|Reckless: Gunning for the loony vote|
The Tories are in full panic mode, listing all the reasons why you shouldn't vote for Ukip, which undoubtedly means that people will vote for them. Brits don't like to be told who they shouldn't vote for. The same panic arc that existed at the peak of the BNP is coming into play and the ultimate up-yours is to cast a vote for the protest party.
Whether Rochester marks the final surge I don't know, but if not then, then probably the general election. I'll stick to my prediction that they might well return MP's but it will be in single digits. Then we'll really see what Ukip is made of. Probably incumbent former Tories. But the odious nature of the party and the gaping schisms will force the public to take a long hard look at them in the cold light of day, and Ukip will have just enough rope to hang themselves. It won't be pretty.
The debate within the Conservative party this week is whether to distance themselves from Ukip or become more like them. The more ridiculous Ukip becomes the more Tories will want to distance themselves from Ukip. Which means they will hold the line on EU membership, while pinching a neutral "policy" or two from Ukip on other matters. Ukip takes it as read that this necessarily means gains for Ukip. That's a pretty big assumption.
A crackpot party strutting around with no self-awareness, contradicting itself all over the shop will get noticed as a fraud sooner or later. For sure, a non-serious party it can still inflict damage at the polls, but a referendum on the EU will be taken far more seriously than even a general election. The turnout will be high and Ukip's share of the vote is not a share of the electorate in referendum terms. It's territory they do not own and they're not remotely mindful of this. This is pretty serious stuff, which is why I still blog on the matter.
What we are seeing is the hollowing out of a eurosceptic party which has surrendered any ground it may have had as an effective pressure group to become a three ring circus with no apparent agenda than to damage the establishment parties. The hiring of Raheem Kassam tells you all you need to know. The man is a halfwit who understands the concept of message discipline even less than Farage does.
What this tells us, apart from the fact Farage likes to be surrounded by yes men rather than people who know what they're doing, is that Ukip is essentially trolling British politics for its own sake. I would actually find it funny and might actually join in if I thought it was at all constructive. But it isn't.
I would like to see a sea change in politics. Not just in the decisions our leaders make, but also in how it gets done. I certainly don't see Ukip as a vehicle for doing that, but more importantly, however well it does in various polls, it is not winning the argument on the EU and the focus on immigration in referendum stakes might well send any progress into reverse. Ukip is no longer objective driven, thus has no strategy. They are bull-in-a-china-shop wreckers and paving the way to total defeat for euroscepticism. That's not funny at all.