I made a decision to retire this blog last week, in favour taking a more sanitised approach. But there is actually no good reason why I cannot do both. What I don't want to do is have my more immoderate posts distracting from the overall output on the new blog, and so here is as good a place as any to make the odd incidental point.
As to the subject of this post, though I said I would limit my attacks on Ukip, I think this is important to take note of. We are past the general election now. All efforts are geared to the referendum, crafting our message and public perceptions of those who represent the No campaign. Thus it must be pointed out when Ukip is failing.
I have warned of the dangers of foam flecked Kipper ranting about foreigners and Muslims, and that message is not getting through. We saw during the election that such material only drags the debate onto the racism battlefield, turning the debate away from the central matter. We can't afford this now.
We would expect Ukip to have learned some of the lessons and show some leadership in moderating their message. This is not happening. What we have seen instead is more of the same dog whistles that effectively give their followers permission to grunt about the same old things. I didn't pick it up at the time but here we find a speech made by Ukip MEP Gerald Batten last month, highlighted by an official Ukip Twitter account. It's entitled "Western civilisation has to stop kowtowing to a Dark Age ideology".
I know these arguments well, and not far behind it comes the usual clichés abut multiculturalism etc. There is some basis in truth that would be worth examining in more subtle terms, at a different time, but this really just qualifies as banging on about Muslims, using BNP rhetoric. This is absolutely the last thing we need from a party that will take a lead role in the referendum campaign.
It's one thing for the bottom-feeders on Twitter to be promoting this message in association with Ukip, but for Ukip MEP's to be choosing this of all messages, at this of all times is just inexcusable.
This is where Aaron Banks should take note. If the No campaign is built on a Ukip base than it is tainted from the outset. It's bad enough that their eurosceptic arguments are poor and their message uncoordinated, but these people have absolutely no self-discipline, no capacity for strategy and continue to make careless, unforced errors. They have learned nothing. The No campaign needs to put as much distance between itself and Ukip as humanly possible.