Posts Tagged 'Nigel Farage'

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

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.

A Clegg vs Farage debate on EU membership?

Courtesy of Pogle’s Woodsman in the comments we find the Spectator reporting Nick Clegg is to throw down the debate gauntlet to Nigel Farage ahead of May’s European Elections.

What we don’t know is whether such a debate is of sufficient interest to the TV networks for it to be televised on a terrestrial channel.  Such a debate would need to be televised live on national TV for it to have any chance of adding any value, which in itself is not a mortal lock.

In any case, potential viewers may consider the debate to be a Third Division affair as the leaders of the main two parties are not involved.  While EU enthusiasts and members of the Farage cult will be clearing their diaries, getting in the popcorn and wearing their colours for the ‘big match’, for most people this would probably be an event of very little interest or consequence.

It’s easy for many of those on the comment thread of the Spectator’s article to get carried away, as they are, predicting that Farage will bash Clegg.  But the ‘debate’ could – and more than likely will – descend into a turgid ‘my fact vs your fact’ exchange that bogs the whole thing down and doesn’t do anything to inform people or increase their understanding and knowledge about how this country is governed, by whom and what little control they have to shape that governance.

There is also near certainty that Clegg will adopt the economics narrative and frame the debate in such a way that Farage, who famously doesn’t do detail, gets taken down alleyways, trips up on facts and is exposed as not being in command of his brief… and that’s before any possible failure to focus on the essential core political issue of addressing who should run Britain – if he actually even planned to do that in the first place.

This proposed debate has the capacity to undermine the EUsceptic cause if Farage gets it wrong.  Being articulate is no substitute for a lack of strategic vision going into such a debate and will not make up for any deficiency in knowledge.

EU responsibility for scale of flooding has been laid out clearly, but…

I don’t know the truth to the extent the Environment Agency is now bound by European Union rules and laws, I just don’t know, which is why we need to have a public inquiry.

    - Nigel Farage

Even the editor of Country Life gets it, Nigel

It really has come to something when the editor at large of Country Life, despite only a limited summary, is more clued in to the EU dimension of the excessive flooding in the Somerset Levels and more vocal about it than the leader of the UK’s EUsceptic political party.

It is a shame that Mr Aslet, upon identifying the key role played by Baroness Young in preparing the way for this debacle, didn’t go further in ramming this home to Telegraph readers.  But he’s certainly gone further than Nigel Farage, much to the detriment of the EUsceptic movement.

Farage the policy-free zone

Guest post by Richard North

Richard North of the EU Referendum blog, who has done so much to expose the EU’s involvement and responsibility for exacerbating the extent of the flooding in the Somerset Levels, shares his assessment of Nigel Farage’s failure to use recent media opportunities to shine even more light on the EU’s role – and those who are defending this political error:

There is a certain constancy to the “Nigel can do no wrong” brigade. Whatever he does, ex post facto, his little claque will leap to his defence, saying he’s done exactly the right thing.

There is no getting away from the premise here, though, that Farage has scored a massive own goal. The EU dimension of the floods has, on my blog, been the most popular post I have ever written, attracting a massive level of interest. Yet “our Nige” has chosen to play a derivative game, all but ignoring the EU dimension. The sight of an anti-EU party leader ignoring the EU sends its own message.

Further, the populist dimension of the Farage message also sends a message. While there can be no doubt that more money will help in this growing crisis, above all else for the longer term, there is a massive policy deficit. You can throw money at a problem but if the policy framework is not right, the spending will have little effect or even – as we are seeing – a perverse effect.

Thus, it is absolutely essential that the deficiencies in policy are identified and corrected, which provides a magnificent opportunity for a focused and sustained attack on the EU. Farage, however, has walked away from the open goal. UKIP, as always, is out to lunch.

Nigel’s defenders can now blather all they want. But once again, Farage has shown himself to be a policy-free zone, a lightweight who is good for the “man-in-pub” routine but not a serious politician.

Latest Farage comments on floods indicate UKIP has abandoned anti-EU role

While it was not the press conference Nigel Farage referenced in his tweet to me yesterday, this morning he was interviewed for over 4 minutes by Sky News’ Dermot Murnaghan, in Somerset, about the floods there. UKIP have put the full interview up on their website.

Despite having days in which to take on board the extent of EU’s responsibility, for turning what would have been annoying floods into a major incident that has gone on for weeks, the sum total of Farage’s effort to explain it to Sky’s audience was this reference to the Environment Agency’s role in the matter:

They seem to want to follow European Directives to the letter of the law…

This from a man whose primary focus is allegedly fighting tooth and nail for the UK to leave the EU.  Presented with yet another golden opportunity to highlight who really runs Britain, following his Farage on Friday piece before the weekend, and help voters understand and reflect about whether this is in British interests or whether we should determine laws for ourselves, he again passed it up.

Thankfully, Christopher Booker published a valuable piece about the EU’s role in degrading Britain work on flood prevention in his Sunday Telegraph column today.  At least someone with a substantial profile has tackled this head on while the politicians and lamestream media tip-toe around it and do their best to avoid any mention of the part our supreme government in Brussels has played in making flooding in recent years far worse than it ever would have been.

With a sizeable number of UKIP members not seeing leaving the EU as the number one issue for the party, it seems the leader is one of their number and EUscepticism is being forced off the party political agenda to make way for other topics.

Farage channels his inner Shaw Taylor

Following on from my Open Letter to Nigel Farage yesterday, a brief exchange on Twitter this afternoon…

So, Farage seems to be promising that the issues he failed to mention in his Farage on Friday piece in the Express will instead be aired in a press conference.  We shall therefore, as Shaw Taylor always advised, keep ‘em peeled.

What we can be sure of is that Farage had a platform to share these facts with over 600,000 Express readers on hard copy and many thousands more online via his column.  But now he will be reliant on media editors deciding whether or not to report that EU legislation contributed to the flooding on the scale seen in Somerset, and that Baroness Young’s comment in 2008 on restoring reclaimed land like the Somerset Levels to wetland was, ‘Just add water!’.

If as I suspect the press conference does not dramatically raise awareness of these facts then it will be, as I replied to Farage, an opportunity completely wasted. Patrick O’Flynn has his work cut out in his UKIP role, that’s for sure.

Open letter to Nigel Farage

Dear Nigel

There are many matters on which I could correspond with you and offer a viewpoint I doubt you will ever hear from the people you choose to surround yourself with in UKIP.  But for now I wish to content myself with addressing the issue of your ‘Farage on Friday‘ piece in today’s Daily Express and enquiring where on earth your mind was when you wrote it.

Your story selection of the floods in the Somerset Levels was entirely appropriate.  This is a major issue with enormous consequences for the lives and livelihoods of many people, deserving of proper examination of how such a dramatic, large scale event has been able to come about.  It therefore required someone with a high public profile to bring the facts to the fore, air them, and ensure that those who have contributed to this disastrous situation feel the discomfort of unrelenting scrutiny.

Presented with this golden opportunity, to add value by bringing little known but vital facts to a wide audience, you bungled it with a conflagration of superficial waffle.

As you are the leader of a political party that professes to oppose UK membership of the EU, and presumably therefore having a vested interest in highlighting where EU legislation has had a malign impact on British people, it defies belief that nowhere in your 759 words did you find space to reference and explain the role that EU directive 2007/60/EC, also known as the Floods Directive, has had in bringing about the conditions for this flooding.

The shift away from flood prevention to flood ‘management’ is detailed on the Commission website which underlines the priority being given to the ‘environment’, and calls in aid a number of EU measures, including the Water Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive, the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive. The Floods Directive is part of the package and, the EU sternly warns, has to be implemented by 2015.  One would think this would be red meat for an EUsceptic party’s leader.  But not for you it seems.

The fact you are a leader of a political party that has railed against quangos suggests you would have an interest in exposing this complicity of quangocrats in making such serious flooding possible, particularly when they hand you a gift of a comment to hang around their necks.  But it seems that you did not feel the staggering comment of Baroness Young – as quoted in this segment of a Guardian piece from 2008 (emphasis mine) which explains the Environment Agency’s agenda with regard to land that was formerly marsh or wetland such as the Somerset Levels – was sufficiently important in putting the Environment Agency’s part in this debacle into its proper context:

If water truly is the stuff of life, then the world’s wetlands are the key to the survival of all living things on our planet. They provide a unique refuge for a wealth of plants and animals: a complex ecosystem which helps sustain life not just in the wetlands themselves, but in their surrounding habitats as well.

But wetlands have a problem. Because they are usually in low-lying areas, and easily accessible, they are prime targets for development. By draining a wetland, and building homes, roads and factories, a nation may boost its economic performance; but this is almost always at the expense of biodiversity.

Yet it’s not all bad news. Uniquely, wetlands can be created – or recreated – much more quickly and easily than other vital habitats such as ancient woodlands, hedgerows or rainforest. As Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, says, “Just add water!”

These actions, or more correctly inactions, by the Environment Agency are germane to the situation in Somerset.  But instead you chose to focus your piece in terms of money rather than dealing with how this was allowed to happen and who oversaw the agenda that was followed.

It is with not a small amount of irony that UKIP rushes into print on its website and with comments to the media from your deputy, Paul Nuttall, to respond to inaccurate stories about supposed EU meddling in British matters, such as the use of flags on food packaging or the volume of water in toilet cisterns.  Yet when the EU actually has direct contributory involvement in the shocking scale of the floods in Somerset – a matter of real substance and appalling impact on British people – and a sustainability agenda has been vigorously pursued by your political opponents, whose placemen reference the restoration of wetlands in places where they used to exist, such as the Somerset Levels, with glib comments such as ‘Just add water!’, you are nowhere in the debate.

It will not come as any surprise to you that the details above were extracted thanks to the forensic research skills of your former colleague, Richard North.  One is moved to ask if it is because North is a former colleague that his valuable work is routinely passed over by UKIP, to the detriment of the EUsceptic movement?  If that were the case, then it would be a disgrace that you would put personal issues before doing all you can to realise your stated aim of getting this country out of the EU.

Your Express column was a terrible missed opportunity and has let down the people of the Somerset Levels, who deserve better for all they are suffering.

Regards

AM

Farage counting cost of being all things to all men for too long

The digital wailing and gnashing of teeth is a sight to behold. It was always only a matter of time before it came to the fore.

Nigel Farage has a track record of masterful inaction and silence when he wants to be all things to all men.  Article 50 is a case in point.  With some in UKIP wisely recognising Article 50 as the only legal process available for commencing Brexit from the EU, and others loudly declaring it to be a vicious trap to be avoided at all costs, Farage stayed silent on the subject for years lest he alienate one of the divergent sections of UKIP supporters.  Eventually he came down on the side of Article 50 in a conference question and answer session, leaving UKIP ‘heavyweights’ like Rodney Atkinson, Torquil Erikson and Professor Tim Congdon on the wrong side of the party’s policy.

But that was an EU related matter and therefore an issue of steadily declining importance in UKIP, which has instead opportunisitically positioned itself to become a rallying point for the disaffected anti immigration/anti asylum constituency as part of Farage’s grand plan to eclipse the BNP by wooing their supporters.  As intended, many former BNP supporters who saw the Nick Griffin bandwagon coming off the tracks saw UKIP, with its own sizeable, vociferous and unchallenged ‘the UK is full, no more migrants or asylum seekers‘ anti immigration rump, as their new natural home.

Certainly, Farage wasn’t saying anything that would alienate them so it seemed the perfect fit .  But what they did not note was that Farage was also saying nothing on the subject to alienate the more rational and realistic members of his party, who recognise that controlled immigration is necessary for a country with an economy like ours and providing asylum to those in fear for their lives is a humane act.  But that has been Farage all over, letting everyone believe he is on their side and in tacit support of their worldview because he was able to stay quiet on anything contentious.  That is they way it remains until silence is no longer an option, or Farage decides there is capital to be made by coming down on one side of the fence.

Over the weekend, calculating a potential advantage that could wrongfoot David Cameron and make UKIP seem more cuddly to potential voters who are otherwise put off by that UKIP faction which wants all immigrants to leave and no more immigrants or asylum seekers – particularly not Muslims – to be admitted, Farage threw one of his legs over the fence and called for the UK to accept refugees from Syria.

Cue the digital equivalent of a collective howl from the small minded little Englanders who had, until that point, believed Farage was in lock-step with them and would pursue a policy of pulling up the drawbridge.  Moderate ‘kippers have been celebrating Farage’s call, as much for the manner in which he has exposed Cameron’s Conservatives as lacking ‘compassion’ as for it being the right thing to do.  However, for the true believers who abandoned the BNP cult for the UKIP cult, some of whom infest the comment threads of the Telegraph and the Mail, Twitter and UKIP’s Facebook page with their obsessive and often illogical rants, the sense of betrayal has been too much to bear as the selection of the comments below shows:

ukip_asylum_2ukip_asylum_3ukip_asylum_4ukip_asylum_7ukip_asylum_8ukip_asylum_9ukip_asylum_10ukip_asylum_11ukip_asylum_12ukip_asylum_13

Their reaction is akin to being courted, bedded then dumped just before a big date, after they have spent lots of time being told this is the real thing.  UKIP is going to lose members and gain vocal, bitter critics that were previously sworn brothers in arms.

For this schism Farage has only himself to blame.  He could have avoided getting into bed with these people by making clear what he believed in from the outset.  But his view is why bother alienating people who are in the tank, spreading the word, plastering ‘Vote UKIP’ in every comment thread on news websites and supporting the claim that UKIP is growing and winning new supporters.

Farage might have finally realised that UKIP has a ‘toxic brand’ far worse than the one that causes the Conservatives so much anxiety, but it is one that might now be too embedded for moderate people to ever give the party their support.  That is something for which Farage will have to count the cost.  Sadly for the EUsceptic cause, it is a cost borne there too which adversely affects the likelihood of securing the essential Brexit from the EU.

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.

Farage on Brexit: ‘The only mechanism by which we can withdraw is Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty’

It is noteworthy that when it comes to discussion about how the UK should go about leaving the EU in a legal and structured manner that , the only place where the mechanism was properly considered and investigated was by Richard North on the EU Referendum blog with support in the Telegraph and Daily Mail from Christopher Booker.  The conclusion was that the UK must invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon.

After many discussions with Richard and reviewing the information about the process, it became clear Richard was right and the legal exit process was clear and defined, even if it is only the start of a long and complex process.  It is the only provision that guarantees and requires the EU to discuss with a member state withdrawal from the union and negotiate what relationship that member state will have with the EU after exit – thus ensuring the UK can protect its economic and commercial interests, particularly with regard to trade.  Hence this blog began to advocate the Article 50 route in addition to a number of other blogs that had weighed in with support and additional analysis to advance the case.

So it has been frustrating thereafter to see a number of vocal Eurosceptics arguing that Article 50 is a ‘trap’ and arguing behind the scenes – only occasionally breaking cover on forums – that the mechanism for exit should be a simple repeal of the European Communities Act (ECA).  Overnight, via this scorched earth approach, the UK would be independent in so much as all treaties that bind us into adhering to EU law would fall.

However, it would also mean the UK would have no trade agreement with the EU – or any country or bloc with whom trade agreements have been made by the EU on the UK’s behalf – and no customs arrangements enabling our goods to enter the customs union.  ‘Ha, it doesn’t matter.  They sell more to us than we do to them, so a trade agreement would be in place within 24 hours,’ runs the argument of the scorched earthers, pretending the complexities of international trade and product standards with a bloc representing 27 other countries can be sorted out in a day.  In fact, Lord Digby Jones, the former Labour trade minister in the House of Lords, made this very argument at the UKIP conference the other day, demonstrating a capacity for delusion and level of ignorance that is truly breathtaking and disturbing in equal measure.

North’s hard work and detailed argument was however of interest to many Eurosceptics and UKIP members.  Ploughing a lonely furrow for a long time, EU Referendum (with minor assistance from Autonomous Mind) continued to explain the merits and protections of the Article 50 route to raise awareness among those who wanted to answer that longstanding question about Brexit – how it could be done. It was therefore extremely gratifying to see at Farage’s Q&A session at the UKIP conference that the first two questions raised by UKIP members concerned the ‘how‘ and focused on Article 50.

It was a measure of North’s success in bringing the mechanism issue to the forefront of the Brexit agenda, when even UKIP’s leadership was refusing to define the approach it endorsed and was planning for.  In answer to the question, Nigel Farage finally came off the fence and told the UKIP audience (as you can see in the first five minutes of the video below):


“The only mechanism by which we can withdraw is Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.”

Farage did explain he is not comfortable with it because the Lisbon Treaty was not put to the British people, and applied a caveat that if the EU messed the UK around he would make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, but he accepts it as the only appropriate and legal mechanism for starting Brexit.  This is a huge step forward.

We now have clarity about the mechanism and the approach UKIP accepts must be taken, contradicting the scorched earth approach pushed by UKIP MEP Gerard Batten and UKIP’s economic adviser and former leadership hopeful, Tim Congdon.  An important part of the battle has been won.  The persistence of one blogger, supported by some other blogs and a continuously growing number of Eurosceptics convinced by arguments for Article 50, has brought us to this point.  Richard deserves recognition and huge thanks for this.

The next step is for UKIP to start work on understanding what issues need to be negotiated and establishing the position the UK needs to take to get what it wants out of the negotiation.  It needs to engage people who understand what needs to be negotiated to ensure the UK is not adversely affected by withdrawal and formulate the approach to follow.  This has two benefits

  1. UKIP can genuinely declare to voters that it has a plan for leaving that does not harm UK interests
  2. UKIP can assure the business community that after exit, companies will not lose access to their European markets or ability to hire skilled employees from Europe

Only a high level explanation needs to be given, to give people confidence that there is a detailed plan behind the summary that covers the areas that concern people.  Polls have shown consistently that the greatest fear people have of Brexit are negative economic impacts.  The Europhiles have played on this remorselessly with spin, conjecture and outright lies to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.  But if UKIP steps up, this FUD can be countered and more people will be reassured to vote to leave the EU should a referendum take place.

The comments made in a few moments from a stage in London might just now trigger a fightback by the Eurosceptic side, one that is backed with truth and evidence that destroys the arguments of the Europhiles.  This could be a seminal moment in the Brexit campaign.  It is now up to UKIP to use its platform to push this up the agenda for the benefit of the whole Eurosceptic side.-

Perhaps, just maybe, hope has been restored.  We have to wait and see if this Damascene conversion by Farage becomes more than words.=/

UKIP on the defensive as Bloom reverts to type… again

Having spent some hours mulling over the Godfrey Bloom idiocy today, and whether I should intrude of private grief, it seems there are grounds for comment.

The reaction to and defence of Bloom’s previous ‘Bongo Bongo Land’ comments demonstrated there is a very vocal section of UKIP support that has extremely poor judgement when it comes to character, and no concept of what is considered decent or dignified.  Looking at comments elsewhere today, it is clear the penny has dropped for some people about the kind of person Bloom is.

It wasn’t just his smartarse attempt to use a word, which while one definition of it is a slovenly (untidy or lazy) woman, the other, more frequent and prominent definition in the Oxford English and Cambridge dictionaries is ‘a woman who has many sexual partners’ and ‘a woman who has sexual relationships with a lot of men without any emotional involvement’ respectively – underlining that the common use of the word is in a disparaging manner.  It was his bahaviour afterwards in the street, where he bellowed and accused Michael Crick of being racist for asking why a UKIP publication did not contain a single picture with any person who was not white, before hitting Crick with it and throwing it on to the street.

Either way, Bloom’s behaviour indoors and out, was not dignified, respectful or responsible – and it demonstrated a propensity to lose his temper as a result of a worrying lack of self control.  Joking or not, for a professional politician it was no way to describe the women in the room and no way to behave to a journalist with a huge platform at his disposal.  But then, what can one expect from a man whose view of women is that of domestic slaves in the home, and sexual commodities on the street to be purchased for his sexual gratification, who hates the media for focusing his boorish stupidity.

Sadly though, far too many people still seem determined to defend and excuse anything Bloom, does because in their eyes he is just a fun loving, stout gentleman who doesn’t take things too seriously, standing up to challenge political correctness and take on the establishment.  They are filled with contempt and take delight when someone exhibits that contempt in order to antagonise and irritate the people they dislike.  But Bloom isn’t a ‘lad’, he is simply an attention seeking, sad excuse of a man, who delights in trying to be as insulting as possible within parameters that enable him to plead that he hasn’t crossed the line of what is acceptable.

Only now, after the Blessed Nigel has had his headline speech thunder stolen, canned and buried so deep it may as well be next to material that has a half life, is Godfrey Bloom considered to have gone beyond the pale.  The suspicion is that if this had been on any other day, Farage would have again excused the immaturity of his pet manchild and Bloom would be keeping the party whip.  Farage has just paid the personal price for his appalling judgement and for not dealing with the Bloom problem previously.

It was only ever going to be a matter of time until Bloom shot his mouth off again.  But it suggests a particularly incredible depth of stupidity to do so in front of various journalists, who according to Janice Atkinson speaking on Radio 5 Live earlier, had knowingly said to keep the cameras on Bloom because – to paraphrase – he always fucks things up.  Common sense would dictate that Bloom would be on his best behaviour and portray himself as a serious politician.  But no.

So UKIP were left looking desperate and disingenuous trying to defend Bloom’s comments by playing semantics, Annabelle Fuller racing into the breach to provide feminine cover.  Then a short while later la Atkinson was left looking like an idiot on BBC radio as she robustly defended Bloom, then when told Farage had thrown him to the wolves, contradicted herself and tied herself up in knots.

It seems Farage’s professionalisation of the party isn’t quite going to plan and the reason is him showing the same kind of cronyism he attacks when it happens in other parties.

Farage’s BBC face fuzz

If anyone believes the BBC had nothing more than an unfortunate and accidental pixelation error, they must believe in the tooth fairy, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and a fat man in a red suit with flying reindeer, who can get down chimneys to leave presents every December…

Coming just a matter of hours after the media engaged in a bout of character assassination by trying to smear Farage with slurs that he is some kind of Nazi sympathising racist, the odds on this being a coincidence are astronomical.

Richard, who is better placed than many to comment on Farage’s character, has commented on EU Referendum about the media’s fetish for playing personality politics and the assault on the UKIP leader.

This blog holds no brief for Farage, but that is partly based on politics, partly on lack of competence, and the remainder is based on frustration at his ignorance of too many core issues and his refusal to articulate a cohesive and thought through plan for removing the UK from the EU.

His treatment at the hands of the media is just because he leads a party the media luvvies detest.  It is a disgrace.

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.

This should be of concern to every person who wants the UK to leave the EU

On 5th September, UKIP held what it described as its biggest ever rally as 900 people gathered to listen to Nigel Farage and others speak.

The event received a write up in the Shropshire Star, which covered the key points made by the speakers.  Those people who have looked or will look at the report in the expectation of seeing some red meat on the subject of withdrawal from the EU and plans for how such an exit can be delivered, can be forgiven for feeling some disappointment.  The report shows the EU barely warranted a mention, and when it did it wasn’t Farage talking about it.

Being a curious sort, this prompted me to have a discussion about it with a highly placed source in the party.  They confirmed that EU matters were only mentioned in passing, but more revealingly explained that after the event Farage was delighted that the focus on the biggest political issue affecting the UK – membership of the EU and its consequences – was minimal.  It wasn’t an accident, it was by design.

While David Cameron talked the talk in imploring his Conservative members to stop ‘banging on about Europe’, Farage is walking the walk by doing just that.

Previous insights provided to me by well placed UKIP sources, one of whom has just landed on the party’s MEP candidate list for next year’s elections, asserted that Farage is more interested in building a rival to the Conservatives in the hope of splitting that party and capturing a segment of it, than pushing for an exit from the EU.  The new focus on emulating the targeted campaign approach used by the Liberal Democrats, in order to win a few seats rather than putting resources into all constituencies, confirms their assessments.

But what should cause even more concern for withdrawal realists – who understand leaving the EU while preserving the UK’s commercial interests requires a structured approach where Article 50 is invoked and agreement is reached on the relationship the UK will have with the EU after departure, before the European Communities Act (ECA) is repealed – is my source’s confirmation that Farage sees such a negotation as time consuming and an opportunity for EU meddling.  Farage, who has carefully straddled the fence in public by not siding for or against the Article 50 route despite a clear split in his party on the matter, in private advocated the scorched earth approach of leaving first and trying to negotiate something after, which would leave UK commercial interests at serious risk of damage.

This represents a serious threat to an ‘out’ campaign in any future referendum on EU membership.  The withdrawalists would come under incessant attack from the business community which would only look kindly on withdrawal if they could be assured their interests would be protected after the UK leaves the EU.  The Farage approach does not and cannot give that assurance.  In the meantime, Farage will not let UKIP announce its policy and approach for fear it will alienate a substantial number of UKIP members and will see the party exposed to (justified) attack from the Europhiles who will seize on such naive stupidity with alacrity.

What this demonstrates is that, once again, a political party created to achieve a particular end has compromised itself to service internal party maintenance and management.  As Norway showed during its referendum campaign on EU membership, a non party political campaign is the only way of ensuring the objectives are not watered down or jettisoned in favour of a party’s interests.

By way of a closing thought, if you think it is ridiculous that an anti EU party such as UKIP could be pulled off to focus on other things at the whim of its leader in this way, then consider for yourself the evidence that Farage is reversing from EU matters as part of his dream of being a British MP and leading a party in Parliament.  In the Evening Standard we see Tony Blair getting substantial space to set out yet another FUD-laden argument against withdrawing from the EU.  You would think the UKIP leader and by definition the supposed leader of the Eurosceptic movement would be all over this, exposing the misrepresentation, falsehoods and errors in Blair’s and numerous others that have been published in recent weeks and months.

You would think Farage would be demanding a right of reply to set the record straight – or at the very least shotuing loudly that he is being denied a platform.  There is still no counter to this prolonged Europhile line of attack in the media, and certainly nothing rebutting it on the UKIP website.  But Farage did somehow find time to be quoted at length in the Daily Express on High Speed Rail 2… he didn’t even mention the EU origins of the project in order to create a high speed rail network across the union.  I’ll leave it to Farage’s vocal band of supporters to explain how this focus does anything to develop public support for withdrawal from the EU or move us foward on the journey to successfully leaving the union at a time the Europhiles are working the public and winning them over to supporting continued membership.

The implications of this are clear.  The Eurosceptic movement is not being helped by UKIP because Farage’s agenda means he has other fish to fry.  The campaign is weaker as a result.  UKIP should be a standard bearer, it should be the flag ship of the ‘out’ campaign.  But under Farage it has relegated itself to the position of day-tripping passenger on a support vessel.  Do UKIP’s members realise what’s happening, or do they even care?

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.

If you are not talking about the issues, people will drift off elsewhere

The UKIP bubble seems to be deflating.  That’s the impression we can take from a snapshot of YouGov surveys of voting intentions taken over the month of June.

Having started off the month getting support of between 13-16% and remaining consistently ahead of the Lib Dems, UKIP has now dropped back to 10% in the latest poll and fallen back behind the Lib Dems, with the four polls prior to that all showing a steady decline in support to arrive at this point.

From Mike Smithson's  (Political Betting) Twitter

From Mike Smithson’s (Political Betting) Twitter

The declining level of support correlates with Nigel Farage’s disingenuous comments over his Isle of Man based trust fund, and the all too common absence of any substantive comment or agenda setting from UKIP on the major issues that are catching the attention of likely voters.

UKIP can still be expected to do well in next year’s European elections because attention will be focussed on EU matters for a couple of weeks.  But if the party’s broader appeal is already waning after a proportion of voters used May’s county council elections to show their disdain for the main three parties, it suggests UKIP’s hopes of a breakthrough are just a pipe dream.

Leadership, of the paucity of it, is the main driver here.  It is all well and good for Nigel Farage to engage in vanity exercises in the media that pump up his personal profile – even if they make him look like a fool – but it is doing nothing to educate people or advance UKIP’s vision for a UK outside of the EU.  We can learn a great deal about the mindset of the upper echelon of the party when more time and effort goes into attempting to shut down discussion and debate rather than raising awareness of issues and provoking a conversation among voters that gets them talking about UKIP’s goals.  It seems personal agendas take priority in UKIP and ultimately, voters will not stand for that.

While not a popular view among a good number of this blog’s readers, the assertion that Farage is not helping UKIP move ahead but is a limiting factor, seems to already be starting to be borne out by the failure to capitalise on the recent increase in popularity.  The numbers were soft and those people needed to be given a reason to stay with UKIP.  But in the absence of a voice, they are already drifting away to find someone who is speaking.

Farage shows no sign of adjusting his behaviour or approach and UKIP will suffer for it.  The reality is that showing blind loyalty to the captain of the ship may be a jolly decent thing to do, but it doesn’t make any difference to the outcome if the ship is holed below the water line and sinking.  Ultimately the journey for that vessel is over.

So Farage wasn’t clear on Isle of Man ‘offshore’ status yesterday?

On Channel 4 News, yesterday, 21 June 2013, Nigel Farage feigned ignorance about whether the Isle of Man is actually offshore, declaring:

Well, it is difficult to define whether it is off-shore or not.

How odd.  It was all so clear to him on 21 May 2013 when he spoke in the European Parliament about legal tax avoidance and how EU employees manage to pay next to no tax at all due to the frauds allowed by the EU.  He made clear the distinction (from around 25 seconds in on the clip below) between the UK and the entities of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands as he spoke of the wedge being driven between them in regard to taxation policies.

Perhaps when he was talking to Michael Crick, Farage was suffering from some form of amnesia.

No doubt he has one of those ‘cheeky chappie’ explanations that will make it all clear.

Farage’s desperate bluster reveals an underlying dishonesty

He has worked as a commodities trader in the City.

His employers have included investment banks and brokerages such as Drexel Burnham Lambert,  Credit Lyonnais Rouse, Refco and Natexis Metals.

As a commodities trader for these investment houses, the sort of work he would have done includes:

  • monitoring international market performance;
  • providing investment advice and market recommendations to clients;
  • trading on behalf of clients;
  • liaising with transport, shipping and insurance companies;
  • devising ‘hedging strategies’;
  • visiting international suppliers;
  • meeting with clients;
  • interpreting market reports;
  • negotiating price, specification and delivery details;
  • investigating new business openings.

Yet tonight on Channel 4 News the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage – while trying to brush off the revelation that despite speaking out against tax avoidance strategies he himself had set up an offshore trust fund to minimise tax liability – tried to give the impression that he did not know the Isle of Man is an offshore jurisdiction by asking if the Isle of Man is offshore.

With his career history, this goes way beyond stretching the bounds of credibility.  Farage may think he is being clever by attempting to play the ignorant simpleton card.  But this isn’t average guy who could be forgiven for not understanding that the Isle of Man is a self governing entity that is only a Crown dependency and therefore in no way part of the UK’s tax jurisdiction.  This is a man who needed to understand investment strategies and tax implications of the deals he was executing as part of his job.  In fact, it is highly likely he had to advise clients about the tax implications of the trades they were making.

Farage has moved beyond hypocrisy for his ‘do as I say not as I do’ stance on perfectly legal and responsible tax avoidance, and on to dishonesty for his pathetic attempt to make it look like he didn’t know what he was signing up to when opening the trust.  It also stretches the bounds of credibility that his financial adviser failed to explain the reason for basing the trust in the Isle of Man was precisely because it is offshore and therefore UK rates of tax would not apply.  Further, if he didn’t think or believe the Isle of Man was an offshore jurisdiction, why his comments earlier today about having ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the trust in the first place?

Without any other revelation of the many that could emerge about Farage, this incident and the dishonest way he has attempted to bluff his way out of it, calls into question his character and integrity.  Farage can certainly no longer set himself apart from the mendacious politicians in this country and portray himself as a breath of fresh air.  He has shown himself to be every bit as slippery and unreliable as the rest of them.  He has now been condemned by his own words.

UKIP needs to remove this man before his taint spreads to envelope and damage the party and the prospects of the wider Eurosceptic movement.


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