown-ups can get on with getting us out of the EU, without having to continually distance themselves from Ukip's clueless, xenophobic ranters. Keep up the good work Ukip.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Thoughts on libertarianism

Libertarianism is a big tent. There are minarchists who believe in the concept of a night watchman state (and no that's not as sinister as it sounds) and then there are those more concerned with civic and civil liberties, but do not extend as far as low taxes.

But there is also another school of thought in that good government is invisible government, which can be as big as it likes so long as it facilitates the creation of wealth and stays out of the way.

One of the great liberties in this country is the supremacy of the pedestrian in the street. My own encounter with a yellow cab in New York was a sharp reminder of this particular cultural difference. Say what you like about the officiousness of this country and it's adherence to petty rules, it is precisely those rules that have created the safest roads and the best driving standards anywhere in the world.

It's also a matter of standard road camber and regulation for signage universality. That didn't happen by accident. So much of what you see around you but don't acknowledge is regulated, and it's these little bits of invisible government that facilitate trade, greater freedoms and a safer existence.

The art of politics is the mechanism to mediate the line between nanny state and individual liberty. Sometimes it goes too far and that's why we have rudimentary mechanisms that are not democracy but based loosely upon the concept.

While libertarians are quick to scoff at the notion of a social contract, there is a tacit contract in that we accept a normative level of personal infringements for the common good. The law that says I can't keep my neighbours up til 4am with 90's acid techno is an infringement I accept with the expectation that I also have the right to a good nights sleep.

Granted, this example is reductio ad absurdum, but it goes to show that we each accept a degree of regulation. What lies between is politics. And this is why vigilance and participation is a necessary function of civics to ensure that good governance remains invisible and unintrusive.

The dogmatic notion that deregulation necessarily creates more wealth fails to acknowledge the complexity of the modern world and the fact that so much regulation is not only desirable but also essential. You might think it is in the manufacturers own interests to build a car that didn't kill the driver or for airline builders to build aircraft that fall out of the sky, but it is only through mechanisms of the state such as the air crash investigation bureau that findings have been transposed into global regulation, which means that when we do occasionally see a passenger liner fall out of the sky, we find it shocking because we have come to see it as unthinkable as well as inexcusable. Left to their own devices, they would still be killing us and getting away with it.

Of course to the dogmatists, this makes me a raging authoritarian. But like all dogmatists, because their ideology is a well mapped out schema of assumptions and absolutes, it means they never have to compromise or think beyond lazy assumptions, or mucky themselves with technicalities or the inherent contradictions of modernity. It is for the same reason the socialist cries "underfunding" each time there is an NHS scandal. It is the simple, easy and lazy answer. It is no more respectable than the libertarian who cries "red tape" for the failure of their business.

Liberty is a subjective term and there are many permutations. I wholly embrace the ideal of liberty, but the notion that in a world of internet, aviation, genetically modified foods and global banking, we can simply dispense with internationalism and global regulation and all will be well, is not just optimistic, it's childish.