I need not go to any lengths to qualify myself as a euro-sceptic. I find the Tories deceptions on the EU as crass and distasteful as any Ukiper. But I cannot support that party. The dogmatic and rude behavior of its members is a huge turn off. Just lately I had Ukipers accuse me of being a "europhile Marxist" for daring to criticise Nigel Farage. These are not serious people and they are not on the same planet as the rest of us.
I also know that Ukip is not a winning party. I have maintained for a
long time that populism has a glass ceiling in terms of appeal, and the
more you go down that line, the uglier it becomes. Ukipers used to
suspect infiltrators sabotaging the party, but now the other parties
don't need to bother. Ukip does that all by itself.
Ukip is a cul-de-sac anyway. It's unique selling point is EU
withdrawal but has nothing to offer in place of it. Sure, they have
policies but they are along the same old tired lines of spend a bit more
here, spend a bit less there, with some other fringe tinkerings without
any intellectual substance. It has no coherent overarching vision.
If you were to listen to the mood music, there is a strong desire for
fundamental change in the UK. But Ukip is not that fundamental change.
I have said it many times, but most Ukipers think that EU withdrawal
alone will take us to sunlit uplands. This is not grown up politics.
Thirty years of integration is not undone over night, and isolationism
is not an option, nor is the scorched earth libertarian view of letting
the chips fall where they may. In many cases international regulation
is not a barrier to trade, but a facilitator. What matters is having a
voice in who makes it and how.
But aside from the technical
minutia which seems beyond the grasp of the average Ukiper, there is an
appetite not just for change, but for a revolution. Just about anyone I
talk to thinks the current regime is running as much on borrowed time
as it is borrowed money. Yet not one single party is offering real
change or offering us a real voice in how we are governed - and who we
are governed by. Nobody has a blueprint for a new society, nor a means
to achieve it. Unless such is on offer, I cannot see myself moved to
vote for anyone. We need fresh ideas based on a coherent philosophy,
not a rag-bag of reactionary policies with no connecting thread.
We are never going to arrive at a set of policies that everyone can get
behind - and that is why no new party can ever win. This is why we
have a political process, to hammer out compromise. The problem being
that the process we have no longer works and is corrupted beyond
redemption. We need a new framework for governance and an agenda for
However, such will be achieved not by the ballot box.
Too many have a vested interest in maintaining the status-quo. It will
come about through becoming ungovernable, as I have set upon with this
A&S Police trial. (which most of you couldn't be any less
interested in, and would rather "re-tweet" Nigel Farage if he so much as
My view is that they cannot spend what they do not
have, and frustrating their means of collecting funds gives us more
power than any vote does. Shouting at one another over Twitter and
forming tribes behind celebrity politicians is more part of the problem
than the solution.
It is for this reason, I am rooting for a
total implosion of the Ukip vote (which is inevitable at this rate), and
I will do what I can to help bring it forth, so that something
worthwhile can rise from the ashes. What we want is real democracy,
where we are listened to, we run our own affairs and we say how much of
our money they can take - and what they can spend it on. A vision
whereby leaving the EU is not the end in itself, more a necessary
stepping stone on the way to something bigger and better. The EU will
die of its own accord eventually but without something to fill the
vacuum, we won't enjoy any greater freedom.
This is why most
of my efforts will be directed at The Harrogate Agenda from here on in,
and we have an interesting year ahead of us.