|UK/IP: For those about to cock (up)|
Nigel Farage's column in today's Telegraph is a fascinating document. It tells us all sorts of things about Ukip and its leader. First, the very fact that it's been written tells us Ukip is getting a bit nervous of being written out of the election script. Labour and the Conservatives, in their health vs economy duel, have been tacitly colluding to keep Ukip out of the conversation. And the insurgent action has all been about the Greens and SNP, leaving Ukip look almost old hat.Nobody has been colluding to keep Ukip out. Put simply, Ukip have offered nothing of note since their last "policy" offerings - none of which was all that far removed from their last outing, and consequently failed to make a splash. The media (occasionally) reports news. Apart from being a laughing stock, Ukip have had no campaign successes to claim, nor has it released any substantive policies or ideas worth speaking of. Put simply, Ukip is not news. If Ukip looks old hat, it's because it is old hat. Those attuned to Ukip rhetoric noticed nothing new at all in this mornings fag packet rant.
"Time for the kippers to catch the eye again." says Kirk-up!
But once Mr Farage has our attention, what does he offer us? It's a strikingly sober effort, a deliberate attempt to look and sound like a party with a broad and serious programme of government. There's plans on higher education, on NHS funding, on political and legal reform. There's a bit of Elgar-humming love for this great nation and there are some swipes at the other parties. It all sounds perfectly grown-up and serious. And it's boring.A strikingly sober effort? Not really. Barely worth a skim read, if only to confirm that it is indeed the usual Farage jam session. Essentially Ukip are an ACDC tribute band - all the old classics played in the order of the Greatest Hits LP. It's boring because it's nothing new - and not even the real thing (the BNP). The one-trick pony has jumped the shark. (I'll let you play with that mental image for a moment).
I'll spare you the rest of the dissection - it's worth neither your time nor mine, but Kirk-up's conclusion is the biggest laugh of all...
In short, Mr Farage is trying to expand from his core vote and pitch to non-believers, even if that means talking less about the things the old time believers want to hear. It's what Tony Blair did with New Labour, it's what David Cameron did with modernisation. It's what smart politicians always do. But then, isn't Mr Farage supposed to be different? Sorry Nigel. They got you in the end. They've made you boring. They've made you one of them.Cleary Kirk-up read something wholly different to the rest of us. All I heard was the was the same dog-whistle claptrap played in a slightly different pitch. Last week it was Griffinesque rambling about multiculturalism, this week it's the tea-party set. We have heard this talk expanding the core vote before - but we have seen nothing that serious people can get behind - no policies, no fresh ideas and not even renewed rhetoric. The greatest hits record is worn out, and the dust and scratches are more audible than ever.
It may have escaped Kirk-up, but Farage always has been a bore. If anything it actually says more about Kirk-up and his weak political instincts that he ever found Farage interesting at all.