Posts Tagged 'Incompetence'

Media hyperbole: Where is this ‘anti-EU’ vote they speak of?

This time it seems it is the turn of Janet Daley, writing in the Barclay Beano, to offer her penetrating analysis into the European Election result and what it means.

But where is this anti-EU vote she is speaking of?  It’s all well and good for Daley to criticise (rather succinctly) the ‘codswallop’ responses of the main parties to their showings in the elections, and ridicule their claims that they have heard the people, or that messages have been received and understood, but the very foundation of her piece – that there was an anti-EU vote last week – is frankly rubbish.  Consider this extract:

I am not one of those delusional commentators who believe (or claim to believe) that nothing much of any significance has happened and that all this excitement is just overblown media froth. On the contrary, my reason for insisting that none of the things that are assumed to be self-evidently true about the post-elections world will actually prove correct, is that the results were too important – so devastating, so cataclysmically mind-altering that they cannot be assimilated. There is no way that the European Union – which is to say, those who run it, think entirely within its conceptual parameters, have their political and personal futures invested in it and can conceive of no reality outside of it – can come to terms with the consequences of these elections.

So the election results were too important? They were devastating? They were so cataclysmically mind-altering they cannot be assimilated?

Across the whole of the UK last week (using the vote tally on this BBC page – all these figures are provisional and subject to final confirmation by the Electoral Commission in the Autumn) there were 16,454,950 votes cast in the European Election, a reported turnout of 34.19% which means the current UK electorate stands at around 48,127,962 (** see end of post).  Therefore some 31,673,000 people who were entitled to vote stayed at home  The total number of votes for parties whose manifesto includes withdrawal from the EU was 4,999,885 – and 12.46% of that vote wasn’t even for UKIP:

But then, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that many UKIP supporters backed the party not because of its anti-EU position, but purely because of its saturation message opposing immigration. That is no surprise when UKIP issued a follow up A5 sized leaflet in many areas that contained no other message than an anti-immigration one.

This actually points to the anti-EU vote itself being ‘soft’ and much of grounded in other issues.  So back the data that has evidently been completely ignored by La Daley. Of those who voted in the European Election, 30.38% voted for anti-EU parties, just 9 in every 30 who turned out.  Of all eligible voters therefore, those who cast a ballot for anti-EU parties was just 10.38%.  While I have not found this kind of breakdown in the media, you can be certain the parties and the EU mandarins will have crunched these numbers in far greater depth than me.  They will be asking the same question as me, where is this anti-EU earthquake, this mass rejection of the political union?

So when Daley, in her hyperbolic fit, declares…

The facts do not compute. They are incomprehensible. Therefore they must be dismissed as some irrational, contemptible spasm to which the masses are occasionally susceptible and which the enlightened institutions of the EU were specifically designed to over-rule.

she may wish to reconsider exactly which facts do not compute or are incomprehensible. The only irrational, contemptible spasm on show is her witless article.  It is laugh-out-loud rubbish written without any attempt to look at what really happened on that Thursday just over a week ago.

Putting things into further context, consider the most recent in the series of polls by YouGov that shows how voters currently divide if asked in a referendum whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave.

With all this in mind, how does Janet Daley’s conclusion bear any relation to reality?

It has become received wisdom that the reason for that massive electoral rebellion against the EU was that the people were throwing a harmless tantrum: they were just letting off steam because they knew that their votes in this election did not matter. And what do people do next when they realise that their votes don’t matter?

I don’t know what world Daley and her ilk inhabit, but it’s certainly not the one the rest of us live in.

There are messages in the data.  The anti-EU side is not getting its message across.  The anti-EU side has not countered the blatant lie regarding 3 million jobs being dependent on EU membership, the crass distortion that 50% of our trade is with the EU (wilfully ignoring that a significant percentage of this goes to final destinations outside the EU), or that our place in the world is enhanced by EU membership – when it actually excludes us from influencing global negotiations and decision making regarding the laws and regulations we must observe in the globalised world.  People have heard these messages time and again and the likes of UKIP have done nothing to challenge and correct them with the truth.

In 12 months time we will know if there is to be an in-out EU Referendum.  But we should not wait until then.  All anti-EU groups, regardless of the career aspirations of their directors and staff, need to agree common lines to take and push them at every opportunity, in the same way the pro-EU groups already do. Otherwise a possible 2017 referendum will just be a re-run of 1975 and we will be stuck in this damaging union for generations to come.

———–

** The 48,127,962 electorate figure is not official – it has been calculated by taking the total number of votes cast in the BBC table and accepting they make up 34.19% of the eligible electorate (for European elections) which we are told voted.  If this figure is accurate it is astonishing. Please note therefore the use of this figure comes with a significant health warning.

In the 2009 European Election the electorate was 45,315,669.  That means the electorate could well have grown by 2.81 million in just five years, or to put it another way, an extra 562,458 voters would have joined the electoral roll each year on average since 2009.

To put that in context, between the 2004 election and 2009 election the official electorate as reported in the BBC elections coverage grew by 1,197,216, or 239,443 per year on average. So if the assumed 2014 electorate figure is correct, the average annual increase of new voters to the roll from 2009-2014 is more than 134% greater than the average annual increase between 2004-2009.

Added to this we keep being told that the number of people absenting themselves from the electoral roll for a variety of reasons, which hints at population growth well in excess of official estimates.  This is very interesting indeed.

If UKIP was really serious about the EU…

This is another of those compare and contrast moments that so annoy UKIP supporters who read this blog, but which are covered here because UKIP ignoring such major issues annoys me so much.

The Times (£) is reporting that a proposed levy on financial transactions by the EU, which could wipe more than £3.6bn from the value of UK shares and bonds and is being challenged by the UK, looks set to be approved by the courts. This has huge implications for already low yielding pensions and investments for ordinary people.

You would think UKIP would be all over this, hammering away in the media, getting faces in front of cameras, churning out press releases, using their colourful website to demonstrate how the UK’s mythical ‘influence’ in the EU is just that, a myth, and lambasting this raid on finances that will disproportionately damage UK financial markets.

But in the media, nothing. On UKIP’s website, not a word.  Another golden opportunity to make a powerful case for turning our backs on the EU has been missed.

Just weeks from its biggest election test ever in the European Elections, the UKIP website’s very latest news is two days old and concerns UKIP’s party election broadcast – and UKIP being the only party to campaign for St George’s Day to be a public holiday.  There’s a priority for you.  Has everyone from the London ‘freak show‘ nicked off early and gone to the pub again?

Four days ago the party declared that the European parliamentary elections battle was now getting underway in earnest.  Yet presented with a huge EU related story, they are silent and the media instead hoovers up unchallenged comment from the pro-EU muppets and fiction retailers at Open Europe.

So what is UKIP doing?

Instead of fighting to get this country out of the EU, UKIP is down in the gutter fighting yet another wholly avoidable reputational battle because one of its candidates, a Zimbabwean no less, who starred in their election broadcast, was (yet again) not vetted properly and has been shown to hold some rather unpleasant views.

While it’s all very well for Farage to be angry and say this man ‘slipped through the net‘ there is something about the party he has moulded that sees it continually attracting oddballs and those with racist or intolerant views – and it is putting decent people off the party and the anti-EU cause.

The party is also fighting against mockery of its takeoff of British jobs for British workers in that poster campaign, as it transpires the actor posing as an unemployed British builder is actually an immigrant from Ireland.

These cock ups follow Lizzy the ordinary voter from Devon who will support UKIP, actually being Lizzy from London who is the party’s events manager and is now trying to stop explicit photos of herself engaged in sex acts being put into the public domain.

The only conclusion we can draw is that UKIP isn’t serious about getting us out of the EU.  It is only bothered about winning a different game, but even that is something it doesn’t prepare for and ends up losing.

Of course, the moans and aggressive retorts will flood the inbox and the odd comment will be left here in an attempt to criticise me for ‘undermining’ the ‘only game in town’.  But these are people who are ignoring the reality of how badly led and run the party is and how much damage it is doing to the anti-EU side.  UKIP speaks for barely one third of voters who say they want to leave the EU.  But it is seen as the anti-EU vehicle and these avoidable injuries are completely self inflicted.

UKIP’s long suffering decent supporters – there are many of them in the party trying to make it a viable, anti-EU entity – and those who want to see the UK freed from the EU, deserve better.

The Hype Office strikes again

met_office_logoMet Office forecasts are seemingly becoming ever more sensationalist.  Observed weather conditions too often show that predicted extreme weather either fails to materialise, or turns out to be nowhere near as extreme as forecast.

Yesterday was another case in point.  The media was saturated with worry-inducing forecasts of high levels of atmospheric pollution at concentrations never before seen in this country. The Met Office were at pains to spread the warnings around.  And they are at it again today.

Yet in the event, the ‘high or very high levels of air pollution across southern England and the Midlands’ came nowhere close to the predictions. It turns out the pollution levels three weeks ago were worse than yesterday’s ‘7’, but that hardly got any coverage and hardly anyone except those with severe respiratory conditions actually noticed any difference.

There’s method in the Met Office’s hype madness, from all these ‘weather warnings’ and triangles on TV maps that now appear in seemingly every other forecast for conditions that are almost always perfectly normal for the time of year, to the Met Office’s new overblown pollution predictions.  They know that people will only remember the overblown warnings and the media’s fealty in reporting them with due prominence.  It is all intended to embed a sense that our weather is becoming ever more extreme, to fit their narrative on human induced climate change – and justify ever more millions for ‘research’ and ever more lavish computer systems.

The Met Office’s typically quiet concession after the fact that things actually didn’t get as bad (£) – or even close to as bad – as they believed, for some reason or other, never gets the same prominence of course.  They are able to say they corrected the record if challenged, but they quietly make the correction in the same manner in which a newspaper will bury an inconvenient correction on page 31, in a single column inch of tightly spaced lettering near the foot of the page.

Then everything is fine again. Until the next time. Meanwhile the bonuses continue to flow from our pockets into theirs as reward for alarmism rather than accuracy, and the propaganda continues to gush out of their site in Exeter, and the sites of their alarmist University allies in Reading, Leeds and East Anglia.  Also, to ensure these fearmongers are never challenged on their hype, the BBC commissions ever more ludicrous reports to criticise giving airtime to people who seek to counter the ‘consensus’ and point out flaws in the science, thereby justifying the naked bias in editorial decison making and coverage of the subject.

It seems the greatest warming that is happening is that of our hearts as we joyfully fork over ever larger sums to fund this nonsense without complaint or revolt.

There is no other way to say it… Nigel Farage is a disaster for the anti-EU side

Nick Clegg will be breathing a sigh of relief this morning.  Give Nigel Farage a grenade to play with and you can be assured that after a few drinks to get into character, he will manage to blow himself up.

But in doing so, Farage also injures the anti-EU side because of UKIP’s prominent position in the effort to get the UK out of the EU.

Alistair Campbell gave Farage a grenade to play with by interviewing him for GQ magazine. He then pulled out the pin by asking Farage which world leader he most admired. Farage’s response, however vigorously it is defended by his cult following and however many howls of rage they emanate saying their man is being misrepresented, was the equivalent of releasing the lever to allow detonation.  He has given the Europhiles and his political opponents an entire magazine of ammunition.

Farage could have dodged the obvious trap by saying that if he was being asked who is the most effective world leader in terms of pursuing their agenda then he would say Vladimir Putin. Then it’s a non story.

But no.  He did not refute the idea of him admiring Putin, a politicised thug who has waged war in Chechnya and Georgia and whose government is widely considered responsible for a wave of assassinations of political rivals and journalists, and abuses the legal system to throw into remote prisons those who might be a threat to his position.

In fact, as reported by the Telegraph, he even went so far as to say that he thought Putin’s handling of Syria – where Russian weapons and ‘advisers’ have propped up Bashar Assad – was ‘brilliant’.

In so doing, Farage has completely shattered the wholly appropriate case against the EU for its expansionist actions in eastern Europe – which stirred up violence in Ukraine, followed by a coup and a fragmentation of the civil society on ethnic lines, prompting UDI by Crimea and its vote to join the Russian Federation – all for the sake of Brussels extending its power.

Nigel Farage is a disaster. He is a liability for the anti-EU side. He is incompetent. He revels in his ignorance of EU governance.  He has a reliance on alcohol and women to function. He lacks depth. And as shown by this latest gaffe, he has absolutely no sense of judgement – an essential quality for any leader of any entity.

Nick Clegg is going to spit roast Farage with this.  No matter what Farage and his cult argue, many people are going to turn against Farage and the anti-EU side as a result, and the EU’s provocation of Russia across eastern Europe will be swept off the agenda to be replaced with a narrative that Farage is an ultra nationalist who admires warmongering heads of thugocracies.

UPDATE: Richard is all over this issue too at EU Referendum

Media continues to spin the lie that Association Agreements are ‘free trade agreements’

Fears that Russia could seize a second chunk of territory in eastern Europe grew on Sunday after Nato’s top commander warned that Moscow’s troops were poised to move into a pro-Moscow enclave of Moldova, according to the Telegraph‘s Colin Freeman.

The great sage goes on to tell us that US Air Force General Philip Breedlove said that Russian troops massing on the eastern border of Ukraine were well-positioned to head to Transdniester, a Russian-speaking enclave that has declared independence from the rest of Moldova.  General Breedlove said it would give President Vladimir Putin the perfect pretext to send troops in there as a “protection” force for ethnic Russians, just as he has done with his military annexation of Crimea.

There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transdniester if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome.

Never mind that NATO has been desperate to get Ukraine into its gang and also wants Moldova on board.  Breedlove’s comments are an example of NATO  being precious because Russia wants to keep a buffer between itself and its expansionist western rival. If the west wants to drag countries into its sphere of influence, via the EU, that is OK.  If Russia tries to do the same or, God forbid, tries to woo those countries with counter offers, that is an outrage.

But what makes Freeman’s piece stand out is the ignorance or deceit about the EU Assocation Agreements put on the table to Ukraine and Moldova. He writes:

Moldova, whose five million people mostly speak the Latin dialects of neighbouring Romania, is Europe’s poorest country, and has ambitions to eventually become part of the European Union.

It is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union, the same one that Ukraine’s ousted President, Viktor Yanukovych, abandoned last November amid massive Kremlin pressure.

Signing the free trade agreement would take Moldova firmly into the European fold, but Transdniester’s unresolved status would make full membership of the EU or Nato more complicated. As such, some believe the Kremlin has a direct vested interest in fomenting further pro-Russian sentiment in Transdniester.

As we have demonstrated previously, Association Agreements are not free trade instruments.  Perhaps he should tell us why the EU-Ukraine ‘free trade agreement’ necessitates that political dialogue in all areas of mutual interest…

shall be further developed and strengthened between the Parties. This will promote gradual convergence on foreign and security matters with the aim of Ukraine’s ever-deeper involvement in the European security area.

Or that:

The Parties shall explore the potential of military-technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) shall establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues.

The agreement with Moldova is little different, including this element in Article 5:

The Parties shall intensify their dialogue and cooperation and promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and shall address in particular issues of conflict prevention and crisis management, regional stability, disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and export control.

Clearly that is essential to the process of selling sunflower seeds and walnuts.  Colin Freeman is either a lazy hack who talks about things he doesn’t understand and hasn’t even researched, or he is a liar shilling for the EU and deliberately misleading readers about what our supreme government is doing.  Either way, this sums up the British press perfectly.

Party politics: Compare and contrast

Coverage of the Conservatives

Tories neck and neck with Labour – Sunday Times (£)

Post-budget poll boost for Tories – The Observer

Coverage of UKIP

The rage of Farage: Over balloons of brandy, UKIP leader fumes at ‘drunk womaniser’ claim, and delivers icy riposte to transsexual MEP who savaged him – Mail on Sunday

UKIP leader Nigel Farage under fire for staying at a swanky penthouse suite at taxpayers’ expense whenever he’s in Brussels – Mail on Sunday

—————-

For a long time this blog has warned that UKIP need and deserve better than Farage.  By making himself and the party indivisible from each other, the current negative coverage of Farage looks to be having negative polling consequences for UKIP, with likely electoral implications down the line.  Already, Survation – UKIP’s favoured pollster – now has the party back in third place in European election polling.  And yet the cult-like idiots who idolise Farage want a referendum now?

All the while Farage is sitting with journalists talking about whether or not he was screwing Annabelle Fuller (and his denials do not match up with first hand accounts of their behaviour in Brussels) and Liga from Latvia, all the while he is posing with a drink in his hand, comparing himself to Alfred the Great and Dennis Thatcher, and all the while he is trying to discredit Nikki Sinclaire as being on police bail (and has been for two years because no wrongdoing has been uncovered and the investigation has crashed to a halt), he is not presenting UKIP’s message.

Perhaps that is because under Farage, UKIP has no message apart from they are not the other parties, and whatever disgruntles you UKIP will speak up for you – even if that ‘all things to all men’ approach results in blatant contradictions.  Under Farage, what could be a respectable, meaningful and supportable party is now a political punchline.  It is a joke.  Farage is a JAP, just another politician.  He is using UKIP for his own ends and the decent people who want to see a genuine alternative party grow and develop are having their aspirations trampled into the ground because of one man’s vanity and selfishness.

You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your political credibility if you do not mention…

ukipWhile in the previous post the UKIP website is worthy of mention for what it carries today regarding the ‘gays can marry’ / ‘no they can’t’ farce, for much of the time it is notable for what it doesn’t cover.

Look through the home page of the party website and there is not a single headline concerning international relations or heavyweight domestic issues – this from a party that has MEPs and aspires to win seats in the Westminster parliament.  For example, since the policy reversal on allowing Syrian refugees to live in Britain, there has been barely any mention of foreign affairs matters.

Given UKIP’s silence on the matter, Ukraine may as well be a self drive plant hire company.  It’s as if UKIP does the political equivalent of pleading the American 5th Amendment.

There has been little if any coverage or comment on the site about Ed Miliband changing the terms of a referendum on an EU treaty to making it a question of membership, thus ensuring a bias towards remaining in the EU.  Despite today being the day the Chancellor delivers the Budget, UKIP have nothing to say about it or what their offering is in respect of economic matters.  Similarly the silence has been deafening in respect of David Cameron’s nonsensical EU renegotiation position, with no rebuttal or counter position.  There’s more examples besides.

The website of a political party is its ambassador.  It is a place where people can go to get the unvarnised view of the party, and where media will lift quotes to use in news stories.  Loathe the BNP as I do, their website was responsible for raising issues into talking points and making the other parties address issues they had long tried to hide away from more than anything Nick Griffin said into a microphone.

But UKIP waste their web presence and one can only assume it’s because they have nothing of substance to say on the big issues.  They complain they don’t get a hearing in the media, but do nothing to use their available channels to reach beyond the media and speak directly to the electorate.  It all contributes to their electoral glass ceiling (11% in the latest You Gov poll), because potential supporters look at what the party has to say and find it amounts to very little.

Small wonder then that with the approach we see from UKIP, on the subject of leaving the EU or staying in, the current polling shows 39% want to leave and 41% want to stay.  The party isn’t doing the anti-EU side any favours.

Kirsten Farage describes the party’s headquarters operation as a ‘freakshow’. Maybe the party’s silence on key issues like those above is an attempt to keep her husband’s shallow soundbite-laden observations away from the public sphere, lest it incriminate the party as incompetent and ruin its credibility once and for all.

So Tallbloke, which is it?

Tallbloke is not only a UKIP candidate but also one of the party’s most trenchant supporters and a dogged defender of Nigel Farage in this blog’s comments section.

In recent comments on this blog, he has maintained that UKIP’s previous refusal to reference the EU’s role in making flooding far worse than it need have been was ‘strategic’, giving the impression that he has taken advice on this from party leadership.

The question I want to ask Tallbloke is whether the UKIP strategy included quietly dripping out an admission of the EU’s role in exacerbating the flooding through EU law, on the party’s website rather than using a major public media platform; or if it included a party representative, Lisa Duffy, going on BBC Any Questions to say: ‘Well it’s not Brussels’ fault is it’?

It would be nice to know just what the UKIP line actually is.

Cheers.

Floods: Not one party has been this honest, not even UKIP

It’s heartening to see that even though the politicians and the media are tip-toeing around this issue and dodging mention of the EU as if their lives depended on it, the reality is being shared around outside the establishment.  This below sent in by a valued reader from today’s East Anglian Daily Times.

There’s no need for public inquiries which can be corrupted at inception, we just honesty and recognition of the facts.  Until the media comes clean with the facts that are circulating all around them and the politicians recognise and acknowledge the issue at hand, we are condemned to see repeats of flooding on this scale as the EU laws we are bound by continue to obstruct the work required to manage our land and waterways in a way that preserves life and property in many communities around this country.

It’s breathtaking incompetence right enough

Nor it seems, have the media.

Here we have Sandbrook, writing in the EU supporting Daily Mail, pontificating about ‘the people who run Britain’, yet not mentioning the EU or how its laws have exacerbated this flooding mess.  Not one word.

The EU is the embarrassing ginger-haired stepchild, never referenced, kept in the background, denied eye contact and shut away from everyone so as to pretend it doesn’t really exist.  Would the media approach be any different if Farage had used two huge platforms to share the reality with people, raising public awareness?  That would be speculation, but at least hundreds of thousands if not millions more people would be aware of the EU’s role as the biggest actor in this tragic play.

If Sandbrook wants to witter on about breathtaking incompetence he should pick up his pen and start by describing what he sees in the mirror.  At least for once he would be accurate.

UKIP’s failure will be due to flawed strategy

‘UKIP’s failure?’ I hear some UKIP supporters ask.  ‘We are rising in the polls, we’ve added 13,000 members since 2013, we are taking votes from the Tories and Labour, we are the main challengers in a number of seats, we are favourites to win most votes in this year’s Euro elections, the other parties running scared,’ are comments that are repeatedly made in threads on newspaper websites and blogs. But there is good reason to believe the foundations underpinning these claims are soft.

We will come to the polling in a moment, but first we need to set the scene and look at UKIP’s prospects in this year’s Euro elections.  Farage has talked up the party’s prospects and its members are highly confident that UKIP will win the most votes in the election.  However the Euro polls are still showing that UKIP is behind Labour and will likely only come second at best.  There is even still a chance the Tory vote could just squeak them into second at UKIP’s expense.  It’s worth remembering UKIP’s total vote in 2009 (2,498,226) actually fell from that in 2004 (2,650,768) despite a larger electorate.

This time around, if the party can’t secure the most votes in the Euros, even in these perfect conditions for a protest vote, huge media coverage and a core support that will definitely turn out while millions of Labour and Tory voters will not bother themselves with a trip to the polling station, then success in the 2015 General Election is a pipe dream. Don’t forget, just a year after the 2009 Euro elections, in 2010 at the General Election, UKIP’s total vote fell to 919,546 (with the BNP on 564,331).  That’s a lot votes loaned to the party in meaningless Euro elections that go somewhere else when people are asked to elect a government.  Although with UKIP hoovering up BNP supporters and votes along with disaffected Tories and previous non voters who wish to register their disgust at the three main parties, it would be realistic to see UKIP get well in excess of 1,700,000 in 2015 – possibly even clearing the 2 million mark with room to spare.  But that won’t translate into seats.

Back to polling then.  While polling in some marginal seats funded by Alan Bown has UKIP, when the figures include undecided voters and those who refuse to say who they will vote for, as high as 19% (Thanet South) and 16% (Great Grimsby), nationally the party is still rooted stubbonly around the 13% mark.  But the polls are not telling the whole story here because it is impossible to tell from them what the effect of the BNP’s collapse is.

We know a number of white working class Labour voters defected to the BNP.  With the BNP imploding we know anecdotally that many of their members have been attracted to UKIP as the next best alternative by the immigration message that has taken centre stage.   This 13% average UKIP polling figure is a lower percentage than before the May 2013 local elections in which UKIP won a number of district and county council seats.  There is no breakthrough at the moment and UKIP’s position, third in the national polls, is only that way because the Lib Dems are being punished by former supporters for being in coalition with the Conservatives and have seen a lot of their support desert to Labour. These numbers and other factors considered, we will not see UKIP win any Westminster seats in 2015.  Despite much bravado, it seems that UKIP is hitting a glass ceiling of support.

What does this suggest?  A failure of UKIP’s own making.  What voters are now seeing is a party of blatant contradiction they cannot trust, whose offering is nothing more than a dustbin for protest votes,  ‘vote for us because we’re not Conservative/Labour’, which is offering nothing positive or differentiated of its own.

In the south people see UKIP promoting itself as the alternative to the Conservatives and trying to appeal to those who want low tax, smaller government, shrinking welfare budgets, stronger defence etc. People who are attracted by Farage lauding Margaret Thatcher, in a clear message that he is positioning himself to them as Thatcherite.

In the north people see UKIP promoting itself as the alternative to Labour and trying to appeal to those who believe in government running most things, funded by higher levels of tax than the south want, preserving or even increasing welfare budgets, who would like strong defence because many young men and women from the region join the forces in the absence of other opportunities.  People who are attracted by pictures of Farage drinking bitter in a pub, in a clear message that he is positioning himself as an ordinary working class bloke.

The two are too mutually exclusive, and thanks to national media and 24 hour news, this ‘all things to all men’ strategy employed by Farage is all too visible to voters who will rightly feel it is nothing more than an electoral ploy, saying different things to different people based on what UKIP thinks they want to hear.

While some voters will feel moved to support UKIP regardless, when it comes to putting an ‘X’ on a ballot paper, will that be enough for UKIP to hold on to enough potential supporters in the north and south respectively, who see the party’s schizophrenic pronouncements in different parts of the country?  People who loathe the blue or red side so much they would vote tactically for whoever is best placed to form a government that would keep Cameron/Miliband out of Downing Street.  That’s the crux of the matter.

No matter whether the party is comprised of enthusiastic amateurs or professional political animals, as a strategy it may result in some short term gains.  But in the long term it is doomed to failure. Depressingly, as that happens, so the Eurosceptic cause as a whole will be adversely affected.

How can Labour be ahead in the polls?

The other day, the Guardian covered Ed Balls’ interview on Sky News where he said that most people did not spend their time watching Commons debates and that what was much more important was winning the debate among the public at large.  Balls was quoted as saying:

The nature of politics is, you either spend your time in the bubble, obsessed, reading all the diary columns, worried about the Daily Mail, or you think let’s go and talk to people about what’s happening in their lives.

One wonders who does the talking in this supposed dialogue with the people. Of particular interest is whether Balls acknowledges in these big conversations that much of what is going on in people’s lives today, from a financial perspective, stems from the economic policies and reckless borrow and spend he presided over.

Judging by what passes for Labour economic policies these days, the evidence suggests not.

On planet Balls, the financial mismanagement and mountain of debt that built up that took place under Labour before May 2010 has nothing to do with him or his champagne socialist friends. Every financial ill and economic woe is the fault of the Con-Dem coagulation.

He rails against and criticises everything, but the sum total of how he would manage the economy is to say ‘not like this’, or ‘we would not have gone this far this fast’, or to attack the ‘slowest recovery in history’ while most other countries are not recovering at all.

The factors that brought about Labour’s worst election performance in 2010 are unchanged.  They still believe in the same bankrupt dogma that saw the much of the electorate still willing to vote turn against them.  So quite why so many people seem prepared to give them another five years to wreak more havoc, both economically and socially, only this time under Ed Miliband, the architect of rising energy prices to subsidise corporate interests, eludes rational explanation.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if Labour wins or not.  Whoever takes office will maintain the same corporatist direction of travel at our ever rising expense, regardless of the colour of the rosette.  But even so, Labour’s lead in the polls defies logic.

Daily Express… stupid is as stupid does

When one reads headlines like the one shown here in the Daily Express, it feels like we have been transported into some parallel universe where reality has been inverted, and where stupidity and ignorance are what pass for intelligence.

Such is the level of utter detachment and delusion at the paper that some would be forgiven for thinking of as UKIP’s house journal.  Well, with friends like the Express, UKIP certainly doesn’t need enemies.

As Richard points out on EU Referendum, in the Express and in the Daily Mail (which also claims for itself the credit for this imagined victory) for all the rhetoric, for all the analysis and for all the posturing, it boils down to the message millions of voters will receive: the government is doing something about migrants.  The reality is that the government is doing nothing of substance, because it can’t.

What started as an article in the Financial Times has blossomed into the front pages of the two “middle England” tabloids and dominated the media agenda for over twenty-four hours. Rarely can such a modest investment have yielded such huge dividends.

The odd thing is that David Cameron’s piece did not even enjoy the status of an official announcement. Go to the Government website or No 10 Dowing Street and you will see nothing on migrant policy. And neither, apart from an exchange in PMQs, will you see anything announced in the Commons. Parliament, it seems, is too unimportant to be kept in the loop.

Thus, we have “government by Financial Times“, thereby ensuring that most people will not have read the statement or have had access to the semi-firewalled article. They will be relying for their “take” on what the popular papers (and the BBC) tell them. And the message conveyed is as much as David Cameron could have hoped for.

How on earth do newspapers get away with being considered authoritative and worthy of respect – the prestige factor – and even have High Court Judges fawning over their supposed ‘powerful reputation for accuracy‘ when they present stories like this that are so completely and hopelessly wrong?

To echo Richard, nothing that Cameron has done in respect of immigration control has had the slightest impact on these figures, and nothing he is going to do will impact on levels in the short- or medium-term. But that doesn’t matter. His meaningless waffle and empty rhetoric is sufficient for now, and it will be enough to put UKIP back in its box for a week or so.  And this from the paper the Kippers consider to be their ally.

It’s politics, so perception trumps fact and facts aren’t even checked by the media corps.  They just take at face value what the spin doctors chuck at them and don’t even think to look at the laws or even the previous unkept promises that never materialised.  Then they file their copy, go to the pub and congratulate themselves on being such  important and well connected people with so much prestige.

These idiot journalists, with their fat salaries and with prestige weighed by the tonne, have been well and truly conned – and in turn, through their ignorance and laziness, are spinning a tissue of lies to their readers.  Useless wankers.

Perhaps those people demanding an early in-out referendum on EU membership would do well to stop and think how the media would negatively impact the out campaign when it can swallow government rubbish and get simple issues like this so catastrophically wrong.

Thanks for nothing, Farage and UKIP

In May this year, when UKIP had its ‘big’ electoral ‘breakthrough’ opinion polls asking people their views on the UK’s membership of the EU had 47% in favour of leaving, and 30% in favour of staying.

Despite Eurosceptic UKIP’s ‘surge’ the signs have been clear that the number in favour of staying in the EU would rise.  This is because of the concerted campaign that has been conducted by the Europhiles and their corporate sponsors to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about the impact on the UK of leaving the union.

This blog has not held back in accusing UKIP of failing the Eurosceptic side because it has utterly failed to use its prominent platform to even attempt to counter the flood of misinformation, lies, manipulated statistics being pumped out.  This isn’t a case of UKIP struggling to get attention for its rebuttals of the Europhile FUD, it has simply not devoted a single moment to rebutting the Europhile nonsense.  In return this blogger has been attacked by some UKIP supporters who refuse to accept any criticism of their party.  Time and again this blog has said that if there is no rebuttal by the prominent Eurosceptics to counter the lies, using evidence and facts, voters will start to believe the Europhile claims are true and increasingly – however reluctantly – opt to stick with the status quo.

This blog’s UKIP detractors and naysayers have rubbished this argument. Voters, they claim, do not want lots of detail in rebuttal of the Europhile lies.  UKIP’s simple ‘we want out’ message, they assert, is far more effective than explaining the truth.  No one is that interested, they say, in an argument that extolls the opportunities and benefits of the UK freeing itself of EU control.  This blog explained why these arguments are wrong, but to no avail.

So it is that a YouGov poll question, ‘If there was a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, how would you vote?’ returned the following results:

Taken from PoliticalBetting.com

Richard has his own analysis of the findings over at EU Referendum.  He points out the trend that is emerging, this being the lowest margin of the year so far, dropping 17 points from the peak in 9-10 May when the “outers” stood at 47 percent and the “inners” took 30 percents. By August, the margin had dropped to 12 points and last month it stood at a mere five points.  While Richard points out the linkage between anti-EU sentiment and UKIP support is no longer clear-cut, for me the linkage between this decline in support for the ‘out’ campaign and UKIP’s silence in the face of Europhile FUD is clear.

It does not give me any pleasure.  There is no smug self satisfaction about this.  But it was so bloody obvious.  What it does is make me want to scream in frustration at those cult-like morons who blindly follow Farage regardless of any evident failings, both political and strategic, and adopt a tribal defence of UKIP even though it is clearly letting down the Eurosceptic side – even reducing the argument to things such as misdirections where they demand I compare how many Google returns there are for UKIP as opposed to The Harrogate Agenda, as if that refutes UKIP’s failure.

With only a small handful of blogs reaching out to their audience of readers in low five figures, getting the message across to voters is an almost impossible ask.  With UKIP having run  away from the fight, because Nigel Farage is frightened of the debate that needs to be had and won, it is clear that no political party is going to devote the kind of focus to this issue that a campaign requires.  A non-party political campaign is not now preferable, it has become essential.

For all its talk of a ‘surge’ in support, its boasts of thousands of new members added to its roll, and its predictions of a big result in the European elections in 2014, UKIP has done the sum total of nothing to push the positive reasons for leaving the EU and nothing to counter the flood of spin and deception that characterises the Europhile media blitz.  The Europhiles are in the ring throwing punches while UKIP is searching for the fastest car away from the venue.

My message tonight to Nigel Farage and his Praetorian Guard in UKIP, is short and sweet.  Thanks for nothing.

Royal Mail privatisation: The charade continues

The broadcast arm of the Guardian reported late last night that Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has confirmed the party will not promise to re-nationalise Royal Mail after it is privatised.

Well, duh!  But wait, the rationale for this statement of the bleeding obvious seems to be something other than the actual reason why Royal Mail cannot be re-nationalised, as Umunna’s comments make clear…

I have been very clear that we are not in a position to pledge to renationalise Royal Mail if we get into government in 2015.

I do not know how much Royal Mail shares will be trading at in May 2015, so I do not know how much it would cost to renationalise.

No credible future business secretary would therefore make such a pledge.

For the love of all things Holy…

No credible future business secretary would claim the reason for the inability of a UK government to re-nationalise the Royal Mail is financial rather than political as it would break the UK’s obligation under the EU’s Third Postal Directive.  But that is what the useless Umunna has done.  All eyes are being averted from the EU elephant in the room.

This tells us all we need to know about:

  1. The incompetence or lack of honesty of party political hacks like Umunna, who seek ‘power’ by way of election to Parliament in Westminster yet know nothing of how we are governed
  2. The incompetence or complicity of the BBC in ignoring the EU elephant in the room and pretending the Royal Mail privatisation could simply be reversed if Labour could afford to

Yet many people will take the Umunna and BBC drivel at face value, believing this is the Tories reviving the sale of family silver to their rich friends in the markets – just as intended by the BBC which has an agenda of seeing Labour win the next election.

It’s not just the Tories who deserve to be given a kicking for this EU Directive coming into force.  All main three parties are to blame for giving up almost all political control of this country over many years.  While the BBC has done its part for the establishment, helping to keep people distracted from the elephant in the room with biased reporting and omission of the truth.

A plague on all their houses.

The media’s powerful reputation for accuracy pt.94

Not a political story in any way, but courtesy of the Daily Mail, yet another example of just how fatuous Lord Justice Leveson’s infamous assertion really is…

Click to enlarge

Does the Mail employ editors any more?  Some of the comments under the article are worth reading for the amusement value.

Viva electronic pub gossip…

Farage, fudge and farce

It could only happen in UKIP.

Having dodged the disciplinary action bullet for his derogatory comments and loutish behaviour, Godfrey Bloom, has resigned as a UKIP MEP, will now sit in the European Parliament as an Independent and almost certainly will not feature on the party’s candidate list in Yorkshire and the Humber.  However he did not resign his membership of UKIP, despite saying that the ‘New UKIP’ is not really right for him any more.

This left Nigel Farage in a position where he had to either eject his friend, drinking partner and Brussels landlord from UKIP, or adopt a farcical fudge position of having a UKIP party member, who it not a UKIP MEP, sitting in the European Parliament, taking his group funding allocation that would have been collected by the party and doing completely his own thing.

Farage has opted for the fudge and farce so as to not sour his and Bloom’s bromance any further.

To show how lightly Farage takes this whole issue, he even told BBC Radio 4 that the vast majority of party members would not want to see Bloom ‘drummed out of the brownies’.

As a political entity, Farage has unwittingly summed up the level at which the party operates.  There is no way the three main parties would have settled on this fudge.  It underlines the lack of professionalism in UKIP and the appalling leadership Farage exhibits, undermining a seemingly strong action at the weekend only to flit back to weak arsed ineptitude by Tuesday.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise.  If Farage can forgive Bloom’s being banned from hotels for urinating in a plant pot in a hotel foyer while blind drunk, and invoking European Parliamentary immunity when police tried to arrest him for having sex with a prostitute on the bonnet of a car in the street in full public view, then using an insulting word in front of the media, hitting a journalist in the street with a brochure, and threatening to hit another unless he was ‘polite’ to him, is clearly no big deal.

UKIP: Fighting the battles of yesterday

Our model should be the Liberal Democrats. Not in policy terms but on how they focused on areas where they are strong, focusing on district councillors and parish and city councils. They trebled the number of seats in Westminster that way. We need a volunteer army. We need people to stand up and put their heads above the parapet.

So said Nigel Farage at the UKIP rally in Telford.

What sounds like a step change in progress is, in reality, Farage seeking to fight the battles of yesterday.  When UKIP was formed it was for a clear purpose, to secure withdrawal from the EU.  Using the party political model was the right approach for the time because the only way to force withdrawal was via taking Westminster by storm, securing a parliamentary majority and voting to repeal the European Communities Act. The focus, however ambitious, was on going after the politicians by defeating them in elections and taking power.

It was the wisdom of its time.  There was no Lisbon Treaty back then, therefore no other route to an orderly exit.  There was also no suggestion of a referendum either.  But that is not true today.   Now we have Article 50 and a defined route to an orderly exit from the EU that didn’t exist before.  We also have talk of a referendum.  Yet in Telford, Farage spoke of the need for a volunteer army,  for people to stand up and put their heads above the parapet.  To what end?

It’s a puzzler because UKIP has no clear policy message for this army to carry to the public.  Farage won’t let a defined policy be articulated for two reasons:

1) because it allows him to remain all things to all members by not coming off the fence to explicitly chart the course the party will take, therefore avoiding a split with the half of the party that wants a different approach to be taken, and
2) because Farage fears having his policy pulled apart by political opponents, resulting in a loss of confidence among potential UKIP voters when the detail-free policies collapse under scrutiny.

As a result, there is nothing for UKIP to teach its members and activists in the proposed training, therefore they will get chewed up on doorsteps and in hustings as soon as detail is sought and the responses are on-the-fly, off-the-cuff answers that may easily contradict what other UKIP candidates assert elsewhere.

Setting these considerations aside, what can this volunteer army realistically achieve?  Most of them will be supporting the party because they oppose EU membership, but having arrived they will be encountering a party whose leader is now dramatically reducing any discussion of EU matters.  Ironically, of those things which Farage does deign to talk about many have come about or become an issue precisely because they come under EU competence and have been imposed on the UK.  But even Farage is refusing or failing to connect those dots to help voters understand just how relevant and how much impact the EU has on their day to day lives.

This volunteer army would be part of a force in a party that was created in a time when seizing political control was the only way to realise its aim of exiting the EU.  But today the world is rather different.  There isn’t the need to directly tackle the political class on its own terms in its own domain to move the UK towards the exit door.   The battle that needs to be fought is to win the hearts, minds and confidence of the general public to get them on side to vote in a referendum for an independent Britain.  How does UKIP having its army and getting Farage and others into Parliament achieve that aim?  Norway has already shown the way, winning its referendum to remain independent without having a UKIP type party leading the campaign.

But when it comes to winning the hearts, minds and confidence of voters, many vocal UKIP supporters argue that it is sufficient just to say ‘UKIP wants the UK to leave the EU’ to get them onside, and that giving voters detail will put them off.  But unless voters have confidence that the solely political aim of leaving (to achieve self determination) can be achieved without damaging the country’s economic and commercial interests, they aren’t going to get onside.  They will stick with the status quo out of fear.  This partly explains why UKIP is stubbonly rooted on around 12% in the polls, unable to increase its support because it is mute on the EU issue and is leaving the field to the Europhile voices who are happily sowing misinformation and outright lies without challenge.

Then there is the issue of business involvement in the campaign.  Even though it isn’t the place of business to decide how this country should be governed, there’s benefit to the business community also having confidence that an orderly exit can preserve what they want to hold on to and there’s nothing to fear from a Brexit.  Leaving the EU is about politics and democracy, it is not an economic matter and must not be allowed to be positioned as such by the Europhiles, using economic concerns to corrupt the debate and scare people into accepting the wishes of the political class.

We do need UKIP as a membership organisation to be onside with a Brexit campaign, articulating the right arguments to win people over to the merits of independence.   But UKIP has gone awol just as the Europhiles have started spreading false arguments, which unchallenged are therefore presumed by voters to be accurate and true.

UKIP is working back to front, adopting an approach they should have used years ago just after it has become obsolete.  The party is dancing to Farage’s tune, but he is way off key.   So what is UKIP good for if it’s so far behind the times and won’t show leadership in the independence campaign because it wants to win the protest votes of fed up people to realise Farage’s ambitions?

The sad fact is, in fighting the battles of yesterday UKIP is not helping us win the bigger battle that is coming tomorrow.  The party needs to change and that isn’t going to happen under the Blessed Nigel.

Exclusive: ‘We must do something’

That, according to my extremely well placed and utterly reliable source close to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is the sum total of Clegg’s understanding and insight into the issues surrounding the possible launch of military action against Syria.

The document issued by the Joint Intelligence Committee, upon which the government has made its decision to attack Syria, clearly accepts that there is no ‘smoking gun’ that proves al-Assad and his forces were responsible for the presumed use of chemical munitions.  We are witnessing a frightening absence of strategic thinking, and an almost childlike simplicity that passes for examination of the issues and the consequences of participating in strikes against Syrian military targets.  The obsessive focus of this country’s political leaders – the lightbulb around which the Ministerial moths are circling and against which they are butting their heads – is the word ‘chemical’.   Nothing else, including evidence or origin of the reported attack, seems to matter.

It is on the basis of supposition, suspicion, and a desire to somehow aid the rebels (beyond the provision of ‘non lethal’ equipment and support) that David Cameron and William Hague wish to engage in hostilities and rain missiles down on Syrian territory.  There is no proof.  It is nothing more than an article of faith and wishful thinking that the government asserts only al-Assad could be responsible for the use of chemical weapons, despite the certainty that the ‘rebels’ also have them.

It is profoundly disturbing, from the available evidence and debate in the Commons, that this country’s supposed leaders are incapable of exhibiting even the level of critical thinking and reasoning skills that would be expected of a Sixth Form debating society, particularly when the subject has such grave implications for the safety and security of this country’s armed forces and general population.

The self inflicted decline of UKIP

The blog post title on PoliticalBetting yesterday said it all…  ‘All the firms have UKIP in the same direction’.

Courtesy of PoliticalBetting.com

Courtesy of PoliticalBetting.com

One wonders if there is still time to get Farage out of the pub and talking to the issues.

The polling data is bad news not just for UKIP but also for the wider Eurosceptic community.  It suggest support for UKIP is drifting to the Conservatives, despite Cameron’s strongly pro-EU messaging, and the negative and dishonest picture he and the Tory outriders such as Roland Rudd, Open Europe and the CBI have painted about the future the UK could enjoy outside the EU.  In the absence of leadership the masses will turn to the loudest voice they hear.  Thanks to Farage’s warped priorities, the EUphiles are the only voices being heard.

This blog has been castigated by some in the Faragista cult for daring to criticise Farage and for saying that he represents the biggest threat to UKIP success because of his questionable past, his refusal to do detail and his fear of engaging in the important debate where the EUphile are using lies and misinformation to frighten people into thinking the Only Way is Brussels.  It is too soon to claim we have been vindicated, but it is certainly heading that way and we take no pleasure from it at all.

Despite a spurt in electoral support, Farage’s failure to challenge the fear, uncertainty and doubt spread by the Tory machine and its external allies, and his dumb mute act on the substantive issues about how the UK could leave the EU, enjoy political freedom and still prosper economically as part of the single market, is giving voters the impression that UKIP is all fur coat and no knickers.  People want to know how UKIP could get us out of the EU and Farage won’t commit to an answer and hammer it home time and again.  The lack of substance is being reflected in the opinion polls.

If Farage was doing his job instead of engaging in daft self promotional stunts, UKIP would not only be holding its new supporters, but adding to their number and strengthening the Eurosceptic cause.  This could be an opportunity lost for UKIP and the prospective ‘Out’ campaign.  Getting the support back after it has lost confidence will be harder than winning it the first time around.  Farage is possibly the best ally Cameron has.


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