Why EUsceptics should be concerned

We are a bit late to the party with this because of a trip over the weekend, but nevertheless it is a topic that has to be mentioned here.

Two polls reported over the weekend, from ComRes and Opinium.  The results do not make good reading for EUsceptics.



In addition to these, ComRes also published the latest findings from its Favourability Index of parties and leaders.  There is a pattern that emerges.

The decline in support for UKIP and decline in voters having a favourable view of Nigel Farage stands out from the rest.  This contradicts UKIPs claims to have momentum and to be increasing its support around the country.

Voters are trying to find out what UKIP’s key message is and what the party stands for.  But they are only receiving a confused jumble of information that appears, at best, random.

Since Farage chose to get involved in the discussion about the floods he has, among other things, separately called for the UK to request financial aid from the EU solidarity fund, then called for foreign aid money to be diverted to the west country, then called for the creation of a civil defence force and then called for a public inquiry.  Anyone listening out for the UKIP line on this subject is either suffering from whiplash or has given up trying to work out exactly what Farage’s priority is.

What is interesting is that while William Dartmouth MEP has, according to UKIP’s website, ‘condemned the EU’s skewed priorities, exposing the damaging consequences of EU directives on flooding,’ Farage’s only references to the EU have been to say of the Environment Agency that:

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

Then to add later that:

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

This is Farage all over, hedging his bets, letting other people like Dartmouth speak out so he can stay silent.  This allows Farage to come down on either side of the fence later and claim either that the party did link the flooding to the EU laws followed by the Environment Agency, or that the party did not link the flooding to EU law, it was only the opinion of one MEP.

It is this kind of pin-head dance that leaves voters drawing the conclusion that Farage is absolutely no different to any other party leader, engaging in spin and playing with semantics.

Too many voters, when they think of EUscepticism, think of Farage.  They link UKIP and its performance to the EUsceptic movement.  So when Farage’s or UKIP’s stock falls with voters, the wider EUsceptic movement is tainted by association.  So seeing this developing trend over recent weeks of UKIP’s polling figures dropping is a frustrating cause for concern for everyone else who wants to see the UK exit from the EU.

There has been a lot of bluster from UKIP officials and supporters that the party increased its vote nearly five fold in Wythenshawe last week, that the party got nearly 18% of the vote, that it ‘came from nowhere’ to finish second in the election.  But the harsh reality is that despite most of its supporters being energised and motivated and turning out enthusiastically, they still only received 4,301 votes.

At the general election they will not increase that by much, if at all.  In all but a few areas the reality is the party has limited appeal, and I would wager that a large part of that is the way the party says what it is against but does not explain to people what it is for.  The invitiation is for people to vote UKIP because they aren’t Labour, Conservative or Lib Dems, not because there is any positive message people can readily point to that makes them say, that is a vision I share and I’m going to support it.

There never will be such a compelling message when the leader wants to be all things to all men and offers contradictory manifestos and campaign slogans depending on whether they contest is in the north or the south.  The fact therefore is that after 20 years of UKIP the effort to free the UK from the EU monolith is no closer than it was before.

11 Responses to “Why EUsceptics should be concerned”

  1. 1 Richard North 17/02/2014 at 4:05 pm

    It seems that the UKIP supporters have finally run away – a final retreat from reality.

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 17/02/2014 at 4:25 pm

    If that’s the case, there will be some very confused and disappointed people wondering what happened the day after GE 2015.

  3. 3 Sebastian Weetabix 17/02/2014 at 6:07 pm

    UKIP is a protest vote, that’s all. I shall vote for them in the Euros but with Farage as a golf club comedy turn they will never be a serious alternative in a “real” election.

  4. 4 Dave 17/02/2014 at 7:58 pm

    On the contrary – those polls also show Labour and Miliband approvals INCREASING…….. all it really demonstrates is that the countries voters are too easily hoodwinked. To make the point ‘politely’…….

  5. 5 adams 17/02/2014 at 9:48 pm

    A period of silence from Nige would be much appreciated , agreed .
    However do not discount the constant barrage of anti UKIP propaganda from the BBC and MSM . The general public (I think) still believe what they read or hear ! Amazing but there we are . As R. North often points out the europhiles are among the most ignorant people on the subject they are fanatical about . The EU Empire . The MSM brainwashing is succeeding I am sorry to admit . May 22 is crunch time in more ways than one .

  6. 6 lfb_uk 18/02/2014 at 7:18 am

    Living in Blackpool, and being a regular drinker, in the few pub I imbibe my tipple, it’s mainly the older people in their 50’s and 60’s that are “falling out” with mainstream political parties. These are the people who listen and understand what is going on.

  7. 7 David Roberts 18/02/2014 at 11:33 am

    The President of the European Union this week tells us that, according to the EU rules, Scotland, if it leaves the United Kingdom, would no longer be part of the EU. Obviously the same would apply if England left the UK. As usual the Scots know what they are doing. I am sorry all the effort by Richard North and others on Brexit, would then have been unnecessary. As after a Yes vote in an English referendum, England would also no longer be part of the EU.

  8. 8 Autonomous Mind 18/02/2014 at 8:49 pm

    The Scots won’t vote for independence.

    Believe me, the fight for Brexit is only just getting started and is a fight we will need to have.

  9. 9 theboilingfrog 18/02/2014 at 9:02 pm

    @David Roberts Almost certainly if (and it’s a massive massive if) the Scot’s vote for independence then membership of the EU for Scotland will be fudged beyond belief.

    Instead what you’re see here are threats by the EU to ensure the Scot’s don’t do something “stupid” like vote for self-determination.

    FUD is being deployed in plain sight to persuade the Scots through fear of the “right” answer…

  10. 10 Sebastian Weetabix 19/02/2014 at 7:25 am

    My fellow Scots are not being offered independence. They’re being offered separation from England and continued subjugation under the EU and the only sensible answer is “no”.

    The SNP are so stupid, so consumed with bigotry, they are happy to burn their own house down to ensure their neighbour’s catches fire.

  11. 11 Sam Duncan 20/02/2014 at 2:41 pm

    What Sebastian said. And David, have you looked at the Scottish polls? I won’t go as far as AM, to say that my fellow Scots absolutely won’t vote “Yes” (I don’t want to jinx it :) ), but the Nats still face an uphill struggle.

    I dunno about “fudged”, TBF. My money’s still on them having to apply as a new member state. And if I thought they wouldn’t, I might – might – vote “Yes”, on the sort of Paris vaut une messe principle that getting out of the EU is worth sacrificing 300 years of shared history for. But they would. The Nats’ whole policy for the last quarter-century, the one that rescued them from obscurity, has been the ludicrous and contradictory “independence in Europe”. If any new Scottish state found itself actually independent, their supporters would, justifiably, feel they’d been sold a pup. They have to get in. Their credibility depends on it.

    Of course once they are, and their supporters realise that the new state isn’t independent at all… a different pup will have been sold, and their credibility’s still shot to hell. They can’t win, even if they win.

    And that, as much as anything, is why I’m voting “no”. British independence has to come first, before we can even begin to address the Scottish question clearly.

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