Tuesday 3 February 2015

Time to ditch the tribe

Ukipists: tribal animals

Last years narrative that Ukip was an unstoppable new force in British politics has come to an abrupt halt. This blog has been predicting a slump for Ukip and there were signs at Christmas that 13 % was where the slump was going to bottom out. It was aperhaps a little premature of me to predict it would stay there, but one thing we can say for certain: Ukip isn't growing and it isn't broadening its appeal.

We've actually had a quiet few days out of Ukip which is actually the moment sensible thing they could do since anything they do say is more fuel for well deserved relentless mockery. As early as April last year I coined the expression "glass ceiling", whereby Ukip could demonstrate impressive grown by dumbing down the party to cannibalise the other small parties, but as we saw in the euro elections, the swing against the main parties was just under three per cent. Thanks to the vagaries of the EU proportional representation system, this resulted in a number of seats. That will not be true of Westminster.

We haven't seen a sustained pull of decent polls over 20% except for Survation who use a fairly alien methodology. Looking at Ukip demographics, it has cornered the market on white, middle aged and angry. It has produced nothing of value to expand beyond that. It has not learned any of the lessons and ignored all the warnings. My own estimations have it that Ukip will do worse than anybody expected in the general election and will probably score fewer than five MPs, not least because there is a strong possibility Mark Reckless will lose his seat.

More dangerously, thanks to the ineptitude of Ukip and the vibe coming off their supporters, Ukip is badly damaging our chances of winning an EU referendum. This blog said that would happen to howls of disbelief and dismay. Ukipists are a bit thick like that.

It has always been our view that to win an EU referendum we would need to build a cross party anti-EU consensus. Ukip was already too tainted to grow the win margin and we needed to be making friends in the left, not enemies. We need to open minds with ambition, instead of slamming doors with hate. If Ukips have been as vile with the left as they have with me, those doors will remain permanently closed.

It is for this reason I have actively campaigned against Ukip (with some success). If we do get an EU referendum in the next parliament, we have a big fight on our hands and arguments to win and that will dot be helped by euroscepticism being associated or affiliated with Ukip. Ukip have been away with the fairies fighting a largely imaginary culture war they simply cannot win and in departing from the main objective are accomplishing little, if anything.

Most Ukipists seem to have bought the party line that any Tory referendum will be a sham referendum and rigged in the EUs favour - thus we should not have one. But this attitude ignores the realities. The EU has the BBC on its side, it has never been an honest player, and the only exposure it has given Ukip is to give the party enough rope to hang itself. And it has worked. Similarly, no establishment party is ever going to be eurosceptic, and the only way we are ever going to get a clean referendum is for a eurosceptic party to win power. If that party is in the form of Ukip, that is simply never going to happen.

We have one offer on the table. I don't especially like the Tories, but the complaint against the "LibLabCon" has been that they are all the same. Well now they are not. There is a clear choice. Have a referendum on the EU or don't. I say we take their offer and thank our lucky stars that we don't also end up with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. Ukip was fun while it lasted but we can only have that referendum with a clear Tory win, which we will hold them to.

Any Ukipist or leftist or Tory who wants to join in the fight to liberate us from the EU will be welcomed. As most of our readers know, a new version of Flexcit is in the pipeline and when that work is concluded, Richard North and I will be working on a series of posts on a new blog to simplify the arguments and teach eurosceptics how to win the debate under a working title of Flexcit for Dummies. Winning the arguments will take a kind of maturity and compromise and discipline we have not seen from Ukipsts and so we will be asking for rational people to come forward in building a team of bloggers and and Twitterers who will adopt Flexcit. It is hoped we will then stage a Harrogate Agenda workshop in how to win the EU debate.

We have discovered that further informing the debate, explaining what the EU is, how it works and more critically the role of globalism and international governance is the best way to cut through long standing EU memes and long standing myths. Through cordial exchange of knowledge I have built bridges with left wingers and even classic europhiles, succeeding where Ukipists have not. I have been sorely disappointed in those friends of mine who could not see the long game and retreated into the Ukip bunker. But I would implore you all to think again. Nearly everything I have said on this blog has panned out exactly as I said it would, and if you strip away the Ukip delusions, the cause is in a bad shape because kippers lack the courage to admit Ukip has failed them. Now is the time to ditch the tribe. For what ever good it has done, it must now go. The referendum matters more.

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