An open letter to UKIP supporters

In recent months this blog has clearly caused some supporters and sympathisers of UKIP to exhibit a degree of consternation at our criticisms of Nigel Farage and the party’s general performance.  This has been evident in the comment threads and also in emails sent to me.

When one shares an important objective with a large number of people who are therefore kindred spirits, or colleagues in that aspiration – namely the UK leaving the European Union – it gives no pleasure to see them angry, frustrated and upset in response to the criticisms and observations this blog has made.

The criticisms are not directed at UKIP party members, or people working behind the scenes in an effort to realise our shared goal of an independent United Kingdom.  Rather they are directed at the leader and the decision makers around him who, in the current political environment, should be hitting the ball out of the park when it comes to exposing the lies and distortions of the pro-EU parties and their front organisations.  A leader and decision makers who should be setting the agenda, talking to our key issues and oozing credibility and mastery of the subject, but who go missing just when they are most needed to speak up.

In this country there is a large number of people who are looking for a rallying point for their views and wishes.  That rallying point should be set on a firm foundation.  That is where UKIP should be.  But under Farage the rallying point is located on quicksand.  This is not the fault of the members, but of Farage himself.  For years under Farage leadership, UKIP has seen people rally to it, only to find that once they arrive there is a vacuum where there should be substance, detail, education and assurance.  This is the core problem with UKIP under Farage.  Some people just hope and believe there is a detailed plan to get us out of the EU, (much like all those Tories who believed for so long that Cameron would one day throw off his social democrat cloak to reveal a classically liberal, eurosceptic Conservative underneath) but the reality is there is no detailed plan.  There is an ideal and no thought out strategy about how it can be realised.

As such many lose interest and drift off, some try to elicit change and improvement but all too often they are marginalised or forced out as they are considered disruptive and a threat to the leadership.  But the fact is many do stay and continue to support UKIP because for genuine Eurosceptics, not the Europlastic ‘reformers’ who would still keep this country firmly under the control of the machine in Brussels, it is the only party political show in town.  There are people who genuinely believe the party is exactly what it needs to be and enthusiastically endorse and revere Farage.  There are others who hang in there but have to pinch their nose and reluctantly accept the failings they see as part of the package.

I respect the opinions and decisions of both types of supporter, even if I disagree with them.  It is for each of them alone to make a judgement about the party and its leadership based on their own views, values and principles.

Likewise, I have my views, values and principles.  While there are many people who are willing to give their support to the ‘least worst option’, it’s something I just cannot do.  I need a positive reason to vote for someone.  I need to feel enthusiasm for them, what they stand for and how the go about trying to achieve it.  Simply supporting the ‘best of a bad bunch’ isn’t a positive decision.  That is why I don’t vote for UKIP.

As a former Conservative I have a lot of experience of politics, campaigning and winning elections, including against incumbent candidates.  I readily accept there is also a lot I don’t know and am yet to learn.  But I do know something about trying to change an organisation from the inside.

It’s one of those things that many have tried and most have failed.  For it to be possible to change a political party from the inside either you need to lie about your views in order to achieve influential position then reveal your true self as you use your position to effect the change you want to see; or there needs to be a properly democratic, transparent, accountable structure in place without an autocratic and overly powerful leader or individuals behind the scenes whose money translates into power and thus enables them to be the party’s puppeteer.

I make this point because I frequently read emails from people saying. ‘if you don’t like it then get in the tent and change it.’  It’s not that simple.  Under Farage, far better qualified people than me have tried to change UKIP for the better, and each of them has been run off.  There are few things as powerful as an ambitious and ruthless man who has a personal goal, puts that first, and also enjoys increasing control over the fiefdom he runs.  Changing UKIP from within just isn’t a realistic option.  Even if the members choose to dump Farage, his paranoia has seen to it that any half decent replacements have long since been exiled.

That’s a brief summary of where things stand and why I hold the position I do.  For as long as I choose to blog (which may not be much longer given the way I am feeling), shutting up about it isn’t an option for the simple reason that, rightly or wrongly, Farage is seen by many as the head of the Eurosceptic movement by virtue of his position as UKIP leader.  If he fails, the Eurosceptic cause will fail.  Hoping no one will notice the failings by keeping quiet about them is not the way to get the problems addressed.  In speaking out I am not trying to ‘do down’ or undermine UKIP.  I am trying to draw attention to what needs to be improved in the hope more people will apply pressure for change.

As long as Farage is fearful of challenging and rebutting the many false assertions and claims made by Cameron and Hague and their outriders, like Rudd, Cridland, and Open Europe; and as long as Farage shies away from explaining in simple terms how the UK can leave the EU while preserving the benefits of the single market that most Britons want to retain, the Eurosceptic cause will suffer.  The recent increase in support UKIP achieved will slowly peel away as the ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ reality of UKIP dawns.  Many people who might otherwise support the party, if it behaved competently and relentlessly presented a positive vision of the new opportunities an independent UK could grasp, will either not vote or stick with their status quo.  Many of those who did vote for the party are already losing interest.

If the current situation is not changed, and quickly, any prospective referendum will be lost due to voters being made fearful by the lies of the Tories, Lib Dems and socialists.  The more they hear the lies and distortions without them being challenged with facts, the more they will believe them to be true.  We need Farage to succeed for us.  We want Farage to succeed for us.  But all the evidence so far is that Farage is failing.  He is putting long standing electoral self interest (the desire to split the Tories and lead one part of the resulting mess) before the cause he is supposed to be leading.  In my view he is not the man for the job and UKIP would be performing much better with someone else in the role.

Agree with me, don’t agree with me.  It’s completely up to you.  But if you prefer facts and evidence to ‘gut feeling’ then consider this.  In four recent by-elections in areas where UKIP returned county councillors in May, UKIP has already lost three of the seats they won, and slipped back to third place in a district election result.  Meanwhile the pro-EU voices continue to spread their lies without challenge and Farage is nowhere to be seen or heard.  Hopefully you can see the point I’m making.

Is this leadership?  Is this a winning strategy?  Is that what you are happy to put up with?  Are my criticisms valid?  Now I’ve tried to explain where I’m coming from, I would like to hear what you think before I carry on.

Over to you.

177 Responses to “An open letter to UKIP supporters”


  1. 1 angela ellis-jones 09/08/2013 at 11:29 am

    Autonomous Mind – I do hope that you will continue to blog.I really value your well-thought out comments,and strongly agree with most of them.

    I’ll tell you of my experience with UKIP.After UKIP started doing very well,from the time of Eastleigh onwards,and started attracting far more donor support than previously,I sent a letter,followed by two emails,to the new chief executive,Will Gilpin,suggesting that UKIP beefs up its research capability.I hold Master’s degrees in Law (from Oxford) and Economics,and I suggested myself for a research post.

    Gilpin has not had the basic good manners even to reply to someone who stood as UKIP candidate in Kensington and Chelsea in 1997,and for the Anti-Federalist League in Richmond and Barnes in 1992! Either that,or he’s so snowed under with work,in which case he needs to hire an assistant.

    How can UKIP provide intelligent comment on important issues ,when (from what I can gather) they don’t even have any researchers?Does Nige think that such people might be too ‘intellectual’ for his liking?

    I’m really baffled!

    I hope that,once the IEA awards its prize for the best Brexit suggestions,
    and publishes the top three entries,UKIP will have the good sense to assimilate them!

    I’m really baffled!

  2. 2 maureen gannon 09/08/2013 at 11:30 am

    We live in this country that is supposedly free and democratic, that is belief I no longer believe to be true .
    The press is geared to destroy UKIP and that is not paranoia, in my own simple way I proved it by sending letters to the press one for one against UKIP not one for was printed.
    We have the recent furore of Bongo land the racist card was pulled within an instance . thus closing an honest and open debate on froreign aid, I would suggest the majority in this country are against Cameron on this also what they believe is a sham referendum on an in out of europe .
    They are running scared that UKIP will sweep the board at the forthcoming European elections so the assassination of it’s leaders is in full force.to believe otherwise in my opinion is niave, otherwise we would be having serious debates on the corruption and the destroying of nations by an unelected body of people who allow people to believe their governments have the authourity when in fact it is Berouso and his unelected body rule us. this is why UKIP has to be destroyed because otherwise the envisaged EUSSE cannot be fullfilled.

  3. 3 Captain Ranty 09/08/2013 at 11:53 am

    AM,

    You know, better than most, that there is no such thing as a perfect party. They all have baggage. Some it goes back decades.

    And yes, we must rally around the call to leave the EU. It has done us, and will continue to do us, untold harm. Clever people are abroad, and they seek to divide us. It was ever thus.

    They highlight a poor turn of phrase from Bloom, but so what?

    Look what it did:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2387338/As-Cameron-attacks-Bongo-Bongo-MEP–How-1billion-cash-used-help-Nigeria-join-space-race.html

    Godfrey Bloom did more for the cause in ten minutes than 6 months of publicity could have done.

    Nigeria is the tip of the iceberg. We wast billions on countries that have no interest in providing for the poor. In that regard they are no different to MPs or those in Brussels: they seek to feather their own shit-stained nests.

    Cut UKIP some slack. The core mission is what’s important.

    The loonies will self-destruct in the meantime. Or, they will learn to toe the party line.

    Let’s hope it’s the latter.

    CR.

  4. 4 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 11:55 am

    I think it’s fair enough for Farage to take a bit of a summer recess after the punishing schedule he maintained during the common-sense tour, elections and their aftermath. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy as they say. He’ll be gearing up again for the coming Euro and UK council elections next May before long I expect.

    On the more general point, leaders across the political spectrum try to avoid saying too much on policy specifics. He has to delegate, and over-riding those delegates authority with personal statements broadcast by the media undermines them. Which is why the media hounds him and ignores UKIP spokespeople. They want to split the party. That’s why he has been turning down interviews, trying to force the media to go to other party members.

    Farage is a successful leader, who has led the party as its influence and membership has grown rapidly. There are valid criticisms to be made, but I think these should be tempered with acknowledgements of his strengths, as well as his perceived weaknesses.

  5. 5 Judd 09/08/2013 at 11:57 am

    Yes all valid points, however UKIP and its supporters share one common theme, we aint perfect.

    We’ve had 30 years of perfect leaders (cought) and their perfect parties, those who have taken themselves far too seriously have bamboozled their followers with lies and misleading cleverly worded PC rubbish and look where its led us, straight into the toilet.

    This is Britain with all its marvellous warts, we revel in not being perfect, we know we have faults, all of us, Farage is one of us we don’t want some bloody political puppet without a single principle conviction or original idea in its groomed head, we want someone to speak for us, the backbone of the nation, the daft buggers who get up at all hours of the day and night whether we’re ill or theres a foot of snow on the ground and go and do our duty, to real work in real jobs and to provide for our families.

    None of the other parties speak for us, only a handful of the sods in the higher rungs of other parties have ever had a proper job, we’re sick to the bloody back teeth of them.

    Farage, and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s far from perfect, is one who has been out and earned his own living in the real world, he’s got principles and he speaks the uncomfortable truth when few others will…Godfrey Bloom is another.

    You wonder why Farage isn’t shouting from the rooftops?

    It can’t have escaped many peoples notice that interviews etc with UKIP, indeed any positive that might inadvertantly shed them in a good light has suddenly vanished from mainstream media and that been the case since the aftermath of the May elections.

    Farage can’t go storming into the BBC or Channel 4’s studios demanding that they inerview him, if the media decide to block positive publicity as i believe has been the case recently then there is little that can be done.

    Strange how following the revelation of Godfrey Blooms bongo bongo land speech that theres a storm about UKIP again…which is incredibly funny as the liberal lefties have shot themselves well and truly in the foot over this one as most people likely to be the ones actually paying for it all i suspect see things as he does.

    There’s millions of us sick to the back teeth of our money being taken and used to bribe/buy off already rich bloody dictators and charlatans all over the third world whilst their subjects die of hunger in the gutter, Blooms bongo bongo jibe suited the ludicrous situation perfectly…you have to see the irony of it all.

    Following UKIPs massive gains we now have the three parties runing round like headless chickens not knowing what the hell to say about immigration or the EU, now they’ll have to decide what propaganda to air about foreign bribery too.

    Warts and all i trust Farage Bloom etc, but if any of the main party leaders told me it was daylight i’d have to go outside and check.

    Farage and UKIP will do for me, if they were too bloody polished it wouldn’t be somehow quite so right or British.

    Regards

    Judd

  6. 6 Ken Whittaker 09/08/2013 at 11:59 am

    You and Dr North obviously know the UKIP leadership a lot better than most of us and for that reason (and many others) your opinions are very valuable. My only question concerns criticism of the leadership’s failure to expose the lies and distortions of the pro-EU faction. How, I wonder, can UKIP put its opinions across to the media if the media doesn’t invite them? The media is only interested in what UKIP has to say if UKIP make a cock-up or say something outrageous. The only time an excerpt from a Farage speech in the European Parliament has been broadcast was when he insulted van Rompuy. Otherwise the media isn’t interested. I don’t know how Farage runs the administration of the party but I can’t think of anyone better in front of the cameras.

  7. 7 Autonomous Mind 09/08/2013 at 12:02 pm

    Judd, by way of a quick reply to what you wrote here…

    “You wonder why Farage isn’t shouting from the rooftops?

    “It can’t have escaped many peoples notice that interviews etc with UKIP, indeed any positive that might inadvertantly shed them in a good light has suddenly vanished from mainstream media and that been the case since the aftermath of the May elections.”

    What suggests the absence from the debate is not simply media bias by omission is that there is nothing on UKIP’s own website about these core issues. It’s not that the media is ignoring UKIP, UKIP isn’t saying anything.

  8. 8 angela ellis-jones 09/08/2013 at 12:19 pm

    AM – aren’t you going to reply to the point I made?
    UKIP isn’t saying anything because it refuses to employ anyone to do the back-room work on which well-informed comment muyst be based!
    Does anyone know how one can get this point to the high command if Gilpin ignores all correspondence?

  9. 9 DavidinRome 09/08/2013 at 12:20 pm

    AM

    It would be a shame for you to stop posting, you offer valuable and considered comment and insight.

    On this subject of Farage’s leadership, it is clear to all but the dedicated Faragiban zealots that Farage is a problem. His personal poll ratings show this and make the job of achieving our freedom considerably more difficult.

    However can there be any doubt that in 2014 after he regains his seat in Brussels he will ease off, as he cruises towards his pension.

  10. 10 Autonomous Mind 09/08/2013 at 12:26 pm

    Angela, apologies. One of Farage’s weaknesses as a leader (and I’ve had this from a number of former HQ people) is that he does not like employing anyone who has more knowledge than him. If he is not ‘the man’ in the room, he feels uncomfortable and not in control.

    UKIP has engaged formidable experts in core areas previously and each one has been managed out of the party, perceived as a threat to Farage. Of the current team around Farage, very few of them have their advice or recommendations followed.

  11. 11 cuffleyburgers 09/08/2013 at 12:35 pm

    AM – I would be sorry if you stopped blogging, so please carry on!

    re UKIP, I joined last year as I share their objective of getting out. I didn’t renew my membership this year as it is obvious, as you and Dr North never tire of pointing out, that they have no clearly articulated route to leave, and are making a hopeless job of making the case.

    I like Farage as a polemicist and as a debater and media front man, but I totally agree that he is a hopeless strategist judged by the way he is trying to lead UKIP to its stated objectives.

    As a result he is a serious danger to the cause.

  12. 12 cuffleyburgers 09/08/2013 at 1:04 pm

    Sorry, forgot to mention, that after my non-renewal head office phoned me to ask why this was, and I explained my reasons and added that the moment I heard a UKIP spokesman, or preferably Farage, make the case in the BBC for using Article 50 to leave the EU I would rejoin.

    I don’t know if the point was taken.

  13. 13 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 2:22 pm

    “there is nothing on UKIP’s own website about these core issues.”

    Nor is there on Labour or Conservative websites. Everyone is keeping their powder dry at the moment. Maybe speeches at the annual conference will shine some light on the thinking of the leadership in September.

  14. 14 Autonomous Mind 09/08/2013 at 2:35 pm

    No Rog, this isn’t about keeping powder dry, it’s about the strategy well being dry. UKIP does not know what its strategy is. It is only interested in elections.

    While one expects Labour and the Tories to say nothing of substance about the EU, UKIP is supposed to be trying to win people over to voting for UK withdrawal. So it should be making the running, advancing the narrative and providing reassurance that it can be done while protecting UK business and commercial interests in the EEA.

    As I have said before, not only is UKIP failing to do this, it doesn’t even try to tackle the lies and distortions flooding out of Open Europe, the CBI and every organisation Roland Rudd can hook into his sphere of PR influence. If people don’t hear any challenge to their claims they will assume them to be true. When it comes to these essential issues Farage is nowhere.

  15. 15 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 2:51 pm

    “UKIP is supposed to be trying to win people over to voting for UK withdrawal.”

    Have you seen the way the opinion polls have changed since the rise of UKIP?

    “When it comes to these essential issues Farage is nowhere.”

    You are being sucked into the media agenda of the cult of personality politics. Paul Nuttall has been saying plenty about the issues.
    Watch this video I took of him speaking in the N.E. last month.

  16. 16 The wasp 09/08/2013 at 3:07 pm

    I suspect that much of the criticism of Nigel Farage which is led by Richard North is the result of personal animosity. I spent some years working with UKIP, until ill health caused me to step down, and I never saw any evidence that Nigel was as self centred as is claimed indeed he stood aside and encouraged others to stand for the leadership. Richard North does very valuable and impressive work but perhaps is like the rest of us and has some failings.

  17. 17 Autonomous Mind 09/08/2013 at 3:27 pm

    Rog – Your assertion is so far wide of the truth as to be in another galaxy.

    This isn’t about personality politics. The fact is Farage controls everything that happens in UKIP. The buck stops with him and that’s why I am focussing on him. You ask about opinion polls. What about the three county seats already lost since May. That doesn’t suggest UKIP on a roll, it suggests the party is going backwards already.

    Wasp – Fair enough. That’s your view and you are entitled to it.

    So I just want to ask, what about those people he has run out of the party? What about the screaming and yelling of abuse at people around him in the office? What about the unconstitutional appointment of candidates, breaking the party’s own rules in the process? What about the failure to publish promised MEP accounts? What about the decision to block details of what happened to the money from the Ashford call centre?

  18. 18 Bellevue 09/08/2013 at 4:01 pm

    Dear AM, you have stated that you dont vote. Which, in my opinion, is a terrible waste of a vote. (if a party ‘won’ with just 10% of eligible votes, they would still claim a mandate. They IGNORE people who dont vote.)
    For those of us who DO vote, and want to exit the EU, who should we vote for? Farage and UKIP may be useless, but they are the only party who want to get out of the EU.
    A vote for UKIP may not change anything, but it will be noticed. Its the only way we can make our wishes heard.

  19. 19 Bellevue 09/08/2013 at 4:07 pm

    Oh, and please dont stop blogging! We need your incisive thoughts…. and we DO appreciate them.

  20. 20 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 4:13 pm

    “The buck stops with him”

    This is true.

    ” Farage controls everything that happens in UKIP.”

    But this isn’t. He *influences* the direction of the party. He does not micromanage its activities.

    ” You ask about opinion polls.”

    Specifically, opinion polls on EU membership. UKIP has swung the country to a majority being in favour of exit by getting the issue onto the mainstream agenda. This is no small achievement.

    “What about the unconstitutional appointment of candidates, breaking the party’s own rules in the process?”

    Valid criticism IMO. I’d like to see an open and internally democratic system of selection. Motorcycle Action Group did this well. They’re still the only political organisaion which ever got the European Parliament to vote down a directive twice.

    Celebrity candidates are divisive and too vulnerable to muckraking.

  21. 21 Robert 09/08/2013 at 6:03 pm

    Nowhere have we seen a plan to leave the EU from UKIP if we had a referendum. There is no thought about what we do when we are out, nor any mention of the EEA or EFTA. I have heard Farage mention article 50 once, but not how it can be used to force the EU to the table. There is no rebuttal of the lies and deception coming from our opponents particularly about access to the single market.

    Having seen Farage on several editions of Question Time and other programmes he does not come across as someone in control of his brief. He has been a spokesman for UKIP for years but has not progressed beyond the cheeky chappy image.

    I vote for UKIP despite Farage. I trust Farage as little as I trust Cameron, the Conservatives and the other two parties. The way they are going about it UKIP will never get the electorate to vote us out of the EU and Farage is a major reason for this.

    When you consider what we could have and be outside the EU how can UKIP make such a poor fist of this campaign?

  22. 22 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 7:47 pm

    Not trying to be funny here, but can any of those who are saying how badly Farage is handling things point me to some specific articles on what they think he should be doing?

    Seems to me that criticism carries more weight when an alternative, better strategy is outlined.

    I think Farage’s approach is to avoid bamboozling the public with technical argumentation on procedure for an exit from the E.U. Personally I think this is wise. The situation could become quite fluid and in any case, setting out a roadmap simply invites the opposition to refute it viability with spurious argument and other brick-battery

  23. 23 Brian H 09/08/2013 at 7:49 pm

    If Farage did more of what he claims to be intending to do, he’d do well. But he doesn’t.

  24. 24 wj (@wj557) 09/08/2013 at 8:07 pm

    Farage, for all his faults, has almost single handedly garnered a massive number of votes for UKIP.
    I don’t accept that Farage is a coward – it takes a certain amount of bravery to put forward the arguments that he has in the face of the almost fascist PC environment imposed by the Left.

    I do not like Farage. The incident that threw me over the edge into anti-Faragedom was the Euro funeral jape. How could a man, knowing of the sheer desperation of the Greeks, make light of such a terrible situation.
    It was crass beyond belief and only appealed to a very small number of laddish individuals. It also showed that his concerns for the Greeks in his EU parliamentary speeches were shallow.

    Farage is not going to relinquish his position voluntarily and UKIP members are not going to let Farage go. They, as I, have seen the effect that Farage has on audiences – and the money that goes into the pot after his routine.

    We are not going to change Farage, he is not going to seek out those whom he has upset in the past and invite them to work with him, and they are not going to approach him – we are stuck.

    The Referendum crowd are going to split the vote and I am left to make a decision.

    I hate the three-party stitch-up, I want to rub their noses in it, and I am wondering why we expect ourselves to be so scrupulously decent when they have an obvious contempt for us all.

    I’ll vote UKIP – just to keep their smug bastard snouts out of the trough.
    And I think that there are quite a few out here who feel exactly the same.

  25. 25 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 8:13 pm

    Brian: You can’t do it until it’s showtime. Everyone’s champing at the bit, but masterly inactivity is sometimes what is required.

  26. 26 Audrey Quattro 09/08/2013 at 8:30 pm

    The lowest common denominator that will decide the outcome of ANY election is the vast voter base consisting of ‘Sun/Star/Mirror’ readers. They don’t do Article 50. They do simple, to-the-point issues that directly affect them. Mention Article 50 to any of this voter base and you’ll have lost them before you get to ’50’ – mention your taxes going to get Nigerians into space and you’ve got a potential revolution on your hands.
    Farage/UKIP don’t need detail (at the moment) they need angry voters. UKIP will do as the current crop of parties do – power first, detail later.

  27. 27 FrankS 09/08/2013 at 9:50 pm

    Farage is UKIPs greatest strength – and its greatest weakness. As long UKIP appears to be a one man band, its appeal will be limited to Faragists. Farage’s winning persona is equally a turn-off for vast numbers of potential supporters.
    The absence of detail or even general strategy on UKIP’s main policy makes the party a sitting duck when the EUphile FUD campaign starts in earnest.
    I just wonder if the situation be saved by May 2015.

  28. 28 tallbloke 09/08/2013 at 11:18 pm

    How well detailed was Beppe Grillo’s policy planning before he took 30+% of the italian vote?

  29. 29 FrankS 09/08/2013 at 11:33 pm

    Tall Bloke – I don’t know. Are you suggesting that it was lack of detail that earnt Grillo his 30 per cent?

  30. 30 DavidinRome 10/08/2013 at 12:05 am

    tallbloke

    re Grillo. He had and has no policy. His entire success was based on railing against the politicians – a much bigger target in Italy because they are genuinely and generally corrupt unlike in Britain where the politicians are saints in comparison.

    The trouble is now that Grillo’s people are in parliament they haven’t a clue. The mixture of Left and right in his party means that they frequently contradict each other. The reliance upon the membership forming policy ensures there is no leadership and no coherence.

    The great shame is that they have become something of a laughing stock and will certainly fall back.They could have been much more.
    .

    This is the same difficulty that Ukip is facing. After a while the people get tired of you being anti-everything and realise you have no idea what to concretely do to fix the problems you have identified.

  31. 31 RB 10/08/2013 at 3:38 am

    I think you’re absolutely right Audrey.

    UKIP dont need detail now. In fact many people seem to be asking UKIP to do what the Lib/Lab/Con are never asked to do – detailed policy with costings well in advance of an election. How many times have we heard the main three say – “can’t tell you that until we’ve seen the books”.

    As for the EU, keep it simple, stupid. Many here including our host and Dr North are very well versed in the arguments and the probable process of exiting the EU. The VAST majority of the population are not. Is it Farage’s job to personally educate each and every one of them? That seems to be the basis of criticism of him.

    Simple messages about the EU are what is needed now. Detail later.

    We should also bear in mind that our host and Dr North have no love of UKIP and history there. This is not unbiased opinion we are getting here or at EU Referendum.

  32. 32 Sue 10/08/2013 at 6:49 am

    You’re 100% correct. Many people have turned to UKIP through sheer desperation and many like me, quickly became disillusioned. UKIP need to realise that their responsibilities as an anti-EU party do not stop at their loyal supporters. To put an entire campaign in jeopardy through sheer stupidity is unforgiveable. There are many of us, unaffiliated with any single party or movement, we just want out and are in dire need of a team or representative to take the lead in an honest, adult campaign that encompasses all of us who feel the same.

  33. 33 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 8:43 am

    RB – the beauty of setting up a “straw man” argument is that you can win it every time. So you won! Well done!

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, Farage’s job as leader is to lead. Of course it is not his job personally to educate each and every one of his members (straw man) – he is there to set the objectives of the party, one of which is to train and educate members.

    Insofar as UKIP could, technically, be called a revolutionary movement, one might recall that no such movement has ever succeeded without a strong educational element. Slogans are important, but slogans are not enough. There must be something more.

    And that is AM’s point. When it comes to Farage, there is nothing behind the slogans. What you see is what you get. The intellectual “pot” is empty.

  34. 34 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 9:05 am

    tallbloke (09/08/2013 at 7:47 pm), if you are not trying to be funny here, perhaps you should consider a career on the stage. You are a natural.

    Those who are saying how badly Farage is handling things have pointed up many specific inadequacies, and have devoted considerable time and effort to pointing up alternatives. With your natural talent, you should have no difficulty finding them.

  35. 35 tallbloke 10/08/2013 at 10:11 am

    Richard,
    I’m standing as a UKIP candidate. I’m also doing a job of work, I’m also organising a scientific symposium and editing the submitted papers. I made a genuine request for links to specific posts. I don’t have time to trawl.

    What I see here is a group of people disaffected with Farage for whatever reasons, taking loosely aimed potshots at his leadership without offering specific alternatives at this venue and becoming sarcastic when asked where they might be found.

    Sue,
    If you don’t think UKIP can do the job under Farage’s leadership, start your own party. Good luck with the bickering over who is going to be leader and what the exact policy will be. I joined UKIP because it has the nearest of any party to a realistic and forward thinking energy policy. Already the coalition is falling in line with it. UKIP is already winning in terms of forcing the government’s hand on climate and energy policy.

    It wasn’t Farage alone that achieved that, it was Roger Helmer, Godfrey Bloom and background actors such as Ben Pile and myself putting on the pressure in the blogosphere. However, when I met Farage in Harrogate just before he took the stage on the common-sense tour. I gave him a 45 second briefing on the climate-energy issue as I saw it, and he absorbed and integrated it into his on-stage delivery instantaneously.

    It may well be the case that you found him difficult to work with. I found the opposite on that occasion. No party is perfect6, but why knock a team which is making a real difference to important issues? You’d get a better sense of achievement out of putting up with imperfections and making your own contribution to the only party with a real chance of winning which wants to get the UK out of the EU.

    Find Farage difficult to work with? No problem, you don’t need to. Just work with UKIP in a policy area where he won’t bug you.

  36. 36 tallbloke 10/08/2013 at 10:16 am

    And I should have included Richard and his colleague Mr Booker in the list of people pressuring the coalition on energy policy. My apologies.

  37. 37 Autonomous Mind 10/08/2013 at 10:31 am

    Rog, the whole point here is that the UKIP team is NOT making a real difference. The party is underperforming terribly.

    As for your idea that people work with UKIP in a policy area, the party doesn’t work that way. I don’t think you yet fully recognise how much Farage influences the direction. Refer back to the Angela Ellis-Jones post at the start of this thread for more on what UKIP does behind the scenes.

    I appreciate you are a UKIP candidate and minded to defend them accordingly. Many people have been in your position before and reality has finally bitten later on. I wish you well, but suggest you be mindful of the reality experienced by others that is being relayed on this blog.

  38. 38 Sue 10/08/2013 at 10:36 am

    @tallbloke You know, there’s nothing I’d love more than for UKIP to win the election. It would mean withdrawal (one way or another) from the EU. I know so many UKIP people and they are a great bunch of people who I will readily vote for rather than the Lib/Lab/Con lot.

    But.. you really should be open to criticism and discussion without becoming defensive. Some of us genuinely want to know and yes, the questions may be awkward.

    Do UKIP have an exit plan? What is it? How will it work insofar as diplomatic relationships and trade relationships with other countries are concerned?

    What’s the truth about todays “Breaking News” with Eric Pickles and the “cradle to grave EU documents?”

    You have MEP’s in Brussels, you should should be informing us of what the facts are.

  39. 39 Adam West 10/08/2013 at 11:25 am

    tallbloke said: “Not trying to be funny here, but can any of those who are saying how badly Farage is handling things point me to some specific articles on what they think he should be doing?

    Seems to me that criticism carries more weight when an alternative, better strategy is outlined.”

    You have said it yourself and this is exactly what some people are wanting Farage and UKIP to do. UKIP could be criticising the main parties and the government from the position of having a detailed knowledge of the various ways to exit the EU and the consequences of those choices, but they aren’t.

    UKIP could be explaining to the public how global standards get set and how Britain ought to have its own seat at those negotiating tables rather than be represented by the EU.

    Given levels of apathy and distrust of politicians there is surely space in the market for a party to attract votes by actually being knowledgeable about the issues and explaining them to the public.

  40. 40 Peter Whale 10/08/2013 at 11:27 am

    I hate to disappoint Richard North but Farage and UKIP are the only group of people who have the liblabcon worried. When you see the establishment getting down to dirty tricks you know you have them scared. For all the correctness and righteousness of the Harrogate Agenda it is an irrelevance to the main three parties and only noticed by a few webcrawlers like myself.Unless you have a Beppo moment in H.A. and I doubt whether you have anyone with charisma of the Beppo or Farge magnitude then the only way to kick the establishment over the next couple of years up to and including the next election is UKIP.

  41. 41 Ken Whittaker 10/08/2013 at 1:19 pm

    Adam West has demonstrated above that you can criticise UKIP without being insulting. I certainly think he has a point. UKIP would be more impressive if they displayed detailed knowledge of an exit strategy on occasion whilst still hammering home the basic message. I also think Nigel should put his colleagues in front of the media more often to assure the public that UKIP isn’t a one man band. Roger Helmer is particularly good with the media.

  42. 42 Derek Buxton 10/08/2013 at 1:50 pm

    First, I am surprised at the attacks on your blog and unlike those, I would hope that you will keep up the good work. I twice voted for UKIP as an alternative to lib/lab/con but now why bother. I now tend to question whether they want to exit the EU. The three “main” parties all all alike in their love of all things EU and, if any thing different, is to came about the lies have to be exposed. That means using any means possible to get the truth out. Lib/lab/con will not do it and it appears that UKIP too will not do that which is needed.

  43. 43 FrankS 10/08/2013 at 1:56 pm

    Peter Whale: “the only way to kick the establishment…”
    Kicking the establishment is in itself a fairly unproductive activity, unless it achieves some tangible results.

  44. 44 Neil Craig 10/08/2013 at 2:04 pm

    In any assessment of whether UKIP is to blame for it not being on air we have to consider that British broadcasting is a state monopoly (monopoly being legally 70% though even ITV is heavily regulated by the state).

    Legally the BBC is required to be “balanced” but I don’t think anybody could honestly say they are. I recently questioned a BBC radio statement that “UKIP don’t want a debate” saying that it is not UKIP but the BBC who censor them off the airwaves. In response the BBC today asserted in a “political debate” that UKIP are racist, with obviously nobody supporting UKIP in the “debate”.

    I can also confirm Maureen’s experience that even newspaper letters, the one area which is supposed to be for the public, is censored to keep out UKIP proponents. Anybody can confirm the level of censorship simply by making mention of the BBC’s 28 gate scandal, thereby literally guaranteeing non-publication.

    Research worldwide has shown a very strong statistical correlation between government ownership of broadcasting in particular and authoritarianism, corruption and incompetence, which isn’t really surprising. Britain clearly has some of the most censored broadcasting in the world – it is quite possible that North Korea is worse but I have no way of knowing because what I know about North Korean media is what the BBC say.

  45. 45 Vanessa 10/08/2013 at 2:50 pm

    Being a paid up member of UKIP I agree with a lot that has been written here. Farage is not a good leader, sadly, but he is good in front of the camera. I have been writing some in UKIP asking them to set out how we would leave the EU but with no success.

    One thought for everyone – when the USSR collapsed none of the countries which found themselves free had negotiated a leaving strategy and yet did not fall off a cliff. They, presumably dealt with all the Agreements etc. once they had left the USSR. There was no Article 50 which took 2 years to arrange.

    Couldn’t Britain do the same ? Fall out of the EU and negotiate all the Agreements afterwards, albeit over a long time period ??

  46. 46 theboilledfrog 10/08/2013 at 4:17 pm

    @Vanessa You answer your own question. Member states didn’t leave the USSR – it collapsed as an entity. Conversely Article 50 is there for a member state to leave assuming that the EU is still intact and alive and kicking. Should it collapse itself then that’s a different matter altogether.

  47. 47 Neil Craig 10/08/2013 at 4:23 pm

    An even better example is Yugoslavia because the EU was enthusiastically behind all the seccessions there. The “independence” of Bosnia & Hercegovina took place 2 days after the referendum. OK there were problems with B&H – but these were that the regime we foisted on them was run by an (ex-)Nazi Moslem lunatic openly committed to racial genocide, also done with EU enthusiasm, or that the Nazi wasn’t the legal president at the time, Karadzic was, or that the “referendum” was a fraud, but none of that affects the legal principles except insofar as they make EU enthusiasm less debatable.

    The fact is that nobody in the EU who is not both an out and out Nazi and wholly corrupt could ever say a single word against us having a referendum & leaving 2 days later. And nobody in the EU or BBC or LabConDems who isn’t a corrupt Nazi liar ever has.

  48. 48 cosmic 10/08/2013 at 4:58 pm

    AM,

    You make reasoned criticisms of UKIP and some of its major figures, however, I detect too much relish in your, and particularly RN’s, stance.

    It doesn’t add to your case if it can be dismissed as personal animosity.

  49. 49 JM 10/08/2013 at 5:21 pm

    Agree cosmic, I have a lot of regard for Dr North and AM’s blogs. They are very in-depth and informative.

    However as you I feel there is to much relish in the criticism of Farage and UKIP.

    At the moment they are the only party, (regardless of what one thinks) who are causing real concern in the echelon of Westminster.

  50. 50 tallbloke 10/08/2013 at 6:10 pm

    Ken: “I also think Nigel should put his colleagues in front of the media more often to assure the public that UKIP isn’t a one man band.”

    Farage isn’t in a position to “put his colleagues in front of the media more”, because the media calls the shots. Farage has been turning away reporters telling them to speak to the relevant UKIP spokespeople on particular issues. They won/t do it. Why do you think that is?

    It’s because the media wants to portray UKIP as a one man band, so it can collapse the party on the next gaffe Farage makes. Fortunately he has the good sense to play a straight bat and not embellish these days. He is beleaguered by a press waiting to pounce. Who else do you know who has done a better job of coping with that?

    Please cut the guy some slack and lend a hand.

  51. 51 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 6:25 pm

    There seems to be some confusion here as to what UKIP is for. But if it is to get the party-three “worried”, then even there UKIP has a way to go. Labour must be delighted at the disproportional effect the party has, knowing that otherwise unwinable seats will fall into its lap as a result of UKIP’s intervention.

    As to a possible future “in-out” referendum, I see nothing that UKIP is doing which will at all have any great effect on the outcome of the vote. Throughout the UKIP “surge”, the small majority for “out” has barely changed and is still nowhere near sufficient for us to win.

    Strangely, I thought UKIP was an EU-out party. But now it seems more like the other political parties – seeking office and tailoring its message accordingly. When Farage starts concentrating on how to get us out of the EU, that is maybe the time to “cut him some slack”. As the moment, he is a liability – part of the problem.

  52. 52 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 6:36 pm

    tallbloke @ 10/08/2013 at 10:11 am – of you weren’t aware that my blog has put up numerous plans and ideas for leaving the EU. If you didn’t know that, then you haven’t been looking, and if you haven’t been looking then you are not in a position to accuse people of “taking loosely aimed potshots at his leadership without offering specific alternatives”.

    And then, ten years ago, as research director for the EPP, working across a desk from Farage, I gave him very specific advice … the same advice he is getting now. And now, as then, Farage ignores the advice and gets rid on anyone close to him who persists in telling him what he does not want to hear.

    Thus, I am afraid I must turn your ignorance on its head. I never found any difficulty in working alongside Farage for the good of the party. The problem is that Farage thinks he is the party and cannot work with anyone who does not agree with his personal ideas of how the party should be run.

    In time, if you continue with UKIP, you will have to make the choice of doing what is best for the party, or sucking up to Farage. Seems to me you’re already getting the practice in, though.

  53. 53 tallbloke 10/08/2013 at 7:03 pm

    Richard: “if you haven’t been looking then you are not in a position to accuse people of “taking loosely aimed potshots at his leadership without offering specific alternatives”.

    Read what I wrote!
    “loosely aimed potshots at his leadership without offering specific alternatives at this venue and becoming sarcastic when asked where they might be found.

    “you will have to make the choice of doing what is best for the party, or sucking up to Farage.”

    I find it easier to talk to Farage than you, he understands what I say without me having to repeat it in bold. I’ll go do some leafletting and allow you political wizards continue to unproductively bellyache about UKIP and insult their candidates.

  54. 54 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 7:17 pm

    Oh dear Tallbloke … I didn’t study your golden words as closely as I might … and missed your nuance that, not only must we featherbed you with specific alternatives, we must also do them at this venue, presumably to save you the trouble of exercising your tired little brain in having to look elsewhere.

    I am so terribly, terribly sorry, Tallboy. And by the way, what did your last slave die of?

  55. 55 Autonomous Mind 10/08/2013 at 7:54 pm

    Cosmic and JM, let me address your comment directly because I want to make a very important point that a lot of commenters may not realise.

    There is no relish in my comments, and although Richard can speak for himself, I assure you none in his either. What there is in my comments is utter frustration and desperation.

    I want UKIP to be strong. I want UKIP to be effective. Make no mistake, we absolutely need a strong and effective UKIP so it can play a vital part of the effort to get the UK out of the EU. By extension we need Farage and his team to be strong and effective. I wish it were so and from conversations with Richard I understand he largely shares the same view.

    The fact is UKIP is underperforming. What some people think as huge progress and recent success falls well short of what UKIP could and should be achieving. The reason for this is primarily Farage. He speaks clearly, loves being in front of the camera and has a knack for a soundbite.

    But much more is required of a leader and his team – and that huge gap is where the strategy is supposed to exist, where the evidence-based rebuttal should be and where the ‘serious’ and reassuring politics needs to be taking place.

    Some people look at the polls, see UKIP edging into double figures and declare this as groundbreaking. At one point the SDP/Liberal Alliance was polling close to 50%. People saw the alliance as the antidote to the two-party stitch up. Take a look back and see what happened to them in the election that followed. Confusion of the message and the absence of anything other than high level ideals saw support fritter away. Make no mistake, Owen and Jenkins were far more accomplished politicians than Farage ever will be, so as they imploded so UKIP can too.

    More than half of people polled say they want the UK out of the EU, particularly if single market access can be preserved. So why are so many of them sticking with the pro-EU parties? I contend it is because of the silence Farage oversees and because there is no clear plan being articulated that at a high level assures people we can leave the EU, stay in the single market if we choose, be independent on the global stage and therefore open ourselves to opportunities to improve this country’s influence, competitiveness and prosperity.

    People who want more detail can have the evidence provided, the others who just want a general idea about how it can be achieved and told there is evidence if they want to find out more can be reassured. But Farage will not do this. He wants to stay on the fence, giving a little tantalising glimpse of Article 50 to some, and not challenging those who ridiculously claim Article 50 is a EU trap. There is no strategy, there is no position. UKIP needs to have one and be articulating it now. But Farage, despite impassioned implorings, will not listen.

    Like I said, frustration and desperation.

  56. 56 cosmic 10/08/2013 at 8:58 pm

    AM,

    I’m sure that you want us out of the EU and you are frustrated with UKIP for valid and thought out reasons. However, it often comes across as schadenfreude whenever they stumble.

    I think the problem is that many of the problems of UKIP are down to personalities e.g. Farage does rhetoric and stunts. He doesn’t do organisation, delegation or strategy. You can’t discuss UKIP’s policy for leaving the EU and vision of the UK post exit, because they don’t appear to think one necessary, much less have one. This translates to UKIP does stunts and rhetoric only. It’s rather like a Chinese meal, great when you’re having it, but you’re hungry again half an hour later. Criticise this state of affairs and you tread a very fine line between criticism and a personal attack on Farage and it all sounds rather like a Tory attack on UKIP.

    It’s frustrating. I certainly don’t think UKIP are making their punches count, but on the other hand I don’t see them changing much and I can’t see how we would be advanced were they to collapse for some reason.

  57. 57 Ken Whittaker 10/08/2013 at 9:18 pm

    Tallbloke at 6.10 pm:
    “Please cut the guy some slack and lend a hand.” Believe me I am very much a supporter of Farage and a paid up member of UKIP, spreading the message whenever I can. I believe Farage has given massive service to the anti-EU movement and done remarkably well in such a hostile environment as the British media. I have to say though that Dr North has a point regarding lack of exit strategy, although, as you will have noticed, he not only doesn’t suffer fools gladly, he also doesn’t suffer intelligent men who disagree with him gladly. But he and AM and a few other bloggers do such valuable work on behalf of the anti-EU community that you must take the rough with the smooth.

  58. 58 tallbloke 10/08/2013 at 9:36 pm

    Richard: not only must we featherbed you with specific alternatives, we must also do them at this venue, presumably to save you the trouble of exercising your tired little brain in having to look elsewhere.

    Tallbloke said: Not trying to be funny here, but can any of those who are saying how badly Farage is handling things point me to some specific articles on what they think he should be doing?

    Looking at the way you handle polite requests Richard, I’m glad you longer support UKIP, having people like you around is a sure-fire vote loser.

  59. 59 Fred 10/08/2013 at 9:37 pm

    Does the fact that Farage did not go to university mean that he has an anti-intellectual streak ? If so it is a problem because a party which plans to do something needs to master detail and that is all about doing the research,

  60. 60 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 10:50 pm

    Fred – you are right in your surmise. There is a strong anti-intellectual bias to Farage. He is alright with people distant from the party … the profs … but anyone in the party and close to him, with any serious academic qualifications, he resents.

    And that is part of the problem … a very serious part. Essentially, UKIP is a revolutionary movement, and no revolution has ever succeeded without an intellectual base – however slender. This is a battle of ideas, one of competing visions, and unless Farage can encourage and lead UKIP to develop a coherent vision, it is going to get nowhere, long term.

  61. 61 Richard North 10/08/2013 at 11:52 pm

    tallbloke @ 10/08/2013 at 9:36 pm. I don’t think anyone sensible reading your input could be under any illusion that, as a partisan UKIP candidate, you were trying to score debating points rather than simply making a “polite requests”.

    That is a perfectly reasonable construction to put on: “… can any of those who are saying how badly Farage is handling things point me to some specific articles on what they think he should be doing?” (note that, at that point, you did not restrict it to a specific venue … only later do you play that game).

    The usual response to your type of gaming is, “google is your friend”, not least because it is up to the point-maker to keep themselves informed, rather than demand of others to be informed. You are not the only one who is busy.

    Now you top off your gaming with passive aggression, yet you fail to acknowledge that Farage has been given plenty of advice on alternative strategies, and that the defects in UKIP policies have been spelled out many times, with detailed suggestions given as to what their strategy should be.

    It is thus clearly a waste of time to point out to you that you could easily find such details. You know where to look, but you would prefer to have them obscured because it suits your book not to have alternatives on the table.

    That game playing is becoming typical of UKIP-the-cult. You are no longer any more capable of straight dealing than the “Liblabcon” which you so deride. Welcome to “Liblabconkip”. You have become just like the rest.

  62. 62 tallbloke 10/08/2013 at 11:58 pm

    My slender tired little brain got me through a Higher National in Mech Eng and a Joint Honours degree in Philosophy and the History/Philosophy of science. My local UKIP branch has at least two PhD’s and and an MA to my knowledge.

    UKIP’s rapidly expanding membership now includes capable intellectual constituents Richard isn’t cognisant of. he wouldn’t spot them if he met them, because they don’t talk down to people.

  63. 63 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 12:02 am

    “you would prefer to have them obscured because it suits your book not to have alternatives on the table.”

    Sure Richard, that’s why I made a request for people to link those alternatives in the first place.

  64. 64 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 12:23 am

    Ken: Dr North has a point regarding lack of exit strategy, although, as you will have noticed, he not only doesn’t suffer fools gladly, he also doesn’t suffer intelligent men who disagree with him gladly.

    Thanks Ken. I don’t know if I disagree with Richard or not, because I don’t have time to wade through his voluminous output to find the articles he won’t link for me. When people ask me where to find something on my blog, I just help them find it. SImples. It doesn’t take anything like as long as wittering on about how they ought to be able to find it without my help.

  65. 65 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 2:37 am

    tallbloke @ 10/08/2013 at 11:58 pm – you didn’t make a genuine request. You made a debating point disguised as a request. This is a common enough ploy, but if you can’t even admit to yourself that you are gaming, then there is not much hope for you.

    @ 10/08/2013 at 11:58 pm – if you think I am “talking down to you”, perhaps it is because you feel inferior. For myself, I take people as they come … and argue my corner robustly, giving them the courtesy of a straight response. I appreciate that this is not permitted in today’s UKIP but you might as well get used to it – the skills learnt might help you in the real world.

    @ 11/08/2013 at 12:23 am – and if you search my site for “exit strategy” how long does that take? That leads to you “Article 50”, which is also covered in detail on this site. How long does that take to google? And that will also take you to The Harrogate Agenda, which is linked on both sites. How difficult is it to find that.

    The point, of course, is that UKIP needs a strategy for winning an EU referendum … wow! How difficult was that to work out? If you had been following my site, you would have seen dozens of pieces on this.

    But what you wanted to do is project Farage’s critics as people who attack him without coming up with reasoned or positive alternatives. This you can’t do honestly because I, AM and others have been readily forthcoming with reasoned and positive alternatives.

    Thus, you have to pretend that such details are difficult to find and “ask” for help – a “win-win” for you because even if they are offered, you can pretend that they were so obscure that you needed help finding them.

    Tallboy, I know you think we were born yesterday. Nevertheless, while your gaming plays well with your UKIP pals, it really doesn’t cut any ice here.

  66. 66 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 7:35 am

    Richard: I got as far as “if you think I am “talking down to you”, perhaps it is because you feel inferior.”, scanned the rest of your comment for links, and decided to skip the rest of your bloviation.

    Instead I clicked on your name to visit your site, found myself being asked to sign up to an outfit called ‘facebook’ which I’ve heard shares people’s private data with the NSA, and left it at that.

    HAND, FOAD etc.

  67. 67 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 8:08 am

    Tallboy – if, in attempting to access my site, you only got as far as facebook, despite your Higher National in Mech Eng, then I suppose it is unsurprising that you needed help with links.

    Once can only observe that, if you reflect the general standard of competence for UKIP candidates, then it is hardly surprising that the party has not come up with a coherent exit plan.

  68. 68 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 10:53 am

    Richard – you don’t know what plan UKIP has come up with, because you are no longer privy to its behind the scenes policy formation. Given your outstanding ability to alienate people, it’s no surprise to me that this is the state of affairs.

  69. 69 Jo 11/08/2013 at 11:06 am

    I’ve always believed that the best ‘eurosceptism’ lies outside of party politics. And that in order for it to be most effective it’s message has to appeal across the whole political spectrum .. so as to transcend the media hype surrounding Britain’s ridiculously petty tribal politics. I’ve always felt that the integrity of ‘independence’, unsullied by party-political agendas and bias, is more likely to offer us the moral high-ground needed to succeed.

    Had euroscepticism been a ‘movement’ (instead of becoming a vehicle for huge ego’s with political ambition) , it’s highly likely that by now all three parties would be in no doubt whatsoever that wherever eurosceptics stand on the political spectrum – when it comes to the EU, we are all of the same implacable mind.

    Which is why I’m so damn angry with UKIP. It’s turned Britain’s membership of the EU into a party-political Left/Right issue when it was crucial that it remain ABOVE party politics.

    Idiots!

  70. 70 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 11:18 am

    Jo – It’s impotent to be implacably opposed to something if the three parties you can’t fit a fag paper between won’t take any notice. UKIP is the only reason the dubious 2017 referendum proposal is on the table.

    It’s the media that is trying to turn it into a left-right issue. UKIP continues to win new support from across the spectrum.

    If you want the only vehicle which has a fighting chance of getting the UK out of the EU to be a ‘movement’ rather than a ‘political party’, then join in and turn it into one. Less talk – more walk.

  71. 71 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 11:24 am

    And for all the reasons I keep on reiterating on this blog, Rog, the ‘walk’ won’t take you anywhere. You seem utterly impervious to the points I and others have been making. I was like you once, trying to bat away criticism of the Tories because they were my ‘tribe’. I got over it when reality bit. Perhaps one day it will be the same for you.

  72. 72 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 11:51 am

    Maybe so AM. For now I’ve thrown in my lot with UKIP, because they are the only outfit which looks like it might ’cause an earthquake in British politics’. But I am trying to effect ‘change from within’ on aspects of the party policy I find disagreeable, rather than railing from the sidelines. As with all political situations, you need to sacrifice some of the ideal for the practically achievable if you’re going to do it, rather than talk about doing it.

    As to being ‘impervious to the points’, I haven’t seen many usefully constructive ones. That’s why I asked for links to well reasoned alternatives to current UKIP policy.

    UKIP is the only serious BREXIT show in town. Heckle it or help rewrite the script.

  73. 73 Jo 11/08/2013 at 12:06 pm

    Tallbloke wrote: “Less walk – more talk” .. “Heckle it or rewrite the script”

    Oh for heavens sake, do spare us the twee little sound-bites.

  74. 74 Sean O'Hare 11/08/2013 at 12:08 pm

    @tallbloke

    As one UKIP member to another may I be of assistance with the links.

    With regard to Dr North’s exit plan I found this post very helpful:

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84163

    Perhaps you would like to compare that with Gerard Batten’s effort:

    http://www.gerardbattenmep.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The-Road-to-Freedom_WEB.pdf

    Tim Congdon seems to take a similar “referendum losing” approach.m

    You must admit Richard and AM do have a point. If you have any influence on the leadership please use it while there is still time to unite the “out” side.

  75. 75 Peter S 11/08/2013 at 12:50 pm

    Tallbloke – “Richard – you don’t know what plan UKIP has come up with, because you are no longer privy to its behind the scenes policy formation. Given your outstanding ability to alienate people, it’s no surprise to me that this is the state of affairs.”

    A well made point, Tallbloke. One is left wondering if Richard’s aversion to the EU is motivated more by his own bloody-minded refusal to be in a group with anyone – than by a belief in an independent Britain? UKIP’s increasing popularity as a group, of course, only thrusts this question ever-closer under his own nose… where an honest answer will make all the difference between him being an effective campaigner… or excluded in raging impotence.

    As for his fawning batman, A.M. – having alienated himself from pretty much the rest of existence, his unquestioning clinginess to everything Richard says is perhaps an understandable consequence. It’s enough to give ‘autonomy’ a bad name (and leave everyone else quietly chuckling that ‘Antonymous Mind’ would be a more fitting description).

  76. 76 Peter S 11/08/2013 at 2:49 pm

    For anyone too weary to plough through A.M’s longwinded post, here is a short summary:

    1) UKIP isn’t good enough for me (explicit)
    2) Rather the EU than me compromising (implicit)
    3) I might give up blogging because I’m as bored writing about nothing ever being good enough for me as I suspect my audience is in reading it (pre-lightbulb moment!).

  77. 77 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 3:01 pm

    :Peter S: for someone who has proved incapable of offering a coherent argument on this forum, I think you are one of the last people in the world from whom I would take guidance as to what AM is writing. You simply betray your unchanging prejudices and your unalterable ignorance.

  78. 78 cosmic 11/08/2013 at 3:03 pm

    Peter S,

    It seems to me you are falling into the same error you are accusing AM of, playing the man not the ball.

  79. 79 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 3:11 pm

    tallboy @ 11/08/2013 at 10:53 am – you really are into your straw men arguments … I am critical of UKIP for not having a published exit plan. I care not whether they have a secret one, if indeed they do … that, for a political party, is neither use nor ornament.

    And I am so glad you recognise my “outstanding ability to alienate people”, although I have to admit that, when it comes to you, I have not yet had to stretch my abilities. It would be nice to have a decent challenge, but you’re not it.

  80. 80 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 3:16 pm

    Cosmic, could this be because “the ball” is squirrelled away on a different blog somewhere else via facebook?

    Sean, thank you. I’ll read these two posts and then return to have a substantive discussion with Richard about them. If he wants one.

    Jo: Ignore the sound bite summaries and respond to the substantive points preceding them. Or don’t, I’m easy either way.

  81. 81 Peter S 11/08/2013 at 4:31 pm

    Richard N – if by ‘coherent argument’ you mean a view which is identical to yours, then it would be no argument at all, merely a rattling echo of your own thoughts – which is perhaps why you find AM’s blog such a draw… and groups so repellent. My ignorance awaits to be altered – although I have to say a grown man relying upon sub-schoolgirl levels of cattiness is hardly likely to do the trick.

    cosmic – depends upon which man is being played. Behind all the waffle, AM’s posts are all about ‘ME ME ME’. No doubt he is a pure as the new-driven snow and the motives of others appear to him to be dubiously principled, downright grubby or (at best) ambivalent… unfortunately for AM, that’s called ‘life’ and you can either muck in and help shape things or stand on the sidelines forever protesting and parading one’s own innocence (in the company of those like-minded souls, the Ecoloons).

  82. 82 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 4:59 pm

    Peter S, please – and I say this with all respect – do fuck off. I am bored to tears with your moronic ad hominem assaults.

  83. 84 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 5:39 pm

    AM: “This is the core problem with UKIP under Farage. Some people just hope and believe there is a detailed plan to get us out of the EU, but the reality is there is no detailed plan. There is an ideal and no thought out strategy about how it can be realised”

    The quote from Gerard Batten below demonstrates that there is a thought out strategy. AM might think it wrong, misguided, incorrect or whatever, but that’s a different matter. He ought to address or link to an article where he has addressed Batten’s argument.

    Gerard Batten MEP: “To sum up, a unilateral and unconditional withdrawal would be perfectly legal both under our own Constitution, and under international law. Unconditional Withdrawal is in the British National Interest
    Negotiations with the EU on withdrawal would be pointless, indeed counterproductive. The EU cannot permit a precedent of a successful withdrawal on beneficial terms as this might encourage the withdrawal of more Member States. The EU would most likely try to make the negotiations as difficult as possible, ending in the most onerous terms for Britain. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is a trap that countries intending to leave the European Union should not allow themselves to be drawn into. Article 50 says, “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”. It then sets out a lengthy, complex and costly procedure for doing so in accordance with Article 218 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The withdrawing Member State is not allowed to participate in the discussions or decisions of the European Council (Heads of Government) or the Council (Government Ministers) on the terms of withdrawal. The whole process may take up to two years.”
    http://www.gerardbattenmep.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The-Road-to-Freedom_WEB.pdf

    Richard’s outline plan at http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84163 appears to envisage negotiation of the article 50 process with a willing and reasonable EU.

    I think Batten’s analysis is more realistic, and offers the better course of action for BREXIT. The UK will be in a stronger position to negotiate with european nation states having already left the EU than it will be to negotiate with the EU whilst hamstrung within article 50 limboland.

  84. 85 Peter S 11/08/2013 at 5:41 pm

    AM – I see you have an echo too! :) I duly note you are bored… but I wonder if it is because my comments are boring – or simply too exciting to digest? It makes a difference, you know.

  85. 86 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 5:56 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 5:39 pm – UKIP candidate who doesn’t like Richard North finds Gerald Batten (UKIP MEP) to have provided a “more realistic analysis” than Richard North.

    I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you.

  86. 87 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 6:22 pm

    The insubstantial response from Richard is duly noted. And filed in the round cabinet.

  87. 88 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 7:00 pm

    In the hope Richard will enter into substantive debate I’ll add that his proposals are not without merit on other aspects apart from the actual BREXIT. For example, independent advisory committees are a good idea. It could be envisaged that they would be composed of experts in international law and EU procedure. I would imagine there will be plenty of Brit EU staffers looking for jobs, many, of whom might have been harbouring a covert loathing for the EU for a long time. Europhile staffers will probably stay in post with the EU. Other committee members might come from university history and, law departments, and business people from various industries.

  88. 89 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 7:04 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 6:22 pm – which is exactly the response I would expect. You don’t have the fraction of expertise that I have in EU matters, and you presume to act as an arbitrator, judging between the merits of a fraction of my work, and comparing it with Batten’s – something you have neither the knowledge and experience to do.

    I do enjoy the irony of this .. the precious talbloke in all his pomposity complaining about my “alienating” him … which is what it amounts to. Yet he thinks nothing of parading his ignorance and then reaching down to judge my work. He needs to look in the mirror. He would be looking at a perfect UKKIP candidate.

  89. 90 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 7:20 pm

    As you know Richard, opinions are like arseholes.
    Everybody’s got one.

    You want to go the Article 50 route, fine. Get a bunch of like minded people together and form a party offering an alternative to the UKIP strategy.

  90. 91 Audrey Quattro 11/08/2013 at 7:24 pm

    Congratulations to the Guardian, Lib/Lab/Con, BBC et al for succesfully focussing the attention away from the issues and onto the personalities.
    They must be reading blogs like this with such satisfaction……
    Win or lose, UKIP is all we have.
    Suggestions for alternatives are welcome.

  91. 92 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 7:25 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 7:00 pm – you don’t have the knowledge and experience to enter into “substantive” debate, and neither are you in a position to judge the merits of my proposals.

  92. 93 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 7:30 pm

    Audrey Quattro @ 11/08/2013 at 7:24 pm. No /// Bloom focused attention away from the issues and onto the personalities, the moment he mentioned “bongo-bongo land”. If anyone thinks any different, then they really have no idea how politics of the media work.

    As to UKIP being “all we have”, come a referendum, we will have an official “no” campaign. That won’t be UKIP – political parties cannot be part of the funded campaign. We need to make sure we have a good organisation, and one that is well prepared.

  93. 94 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 7:33 pm

    Richard: “which is exactly the response I would expect. You don’t have the fraction of expertise that I have in EU matters”

    My response wasn’t in reply to any discussion of EU matters Richard. It was in response to your attempt to divert attention from the substantive issues to personality politics by implying my preference was due to a personal difference between us, despite my supplying a supporting reason for my preference:

    “The UK will be in a stronger position to negotiate with european nation states having already left the EU than it will be to negotiate with the EU whilst hamstrung within article 50 limboland.”

    I could expand on why that’s my opinion, and will if anyone picks up debate on the actual issues.

  94. 95 Ken Whittaker 11/08/2013 at 7:34 pm

    Richard you are better than this. I’m sure many of us are intrigued by this debate and would like nothing better than the pro-article 50 and anti-article 50 argument thrashed out here and now. Insults are getting in the way. AM you could open a new thread just on this subject and let the best argument win (but no more potty language please).

  95. 96 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 7:42 pm

    Richard: come a referendum, we will have an official “no” campaign. That won’t be UKIP – political parties cannot be part of the funded campaign.”

    They were in 1975

    “The “Yes” campaign was officially supported by Wilson’s Government and the majority of his cabinet, including the holders of three other Great Offices of State: Denis Healey, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; James Callaghan, the Foreign Secretary; and Roy Jenkins, the Home Secretary. It was also supported by the majority of the Conservative Party including its newly-elected leader Margaret Thatcher” – wikipedia

  96. 97 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 7:49 pm

    Ken … you need to think about what you are saying. Tallbloke claims qualifications and expertise is engineering. I could not have a substantive debate with him in his area of expertise. I have neither the qualifications nor experience. He would be right to refuse to entertain a substantive debate with me.

    In like manner, I am a profession political researcher, with a research qualification (PhD). I have co-authored three books on the EU, write the leading anti–EU blog on the subject – and have been doing so for nearly ten years, and spent four years working in the European Parliament as a political researcher. To say that Tallbloke has neither the qualifications nor expertise to conduct a substantive debate with me is, therefore, a matter of fact.

    Further, I would not presume to judge his opinion or work in the area of his engineering expertise. Why does he feel entitled, without qualification, experience or expertise in my subject, to judge the merits of my work?

  97. 98 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 7:52 pm

    Richard: “you don’t have the knowledge and experience to enter into “substantive” debate”

    This thread was an open invitation for debate with UKIP supporters. Now the organ grinder is showing no sign of responding to my rebuttal of his accusation that UKIP has no strategy for its raison d’etre, and his monkey is strutting around in a fez clashing bells together when his own plan for BREXIT gets criticised.

    Pisspoor.

  98. 99 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 7:55 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 7:42 pm. Once again, you parade your ignorance. There were the official “yes” and “no” campaigns, and then the parties ran their own, separate campaigns. There was a Conservative “yes” campaign and a Conservative “no” campaign.

    Plucking your knowledge from Wikipedia on this isn’t good enough. The Wilson government supported the “yes” campaign, but the Labour Party split, with its “yes” and “no” supporters.

  99. 100 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 8:03 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 7:52 pm. If you look at the Batten document, you will find that it is a discussion document, which isn’t even on the official UKIP website. It represents Batten’s opinion. It is not a UKIP plan, and does not represent official UKIP policy. You don’t even understand the province of the document you quite at me, yet feel entitled to make claims about it.

    As to the “debate”, as I see it, you wanted a debate. I see no other UKIP members lining up, much less presuming to rubbish my Brexit plan without even studying the essence.

  100. 101 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 8:05 pm

    As well as the Joint honours degree in Phil/HPS I was also a local REP for the only political organisation ever to successfully force the European parliament to vote down a Council of Ministers directive twice and get it scrapped.

    Whereas Richard was working *within* the EU system, I was successfully fighting it. And winning.

    So Richard can take his appeals to his own authority on dealing with the EU and stick them, sideways.

  101. 102 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 8:11 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 8:05 pm – my goodness Tallboy, you clever little boy … successfully forcing the European parliament to vote down a Council of Ministers directive twice …

    There is no such thing as a Council of Ministers directive.

  102. 103 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 8:12 pm

    I see all the same arguments deployed by climate alarmists:

    “It’s not an official document”
    “You’re not qualified to speak with me”
    “I’ve been a member of the establishment so you’re wrong”

    ~Yawn~

  103. 104 Ken Whittaker 11/08/2013 at 8:14 pm

    Richard I own a couple of your books and hold you in high esteem. However, just because you are immensely qualified in all matters EU (and certainly no-one would dispute that) it doesn’t follow that you shouldn’t need to accept a challenge from time to time. It suggests a certain arrogance. I have read all your blog comments about article 50 and have never doubted that article 50 is the only option for an exit. Gerard Batten, through Tallbloke, is putting a different view and, as I wrote earlier, many of us would like to see this discussed in more detail. I’m sure Tallbloke wouldn’t claim to have your knowledge in this field but you could point out where Batten is wrong. Please humour him for his sake and for the rest of us.

  104. 105 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 8:16 pm

    Richard: “There is no such thing as a Council of Ministers directive”.

    Well you’re more of a Eurocrat than I am, so no doubt you’ll feel smug about knowing the nomenklature better than I do.

    Call it an EU directive or whatever. The point is, it came from the unelected to be rubberstamped by the MEP’s and for once, we got them to bin it.

  105. 106 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 8:29 pm

    Peter S, you have only ever popped up to post comments on this blog in an attempt to belittle, insult or annoy me. You have never once engaged on the substantive issues. That makes you nothing less than a stalker, trolling for a reaction rather than offering anything of use to the debate.

    Hence my comment. So go away and play with your digital paint set because you add nothing of relevance or interest. I have not blocked people from comments on this blog, but in your case I think I will make an exception.

    Rog, your comment re: Batten takes us full circle. IF there had been any thought given to the subject, he and you would be aware of what we have written here for months – namely that unilateral abrogation of the treaty in the way he suggests will, at a stroke, make the UK a third country and strike out all trade deals that have been negotiated by the EU on our behalf. It would also make it illegal, on day one, to export goods into the EU because no agreement for trade would exist.

    This problem has been rehearsed here time and again. People like Batten refuse to engage because they realise the chasm of a gap in knowledge and understanding of the situation would be revealed.

    So we are back where we started. UKIP’s leadership and ‘leading lights’ have no plan. Farage has neither endorsed nor refuted Batten’s vision. He has stayed resolutely silent and on the fence. No one can be sure where Farage is on this.

    Can you now understand the root of my argument and rationale for this blog post? I cannot be any more clear than this.

  106. 107 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 8:34 pm

    Ken, in response to your comment to Richard, see my comment above. This article 50 matter has been gone over in detail here and on EU Referendum. When challenged on the deficiency of the Batten vision, no response is forthcoming. In fact the Congdon approach is adopted, which is basically a patronising comment that they will not even discuss the matter and won’t address any points raised.

    That is the UKIP leadership in action. I doubt most UKIP members even realise their leading lights won’t accept any challenge on the facts and simply shut down the discussion.

  107. 108 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 8:43 pm

    AM: Thank you, substantive engagement at last.

    If the UK unilaterally declared its membership of the EU to be at an end, how long do you think it would be before the EU countries which do billions of pounds worth of business here beat a path to London to arrange bilateral trade agreements?

    Answer: They are already discussing them on an informal basis, and have been since UKIP got the Tory backbenchers to force Cameron’s hand on the referendum.

  108. 109 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 8:48 pm

    AM: When challenged on the deficiency of the Batten vision, no response is forthcoming. In fact the Congdon approach is adopted, which is basically a patronising comment that they will not even discuss the matter and won’t address any points raised.

    Pretty please with icing and little silvery mint flavoured balls on, please will you tell us what you think the “deficiency of the Batten vision” is regarding constitutional/legal aspects.

    Thanks.

  109. 110 Richard North 11/08/2013 at 8:52 pm

    tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 8:12 pm: I see all the same arguments deployed by climate alarmists:….

    Tallbloke … did anyone ever tell you you were a waste of space? If you put a fraction of the work into understanding the EU that you put into climate change, then you might be worth listening to. As it is, you continue to demonstrate your own ignorance, and you then expect me to take you seriously? Do the homework and then come back when you have something worth listening to.

    Bye.

  110. 111 Ken Whittaker 11/08/2013 at 8:53 pm

    I assume Batten’s plan would not provide us with the safety net of the single market. Or would it? I couldn’t see any mention of it. If there ever is a referendum it would be as well to have business on our side and that means retaining membership of the single market (for the time being). On the debit side we would also have to agree to free movement of labour; or could that be negotiated out? Can anyone help me with this?

  111. 112 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 8:54 pm

    Rog, if you had read the substantial postings on this subject you would realise you are using the same ‘hope and pray’ approach Batten is. This argument that ‘they do billions of pounds worth of business here and so will beat a path to London to arrange bilateral trade agreements’ is wrong.

    You need to understand two things. Firstly, the EU handles trade for all member states. A trade agreement with Germany could not exist. Instead you get a trade deal with all 27 other states, with a messy compromise of a common position for the whole bloc.

    Secondly, while the French, Germans, Italians and Spaniards might love to access our market and also buy British goods, they have to follow EU law. EU law does not make allowance for wanting to trade with a third country where no agreement with the EU exists.

    This is why Batten’s reasoning is wrong and why he, Congdon and their ilk with their scorched earth policy refuse to debate the issue at all, ever. They do not understand the law, they don’t want to accept it and they pretend it can be ignored. Fine. But ignore the law and you forgoe the cover of the World Trade Organisation.

    You really do need to grasp this.

  112. 113 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 8:56 pm

    And specifically, this from Batten:

    “Re-claim Britain’s seat in the World Trade Organisation and no longer vote as part of the EU ‘bloc’. Under WTO rules normal trading relations would continue with the EU Member States. All Member States are members of the WTO and it would be illegal for the EU to impose trade barriers on the UK.”

  113. 114 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 8:59 pm

    Ken, Batten’s plan does not provide access to the internal market (aka the single market).

    You have made the point Richard and I have been making for a long time. Business understands how the Batten plan is wrong and will prevent legal trade with EU member states unless there is a negotiated agreement to maintain single market access after invoking Article 50. This is why the CBI and Business for New Europe are fighting UKIP.

    This is why I have the frustration and desperation I referred to in the blog post.

  114. 115 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 9:03 pm

    Rog, if we leave the EU without negotating access to the single market, which is Batten’s wish, there would not be any trading relations with the EU.

    No country or bloc can trade with another without rules being established and an agreement made. If we simply up and leave, there will not be an agreement with EU member states. It’s nothing to do with trade barriers. It’s about there being no trade deal in place.

    Can you see the problem? It is so basic and elemental it defies belief that Batten cannot see it, or simply refuses to see it.

  115. 116 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:06 pm

    OK, so the issue seems to boil down to this:

    Does the EU, as a supranational entity, have any legal right to prevent EU member states trading with the UK if it secedes from the EU?

    And apart from the technical legal question:

    Would the EU survive if it tried to impose a trade embargo on the UK?

    I think not.

  116. 117 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 9:11 pm

    Does the EU, as a supranational entity, have any legal right to prevent EU member states trading with the UK if it secedes from the EU?

    Yes, because the EU has competence in trade. We do not manage our own trade as a member state, the EU does it on behalf of all 28 members via a common position. If we leave our deal has to be with the EU as a whole, individual member states don’t have the right to arrange trade deals for themselves.

    Would the EU survive if it tried to impose a trade embargo on the UK?

    It’s not an embargo, it’s the absence of a trade agreement. It wouldn’t try to impose an embargo, there would simply be no mechanism for trading.

    As for the WTO question, the WTO enforces and upholds the rules. If we leave the EU without a trade agreement there are no rules to enforce. There would not be a trade relationship.

  117. 118 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:11 pm

    New Zealand Lamb again.

    Hmmmmm, mint sauce.

  118. 119 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 9:14 pm

    As an independent country we could make trade agreements with New Zealand. But at this time, New Zealand’s trade agreement is with the EU. The UK does not exist as a trading entity for the purposes of making agreements.

  119. 120 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:18 pm

    AM: “If we leave our deal has to be with the EU as a whole, individual member states don’t have the right to arrange trade deals for themselves.”

    Well, this seems to be at odds with Batten’s discussion document:

    “Under WTO rules normal trading relations would continue with the EU Member States. All Member States are members of the WTO and it would be illegal for the EU to impose trade barriers on the UK.”

    What Batten appears to be saying is that regardless of the supranational bloc’s internal rules the member states are aligned with, they are as nation states members of the WTO and the supranational entity cannot legally prevent them trading with the UK.

    i.e. The EU might not like it, but it cannot prevent it.

  120. 121 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:20 pm

    AM: “The UK does not exist as a trading entity for the purposes of making agreements”

    It does, but while it is a member of the EU, it abrogates it’s negotiation rights to Brussels. Now, if UK secedes, and the E.U. doesn’t come up with a trading agreement with it sharpish, the member states whose economies rely on trade with the UK will simply bypass it, rules be damned.

  121. 122 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:21 pm

    And that’s what Farage has been saying.

  122. 123 Ken Whittaker 11/08/2013 at 9:29 pm

    AM: Thanks for the clarification. I’ve always gone along with yours and Richard’s view that, following EU exit, we remain in the single market until such time that we have suitable trading arrangements outside it.

    Tallbloke: I have to say that, although Batten’s plan seems attractive, I simply can’t see it being that easy. Even if you are correct about the WTO protecting us against trade barriers AM and Richard have persuaded me that the mechanics would not be in place to facilitate a continuation of trade unless we adopt the article 50 route. (Regardless of all this I remain a loyal UKIP member.)

    I’m still unsure about the possibility of opting out of free movement of labour if we remained in the single market. I’d welcome opinions on this.

  123. 124 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 9:31 pm

    Are you asking me or telling me?

    Batten / Farage are wrong. Since when did Farage do detail anyhow?

    We can do this ‘he said, she said’ nonsense until we shuffle off this mortal coil. But the facts will remain the same. We don’t have trading relations with the EU – we are part of the EU. If we leave without agreeing what our trade relationship will be, then there is nothing for WTO rules to enforce. We would be as alien to the EU as the US, or Japan, or China. What makes Batten think we have special status, apart from his ludicrous insistence that everyone would adopt the British view of the world on planet UKIP?

    As for being a trading entity, the very act of handing competence to Brussels means we are no longer a trading entity. We will not be a trading entity in our own right unless we leave the EU.

    I don’t see any point in keep replying to your comments. I’ve explained the legal position, but now it seems the law can be dispensed with on a whim according to Batten. The law is the law, anyone who tries to bypass it in the EU will face fines running into the billions. The rules cannot be damned, because they are the bedrock of every single trade deal. As for coming up with a trade agreement sharpish, the EU and Canada have been trying to agree a replacement deal for over four years. The situation is less complicated than an EU-UK deal. Go figure.

  124. 125 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:32 pm

    Richard: Tallbloke … did anyone ever tell you you were a waste of space?

    Yes Richard, Climate alarmists say that sort of thing to me all the time.

    “you continue to demonstrate your own ignorance, and you then expect me to take you seriously? Do the homework and then come back when you have something worth listening to.”

    They say that sort of thing too. I can still replicate the Sea Surface Temperature from 1874 with a simple solar based model better than they can with co2 and made up volcanic aerosol indexes though.

    Bye.

    A tout a l’heure me old cock.

  125. 126 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:37 pm

    Ken: Who dares, wins. If the EU tried to interrupt the flow of trade between member states and the UK, those member states would also opt out of the (economically, financially and morally bankrupt) EU.

    You can just imagine the Czech equivalents of RFichard and AM earnestly advising caution over leaving the remains of the USSR:

    Vaclav Havel would have fallen off his seat giggling.

  126. 127 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:41 pm

    AM: Thanks for the discussion, most illuminating. This one will run and run.

  127. 128 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 9:45 pm

    If only it was as simple as you make out.

    I don’t like your attempt to misrepresent my position either. I am not advising caution over leaving the EU, I am advising that we leave as soon as possible having ensured our commercial interests are protected. Batten’s approach of just leaving and wrongly expecting that everything will work out our way the very next day is worse than folly.

  128. 129 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 9:53 pm

    AM: I didn’t mean to misrepresent you and I apologise. I think Batten is right that article 50 is a snare. The compromise position is that UK doesn’t secede without a sufficient notice period for EU member states (under the EU aegis if they prefer) and other states to get a basic trade mechanism in place.

    They will warn the EU that if they don’t get it sorted out sharpish, they will bypass it. And they will.

  129. 130 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 10:00 pm

    The difference is that instead of UK being in article 50 limboland for years while the unelected tw@s in Brussels drag their feet, and make the UK look like the bad boys for wantn to leave, the EU member states which trade with us will do the arse kicking on our behalf to ensure their economies aren’t affected.

    Thank about it.

  130. 131 tallbloke 11/08/2013 at 10:12 pm

    I propose April 23rd 2016 as Independence day. :-)

  131. 132 Autonomous Mind 11/08/2013 at 10:15 pm

    So you’re at odds with your leader based on what I have been told. Farage, I am told, cites Article 50 as the exit route in his speeches (which conveniently lack any transcripts). So which is UKIP’s position? Article 50 or not?

    You’ve been sold a pup by Batten. I thought you had more sense and preferred to work with evidence than fall back on plausible sounding nonsense. Oh well, another nail in the coffin of a successful OUT campaign. We’re going to get stuck with the EU because of people like Batten and their conspiracy filled bullshit. I’ll look to myself and get out of the EU and leave the rest of you to it. You lot can live the with consequences of wanting to put ‘prestige’ ahead of fact based evidence.

    I cannot see the point of blogging any more. It’s a waste of time making the effort to share information dug out by hard working researchers and genuine experts when people prefer to fall in behind wishful thinking and baseless claims.

    You get Brussels.

    Goodbye all.

  132. 133 cosmic 11/08/2013 at 10:23 pm

    TB,

    It depends how much sustained political will you can count on to do this and carry it out.

    I suggest the political will is soft and is up for manipulation by both camps. The in camp with drivel about 3 million jobs and the Beeb to push it, is off to a head start.

    The comparison between eco/energy policy and the manipulation of perceptions by smuggling in dear and unreliable energy, largely under the radar in the form of FITs and presenting the nonsense as a moral good, and the move to stay in the EU (or the Tories’ version of staying in but grumbling) is quite clear.

  133. 134 Tcheuchter 11/08/2013 at 10:31 pm

    Oh my children, I despair.

    My grandmother had nine children five of whom were boys, who quarrelled.

    She would take them by their hair and bang their heads together. They would then stop their quarrelling.

    Oh that my grandmother were here to deal with you people.

  134. 135 Ken Whittaker 11/08/2013 at 10:40 pm

    Please don’t leave us AM – you haven’t answered my question yet about free movement of labour.
    Seriously, I’ve been following your blog for over 3 years now and I think I speak for (nearly) everyone when I say it’s one of the very best out there. You are making a valuable contribution to the cause. I can understand your frustration with UKIP’s leadership but quitting isn’t the answer. Keep making the case for article 50 and you may persuade other UKIP members, perhaps some with influence, to look again at the exit strategy.

  135. 136 cosmic 11/08/2013 at 10:45 pm

    Tcheuchter,

    But she could impose her will and common sense and she wasn’t exactly leading free minded souls to a common objective.

    Who in this can can do that? Especially since so many would be automatically suspicious of a charismatic leader?

  136. 137 neilfutureboy 12/08/2013 at 11:55 am

    Any thinking person does not agree with everything their party stands for (Margaret Beckett being an example of non-thinking). Nonetheless parties have proven an inevitable part of democracy. This sniping at UKIP is, I regret to say, reminiscent of the Judean People’s Liberation Front. May I suggest it would be more constructive to work with UKIP.

    On the question of the technicalities of quitting I would like to point out that the EU enthusiastically supported the secession of Bosnia and Hercegovina from Yugoslavia (which unlike the EU, was a recognised sovereign state) 48 hours after an extremely dubious referendum. With that precedent the EU cannot honestly or legally object to any departure slower than that.

  137. 138 Richard North 13/08/2013 at 1:48 pm

    Ken Whittaker @ 11/08/2013 at 8:14 pm. I am sorry to do this to you, but I cannot deal with a man so ignorant that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and is thus not in a position to understand or judge my work, nor compare it with Batten. Tallbloke wants to present himself as an equal party to a complex debate. He is not.

    For instance. Tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 9:18 pm repeats Batten’s error, by saying that, “Under WTO rules normal trading relations would continue with the EU Member States. All Member States are members of the WTO and it would be illegal for the EU to impose trade barriers on the UK”.

    This is palpable wrong, and I have dealt with it here on my blog:

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84025

    This illustrates that we are not dealing with a “different point of view”, as if Tallbloke’s was an informed view that is equal to mine. He speaks from ignorance, yet he presumes to judge my work. It is entirely unproductive for me to debate with a man who does not know his own limitations. All I get for my trouble is a slanging match.

    I could, of course, point out where Batten is wrong – you say. But in many respects, I have done just that. There is more than enough on my blog, and TBF and AM to counter the points that Batten makes. Yet Tallbloke is the man who is so busy. busy, busy. He says he cannot find the time to look up things and expects me to do it for him … yet he doesn’t even do me the courtesy of reading my blog.

    I don’t owe Tallbloke anything. If he wants to learn from me, he can do what others are quite happy to do – read my blog and join the EU Ref forum. I have neither time nor inclination to do personal tutorials, and especially for someone who thinks he knows it all already.

  138. 139 Ken Whittaker 13/08/2013 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you Richard. I’ve read the link and feel more comfortable about the position.

  139. 140 neilfutureboy 13/08/2013 at 3:34 pm

    According to Civitas’ Time to Say No our membership of the EEA (EU + Norway, Iceland & Lichtenstein) is separate from our EU membership and we cannot be involuntarily expelled. Thus on quitting the EU there would be no legal method of them refusing us Norwegian status.

  140. 141 Autonomous Mind 13/08/2013 at 4:06 pm

    Neil, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland make up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

    EFTA is not a perfect solution, but upon leaving the EU and the access that gives us to the EEA (internal market, aka single market), there is nothing stopping us re-joining EFTA (the UK co-founded it before joining the old EEC) and accessing the single market that way. It might be best as a stepping stone to a different solution, but should not be ignored.

    If the UK joined EFTA the group’s clout would significantly increase. The EFTA members would be delighted to have us on board. None of them are members of the EU, and the UK would not need to be either.

  141. 142 Richard North 13/08/2013 at 6:55 pm

    neilfutureboy @ 13/08/2013 at 3:34 pmI asked EFTA officials about this … this was the response:

    Regarding your first question, whether EEA membership is dependent on EFTA or EU membership Article 128 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area states that: “Any European State becoming a member of the Community shall, and the Swiss Confederation or any European State becoming a member of EFTA may, apply to become a party to this Agreement…”. The question whether or not a contracting party to the EU or the EFTA that would leave their respective agreement would remain a member to the EEA Agreement refers to a case to which an answer is not to be found in the text of the Agreement. However, it is not explicitly excluded either. This might partly be due to the fact that prior to the Lisbon Treaty there was no provision which foresaw quitting the EU. Such a scenario would therefore quite likely involve negotiations with all parties concerned.

    As to your second question, whether a former EU Member State could accede to the EFTA convention, article 56 (1) of the EFTA Convention states that: “Any State may accede to this Convention, provided that the Council decides to approve its accession,…”. In practice the issue of an accession to EFTA would need to be discussed and negotiated at a political level with the current EFTA states. Again, according to Article 128 of the EEA Agreement, such an accession to EFTA would entail the right to apply for membership in the EEA.

  142. 143 Anne 13/08/2013 at 10:31 pm

    Congratulations, by working against each other, you have just made sure that this Country will continue to remain in the European Union -forever, or until the whole blessed lot blows itself up through its own self importance. You know without doubt, the three major Political Parties want to remain in the EU-Forever. Just look what they have done to this Country since 1972-what more “evidence” do you want!-not a question.

    You either continue the fight or get used to this Country just becoming Regions of the European Union. UKIP is the only ‘life line’ you have at present, unless you feel you couldn’t nudge it in the right direction one day.

    Time is running out for you to do anything for this YOUR OWN Country.

  143. 144 Autonomous Mind 13/08/2013 at 10:44 pm

    Anne, where is UKIP fighting? What lifeline is it offering? Where is it even TALKING about the issues of EU membership and how to get out?

    The gloves are off. So here’s my message to tribal UKIP supporters. Wake up, get real and look at the facts before spouting off with tribal and lightweight attempts to defend UKIP, a party which is achieving NOTHING and is having rings run around it because it is focussed on servicing its own party interests.

    I’m sick of reading pleadings to support a party that is doing sod all to push the Brexit agenda. UKIP wants MPs and MEPs. That’s all. It has given up the Eurosceptic ground to the Tories and their Europlastic pro-EU agenda. Under Farage UKIP is now a busted flush.

  144. 145 Richard North 14/08/2013 at 12:30 am

    Anne @ 13/08/2013 at 10:31 pm. I was fighting what was to become the EU long before UKIP even existed. I have been consistent in my objective and never anything but loyal to the cause. Could it therefore be that the problem is one of UKIP working against me? You might, in that case, be better off speaking to UKIP, telling them that they should be working with people like us.

  145. 146 tallbloke 14/08/2013 at 7:54 am

    Richard says: For instance. Tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 9:18 pm repeats Batten’s error, by saying that, “Under WTO rules normal trading relations would continue with the EU Member States. All Member States are members of the WTO and it would be illegal for the EU to impose trade barriers on the UK”.

    I was quoting Batten, not asserting the veracity of the statement.

    “Pretty please with icing and little silvery mint flavoured balls on, please will you tell us what you think the “deficiency of the Batten vision” is regarding constitutional/legal aspects…. And specifically, this from Batten:
    “Re-claim Britain’s seat in the World Trade Organisation and no longer vote as part of the EU ‘bloc’. Under WTO rules normal trading relations would continue with the EU Member States. All Member States are members of the WTO and it would be illegal for the EU to impose trade barriers on the UK.”

    So in fact I was asking for expert opinion on this very point.
    But Richard knows that. He’s just being disingenuous.

    “This is palpable wrong, and I have dealt with it here on my blog:
    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84025

    At last, after the thread is closed and then re-opened (without informing the disputants from the UKIP side), Richard starts to do what I asked for in the first place; provide links to specific arguments bearing on the issue.

    In his blog post Richard says that after BREXIT we would have the same trading status with the EU as North Korea. Alarmists are amusing.

  146. 147 Autonomous Mind 14/08/2013 at 8:22 am

    No Rog, you played along making statements look like questions. When links were provided to you by another user you still chose to assert Batten’s position as correct. You couldn’t even be bothered to go to Richard’s blog and look at the content – easily searchable – for yourself.

    Our DM exchanges on Twitter had you assert to me that if I believe EU law and regulations (Brussels diktat as you described it) could stop a member state from exporting to the UK and vice versa if we leave the EU without a trade agreement, I needed to ‘get real’. You weren’t asking me a question, you were telling me I was wrong, based on Batten’s comic script. I put it down to you being a UKIP candidate and therefore backing your colleague for the party’s sake. It certainly can’t be put down to a thorough analysis of the facts and evidence.

    I greatly respect and admire your work on climate change alarmism. But on this topic you’re relying on sources that do not understand how these things are structured and who have no intention of finding out. For them it’s far better to dress up wishful thinking as factual reality. Well, I won’t indulge it.

    As for closing the comments and re-opening them, why should I contact people to tell them? I was going to shut down the blog, so sickened I feel by the support of Bloom and people doggedly sticking to false assertions in the way you have in spite of evidence to the contrary.

    But I’ve decided that instead of trying to make nice with tribal UKIP supporters, who ignore evidence, ascribe the mantle of ‘truth’ to any incorrect, ill thought out and plain stupid assertion coming from the team around Farage, and give me stick on the comments and in emails, I’m going to push back. My message to those people is simple… Get on board or get out of the way.

    I don’t care about support or endorsement from UKIP tribalists who are pushing a fundamentally flawed position. I won’t allow them, on this blog at any rate, to get in the way of those who are focussed on EU withdrawal instead of party politicking.

  147. 148 joblog1234 14/08/2013 at 8:53 am

    AM wrote: “My message to those people is simple… Get on board or get out of the way. I don’t care about support or endorsement from UKIP tribalists who are pushing a fundamentally flawed position. I won’t allow them, on this blog at any rate, to get in the way of those who are focussed on EU withdrawal instead of party politicking”.

    HEAR HEAR!!
    Jo

  148. 149 Richard North 14/08/2013 at 9:25 am

    Tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 11:51 am

    UKIP is the only serious BREXIT show in town.

    Tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 5:39 pm

    Richard’s outline plan at http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84163 appears to envisage negotiation of the article 50 process with a willing and reasonable EU.

    I think Batten’s analysis is more realistic, and offers the better course of action for BREXIT. The UK will be in a stronger position to negotiate with european nation states having already left the EU than it will be to negotiate with the EU whilst hamstrung within article 50 limboland.

    Tallbloke @ 11/08/2013 at 7:00 pm

    In the hope Richard will enter into substantive debate I’ll add that his proposals are not without merit on other aspects apart from the actual BREXIT.

    So, the Great High and Almighty Tallbloke does thus declare that UKIP’s (i.e. Batten’s work, which he mistakes as UKIP policy) BREXIT is the only game in town. He dismisses mine (on the basis on one of my posts, which isn’t even a full plan, but merely a draft to the IEA) and then “invites” me to a “substantive debate”, as long as I don’t want to discuss my “actual BREXIT” (not that he actually knows what it is), because he’s already dismissed that, declaring Batten’s to be “more realistic”.

    Patronisingly, though, The Great Tallbloke is prepared to debate “other aspects”, as, in the opinion of The Great Man, they are “not without merit”.

    Roger Tattersall, if you really think that is aimed at engendering an open debate, then there is something very, very wrong with you. But you are not even finished.

    In full patronising mode, you oh so loftily declare: “In his blog post Richard says that after BREXIT we would have the same trading status with the EU as North Korea. Alarmists are amusing”.

    Point of fact, Roger … you know, F A C T … if the UK unilaterally abrogates its trading agreements with the EU, it no longer has any trading agreement with the UK. Absorb that tiny little fact, and you then will be aware the UK’s relationship with becomes one of “third country status”, with no preferential agreements. That puts it in exactly the same category as North Korea.

    In other words Roger, you don’t know what you are talking about. Yet you presume to tell me I am wrong in your chippy, patronising way, and you expect me to be nicey nicey to you? Grow up!

  149. 150 tallbloke 14/08/2013 at 9:55 am

    I doubt third party readers will have much trouble discerning who has been doing the patronising here.

  150. 151 tallbloke 14/08/2013 at 10:01 am

    AM wrote: “My message to those people is simple… Get on board or get out of the way. I don’t care about support or endorsement from UKIP tribalists who are pushing a fundamentally flawed position. I won’t allow them, on this blog at any rate, to get in the way of those who are focussed on EU withdrawal instead of party politicking”.

    Now I understand. “An open letter to UKIP supporters” was not an invitation to reasonable and polite debate after all. It was a rhetorical flourish intended to bounce around the AM echo chamber.

  151. 152 Autonomous Mind 14/08/2013 at 11:27 am

    Rog, don’t you get bored of building strawmen? Are they all you can knock down in your effort to be a loyal Faragista?

    I suppose so, especially when you pretend to be interested in debate and getting to the nub of an issue, only to reject all but the inaccurate line spouted by a party MEP.

    Thinking about it, Rog, your invitation to reasonable and polite debate didn’t result in a debate at all. You already had your position set and had no intention of being open minded to evidence and argument that demonstrates your position to be flawed. Which is why you have still failed to address the detail and have instead resorted to creating strawmen to knock down.

    You are sure of your position, so go ahead and explain why Batten is right and I am wrong. I’m all ears.

  152. 153 neilfutureboy 14/08/2013 at 11:40 am

    Thanks AM & Richard – those were reasonable answers. So staying in the EEA/EFTA would be slightly more complicated than CIVITAS thought (unsurprising since it is the nature of the universe that things become more complicated the deeper you look) but that, so long as EFTA remain “delighted to have us on board” we have no trading problem after a Brexit from the EU itself.

  153. 154 3x2 14/08/2013 at 9:21 pm

    TallBloke Re: “Pretty please with icing and little silvery mint flavoured balls on, please will you tell us what you think the “deficiency of the Batten vision” is regarding constitutional/legal aspects….”

    Gerard Batten MEP:

    “To sum up, a unilateral and unconditional withdrawal would be perfectly legal both under our own Constitution, and under international law. Unconditional Withdrawal is in the British National Interest.”

    Let’s stop right there. When The UK gets a Constitution I will look it over for the Article covering “British National Interest”. Until that time, what he is talking about here is tearing up agreements, negotiated by the UK in good faith, and suggesting that there is nothing to stop us doing that. Well we can declare War on China too. Doesn’t make it a sound idea.

    What measures then does Batten have in place to reassure “The Bond Market” for example. I ask because surely you don’t believe that Interest rates won’t go through the roof once our potential creditors realise that we (The UK) are now in the business of throwing prior agreements we don’t like into a nice big fire outside Parliament?

    “Negotiations with the EU on withdrawal would be pointless, indeed counterproductive. “

    Without heading into detail, this is nonsense at face value. We cannot undo Forty years of membership overnight. This is the equivalent of taking on a ‘divorce specialist’ who recommends that you simply take the day off work and change the locks to your house.

    “The EU cannot permit a precedent of a successful withdrawal on beneficial terms as this might encourage the withdrawal of more Member States. The EU would most likely try to make the negotiations as difficult as possible, ending in the most onerous terms for Britain. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is a trap that countries intending to leave the European Union should not allow themselves to be drawn into. Article 50 says, “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”. It then sets out a lengthy, complex and costly procedure for doing so in accordance with Article 218 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The withdrawing Member State is not allowed to participate in the discussions or decisions of the European Council (Heads of Government) or the Council (Government Ministers) on the terms of withdrawal. The whole process may take up to two years.”
    http://www.gerardbattenmep.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The-Road-to-Freedom_WEB.pdf

    First something that applies to so many anti-EU comments that I have lost count. We are “The EU”. We have been party to the negotiation of every Directive and Treaty that has ever emerged since we signed up.

    The idea that “The EU” will attempt to hold us against our will is nonsense. Germany, for example, does a fair volume of trade with the UK. Germany will have its say in a post EU agreement with The UK as will Poland and every other member.

    What I think is clear enough is that The EU, particularly the EZ, realised long ago that The UK cannot continue with them down the road to full Political and Economic Union. Quite why people believe that the remaining members would be so stupid as to ‘trap us’ into remaining is beyond me. To what end?

    “Richard’s outline plan at http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84163 appears to envisage negotiation of the article 50 process with a willing and reasonable EU.”

    Again, what, exactly, would the remaining members gain from holding us against our will? It is just more ‘tin foil hat’ level nonsense.

    “I think Batten’s analysis is more realistic, and offers the better course of action for BREXIT. The UK will be in a stronger position to negotiate with european nation states having already left the EU than it will be to negotiate with the EU whilst hamstrung within article 50 limboland.”

    “Batten’s analysis” is nothing of the sort. There is no analysis. Right from the initial reference to our non existent Constitution it is just populist crap.

    Even if there were some imaginary ‘EU Cabal’ intent upon keeping The UK in “limboland”, just how long would they keep that up after a phone call from the German Chancellor?

    Out of interest you say “The UK will be in a stronger position to negotiate..”. How does that work? Having just demonstrated to the other side of the table that Treaties and Agreements mean nothing to you, you then feel that this puts you in a stronger position? In what way? Why would anyone sit down and negotiate with you at all?

    Your word is your Bond. Start tearing up your contracts, as Batten suggests, at your peril.

    (You are also wrong about the two year trap. I imagine that we would be negotiating for at least a decade.)

  154. 155 neilfutureboy 15/08/2013 at 11:03 am

    If “The idea that “The EU” will attempt to hold us against our will is nonsense.” is correct then we seem to be wasting an inordinate number of photons on the discussion.

    However that does seem incompatible with the contention that we would be kept negotiating “for at least a decade”.

    Once again I point to the precedent of the EU enthusiastically supporting Bosnia & Hercegovina’s unilateral declaration of independence 48 hours after their du7bious referendum.

    On the sanctity of treaties that precedent also applies in that all EU members were signatories to the Helsinki treaty under which we guaranteed to “take no action against the territorial integrity or unity” of other signatories such as Yugoslavia. Wit5h that precedent the EU cannot, under any circumstances, justly object to us leaving the EU by simply repealing the Act.

  155. 156 Richard North 15/08/2013 at 11:47 am

    There is no question of “if”. The EU holding us against our will is nonsense. The treaty specifies that, unless all the parties agree to the contrary, after two years UK membership would automatically cease if an agreement had not by then have been reached.

    As to negotiating for a decade, this is conceivable. When you see how long accession negotiations have been, one might suppose that unravelling the agreement might take as long. However, negotiations can only be extended past the two years with the agreement of both parties (see above). Likely, it would be the UK asking for an extension.

    Finally, I really do not think the example of Bosnia & Hercegovina’s unilateral declaration of independence is helpful. Under consideration in respect of us leaving the UK is not only what is possible (we could leave tomorrow) but what is sensible.

  156. 157 neilfutureboy 15/08/2013 at 1:32 pm

    If we agree we could leave tomorrow, and remain in the EEA then EFTA with no serious trading problems, why shouldn’t we?

    After all if membership is costing £150 bn a year (Congdon’s figure) the incentive to go quickly is clearly substantial & would require some comparable disadvantages.

  157. 158 Richard North 15/08/2013 at 1:45 pm

    We could leave tomorrow … but it cannot be taken as a given that we would remain in the EEA. The indications are that we would have to rejoin the EFTA first, and then apply to rejoin the EEA. There is no settled word on this,

    That apart, there are considerably more than just Single Market issues to negotiate, and then there is the renewal of the 800 or so unilateral treaties that the EU has negotiated with third parties.

    As for Congdon’s £150bn a year figure, a pinch of salt is called for. As rhetoric that is fine. As a basis for policy, forget it.

  158. 159 neilfutureboy 15/08/2013 at 2:38 pm

    You, I and AM discussed the EEA/EFTA option earlier in this thread and it seemed good.

    Third party treaties could be maintained simply by both parties saying they will continue to adhere to them

    I reviewed Congdon’s figures here http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/cost-of-eu.html and it is clear that on several points he had chosen to estimate low. £226 billion would also have been defensible. I have seen no serious media criticism of the figure which alone suggests it is accurate.

  159. 160 Richard North 15/08/2013 at 3:57 pm

    The EEA/EFTA option is precisely that … but it is not a shoe-in. It would have to be negotiated and agreed with the EU and well as with EFTA partners. That takes time.

    On the unilateral treaties, you miss the point. These are treaties between the EU and third parties, from which we benefit by virtue of our membership of the EU. Once we leave the EU, we no longer benefit from them and, ostensibly, have to make our own treaties to replace them. That will take time, unless there are short cuts … which would also have to be negotiated.

    As to Congdon … regulatory cost estimations are largely black magic. Think of a number … the lack of media criticism in this context hardly legitimises them.

    The point, of course, is that there is rarely any proper cost-benefit analysis. Take, say EU slaughterhouse regulations. Collectively, they cost billions. But, if there were no EU regulations, there would be national regulations … which would be essentially the same (defined perhaps by Codex). So we leave the EU … we no longer have EU regulations … we have “Codex” regulations. Have we saved any money? I think not.

    Repeat that exercise thousands of times and you very quickly come to the view that the Congdon analysis is fatally flawed.

  160. 161 neilfutureboy 15/08/2013 at 4:44 pm

    Well as you have already acknowledged we are part of the EEA and there is no mechanism for the EU to remove us. Since the legal rule is that any ambiguity, assuming g there is any, is assumed against the drafter the EU would have no option.

    I have explained the treaty “short cut” – if, say, Singapore didn’t want a the EU free trade agreement to include Britain they could, of course, not agree to maintain it. But there is no reason whatsoever to think they would wish too. This is Mencken style political hobgoblin.

    We are in agreement that nobody, not even you, has made a serious attempt to dispute Congdon’s figures. We do not even appear to be in disagreement that he was rather conservative in his calculations – I suspect because he assumed that if he left any way of questioning them they would be questioned by the BBC etc. The idea that we need most of the EU regulations and could not run them (or rather those few we really need) far cheaper is not one I see any evidence for.

  161. 162 3x2 15/08/2013 at 6:18 pm

    @neilfutureboy 15/08/2013 at 11:03 am

    However that does seem incompatible with the contention that we would be kept negotiating “for at least a decade”.

    Sorry, I didn’t expand on that comment but I see Richard did later. To Clarify, my view was that it would be The UK requesting an extension.

    @Richard North 15/08/2013 at 3:57 pm

    On the unilateral treaties, you miss the point. These are treaties between the EU and third parties, from which we benefit by virtue of our membership of the EU. Once we leave the EU, we no longer benefit from them and, ostensibly, have to make our own treaties to replace them.
    That will take time, unless there are short cuts … which would also have to be negotiated.

    This is something that seems to have been missed in ‘the debate’.

    To simplify it a lot. If one were a member of a Trade Union then one would benefit from the collective agreements that Union had negotiated over the years. Stop paying your ‘dues’ next Monday and you are on your own. You are no longer a part of ‘The Union’ and so, as far as ‘Employers’ and ‘The Union’ are concerned, agreements made with each other no longer apply to you.

    Being a little more realistic. Suppose it is announced that Turkey will join ‘The EU’ at some point fairly soon. Turkey will then be covered by every EU agreement with ‘third parties’ ever negotiated.

    The EU has effectively guaranteed to ‘third parties’ that Turkey will now conform to the same standards as (say) Germany. Turkey is now a co-signatory, by virtue of ‘membership’, on all agreements between
    The EU and ‘third parties’.

    This door swings both ways though. Should The UK leave on Monday, having torn up its ‘EU membership card’ in a fit of pique, then it can no longer be ‘guaranteed’ by the other members and chaos would then ensue (mostly for The UK).

  162. 163 Richard North 15/08/2013 at 8:21 pm

    neilfutureboy @ 15/08/2013 at 4:44 pm – now you are beginning to be irrational. Having spoken to EFTA officials, I learned that they were unable to confirm either way whether EEA membership is dependent on our continued membership of the EU. In other words, this is a major unknown.

    The officials thus suggest that there would be high level political discussions on this, and the best (and only rational) guess is that the outcome would be unknown. For you then to superimpose your opinion on this is not really very helpful. You seem to be seeking certainty where there is none.

    I really don’t know what you think you are achieving by this. By so doing, you waste your time and, more importantly, mine. Be told. The position on EFTA/EEA is unknown.

    Further, I really don’t know where you are going with your “Mencken style political hobgoblin” jibe. I have been referring to unilateral treaties between the EU and third countries. You seem to think I am referring to trade agreements. If you do, you are wrong, which would mean you really don’t know what you are talking about.

    As to Congdon, you assert that “We do not even appear to be in disagreement that he was rather conservative in his calculations …”. I believe I said that his analysis was “fatally flawed” … and you may infer from the context that his figures are gross exaggerations.

    With that, you din’t even begin to answer my point. A massive amount of regulation promulgated under the name of the EU originates from international bodies, and would remain the same whether we were out of the EU or in.

    For you then to counter that “the idea that we need most of the EU regulations and could not run them (or rather those few we really need) far cheaper is not one I see any evidence for” is not really an intelligent response. You seem to have no evidence either way and, more to the point, you have no way of distinguishing between EU regulations and those with EU labels which have originated elsewhere.

    Thus, if you want to debate an issue, do it seriously. Don’t waste my time.

  163. 164 neilfutureboy 16/08/2013 at 11:31 am

    Actually it wasn’t me who “irrationally” said we would be welcome in EFTA, but your ally AM above ” EFTA members would be delighted to have us on board. None of them are members of the EU, and the UK would not need to be either.”

    Personally I found his argument that EFTA members would like the increased clout our membership gives to be entirely rational.

    I continue to believe the EU is over-regulated. I do not believe I am alone in this.

    If you have substantive factual disagreement with Congdon’s calculations you should give them rather than just saying how dreadful they are while carefully omitting to say why. That would be an intelligent and serious debate – assertions and name calling aren’t. As I have pointed out repeatedly nobody, even in the Europhile movement, has felt able to do so.

  164. 165 Richard North 16/08/2013 at 12:28 pm

    As far as I am aware – and in particular from talking to Norwegian politicians, we would be welcome in EFTA. However, the EEA membership is a different proposition. You cannot conflate them and should not, as you seem to be doing, confuse them.

    It is by no means clear that we drop out of the EEA when we leave the EU, as the EEA agreement is separate from the EU treaties. It can be argued either way, dependent as to whether we sign the EEA as a member of the EU or as an independent sovereign state. EEA officials were not prepared to commit themselves in this and there is obvious ambiguity.

    To insert your own certainty (without apparently understanding the issues) is, in my view, irrational.

    Equally irrational in the context of this debate (such that it is) is the injection of your assertion of your belief that the EU is over-regulated. So what? Do I care what you believe? Is this relevant to the argument? The issue is whether, on leaving the EU, we would still have to implement much of the regulation that currently we implement under an EU label. Again and again you evade this issue.

    As to Congdon, unless you are prepared to pay me as a consultant, please do not tell me what I should do. But, in fact, I have substantive factual disagreement with Congdon’s calculations, and have stated the reason for that disagreement. Congdon attributes cost to implementing EU regulation but does not recognise that much of that regulation would be implemented whether we were in the EU or out of it. He thus exaggerates the cost of EU membership.

    This, I have spelt out – I have spelt out in detail on my blog and have set out the basics here. This is something you also ignore, whence you now tell me that I “should give them (the reasons I have already given)” and then accuse me of “saying how dreadful they (Congdon’s calculations) are while carefully omitting to say why”. I have not omitted so say why – simply, you seem incapable of understanding the point.

    neilfutureboy – I think I have been fair with you and have attempted to answer your points directly and honestly. But I can’t deal with your stupidity. Respond in your own way, and have the last word, crafted to show how clever and right you are. I have more important and pressing things to deal with.

  165. 166 Tcheuchter 16/08/2013 at 12:40 pm

    Slightly off topic, but I think it might be of interest to Dr North; this from Iain Dale on Con Home:-

    “The whole selection system for MEPs is so corrupt as to be totally appropriate for a banana republic. If the selection systems for selecting local government candidates have been reformed to make them more democratic, why has the Conservative Party insisted on sticking with this outrageous system which guarantees the incumbents have a job for life if they want it?”

    Seems UKIP isn’t the only party with selection concerns.

    Whole article here:-

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thecolumnists/2013/08/from–1.html

  166. 167 Richard North 16/08/2013 at 1:41 pm

    Tcheuchter @ 16/08/2013 at 12:40 pm. Thanks. Corruption breeds corruption, I guess.

  167. 168 neilfutureboy 16/08/2013 at 2:17 pm

    Richard it was you who, in your previous post, introduced EFTA officials conflating what they said with EEA membership.

    On the EEA all you have done is blow smoke – I have already pointed out the legal principle that if there is ambiguity it is assumed against the drafter, in this case the EU.

    I do not know how others here will take your assertion that you have already disproven Congdon’s calculation elsewhere and we should accept it sight unseen. I only point out that on an earlier case you provided a link to what you were claiming to have written in debate with Ken. That was an honourable and sensible way to behave.

    Clearly further debate is impossible. I will leave it to others to decide whether you have disproven my points, or even seriously attempted to do so.

  168. 169 Autonomous Mind 17/08/2013 at 4:19 pm

    Neil, is that principle enshrined in EU law? I’m curious as to why you are so certain the legal principle would hold when so many legal principles differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    What I will say on the Congdon issue is this, He has asserted the cost of EU regulation means leaving the EU will result in huge savings for UK taxpayers. But as Richard has pointed out, the EU largely passes on, in the form of regulation, that which has been determined at a global level by international entities.

    It is not a coincidence that regulation in the US and elsewhere so closely matches what is passed in the EU. Brussels cannot be blamed by US taxpayers for the cost of regulations they have, which originate from the same place. So it stands to reason that leaving the EU would not free us from the regulatory burden passed on by international bodies to which the UK would have to be a signatory in its own right in order to make our way in the world.

    The point here is that Congdon does not seem to understand where the burden of regulation originates and how it is cascaded to national level. So how can his claims about huge cost savings be either quantified or even correct in principle?

  169. 170 neilfutureboy 17/08/2013 at 5:06 pm

    I hadn’t thought of it before AM but checking Wikipedia produces

    “The principle has also been codified in international instruments such as the UNIDROIT Principles and the Principles of European Contract Law.” which seems conclusive.

    American writers often complain that their EPA does indeed over-regulate them & that this has costs not paid by competitors (though clearly shale regulations there have been far less onerous than here). I do not accept that there are few differences in regulation’s burden worldwide, though I am seriously concerned that this will come about as part of a de facto world government. To which the EU is a stepping stone.

    Some parts of Congdon’s costings, eg the EU’s food tariff walls, are clearly not enforced by international rules.

    I remain convinced that if a serious & thorough rebuttal of Congdon’s £150 bn was possible it would have been done and if it had been done it would have been linked to here. This ability to present evidence, though sometimes abused by boilerplaters, is one of the great virtues of the net.

  170. 171 Richard North 17/08/2013 at 5:40 pm

    Autonomous Mind @ 17/08/2013 at 4:19 pm – neilfutureboy seems determined to invoke a principle which does not and cannot apply, and thereby invoked a certainty that does not exist.

    There is no “ambiguity” as to whether we we drop out of the EEA when we leave the EU. As the EFTA officials state, the possibility of a member state leaving the EU was simply not foreseen. Therefore, the issue is not dealt with.

    On that basis, the officials suggest that there will be high level political discussions on whether the UK can remain in the EEA, or whether it will have to apply to rejoin. In the absence of legal guidance, the decision will most likely be taken on political grounds, after prolonged negotiations.

    That neilfutureboy regards this as dong nothing but “blow smoke” is thus indicative of his inability to see the point and his determination to impose a degree of certainty that simply doesn’t exist. Therefore, the only thing he gets right is that debate is impossible.

    As to Congdon, he argues firstly that I am asserting that I “have … disproven Congdon’s calculation elsewhere and we should accept it sight unseen”. This is after I write that I have spelt out in detail on my blog (which is visible and searchable) AND that I have set out the basics here (on this comment thread). Against such logic, there is no known antidote.

    He now relies on the assertion that if a serious & thorough rebuttal of Congdon’s £150 bn was possible it would have been done …”. This is his response to my arguments. Never once is the central point addressed.

    You thus are perfectly right. If Congdon does understand where the burden of regulation originates and how it is cascaded to national level, he shows no sign of doing. On that basis, his claims about huge cost savings form the EU cannot be quantified, and any estimate he makes is most certainly going to be exaggerated.

  171. 172 neilfutureboy 17/08/2013 at 6:07 pm

    Richard I have long respected your EU referendum blog but

    “There is no “ambiguity” as to whether we drop out of the EEA when we leave the EU. As the EFTA officials state, the possibility of a member state leaving the EU was simply not foreseen. Therefore, the issue is not dealt with”

    Is simply silly. If a circumstance has not been dealt with then by definition there is ambiguity – at least until an underlying principle clears it up as I believe I have. Indeed your entire argument about the EEA relied on you claiming there WAS the ambiguity you now deny.

    If you had done the detailed dissection of Congdon’s £150 bn on your site as you say why not simply provide the link (as, if I may remind you, I had the courtesy to link to my evaluation of it)? I promise I would read it.

    I note that because you said you weren’t talking to me you addressed your comments on me to AM. That is a playground tactic I will not emulate.

  172. 173 Richard North 17/08/2013 at 7:29 pm

    neilfutureboy @ 17/08/2013 at 6:07 pm – I gave you an opportunity to have the last word but even I was not to guess how well you would confirm my worst expectations of you. And now, for want of your ability to understand the simple points raised, you resort to your trite little phrases (“blowing smoke”) and now I am “silly”.

    And so you tell me that you have “long respected” my EU Referendum blog … but now, poor thing, you don’t. But I don’t know who you are, anything of you, your qualifications or experience. You hide behind a screen name and I am supposed to be concerned by your newly-found lack of respect?

    As to your almost total lack of comprehension, your inability to understand the point about the EEA is bizarre. Here, I rely on the authoritative response of EFTA officials in response to my specific questions. I take their replies as definitive, not only because of who they are but because their replies make sense.

    But is that enough for you? Oh no! Mr hide-behind-screen name, you know better, You know better than all of us. And when I disagree with you – I “blow smoke” and have now become “silly”. You simply won’t be told that the EEA position is complicated, and is largely a political rather than a legal issue. Why is that such a big deal for you? What is it that you are so wrapped up in your mindless word games?

    Then, you become obsessive about Congdon. I’ve made the point here that he does not recognise that much of the EU legislation adopted by the UK would still have to be implemented if we were not in the EU. That is the point I have made, and I have developed the theme on my own blog. Now you want to turn this into a demand for a full-blown evaluation of Congdon’s work.

    I have not done a full-blown evaluation. It is not worth my time doing it. The world has moved on and we’re looking at different things. All I care, and all I argue for in respect of Congdon, is that his failure to recognise dual implementation means that his figures are likely to be exaggerated. How many times do I have to write this for it to percolate your brain? What is it with you that you have such extraordinary trouble dealing with such a simple point?

    But then, that is where we were a few exchanges ago, except you have now dropped the issue about unilateral treaties. It was about that point that I told you that I cannot deal with your stupidity. It is perhaps the tragedy of stupid people that they cannot recognise their own stupidity, and have to keep revisting it. Proverbs 26:11 comes to mind.

    Anyhow, if you now finally want your last word, be my guest. I really did try with you, but you have defeated me. Stupidity wins. Add your clever comments, dream up another insult and “win” the argument. You’ve earned it … you deserve it, so go for it. Just don’t ask me to read it.

  173. 174 The wasp 17/08/2013 at 8:01 pm

    Mr North what a pity that you indulge yourself with so much personal abuse of those who do not worship at your feet. It does nothing but damage your case.

  174. 175 neilfutureboy 17/08/2013 at 10:31 pm

    My name is Neil Craig. Had you followed the link I provided earlier you would have been able to find my name, email & indeed address had you desired to search thoroughly. http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/cost-of-eu.html

    Moving from discussing the facts to gratuitous personal insults, on a completely new subject, shows you know you have no case (& is incidentally hypocritical since you approve of our host calling himself AM)

    I note you have also given up even pretending that your denunciation of Prof Congdon’s calculation is based on actually having done an assessment.

    In an earlier post here I lightly compared your denunciation of UKIP in terms of the behaviour of the Judean People’s Liberation Front in Life of Brian. I now suggest, in all seriousness that your unrelenting sniping at UKIP, beyond all rationality, is indeed motivated by the jealousy of a medium sized fish determined to dominate a very small pool.

    There is genuine work to be done in changing Britain & indeed the world. We should work together in doing it.

  175. 176 Autonomous Mind 18/08/2013 at 10:22 am

    Neil, Richard made it clear why Tim Congdon’s calculations must be wrong. The fact remains, although you don’t seem to be acknowedging or accepting of it, that if regulation will apply to the UK regardless of whether it comes directly to us via global bodies or is transmitted through the filter of the EU, the cost of it will remain irrespective of EU membership in the future.

    The problem is Congdon’s failure to recognise the EU is not the originating body for the majority of regulation that arrives here for implementation. In seeking to use regulatory cost as a stick with which to beat the EU, in his effort to drive a damaging unilateral abrogation of our treaty requirements without meeting our obligations under existing treaties to exit cleanly via the agreed process, Congdon is undermining what remains of UKIP’s credibility and revealing his own ignorance.

    These are people who are supposedly in a political grouping because of their shared major focus of ensuring the UK can exit the EU. Yet they are not even close to mastering their own brief. Small wonder they don’t like talking about Brexit in anything other than the most high level and superficial terms. All they have is an aim, not a plan.

    Actually, I concede they may have something else, but we are not allowed to know about it. I’ll explain in a post I’m about to put up just to illustrate the point.


  1. 1 UKIP anti-EU Knockers - EUREALIST Trackback on 16/08/2013 at 1:29 pm
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