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.

41 Responses to “The self inflicted decline of UKIP”


  1. 1 Edward Spalton 30/07/2013 at 3:40 am

    Nigel Farage has repeatedly said that he wants “an amicable divorce” from the EU for Britain. It is axiomatic that, for a divorce to be amicable, the settlement must be carefully negotiated to safeguard the interests of the parties within the framework of the available assets and responsibilities.
    In 14 years of membership of the EU parliament with ample opportunities and funding for research from EU funds, UKIP appears to have given no thought to this.

    Of course, for most of that time the prospect of a referendum or even of a serious public debate on EU membership was frustrated by the consensus of the established parties and mainstream media. So UKIP and the Eusceptic movement generally mostly confined itself to “banging on about Europe” and its many iniquities. Now the opportunity has arisen, the lack of forethought is apparent and the policy vacuum and area of debate is being filled by organisations and blogs which are not in competition with UKIP for votes – or for Nigel Farage’s job. One hopes the UKIP leadership will take advantage of this and not adopt a head-in-sand “not invented here” attitude but stimulate its members to informed debate from which a party consensus may emerge. It is badly needed.

  2. 2 DaveK 30/07/2013 at 9:20 am

    As an outside observer, it does seem to me that UKIP have disappeared from our medias attention, but could this now be down to MSM complicity/Cameron trying to out UKIP them/the BBC/Left leaners realising that UKIP were also taking Eds votes? If what you say is correct and that Mr Farage is an empty (except for ale) figurehead, then surely he would still be parading on our news media as before, as I don’t see the person described as resting from the limelight, or is it more of a blackout whilst the established teams get their acts together.

    It does sadden me however that the opposition from the right direction is split up, much like when there were a dozen e-petitions for a referendum. You chaps with vision need to get your act together and not just in Harrogate, which incidentally none of my workmates have heard of, but they all know Nigel Farage.

    It doesn’t matter what your agenda is, if nobody gets to hear it.

  3. 3 Autonomous Mind 30/07/2013 at 11:05 am

    As I said on another comment thread, the media alone cannot be blamed for this. A look at the UKIP website shows they are not engaging on the big ticket issues. Farage is terrified of mixing it up because he knows he doesn’t have a grasp of the subject and would get shredded. So he does photocalls in pubs. Not much of an audience there.

  4. 4 Edward Spalton 30/07/2013 at 11:20 am

    I think Farage’s remark that “the ideal free trade agreement is a blank sheet of paper” was the ultimate in wishful, brain-dead saloon bar politics and diplomacy. He has a first class economic adviser in Professor Tim Congdon but we have heard little from him.

  5. 5 Sean O'Hare 30/07/2013 at 11:35 am

    Farage’s simplistic term “we want an amicable divorce from the EU”, as mentioned by Edward Spalton, has the advantage of being immediately understood by the public many of whom will have experienced an enmity filled divorce. Conversely the demand “we must invoke Article 50” will draw a complete blank from the majority of the population.

    OK, Farage doesn’t do detail, but have you thought that may just be by intent? I understand Alan Sked took a more detailed, not to say academic approach to UKIP party leadership, but not too successfully as I recall.

    I do not think that Farage is ignorant of the provisions of Article 50, but it is early days yet and the level of detail advocated by yourself and Dr North will not see the light of day until the referendum campaign gets underway proper. What we see to date are just the opening shots. The majority of the public will not begin to engage until about 3 months before the referendum date.

  6. 6 Sean O'Hare 30/07/2013 at 11:41 am

    @Edward Spalton

    He has a first class economic adviser in Professor Tim Congdon but we have heard little from him.

    As Prof Congdon is against invoking Article 50 and like Gerard Batten advocates immediate repeal of ECA 1972, I don’t think AM will agree with you.

  7. 7 Autonomous Mind 30/07/2013 at 12:16 pm

    You’re right, Sean. Farage doesn’t do detail, by intent. The reason is he simply doesn’t understand much of it and can’t be bothered taking the time to learn it. He resorts to the saloon bar soundbites Edward refers to and subsequently steers clear of challenging the FUD from Rudd, Open Europe and Cridland.

    As for Article 50, it’s not that he’s ignorant of it, he stays silent when people who describe it as a trap and demand unilateral abrogation of the treaties regardless of our legal obligations.

    Farage does not need to go into huge detail at the moment to counter the Rudd FUD and the crap being spouted by Cridland and Cameron. There is no excuse for his silence.

  8. 8 Edward Spalton 30/07/2013 at 12:25 pm

    I think the idea that the referendum can be won in the three month “official” period is mistaken. It can certainly be lost well before then and the Europhiles are getting their ducks in a row right now . They will have the overwhelming weight of money and media influence too. Go to the Irish National Platform site and see how the authorities there consistently bent the rules. I am sure that the lessons have been well learned this side of the water.

    Whilst I would dearly love to be rid of our EU membership by one simple stroke, I do not think it is possible without a sophisticated, believable, economic package, realistically achievable under existing international law and capable of being explained to the general public. As far as I know, no “unilateralist” has yet offered even a hint of such a package.

    With suggestions like Batten’s, all any opponent has to do to defeat independence is to keep saying “three million jobs” parrot-fashion. Countries which simply break treaties find their borrowing capacity headed South as their interest rates head North and those investors who can head for the hills.

    And, of course, if the referendum opportunity is muffed, “the people have spoken” and we are locked in for another generation.

    I would like to hear Professor Congdon’s reasoning on Article 50 because all I have heard is that it is “a trap”. That was what I felt myself at first glance. But it really comes down to a matter of political will and self interest on either side. I believe a “belt and braces” approach is possible – with strong domestic legislation to prevent the enforcement of any new EU requirements during the two year negotiation period and going with the grain of the Lisbon treaty in negotiations rather than simply throwing our toys out of the pram in the hope that our European neighbours will kindly pick them up and tickle us under the chin.

    We forget, at our peril, that genuine, principled, commitment to the cause of independence is very much a minority pursuit. Euroscepticism ( or simple fed-upness with the EU) is widespread but is a shallow and easily manipulated sentiment.

  9. 9 TheBoilingFrog 30/07/2013 at 1:21 pm

    Edward Spalton: “I believe a “belt and braces” approach is possible – with strong domestic legislation to prevent the enforcement of any new EU requirements during the two year negotiation period”.

    I’m not sure we need strong domestic legislation, we can ignore any new EU regulation during the 2 year period. There’s little the EU could do and it would take too long anyway to pass any kind of judgement against us.

  10. 10 Sean O'Hare 30/07/2013 at 2:10 pm

    Isn’t politics all about soundbites nowadays? I can’t help feeling that if Farage banged on about Article 50 negotiations in the way you suggest the majority of the electorate’s eyes would glaze over in about 30 seconds flat and media attention would become non existent.

    Is Farage just one pro Article 50 related speech away from your overall approval – or do you have other criticisms? I have heard it said that he is a control freak and won’t take advice from the NEC or anyone else. Surely some level of discipline is necessary if the party is not to continue to shoot off in all directions at once as it appears to have done under previous leaderships, notably Sked’s.

    Perhaps what is needed is for another strong personality to emerge and become highly popular in the party, not to challenge for the leadership, but to steer Farage and party policy in the direction you advocate. That is not an impossibility and neither is a leadership challenge.

    I confess to being a UKIP member, but not a terribly active one, save for the odd blog comment. I don’t regard myself as a Farage sycophant, but fail to see why the shortcomings you mention add up to level of disparagement Farage and UKIP in general receives from you, EuRef, TbF and WfW amongst others.

  11. 11 Sean O'Hare 30/07/2013 at 2:22 pm

    @TbF

    ..we can ignore any new EU regulation during the 2 year period. There’s little the EU could do..

    If we don’t implement EU regulations, especially trade related ones, then trade with the EU would surely decline rapidly over 2 years. It also seems to go against Dr North’s philosophy that we should remain in the single market via EEA/EFTA, where we would be almost obliged to implement the majority of measures (even if we retained a Norway style veto).

  12. 12 Autonomous Mind 30/07/2013 at 2:39 pm

    We could ignore EU political directives aimed at member states. There is a big difference between the political and the economic.

  13. 13 Edward Spalton 30/07/2013 at 2:54 pm

    Hello TBF.

    I think you are probably right. I was thinking as much of reassuring the British unilateralists as of warding off the EU. EU authorities can move very quickly when their project is endangered, as they did with euro bail-outs when they were still officially against all the rules. So, better to be safe than sorry!

    It would be satisfying to have some sort of declaration along the lines of Henry VIII “The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England and other his Dominions unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm … doth appertain and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction…” with an Act in Restraint of Appeals to stop Europhiles running off to the ECJ or ECHR.

  14. 14 Edward Spalton 30/07/2013 at 3:12 pm

    Sean,
    “Regulations” in the EU sense are made by the Council of Ministers and become instantly binding on all member states whatsoever. There might be some (such as ones to do with public health and animal diseases) with which it would be in our interest to comply immediately.
    “Directives” require member states to bring their laws into line with EU requirements within a certain time .

    This situation could easily be covered by an amendment to the European Communities Act 1972, deleting the words “without further enactment” and replacing them.
    Parliament then COULD agree to comply with EU regulations when there was a pressing public interest to do so but would not be doormat it is at the moment.

  15. 15 Ken Whittaker 30/07/2013 at 6:34 pm

    I’m inclined to agree with Sean’s views as regards Nigel Farage. I too am a supporter of his whilst recognising his faults. But I simply don’t know by what mechanism Nigel can force the media to pay attention to him. If he called a press conference would the press attend unless it was for something dramatic? At a time when there are no elections to contest there was bound to be a fall-off in interest for UKIP while all the action was in Westminster.

  16. 16 Audrey Quattro 30/07/2013 at 7:37 pm

    Easy to claim Farage has no intimate knowledge of the finer points of Article 50 – but then again, neither does any of the current mainstream party leadership. So why pick on him?
    IF, and it seems a big ‘if’, the UK gets anywhere close to invoking Article 50 or having to negotiate leving the EU it will be Whitehall and the mandarins that sorts out the details.
    The devil really IS in the detail – and NONE of our politicians do ‘detail’.

  17. 17 Edward Spalton 31/07/2013 at 5:26 am

    Audrey,
    You have hit on a key point. As Norman Tebbit famously remarked ” It is called the Foreign Office because it works for foreigners” and for forty years that has been increasingly for the EU. It will take massive political determination on the part of Parliament and government to overcome this mindset and inertia both in the FCO and other departments and Quangos which have become de facto and de jure EU branch offices.

    The power of an entrenched bureaucracy is enormous. The Conservatives found this when they introduced the National Curriculum for schools. It was intended to be a simple “Three Rs” requirement to halt the decline in literacy and numeracy. The educational Establishment was able to ambush and divert the intention, turning it into the massive, prescriptive, jargon-laden monster it became – part of the problem rather than the solution.

    That is why an informed (and hopefully good natured) thorough discussion on the various options for achieving independence and what to do with it when we have got it is so important. The IEA has kicked off with a splendid competition with a substantial money prize for the best effort. It is to be hoped that there will be a ferment of similar activity from which a number of realistic, workable approaches may emerge. All of us, including UKIP,can learn from this if we only have a mind to do so.

  18. 18 DavidGaleUKIP 31/07/2013 at 8:41 am

    There appears to be a degree of navel-gazing going on here. Having worked within all three tiers of government, local, national and EU, I can tell you that the proposition of making concrete plans for our exit methodology are a waste of breath.

    The reality of how our exit will be negotiated will depend as much on the personalities involved as any documented treaty. Going public with such an ethereal discussion would be a PR disaster and demonstrates the risks of having academic input into the media scrum of real world politics.

    Just as a small aside, too many appear to have forgotten that the UK currently runs a balance of trade deficit with the EU in excess of £40 billion per annum. Are Ford planning to ditch Transit sales in the UK?

  19. 19 Paul Latham 31/07/2013 at 10:53 am

    All I can say is that during local campaigning in the small towns and villages in the Yorkshire Dales this summer, that the interest in UKIP as a party has increased massively this year, despite this being a ‘true-blue’ area with a Conservative majority of 9,950 votes in the 2010 general election.

    Opinion polls are one thing, support directly from members of the public is another altogether.

  20. 20 Autonomous Mind 31/07/2013 at 12:44 pm

    David, you were doing so well, until you wrote that last paragraph. It demonstrates you have absolutely no grasp of trade and its rules.

    It is dumbed down, throwaway comments such as that which give ammunition to the EUphiles who will pull your argument to pieces in seconds. If you are representative of UKIP’s membership then God help the Eurosceptic cause.

    I do thank you however, for graphically illustrating the problem I have highlighted about Farage not doing detail and that causing problems for the whole party. It is clear UKIP member knowledge about what we are part of and how we can get out of it, is sorely lacking.

  21. 21 Autonomous Mind 31/07/2013 at 12:45 pm

    Paul, we will indeed see if that support is translated into votes at the next Council elections and the General Election. UKIP can count on the traditional ‘slap it into the EU’ vote in the Europeans because of Tory support that will return to that party at other elections.

  22. 22 Autonomous Mind 31/07/2013 at 12:50 pm

    Audrey:

    Easy to claim Farage has no intimate knowledge of the finer points of Article 50 – but then again, neither does any of the current mainstream party leadership. So why pick on him?

    Because Farage is the only nominally ‘Out of the EU’ party leader. He has an obligation to convince voters that not only do we have the ability to leave, but that we can also preserve the commercial benefits of the single market despite leaving the political union, which Cameron and others say we would lose.

    If there is a referendum and the EUphile win it, it will be because of lies by Cameron, Rudd, Cridland, Hague, Miliband etc, and silence from Farage when he could have refuted the Tory FUD and explained to people how it can be done. Do you see the logic now?

  23. 23 Autonomous Mind 31/07/2013 at 12:53 pm

    Ken, it would help in the first instance if the media UKIP does control, i.e. its own website, made the necessary rebuttals and arguments. The fact nothing of substance on this issue can be found on the UKIP website shows this is not merely media bias, but Farage failure.

  24. 24 DavidGaleUKIP 31/07/2013 at 1:21 pm

    AM – Perhaps you inhabit a world in which states adhere to the strict conventions of EU trade rules? My world includes involvement in exposing the lobbied corruption that supersedes national boundaries and / or trade deals. I have briefed ministers and senior civil servants of fourteen national governments, including the People’s Republic of China.

    In making your point, you have demonstrated a failure to understand the necessity of relating political messages to the bulk of the electorate. In the context of that meaningful engagement, which is the only one that will deliver an election result, this debate is meaningless.

    Perhaps you subscribe to the view that BBC Question Time or Paxman will somehow be a major contributory factor towards election success? It won’t.

  25. 25 Edward Spalton 31/07/2013 at 2:17 pm

    David
    “The Bulk of the Electorate” are swayed by the media and the media is largely in enemy hands. Supposedly Eusceptic papers like the Mail and the Telegraph will criticise the EU and run stories about officials and straight bananas but, when push comes to shove, they will say (as they have since 1972) that it is in our “best interests” to remain in the EU. Only the Express is pro-independence.

    I do not belittle Nigel Farage’s achievements in getting coverage. I think the media may allow him a good run in the EU parliamentary elections next year because no MEP has the slightest effect on our constitution or the possibility of independence. Indeed, past voting patterns suggest that people see the EU elections as an opportunity for a protest vote but it is the Westminster elections which count. I would welcome the galvanising effects which UKIP MPs would have on Parliament. It is said that Stuart Wheeler has put his money on Cameron being returned to government next time and two UKIP MPs getting in. That would bring about a sea change – just as Winnie Ewing’s victory did for the SNP – provided, of course, that they are decent MPs.

    But you have to persuade not just the “bulk” but the deeper thinkers too, and all are very attached to their jobs – those who have them. I have come across this on the doorstep.

    Nobody expects a detailed negotiating position but there has to be at least an outline of the way in which UKIP would secure continuing trade with the EU countries rather than the arrogant assumption that “Because they sell more to us than we do to them, they will have to agree to free trade”. The leaders of the EU project, which is not averse to killing 40% more Greek babies as a result of their austerity programme, is unlikely to jib at a trade war, particularly if insulted enough.

    I got to know Farage pretty well before I left UKIP in 2000 and he is an accomplished opportunist (not necessarily an entirely bad thing in a politician) who thinks on his feet very quickly about winning the next trick. More than once, he has changed party policy on the hoof and the party has accepted it.. There is yet to be any sign in party policy that he has grown beyond that level of slick adroitness. I wish he and UKIP would. I have generally voted for them faut de mieux but they need to convince people of intellectual consistency and stability and actually being worthy of trust.

  26. 26 DavidGaleUKIP 31/07/2013 at 2:47 pm

    Edward – “Because they sell more to us than we do to them, they will have to agree to free trade”. That’s quite a leap and whilst I appreciate that others may have said it, I have neither said it nor implied it. What I have implied is that the UK’s trade with the EU puts it in a strong position to negotiate a favourable trading agreement.

    The reality behind closed doors, in both Whitehall and Brussels, is that ‘personal relationships’ are far more likely to impact trade arrangements. Certainly, in the real world of day to day government, the trade deal status is an after-thought in the negotiation of major contracts. Yes, that may be questionable and, in some cases, even illegal. Few people have any idea of the true scale of corruption and intrigue.

    Your final comment:”they need to convince people of intellectual consistency and stability and actually being worthy of trust”, I take with a pinch of salt and will answer in the same spirit: Really? That hasn’t stopped any of the other parties garnering votes in the past, has it?

  27. 27 Autonomous Mind 31/07/2013 at 7:42 pm

    David, trade arrangements still depend upon rules. You are no doubt aware that there is not a designated customs port to receive and inspect imports to the EU close to any UK ports. Leaving the EU without an agreement on trade and the ability to export our goods in the way we do now, massive costs and time delays would be added on to UK produced items.

    Now, you may feel that the resolution to this rests on personalities. But I have a hunch that what matters more are the agreed processes and rules for forming an equitable agreement. On this matter UKIP is nowhere close to prepared, and if you listen to Tim Congdon, the position is to simply pretend this issue does not exist and exhibit a fatally flawed form of British legal supremacy he imagines the EU will just accept.

    You may feel talking about this isn’t a vote winner. But combined with a repetitive mantra that the truth is we can remain part of the single market while dispensing with membership of the EU – thus preserving what we have and having the opportunity to build upon it – and even restructure matters over time in a way that benefits the UK, will give confidence to people that leaving the EU can be positive.

    The bottom line is that people do want to know there is a workable plan and they want an idea of what it looks like. In the absence of that, UKIP is just seen as another generator of political hot air.

  28. 28 DavidGaleUKIP 31/07/2013 at 7:56 pm

    AM – You’re referring to detail that would normally be part of any negotiated withdrawal. It simply isn’t an issue with the parameters of any withdrawal.

    However, in the real world, I could give you chapter and verse on how utterly meaningless the ‘rules’ are and where, for example, you still have to ‘pay the man’ to avoid your freight being sidelined by a ‘routine inspection’. Free trade? It’s an illusion.

  29. 29 Edward Spalton 31/07/2013 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you AM, you have made my point for me.

    With regard to traditional party loyalties, I would add the following anecdotes, in which I was a participant, by way of serious light relief.

    My father was as deep-dyed a Tory as it is possible to be (as far as I can find out that’s the way the family has been since the days of good Queen Anne). At the 1975 Referendum, he said “I don’t like this European business. There’s something about it that doesn’t smell right”. He paused and added “But that man Wedgewood Benn’s against it, so there must be some good in it”.

    Canvassing for UKIP in the Hemsworth by-election, deep in the Yorkshire coalfield in the later Nineties, I was trudging through snow and experiencing a great deal of disheartening rejection. Then I doorstepped a very intelligent old lady who knew all about the EU. She had not had our leaflet but shared all the same opinions.
    “May we count on your vote?” I asked. “No, duck, I’m Labour”, she said.
    And when I started to tell her that she was supporting everything which she opposed, she put her hands over her ears!

    The point is that both my father and the lady had deeply felt loyalties of the heart rather than the head which grew out of experience – of parties which actually did something for them (or they thought they did)

    In recent correspondence with a long serving parliamentarian, he told me that when he entered politics in 1947, the Labour party had 1 million members plus 14 million affiliated through the trade union and co-operative movements and the Conservative party 3 million members.
    They have become mere PR machines now with little mass support and it surprises me how long the good will of past times has lasted. I would hope that UKIP might become something more than a similar manipulative machine. Since leaving it I have continued in the struggle by other means and tried to avoid damaging the candidacies of friends. Indeed, I have leafleted for some of them.

  30. 30 Autonomous Mind 31/07/2013 at 10:08 pm

    David, none of that negates the need to negotiate an orderly exit and maintain membership of the single market; and none of it excuses UKIP’s dismal failure to talk to the issues that are being misrepresented to the public.

    I just don’t know what point you think you’re making, other than engaging in self publicity. Nothing you have said addresses any of the issues.

    As for your building a strawman about free trade, I did not claim we have free trade. There is no such thing. It’s the rules you see.

  31. 31 DavidGaleUKIP 01/08/2013 at 8:29 am

    AM – I think you’re conflating two very different issues. If any message is missing, it’s that negotiating an orderly exit has nothing to do with a coherent communications strategy. Negotiating an orderly exit is a process that happens in real time once you’re moving forward with the withdrawal. I think you’re perhaps trying to intellectualise a process that would take place face to face over a conference table, with all of the associated variables.

    However, there are numerous communications threads that UKIP could be better exploiting. Fortunately, the party doesn’t have a team of professional spin doctors but that shouldn’t prevent it from taking a more strategic view of communications. For example, we should promote the 2014 Euro elections as “The Real Referendum”, and dismiss Cameron’s gesture politics for what it is.

    Whilst UKIP head office might be small, UKIP is, in reality, a large, networked organisation with over 30,000 members. There are a number of areas of management and organisational structure that present opportunities for improvement, including communications, but I wouldn’t expect it all to happen overnight.

    Personally, I think there is a much greater risk that you haven’t touched upon, namely, UKIP is already past the point at which it should have started to shift the brand to that of a nationally focussed party. My own opinion, that I have voiced very loudly to our leadership, is that that process should have started in 2012. I understand that there are those who expect it to happen after the Euro elections. It absolutely must be ready to launch at a national conference some time in 2014.

  32. 32 Autonomous Mind 01/08/2013 at 10:21 am

    David, you will not convince people to vote for withdrawal unless they can have confidence that a strategy exists to exit the EU while protecting our commercial sector from the supposed ‘consequences’ bandied around by Cameron, Cridland, Rudd etc.

    The ‘consequences’ are not being rebutted by UKIP, so more and more people are accepting the falsehoods as reality. They see UKIP’s silence as an admission that Cameron’s warnings are valid. The fear is being stoked up and people will vote to stay in the EU as a result.

    You are focused on the process because of the ‘behind closed doors’ activity that presses your buttons. But what people want to know is this; upon leaving the EU will 3 million jobs be lost, will we lose access to markets, will goods be more expensive, will we have a voice in the world, what future will we have? When it comes to answering these questions UKIP is nowhere.

    Your idea of pushing 2014 as the real referendum is just gimmickry. The Euro Elections will have no bearing whatsoever on the UK’s membership of the EU. Your little campaign would do nothing but serve party interests in getting more MEPs – a process that has not moved Euroscepticism forward and has resulted in no tangible benefit to anyone, bar the MEPs themselves who experience significant financial gain.

    It is also worth noting that shifting the UKIP brand to a nationally focussed party was recommended and pushed years ago. Farage spiked it. He is only interested in winning elections and walking the stage. You clearly don’t know the history but will eventually see this for yourself when you find that despite years of work you have not seen anything change in the party and talented people walking away in frustration.

    For someone of your self publicised expertise and experience you don’t seem to be exhibiting much by way of basic observational and research capability. Perhaps if your focus was less about winning a seat and more about the most important goals your outlook might be a bit different.

  33. 33 DavidGaleUKIP 01/08/2013 at 12:52 pm

    AM – Well baited but I’m too experienced to rise to your personal slur. I will leave it to others to make their own assessment. That said, it’s pretty clear who has the real world experience with the results to match. Would that the majority of the electorate shared your area of interest. Life would be so much easier…

  34. 34 Autonomous Mind 01/08/2013 at 1:44 pm

    That’s fine David. It wasn’t a slur, it was a critical assessment.

    As people make their own assessment they will find you have offered no substance and simply repeated ad nauseum what a fantastically qualified, connected and experienced person you are. Bully for you. What difference does that make if the path you are walking won’t take you to your destination?

    This issue should transcend party politics, but you are caught up in the trap of putting party interest before the job at hand. That’s not a slur either, it’s a fact.

    As for real world experience, you have no idea of the extent of my corporate or political experience, or results. Just because someone chooses not to self promote, you should not make assumptions.

  35. 35 DavidGaleUKIP 01/08/2013 at 1:56 pm

    AM – I’m happy to have that discussion when you have the courage and integrity to post under your own name.

  36. 36 Autonomous Mind 01/08/2013 at 3:36 pm

    Oh here we go, the old ‘use your real name’ canard. The last refuge of the defeated argument. Augmented by a slur against my courage and integrity for not using my own name. How very predictable and boring of you. Can’t you at least try to be a bit more original, instead of being an identikit greasy pole climber?

  37. 37 graham wood 05/08/2013 at 10:27 am

    If this debate throws up one thing, it is that UKIP is failing to address the issue of ANY Brexit – either from Farage personally, and equally important, from its website.
    In my view the latter is a disgrace, given the primary raison d’etre of UKIP as a party, and the webmaster either needs to change the existing non-information policy with some urgency, or be replaced by someone who can provide official UKIP policy clearly stated.
    If one wishes to find up to date information, simply explained and presented on matters EU, and a potential Brexit, then the UKIP website is the last place to find it. There are plenty of others which, fortunately, do so, but that is not the point. UKIP is failing very badly here.

    I think therefore that AM’s criticism of Gale on this point is justified:
    ” you will not convince people to vote for withdrawal unless they can have confidence that a strategy exists to exit the EU while protecting our commercial sector from the supposed ‘consequences’ bandied around by Cameron, Cridland, Rudd etc.” – with the result that UKIP’s silence will indeed be seen “as an admission that Cameron’s warnings are valid.”

    David Gale’s reply “There are a number of areas of management. . . that present opportunities for improvement, including communications, but I wouldn’t expect it all to happen overnight”, smacks of serious complacency.

    I suggest there are basically three categories of deeply disenchanted mainly conservative voters (I leave Labour and the Dims out of the discussion) who need to be ‘cultivated’ by UKIP if the political vacuum is to be exploited and votes for UKIP garnered.

    1. Those in the political wilderness who are open to voting UKIP at the next GE irrespective of any discussion as to HOW we get out, but they still need to be informed once the GE campaign starts in earnest.

    2. A large number who are more politically informed and genuinely wish to find out what UKIP’s exit strategy will be before actually voting UKIP at the next GE, and who will expect the party to fully inform them.
    These will be disappointed by both Farage’s current “silent” approach, and lack of information where they expect it – from him, and on UKIP’s website.

    3. A large number of politically disaffected “a plague on all your parties”, but some of whom are still possibly open to being persuaded by voting for UKIP for the first time, but who are looking for powerful, principled, and patriotic leadership, for which Farage’s silence and generalised comments on EU membership will not be enough to persuade them.

    David Gale, I suggest that you seek to persuade your leadership, and NF in particular that the current complacency will be deeply counter productive electorally unless the “communications” issue you mentioned are addressed and revised with some urgency.

  38. 38 RamTec 05/08/2013 at 10:59 am

    There are a number of deficiencies in the arguments put forwards to date on this blog:

    1. There is an assumption that UKIP’s core vote comes from the Conservatives. it doesn’t. In the Midlands, for example, UKIP takes more votes from the Labour Party than the Conservatives. In all regions, UKIP takes a higher percentage of previously disenfranchised ‘new’ voters than any other party.

    2. There is an assumption that UKIP’s leadership isn’t working through policy and policy presentation on the run up to both European and UK elections, as is every other party.

    3. There is an assumption that there are no glaring deficiencies in the positions of the LibLabCon alliance on the EU. The old parties lack any credible infrastructure strategy that deals with EU migration to the UK. Tell me why, as a voter, one should be impressed with 170,000 new affordable homes, when the Prime Minister is acutely aware that, in the same time frame, EU migrants will need 300,000 homes?

    The lack of appreciation of how real world trade negotiations are conducted and the dismissal of the complete lack of interest from the voting public on the subject, is an indication that this blog is making a somewhat puerile attempt to engage under a cloak of academic merit, when, in fact, it’s little more than a rather crude trolling attempt.

  39. 39 Autonomous Mind 05/08/2013 at 6:57 pm

    Taking each point in turn, David:

    1. There is an assumption that UKIP’s core vote comes from the Conservatives. it doesn’t. In the Midlands, for example, UKIP takes more votes from the Labour Party than the Conservatives. In all regions, UKIP takes a higher percentage of previously disenfranchised ‘new’ voters than any other party.

    UKIP’s core vote DOES come from Conservatives. Taking more votes from Labour than the Conservatives in recent elections is not the core vote. Do you understand what the core vote is? As for taking a higher percentage of previously disenfranchised ‘new’ voters than the other parties, is that not a statement of the bloody obvious? If they are disenfranchised of course they aren’t going to vote for the three main parties.

    2. There is an assumption that UKIP’s leadership isn’t working through policy and policy presentation on the run up to both European and UK elections, as is every other party.

    You describe this assumption as a deficiency, yet offer no evidence the party is actually working anything through. In contrast we have provided evidence of the lamentable failure of UKIP to present policy, about even the most fundamental issue it says it advocates (withdrawal from the EU) – even on its own website!

    3. There is an assumption that there are no glaring deficiencies in the positions of the LibLabCon alliance on the EU. The old parties lack any credible infrastructure strategy that deals with EU migration to the UK. Tell me why, as a voter, one should be impressed with 170,000 new affordable homes, when the Prime Minister is acutely aware that, in the same time frame, EU migrants will need 300,000 homes?

    There is no assumption that the other parties have no glaring deficiencies. The rationale for the focus on UKIP is that they need to win voters from those parties to break the status quo, so it stands to reason UKIP’s performance gets more focus. The issue this blog keeps returning to is the absence of a simple to understand message to voters that i) the UK can leave the EU without losing single market access so many people care about, ii) UKIP has a plan about how this can be realised while protecting UK commercial interests, iii) the claims made by the Tories and their front organisations such as Open Europe, British Influence and Business for New Europe are dishonest and the reality is… xyz.

  40. 40 RamTec 11/08/2013 at 9:44 am

    1. AM – I take it you live south of Watford Gap. Your ignorance of UKIP core vote is thus excused. UKIP has always taken Labour votes in the North. We had UKIP city council representation a decade ago.

    2. I almost fell into your trap but then remembered from my extensive personal experience in government that preparing for exit is the role of civil servants and that that exercise would be essentially done as a response to a strategic decision. All that is required is clear leadership. That is what is missing.

    3. On the contrary, there are other areas far more important that should be part of UKIP’s communications brief. Particularly, I would be focusing on knocking out this nonsense about the UK not having a say in trade negotiations if it were to withdraw from the EU. Personally, I have my ducks lined up ready for the media at the requisite moment but you shouldn’t expect me to pre-warn the media here.

  41. 41 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 8:46 pm

    David you truly are a legend. I have never met anyone who has been so self aggrandising. Again you add nothing by waffle to the debate. Small wonder the electorate roundly rejected your candidacy. They probably thought you were standing for the David Gale party on a platform of extensive experience, expertise, involvement in ‘this that and the other’.

    I was involved in anti-EU politics and winning elections while you were playing happy socialist in the Labour party. But I congratulate you on conceding the point that clear leadership is missing. What you are clearly to up your own arse to realise is that civil servants are not the people who are supposed to convince voters how an exit can be achieved. UKIP have to sell that and they are ignoring it.

    Your point 3 demonstrates you don’t have a bloody clue of even the argument. The issue is not trade negotiations, the issue is being a third country with no agreement in place to export to the EU should we unilaterally abrogate the treaties and leave without a formal negotation of our relationship. Your attempt to sound pompous and assured simply leaves you looking like a fool.


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