Open goals, media handling, EU and the RSPB / WWF axis

The news cycle has moved on. The media roadshow has all but left town.  But for many people of the Somerset levels, the distress and upset caused by the flooding continues.  While the impact of the stagnant floodwater lapping around their communities and homes is all too real, for most people outside the area it is now almost a distant memory.

It’s with that in mind that Nigel Farage dropped into Burrowbridge on Thursday – for a pint naturally – and even made a reference to EU directives.  But the event, shoe-horned in to fit around various appointments and travel plans ahead of the UKIP spring conference, passed by virtually unnoticed and unremarked, and with it went Farage’s promise on Twitter of a press conference addressing the EU dimension to the flooding.

On the comment threads of this blog, my urgent calls for UKIP to get into this issue immediately and underline the EU role in it all, was dismissed by some for whom any criticism of the party or the leader is an outrage that requires immediate condemnation.  There was apparently a party ‘strategy’ in place to deal with this that we knew nothing about and which, surprise surprise, is yet to reveal itself weeks later.  Also despite Lisa Duffy’s train wreck comments on BBC Any Questions recently, there has been no correction from UKIP of her factual error about EU responsibility for the extent of the floods. Forget not being in the game, they haven’t even turned up at the venue!

Then on the failure to make the most of the media and PR opportunities available, I was told I knew nothing about these things, despite working in the profession for the last 14 years and having worked on political campaigns.  Now I don’t know everything but I do know that so far the use of the media, to make the point that EU membership and governance has played a major part in the ruination of the lives of people on the levels, has been non existant.  ‘Nige knows best’ was the subtext, but the outcome has been lamentable.  UKIP’s approach on matters of susbtance is always reactive, if it comes at all, and all too frequently the message misses the point.  The ‘Trust in Nige’ narrative used by the more tunnel visioned party members consistently puts us into a holding patten awaiting pronouncements from the great sage that then fail to materialise, then then adopt the ‘nothing to see here’ approach and move on to something else completely leaving the issue unresolved.

It is not just one open goal missed (again) but several.

The open goal of evident and explicit EU directives central to the actions of the Environment Agency regarding the flooding, some of which we referenced here, has been missed.  But also the open goal concerning the EU’s co-funding of projects with the RSPB and WWF to demonstrate techniques to evaluate and plan floodplain ‘restoration’ (aka, how to flood areas such as the levels).

Then in the last day another open goal has been presented that we can see clearly will be similarly ignored, that of the squandering of tens of millions of Euros of taxpayers’ money by the EU, to fund the activities of the very environmental groups who want to flood more areas in similar fashion, here and overseas. Everywhere we delve into reports and documents on this matter we see not just the all-too-active dead hand of the EU, but unelected and unaccountable long beak of the RSPB alongside the grubby panda’s pawprints of the WWF, which are liberally plastered over everything.

These supposed charities are in fact lavishly funded extensions of government in the EU.  They play a hugely significant and anti-democratic role in the formulation and delivery of policy and implementation of laws.  This EU governance structure should concern and anger people forced to live with the consequences of RSPB and WWF environmental desires being put into effect.

Many people who want something to justify leaving the EU would draw the line at being part of a union that not only permits this but actively encourages it and uses our money to ensure it happens.  But from UKIP we hear not one word about this.  What is it going to take to make them up their game and get these messages across?  Clearly the blogs will have to continue researching where the dots connect and publishing the details in the hope at least some peopleget the message.

If these facts, combined with a financial hit in the shape of grants totalling over €77 million given by the EU to just the WWF alone – one of the groups who pushed for the flooding of the levels – isn’t a subject for an EUsceptic party to bring to wider public attention, then what is?  This is not a blogger hoping UKIP will fail, this is a blogger frustrated that the party is failing and letting down everyone who wants to be free of this EU-driven eco lunacy.

49 Responses to “Open goals, media handling, EU and the RSPB / WWF axis”

  1. 1 Richard North 01/03/2014 at 10:54 am

    I think that is the best and fairest expression of where we want UKIP to be. The essence of our ongoing criticism has always been an attempt to push an unresponsive party into being more effective, and into using its resources more wisely.

    All too often, though, the response to criticism, no matter how well intended, has been to attack the critics. It seems the message is that the criticism should be resolved by suppressing criticism.

    In the Somerset floods, however, there is a valuable lesson in how not to handle media relations, and how not to manage the research effect. A sensible party would learn lessons from the experience. And then, I fear, there is UKIP. On past form, it will admit no error and learn nothing.

  2. 2 Vanessa 01/03/2014 at 2:50 pm

    Believe me, there are many, many UKIP members who feel exactly the same as you do but we are powerless to do anything because the majority of members think the sun shines out of Nigel’s arse.

    I could not agree with you more that we should be shouting about the floods and so many other things highlighted by Richard North’s EUReferendum but time and again we are told all sorts of stupid excuses for not saying anything. I have sent emails to the “top table” to try and get them to put out a truer message – all to no avail.

    But I stay with them because I cannot bring myself to vote for anyone else.

  3. 3 Graham Gillis 01/03/2014 at 2:56 pm

    I agree with your insights.
    Please understand the the majority of constituents in my ward will never understand your arguments.
    It needs to be simple.
    That is what Farage understands.

  4. 4 theboilingfrog 01/03/2014 at 2:59 pm

    @Graham Gillis How is ignoring the EU dimension on the Somerset levels a “simple message”?

  5. 5 cosmic 01/03/2014 at 3:34 pm


    Because it doesn’t fit in with the simple idea of the EU being a lot of johnny foreigners in Brussels, telling us what to do, so “Up Yours, Delors!”.

    There’s no EU directive directly outlawing dredging or ordering the flooding of the Levels.

    It’s a very good illustration of how the EU actually works and it’s far more subtle, and it shows how much of the problem is within us. The EU sits at the top, and there are organisations beyond it, but it’s part of a system of government which has evolved and works in mysterious ways. It’s really quite sinister.

    It also involves criticising groups like the RSPB and the WWF. I think most people think the WWF is about saving cuddly pandas rather than an organisation which has a political agenda and has been involved in some murky financial arrangements.

    It really is UKIP’s business to expose all this and give a more complete picture of what the EU is about, and give a more complete picture of where they want to take us than just leaving the EU.

    However, I’m not surprised that they would be cautious about it as it would need careful playing. The RSPB has a membership of over a million.

    I suspect the main reason is that it took the leadership by surprise and has gone over their heads.

  6. 6 Richard North 01/03/2014 at 3:58 pm

    The thing is, Cosmic, that unless we address these issues now, come a referendum we could find the likes of RSPB mobilising its members to support the “in” camp. We have to demonstrate that the subsidy-junkie NGOs are part of the problem.

    For sure, it might be complex, but there is nothing so complex as something you don’t understand. The task of a political party is to take complex issues and simplify – but not over-simplify – them. But before you can begin the process of simplifying them, you have to understand them first.

  7. 7 Bellevue 01/03/2014 at 4:00 pm

    I agree with Vanessa…… I cant bring myself to vote for anyone else.
    I am not a member of UKIP, but I vote for them every time I get the chance. I honestly believe that it is the only way of telling LibLabCon how utterly furious we are with them.
    As for not voting at all, TPTB just ignore that.

  8. 8 Autonomous Mind 01/03/2014 at 5:28 pm


    The EU has created laws to deliberately flood land like the Somerset levels in the name of nature. The Environment Agency carry these EU laws out instead of focusing on flood prevention. Millions of pounds of your money are given by the EU to flooding projects for bird habitats instead of maintaining proper flood protection. All this is backed by documentary evidence. Do you want to be part of the EU which puts birds before humans and uses your money to flood British people out of their homes and British farmers off their land?

    Is that simple enough for you? That is less than two minutes work without refining the message. Is it really beyond UKIP to craft a simple message of this kind and use it, or do we also need to present one ready to use – without thanks, recognition or acknowledgement?

    The detailed work done by Richard is not supposed to be shared with voters in its original state, it’s supposed be used to back up assertions like those above for those who want proof.

  9. 9 Paul 01/03/2014 at 7:31 pm

    Fear not all. It seems that one UKIP mep has made it job to expose the link between the flooding and EU directives.

    Go straight to the comments section where I left a small message about this issue which was picked up by Mr. Helmer who said “Check my presentation tomorrow in Torquay.”
    Nothing to report as yet – perhaps He’ll make it the next topic on his blog.
    Mind you, worryingly, there’s nothing on his twitter feed either:

  10. 10 BulloPill 01/03/2014 at 8:17 pm

    You might think that the constituency where I live, South Worcestershire, where the present Conservative MP, Sir Peter Luff, is to stand down at the next election to spend more time with his taxpayer purchased toilet seats and bedlinen, would be very ripe territory for UKIP. There is a total disgust at the way our so-called “representative” has behaved, and a distrust of politicos and the system. But in fact, UKIP make very little impression here. It’s these staunchly (small c) conservative areas where a message of independent thinking, libertarian ideals, private enterprise and enlightened self-interest should have great appeal. I detect no interest “down the pub” in What Farage has to say, but some people are at least aware of the EU dimension in the flooding and in other touchy areas pertinent in this area such as incoming EU nationals. Sadly, I think the consensus at the next election may well be “none of the above”. And this in a constituency that always had very high turnouts in General Elections.

  11. 11 ombzhch 02/03/2014 at 2:55 am

    I am sorry, I agree with Cosmic, The message must be comprehensible and simple “The rivers were not dredged by EU directive followed by the EA” … this was wrong and antidemocratic and we will soon be out anyway.

    You and Richard North are careful experts and from what I have seen your country really needs both of you, but let not the Perfect be the enemy of the Good … BOTH of you stop sniping from the stands and help Nigel.

    He is your best hope!

    Remember Reagan “Never speak ill of another Republican!”

    Grüss und viel gluck aus Züri, omb

  12. 12 Autonomous Mind 02/03/2014 at 9:48 am

    There is no point helping someone who does not want to be helped and ignores what you say. No matter what happens in the Euros or in 2015, UKIP will not progress the case for leaving the EU one bit.

    If he is our best hope then I may as well give up now because that means we’ve lost.

    It’s time to leave the field and let those who think UKIP is the answer get on with it. Perhaps you will be kind enough to look in on them in three years time and see how far they’ve managed to go. They should be easy to find, they will still be going round in circles at the same place.

  13. 13 Richard North 02/03/2014 at 9:49 am

    Indeed the message must be comprehensible and simple … but not not over-simplified and certainly not wrong. An inaccurate, over-simplistic message opens to messenger to challenge and ultimately to ridicule, thereby detracting from the campaign.

    Therefore, ombzhch, you need to be addressing your comments to Farage. He needs to starts doing his job properly, and when he does he will get our support.

  14. 14 Nigel 02/03/2014 at 10:37 am

    Is it true that “autonomous” and Mr North used to be members of or closely associated with UKIP? If so, why are you not there now arguing for the changes you want? Whether you are right or wrong, it seems that your policy of being outside UKIP telling them you have the answers if only they would listen appears not to be working. At least, judging by your near constant criticism, it would appear they are not paying you much heed.

    What do you hope to achieve by this criticism? Are you trying to garner enough support amongst readers to force change from without? Is this really a good tactic given that a few years of such a policy has yielded very little? If you were unable to effect change from within (assuming that was the case) what makes you think your attacks from outwith will fare any better?

  15. 15 Nigel 02/03/2014 at 10:45 am

    Mr Mind – re your last comment. Who is our best hope in your opinion?

  16. 16 Richard North 02/03/2014 at 11:11 am

    Mr Nigel, I do not need to speak for AM … but Dr North writes a political blog. Political blogs tend to criticise political parties. Are you suggesting that UKIP should be excluded from criticism?

  17. 17 erek Buxton 02/03/2014 at 11:31 am

    I have to agree with the good Doctor and AM. They both look for the reasons behind whatever should happen. They do the fine detail so that others can simplify if essential, but with the warning against over simplification. But UKIP have as they say, missed too many goals, that is not going to help anyone. UKIP need to get a grip and start to fight for whatever it is they believe in, at present tney seem quite happy with the EU

  18. 18 Pogle's Woodsman 02/03/2014 at 1:56 pm

    No organisation can hope to succeed unless it takes on the mantle of being its own most persistent and honest critic. Dr. N might choose to comment on this but the Armed Forces in the UK internally have been (with notable exceptions) their own biggest critics and scrutineers. It’s the only way to be.

    There’s no ‘L’ plate for political activism. There is only the deep end and the front line. If UKIP wish to be the public face of EU withdrawal – as many here elicit the sentiment – good luck to them. However, if they hold the mantle of withdrawal and they decide they are the sole custodians of the campaign then they have to protect that responsibility with the utmost care. Campaigners have loyally toed their party line with considerable and commendable courage and persistence – only to find the Party Leader they supported elects to describe the terms of reference they lent their efforts to was ‘drivel’. Spilt milk – unfortunately that comment is going to prove the gift that keeps on giving to opponents.

    However, in terms of open goals the Europhiles on the opposing shore have a stance which is openly moribund. It is a sitting target. Nigel famously ‘does not do detail’ – well, that’s nonsense. It’s hardly too much trouble to remember little details like Clegg’s ‘Three million jobs’ mantra has been comprehensively discredited – and first by the agency which collated the data originally fourteen years ago. Even the greatest fans of Farage must be able to see that argument is just sitting there to kill off? And yet Clegg is still there repeating the mantra? This is not the fault of the BBC – this is a persistent phenomena because the core strategy lacks the killer instinct and refuses to enlarge the debate beyond easy rhetoric.

    The Brexit Prize? Another open goal? UKIP should have been in the position of handing in an entry without additional work – without even breaking into a sweat? The IEA should have been in possession of a credible, well-considered narrative on withdrawal within moments of the announcement of the contest. That narrative should have been headed with the UKIP logo. It ought – by rights – to be the most polished, succinct, credible and achievable entry to the contest?

    Are they in the final group – or is there an entry in that final group collated by a small number of key, patient and dogged researchers running on a shoestring without staff or political party affiliation?

    Mark Carney – Governor of the Bank of England recently highlighted that a joint currency between Scotland and England would require very significant sovereignty to be surrendered by Scotland for the price – Labour politicians who refused to brook that fact over the Euro were happy to seize upon his words to justify Scotland remaining in the Union. But these are the same Labour politicians who refused to brook that fact when they were enthusiastically proposing single currency membership. Another blatant open goal – our own opponents were making ‘our’ arguments publically and wilfully. How can that have gone overlooked?

    At the Euro elections – as per the General Election next year – I will vote UKIP. But I’m tired of the wide open goalposts left wasted by poor strategic planning and tactical operation. Would I contribute again to politics? No I wouldn’t (and I’ve left out a good six expletives there) but I certainly wouldn’t put efforts in on behalf of somebody who makes a public comment which will prove one of the best arguments for not voting UKIP for years to come.

    The reactive argument to those who propose EU withdrawal is a lexicon of insults. Europhobes, racists, bigots, xenophobes, little-Englanders, anti-Europeans – but comes there no actual contrary debate. They can’t even afford to ACKNOWLEDGE parts of the debate we put forward, so damaging are those tenets to their stances. The EUsceptic wing holds the only actual narrative for this debate – believe it or not the UK Government cannot even tell you – in its own terms of reference – what the EU actually is for heaven’s sake. But across the past decades, some EUsceptics seem to have conducted themselves as the only person in possession of a hatpin in a room full of inflated balloons, only to leave that room containing more inflated balloons in it than when they first walked in.

    Defeating the Europhiles should be bloody easy – they won’t even send Politicians to defend the damn thing to interviews – only Corporate shills, nobodies and figures from yesteryear and refuse to even contemplate holding publically pro-EU sentiments as articles of policy. They should be mortally damaged by now but there’s not a scratch on them. UKIP hold themselves as the instruments of delivery from EU membership but have barely dented that cultural resistance to open debate with the establishment.

    A re-think is needed. Urgently and soon.

  19. 19 Autonomous Mind 02/03/2014 at 4:05 pm

    Peter S believes he has tried to make a ‘thoughtful contribution to this thread’. Sadly it is more of the usual insults and ad hominems that typify his comments, which is why I have moderated them out.

    Freedom of speech is one thing, freedom to be abusive is another completely. It’s not welcome on this blog.

  20. 20 cosmic 02/03/2014 at 4:16 pm


    Not quite. The way to deal with complexity is to have a high level view, which is a simplification, but not wrong.

    You then have a hierarchy of explanation going down to documents, minutes of meetings and directives. You can use that to bat away assertions that the high level view is wrong.

    In this case, AM has produced one such high level view tying in the EU and here’s another.

    They don’t try blaming it all on the EU, or the RSPB, or the EA. People look for a single culprit, but there isn’t one. These short statements do tie together what we are dealing with and include the EU at the bottom of it.

    So we’re looking at a complex, not well defined and largely hidden system of government with the EU being the keystone.

    Now if you are stuck with the idea of the EU being a lot of jumped up foreigners inflicting things, you are misunderstanding what’s come about. UKIP do seem rather stuck in that view, with no back up to explain the bigger picture, and from that what needs to change, which isn’t simply leaving the EU, and why voting for them will go to change it. I don’t believe they have been preparing the ground to lead people away from a very simplistic and unsatisfactory view, to a more sophisticated one, which explains more things.

    In this case they seem to have shied away from mentioning the EU aspect at all. They do need simple messages, soundbites and slogans, but they also need the backup.

    In their position they would have to be cautious about attacking bodies like the RSPB directly, but it doesn’t mean they can’t attack them and point out the part they’ve played. It’s just that they’d have to think in terms other than a full frontal assault; fix bayonets and go over the top into the face of massed machine guns.

  21. 21 Nigel 02/03/2014 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you, Dr North, for the correction. However, Is it too much to expect you or Mr Mind to actually answer my questions? You’re obviously under no obligation and if you don’t want to, that’s fine. I just imagined that a sort of Q and A arrangement might have been an important part of a website like this. Apologies if I was wrong.

  22. 22 Richard North 02/03/2014 at 7:47 pm

    Mr Nigel, should either of us criticise the Conservative Parry – or the BNP for that matter – is it your contention that we should also fill in a questionnaire setting out previous party affiliations, our motivations and our objectives, and then be required to evaluate our tactics?

    If that is not the case, why do you think it should it apply to us when we criticise UKIP?

  23. 23 Nigel 02/03/2014 at 8:01 pm

    Dr North, you criticise UKIP for their failings and claim to have at least some of the answers. I believe my questions are reasonable within that context. If you exercise your right not to answer them, am I to conclude it is because you are unwilling or unable. I confess that, at the moment, it would appear to me to be the latter but I am happy to be proved wrong.

  24. 24 Richard North 02/03/2014 at 8:05 pm

    Pogle’s Woodsman/Cosmic

    I entirely take your points. I work on the basis of Wellington’s dictum that the first duty of any general is to discover what is happening on the other side of the hill. In other words, any battle has to be intelligence-led.

    Doing the working out is very much the harder part of the job but, as the amount of information increases, eventually so does the understanding, whence it is then often possible to simplify and then sloganise. In other words there is a hierarchy, and a top-down cascade of information.

    The problem is that, unless to work from the top, and feed downwards, the bottom layers produce their own arguments, and you end up all over the place, with different factions supporting different views. This is how we end up with the Art 50 mess. Far from singing from the same hymn sheet, UKIP has a hymnal and everyone is singing a different song.

    What seems strange about many UKIP members is that they seem wholly uninterested in the nature of the EU, how it works or how it inter-relates with other systems – global and national. There seems to be no premium on information. And there, I believe, is the root of the problem.

  25. 25 Richard North 02/03/2014 at 8:13 pm

    Mr Nigel, much of what you ask is already in the public domain, and would be accessible with a little effort on your part – if it is not already known to you. But your questions are not relevant to the subject at hand. For that reason, I choose not to answer them. What you make of that is a matter of supreme indifference to me. You would be better advised to concentrate on the matter at hand.

  26. 26 Pogle's Woodsman 02/03/2014 at 8:22 pm

    Richard – in a sense you’re highlighting that the Eurosceptic side of the debate have a comprehensive surfeit of points upon which to seize, whilst (if I understand your writings correctly) you would concede my point that the EUphile lobby have almost no debating stance (that they’re willing to use publically) and rely mostly on posturing, dogma, misdirection and evasion.

    To coin a phrase related by an illegal organisation I by no means approve of, that means that ‘we’ need to be lucky (in the public conciousness) only the once – whilst the Europhiles have to be lucky forever.

    I don’t wish to sound complacent but that’s not too bad a place to be in.

  27. 27 Richard North 02/03/2014 at 8:39 pm

    PW I wouldn’t disagree in principle … the Europhiles have very little by way of argument. Largely, they rely on FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) – and they do so because it works.

    The challenger, though, always has the harder time of it. It is for us to make the case for change. The defenders of the status quo do not have the same presssure.

  28. 28 Nigel 02/03/2014 at 9:11 pm

    Dr North, it’s good to know that the answers to some of my questions are in the public domain but they are also at your fingertips and exercising the aforesaid digits for a few minutes might have saved me a lot of work. Never mind. I take your point about this post not being an appropriate forum for my questions. Where might such a forum be?

  29. 29 Paul 02/03/2014 at 11:25 pm

    Well, despite a promise it seems that Helmer has his eyes set on other things. In his comments section he advised me to “Check my presentation tomorrow in Torquay.” after I took him to task as to his party’s stance on EU directives and the UK floods.
    With great anticipation (not) I took a look at the latest topic on his blog but this is what it consisted of:

    I know, I’ll ask him again shall I?

  30. 30 Paul 02/03/2014 at 11:28 pm

    Also, this made me laugh out loud:

  31. 31 cosmic 02/03/2014 at 11:40 pm

    Dr. N,

    “The problem is that, unless to work from the top, and feed downwards, the bottom layers produce their own arguments, and you end up all over the place, with different factions supporting different views. This is how we end up with the Art 50 mess.”

    I beg to disagree, although I might be saying the same thing in a different way.

    I think the problem is that the party as a whole has a very emotional and rather crude view of the EU as foreign bureaucrats, most of them corrupt, making up rules and regulations at vast expense, which we don’t need and can’t afford. We’d be far better off making our own laws and we need to get out.

    This is OK as far as it goes, and was good enough 15 years ago. The problem is it’s a crude caricature and doesn’t describe the way the EU actually works, which is far more dangerous and corrupting, as well as more subtle.

    So, when we have a thing like the flooding of the levels, where the EU is involved, but not as a pantomime villain, UKIP are powerless because it doesn’t fit the caricature and so Farage is left burbling about public enquiries and over-zealous application of directives. They haven’t assembled the understanding to appeal to, which would form a very powerful call for independence and sorting things out in the UK.

    Same with Art50. What needs to be done to leave the EU? Repeal the ECA. Well obviously leaving the EU would involve repealing the ECA at some stage. I think the idea of repealing the ECA and that’s that, comes from the raw emotional appeal of it and the same sort of intellectual laziness at the top of the party, which left them with nothing much to say over the flooding.

    Floating the idea of using Art 50 then involves overcoming the quixotic emotionalism, which is engrained and hard to direct usefully.

  32. 32 Richard North 03/03/2014 at 9:47 am

    Cosmic – I think we may be agreeing. Yes, UKIP has an emotional rather than intellectual foundation. That’s quite a neat way of putting it. But I would suggest that it’s up to the leadership (i,e., top down) to overlay an intellectual discipline on the raw emotion, to give it cohesion and direction.

    Thus, I take your point entirely on the levels – but where they also have no understanding, the signal from their leadership is that such understanding is not necessary. That signal is anti-intellectual.

    Thus we need from the leadership a change of heart, a message that the intellectual content of the party is important. Then we need deeds as well as action – a serious programme of instilling intellectual discipline within the party.

  33. 33 Nailer 03/03/2014 at 5:45 pm


    “Is it true that “autonomous” and Mr North used to be members of or closely associated with UKIP?…”

    Are you really this unaware or uninformed? Did you actually not know that Dr. Richard North was once Head of Policy for UKIP?

    Anyone who shows interest or promise in UKIP is extricated by any means necessary, always viciously nasty. Blackmail, groundless smears, criminal misuse of police forces, threats and intimidation, all used to make sure that no-one outshines the Leader. Even if they have no intention of doing so; it makes no difference. Greg-Lance Watkins provides a list (“They Left UKIP (Mostly in Disgust)”; there are some formidable and capable people on that list).

    The rest of your e-mail is a perfect example of “better inside the tent pi$$ing out, than outside…..” It’s your party, so it’s up to you. In the meantime, the only people with anything worth saying, are Richard North and a few bloggers..Mostly ex-UKIP.

    A shame, isn’t it?

  34. 34 Nigel 04/03/2014 at 9:06 am

    Mr Nailer, you are free to leap to any assumption you like just don’t expect me to accompany you. Asking questions of Dr North should not be interpreted as my tacit support for UKIP. I asked the questions to see if Dr North had some viable alternatives to UKIP’s policies/policy vacuum – delete as appropriate. I see a lot of criticism here but I don’t see practical solutions that can be implemented swiftly and effectively.

    I was told Mr Mind and Dr North were once connected to UKIP and it seemed strange to me that they would give up positions where they presumably had some influence for blogs which, although quite heated and entertaining at times, don’t really seem to have gained much traction. If they were having any influence there wouldn’t be the need for the near constant criticism of UKIP. I was curious to know why Messrs Mind and North had decided to remove themselves from positions of influence to relative obscurity.

    I certainly was not aware Dr North was once head of policy for UKIP. That makes my question even more pertinent, in my opinion. You, of course, may see it differently as is your right. As for me being unaware or uninformed, I think you attribute more fame/notoriety (again delete as appropriate) to Mr North and Dr North than they actually merit. Yes, they may be well-known – mini D-list celebrities even – in the world you inhabit but they are completely unknown amongst people who are not obsessed with the minutiae of politics. Sadly, those are the very same people who need to be won over if Britain is to do the right thing and leave the EU.

  35. 35 Autonomous Mind 04/03/2014 at 7:59 pm

    If we have not gained much traction and have so little influence, why are you spending so much time labouring your point? Who exactly are you trying to convince? Perhaps there is another agenda you are trying to service…

  36. 36 Nigel 04/03/2014 at 8:04 pm

    Mr Mind, I’ve already explained why I’ve asked the questions I’ve asked. What I can’t explain is why neither your good self nor Dr North is willing to answer them. What do you have to hide?

  37. 37 Autonomous Mind 05/03/2014 at 5:52 am

    Nothing to hide at all. I just don’t indulge trolls.

  38. 38 Pogle's Woodsman 05/03/2014 at 9:32 am

    …and talking about open goals….

    …I wonder how far HM Government has got in seeking assurances from Hollande that military links with Putin have been severed in recent days?

    Surely with the keen and enthusiastic membership of both France and the UK have of the EU – the same EU that has so very boldly threatened Putin with ‘something or other’ – France would feel the very deepest embarrassment in their effective defacto associate participation in the matter?

  39. 39 Nigel 05/03/2014 at 10:18 am

    One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.”

    Mr Mind, I’ve asked pertinent questions of two people who claim to have the answers. I don’t regard that as trolling. I’ll leave it to your readers to decide whether I’m a troll or if you have something you want to hide. Shame that you couldn’t be more open. I can only assume your experiences with UKIP supporters immediately place you on the defensive whenever questions are asked that you’d rather not answer.

  40. 40 Autonomous Mind 05/03/2014 at 2:45 pm

    No, I just don’t like people pretending to be ill informed and asking questions that have been answered time and again, because they have an axe to grind over criticism of their political tribe.

  41. 41 Nigel 05/03/2014 at 4:05 pm

    Mr Mind, it’s your blog and you’re welcome to it.

  42. 42 Richard North 08/03/2014 at 12:58 am

    Cheap jibe Mr Nigel. Yet you would accuse AM of not answering questions he’d “rather not answer”, and at the same time question his right to refuse to answer questions that he’d rather you did not ask, for the simple reason that they are OT and, therefore, not at all germane to the issue at hand.

    Furthermore, while you seem so insistent that AM answer your questions, you see rather less enthusiastic about answering questions put to you. That, I think, tells its own story.

  43. 43 Nigel 08/03/2014 at 2:33 am

    Questions? You mean these?
    “If we have not gained much traction and have so little influence, why are you spending so much time labouring your point? Who exactly are you trying to convince?”

    OK. I’m labouring my point because I’m genuinely bemused as to why two obviously intelligent people who once held positions of influence in UKIP (so I believe) chose to leave those positions and assume the role of bloggers where their influence is much less. I would answer the second question if I knew what the answer should be. Who am I trying to convince? I don’t know. No-one really, I’m just putting a couple of pertinent points to the two of you and hoping to get an answer.

    Your turn.

  44. 44 Richard North 08/03/2014 at 12:10 pm

    You have a very partial and selective memory. What I had in mind was this:

    Mr Nigel, should either of us criticise the Conservative Parry – or the BNP for that matter – is it your contention that we should also fill in a questionnaire setting out previous party affiliations, our motivations and our objectives, and then be required to evaluate our tactics?

    If that is not the case, why do you think it should it apply to us when we criticise UKIP?

  45. 45 Autonomous Mind 08/03/2014 at 3:18 pm

    Nigel, who said Richard chose to leave his position, let alone to assume the role of a blogger?

    In any case, the issue for me is why are these answers important to you? Would they in any way change the veracity or accuracy of our observtions and insights? You want it to appear there is some kind of campaign against Farage. I admit there is, it’s a campaign by me to have him embrace principle and stop undermining the credibility of EUsceptics by flopping around like a gaffed fish when he should be going for the throat where there is clear evidence the EU has had damaging impacts on the UK.

    As you said, it’s my blog and I am welcome to it. Quite why you are so desperate to labour this in your effort to find something you feel you can point to so you can dismiss my observations for reasons other than accuracy, suggests you have an agenda. I’m not discussing this any more. UKIP has made itself irrelevant.

    I’m not wasting any more time highlighting their manifest failings. They will become all too apparent to everyone over the next 15 months and reality will bite for those who have kidded themselves the party is capable in its current form of winning parliamentary seats.

  46. 46 Nigel 10/03/2014 at 9:16 am

    Dr North, you’re right, I forgot your earlier questions. Sorry for that.

    In answer, i would only expect you to be willing to answer previous party affiliations if you once occupied positions of influence and had then started a blog along the lines of your present one which heavily criticises a party you were once in a position to influence.

    I believe I’ve answered your questions. Would you answer mine please?

  47. 47 Nigel 10/03/2014 at 9:23 am

    Mr Mind,
    You have attributed to me things I did not say. For the record, here’s what I said in my initial comment:
    “Is it true that “autonomous” and Mr North used to be members of or closely associated with UKIP? If so, why are you not there now arguing for the changes you want? Whether you are right or wrong, it seems that your policy of being outside UKIP telling them you have the answers if only they would listen appears not to be working. At least, judging by your near constant criticism, it would appear they are not paying you much heed.

    What do you hope to achieve by this criticism? Are you trying to garner enough support amongst readers to force change from without? Is this really a good tactic given that a few years of such a policy has yielded very little? If you were unable to effect change from within (assuming that was the case) what makes you think your attacks from outwith will fare any better?”

    Here’s how you have interpreted that:
    “You want it to appear there is some kind of campaign against Farage. I admit there is, it’s a campaign by me to have him embrace principle and stop undermining the credibility of EUsceptics by flopping around like a gaffed fish when he should be going for the throat where there is clear evidence the EU has had damaging impacts on the UK.”

    You’ll note I merely asked straightforward questions. I cannot be responsible for your psychological projections.

  48. 49 Nigel 10/03/2014 at 10:00 am

    Mr Mind, you need to get more sleep.

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