Saturday 8 March 2014

Politics: Life is unfair

UKIP: Crying unfair.
Ukip is again making the news for the wrong reasons.  "Lewes UKIP councillor (Donna Edmunds) says businesses should have power to turn away women and gay people." says The Argus.

Looking at what the lady actually said, I'm hard pressed to disagree on the basis that that such laws infringe on property rights, and give power to the state to police thought.  Moreover, such laws are unnecessary. If a business wants to discriminate on those grounds, which would be a witheringly small number of them, the free market would soon be the judge whether they stay in business.

It is not the role of the state to ensure people live their entire lives without being offended, nor can the state from a practical perspective micro-manage and dictate every individual moral choice. The enforcement of such laws is what makes us such mealy-mouthed, conformist curtain-twitchers - and it makes us less free. Dick Puddlecote offers a more thorough examination of the moral aspects here.

However, politics is a game with rules.  And when your back is to the wall with the odds stacked against you, the last thing you do is feed the beast with what it needs. Ukippers seem incapable of learning this lesson. When you are aligned with a tribe, everything you say reflects on your tribe, and anything you do say can and will be used against you in the kangeroo court of British media.

The art of politics, and the skill of a good politician is to pass comment on a matter without feeding the beast. Ukippers will complain that they are a straight-talking, un-PC party and is being treated unfairly, but that is a childish attitude. If you play the establishment game, you play by establishment rules.  Crying that it is unfair her words have been twisted overlooks the fact that life is unfair, politics is unfair - and politics is a dirty business. Only those in power get to change the rules. That's life.  There is a game to be played, and there are strategies for playing it if you seek to take on the establishment.

It's not the first time Donna Edmunds has raised a few eyebrows, and has failed to learn that while you or I can get involved in internet spats, those in office cannot without somebody watching. To continue to do so displays the usual lack of political acumen and professionalism from Ukip that this game requires. Effective politicians let the party do the politics while they do the donkey work, building a constituency and building good relations in the community.  And that requires party discipline and self-discipline.  Needlessly embroiling oneself in public rows does not help matters.

But having said something that could be twisted by the media, Miss Edmunds gave them further ammunition by expressing regret for her words. That is the ultimate gift to the media.  They went for a scalp, and they got one.  The correct response should be "Read what I actually said. The voters can be the judge".  By climbing down, it feeds the story by making it look like an embarrassing debacle that then prompts further damage control from the party. If you cannnot say what you mean, how can you possibly mean what you say? As usual, Ukip has played it badly, shown an astonishing naivety of how the game is played (and how the media works), and more seriously, it has shown a complete inability to learn. It should by now have a handle on these matters.

This is far from the first time a Ukip councillor has made the news for the wrong reasons. Ukip is under close watch by the media, and is under sustained attack from an establishment who perceives it as a threat. It is playing dirty games, and setting traps that Ukip helpfully blunders into time after time. These are unforced errors.  But this comes as little surprise. The party doesn't do professionalism or strategy, and that's because Farage doesn't either and Ukip refuses to see it. Were I a europhile I would think Farage was a gift from above.

No comments:

Post a Comment