In the comments on the previous post, one of the commenters, Jacq, said something that deserved a considered reply. However as my reply covers important issues that need to be understood more widely, I am sharing it as a blog post of its own. In Jacq’s comment was this paragraph:
In some people’s eye’s, UKIP are damned whatever they do. Talk about something else like foreign aid, immigration etc, and they are “not talking about the issue that matters”. If they talked solely about the EU, the same critics would accuse them of having no credibility as a political party as they only had one obsessive strand of policy.
The reply to Jacq was this…
This opens up a very important issue. UKIP has proved the point that a political party cannot be the channel for a campaign of the nature of EU withdrawal. They have fallen into the trap that was laid for them by the Tories some years back.
When UKIP focussed on EU withdrawal they were accused of being a pressure group. So to appear like a serious grown up party they began to focus on other areas, such as the ones you mention and Farage’s ludicrous attempt (given his personal behaviour, some of which is not in the public domain) to espouse family values.
As UKIP has deliberately vacated the high ground on the EU to further their party political credentials and focus on Farage’s electoral ambitions, so the Tories and their outriders – having waited so patiently for their plan to unfold – have gleefully moved onto it and are relentlessly spinning their faux renegotiation narrative, setting the agenda with the lie that single market access requires EU membership, and having an unchallenged run in falsely claiming Norway and Switzerland get told what to do by fax without having any opportunity to influence the rules. Where UKIP should be tearing the Tory lies apart, they can be found in the pub or talking about anything but EU matters.
My limited attempts to draw attention to this, and the need for UKIP to not only rebut the Tory lies but reassure voters UKIP has a plan for getting us out of the EU while avoiding all the catastrophes Roland Rudd and his minions are claiming await us on Brexit, have resulted in the personal invective you refer to. They probably deserve more of the same because they have still not uttered a word about the likelihood of Matthew Elliott, a pro-EU Tory, being backed for leadership of any ‘No’ to EU referendum campaign. The Tories have encouraged UKIP to leave their house, have moved in, are selling off the possessions and now plan to let it out to their friends who will use it to support Tory pro-EU aspirations.
Because Farage, Batten, the Bowler-hatted buffoon, Nuttall et al are being criticised by us for not addressing with this central issue, their very defensive supporters have attacked Richard and me and berated us for not getting in line and offering unquestioning fealty to the Blessed Nigel. Regardless of the evidence we provide that a simple and easy to understand message (backed up where necessary with hard, uncontestable facts) can be communicated repeatedly, to reassure voters that we can leave the EU and retain access to the single market, because Farage and Co have not argued it we are charged with being pro-EU trolls, accused of walking us into a EU trap and rejected out of hand of being of any account.
What I did not include in the reply was this… campaigns of the kind that would be run to get the UK out of the EU do not work if they are run by political parties. UKIP, in order to satisfy party political considerations, has backed away from the focus that is needed to achieve Brexit. That is why they have gone ‘off reservation’ and are talking about issues that, ironically, we cannot possibly resolve unless we achieve withdrawal from the EU in the first instance.
UKIP has ceased to be fit for the purpose it was created for. It has given up leadership of the Eurosceptic movement by pushing EU withdrawal and the focus on it down the list of priorities in order to play party politics. Instead of keeping EU matters at the forefront of its agenda UKIP is devoting more of its energies to servicing narrow party interests, such as trying to appeal to floating voters and win council and parliamentary seats. Instead of being the raison d’etre of the party, withdrawal from the EU is now just another element of a larger agenda.
Say what you like about the Europhile Tories, they know how to do politics and they have successfully neutered UKIP. Sure, a number of Tory voters and floaters will back UKIP in the EU elections next year (and due to the date change, increase UKIP’s council election prospects) but come the General Election, UKIP will achieve hardly anything. By the time any referendum came around, the UKIP piece will have been removed from the board and the Tories will be rolling the dice.
It’s time for a non party political movement to take the helm. And it must not be the pro-EU wolf in Eurosceptic clothing, Matthew Elliott, who is leveraged into position to guarantee the false Tory ‘reform/renegotiation’ option goes unchallenged. That would be the final nail in the coffin.