UKIP: Media revenge porn

ukipOver many months this blog has come in for some often aggressive responses to posts that have been critical of UKIP.

One of the accusations levelled at me (and certainly at Richard North) is that we have been waging a vendetta against Nigel Farage because of an historical ‘grudge’.  Where we have pointed out deficiencies in UKIP policy, media handling, message and approach – frequently naming Farage because he is the face of the party and has complete control over the approach taken – we have been told our criticisms are invalid because we are simply pursuing a campaign against him.

They reject our separate responses that we are actually critical friends of the party, want it to succeed for the sake of the anti-EU campaign, and are highlighting failings in the hope they are addressed by the party and not repeated.

However, the coverage of UKIP over the last couple of weeks in the Telegraph, Guardian and Times, puts things into context.  If aggrieved UKIP supporters thought the criticism of their party here and on EU Referendum was unacceptable and driven by a grudge, a look at what is happening in the media shows what a real grudge looks like – with allegations of extra marital affairs, party organisation incompetence, donors refusing to channel cash directly to the party and deliberate misuse of taxpayers’ money all dragged out in front of the public, with the sole aim of taking Nigel Farage down.

Some of the noisy hardcore have gone on to comment threads and said UKIP is being singled out by the media and the other parties are being given a free pass, indicating media bias.  Some of them claim that this is the establishment running scared of UKIP and trying to discredit it.  But it is something altogether different.  This is ‘score settling’.

For a long time the media has ignored UKIP.  There wasn’t enough interest to warrant publishing the stories it had, even though there have been personal spats behind the scenes where Farage and some of those close to him have seriously put the media’s nose out of joint.  We always said though that the media would turn its attention to UKIP at the point when it is considered one of the main parties, and that the scrutiny would be damaging.  That moment seems to have arrived and the media is now getting pay back for what has gone on before.  This is the political equivalent of revenge porn.

Worryingly for UKIP there is yet more material, much of which is not in the public domain, that the media is sitting on, waiting to toss into the public domain when it chooses to. Already the polls are showing the mythical ‘surge’, which has seen UKIP in third place in the polls but stubbonly rooted around 13%, seems to be retreating.  On Tuesday ICM put the Lib Dems in third place above UKIP. On Thursday an Ipsos-MORI poll saw the Lib Dems keep their third place ahead of UKIP and this morning YouGov has the Lib Dems overtaking UKIP, pushing them back into fourth.  This may have little impact in the European elections in May, which always sees protest votes rise dramatically, but for next year’s General Election this has Farage writing his resignation letter after failing to win any Westminster seats.

While the ultra hardcore party faithful, who behave more like a cult, will forgive anything and justify or excuse the behaviour reported in the allegations – incredibly accepting apparent defrauding of the taxpayer – many of the people that UKIP needs to change their vote to support the party will be put of by the claims.  They will take the view that for all his words, Farage is JAP – just another politician.

That will only compound the problem UKIP has of being the least popular and most unpopular of the parties, as shown in an ICM poll reported on Political Betting this week.

The concern for this blog is that the drip feed of negative stories about the party’s behaviour, and that of Farage in particular, will turn people off the anti-EU movement.  The latest polling disturbingly showing that now only a minority of voters currently want to leave the EU – 39%.  While UKIP is only polling around 13% nationwide, showing they actually don’t represent most anti-EU voters, there is still a perception that UKIP is the anti-EU movement, and if UKIP turns people off some might back away from anti-EU sentiment.

It is a sad fact that the reason the good ship UKIP is now taking water over the side is that its actions and those of Farage have generated so many negative stories for the media to feast upon.  The party has brought this on itself and scrutiny was always going to result in this.  There is no fire without fuel.  The lack of discipline, the questionable attitude of the leadership, the failure to develop and articulate a clear position on matters and the refusal to link the issues that have caused public anger to their EU origins, are seeing a double whammy of media feeding frenzy and flatlining poll numbers respectively.

What we have seen over the last few weeks is why this blog has long said UKIP deserves and needs better.  The stories currently in flight have far more impact because the main characters in them are still in place.  Perhaps in the light of these stories being trotted out in the media, our reasoning now makes a bit more sense.  Sadly for the anti-EU movement we can be certain things will get worse for UKIP before they have any hope of getting better.  It means we all lose.

15 Responses to “UKIP: Media revenge porn”


  1. 2 nonoftheabove 14/03/2014 at 12:24 pm

    A well articulated and sadly accurate post AM.

  2. 3 Sarah 14/03/2014 at 12:35 pm

    I am so very, very desperate for an alternative party to the usual 3, as are a great many people in this country, I don’t doubt. I would dearly love it to be UKIP, but, basically, the party appears to be full of fucking idiots. I don’t mean the grass roots party members that have worked tirelessly, behind the scenes, to turn what was once a tiny fringe party into a main contender, I mean the people that could be classed as the ‘face of the party’, and that includes the party leader, Nigel Farage.
    How bloody hard can it be to come up with a simple, basic, 12 point manifesto (list of promises) that the general public would support. Lots of die hard UKIP supporters like to claim there is some kind of ‘witch hunt’ against UKIP but it’s not much of a witch hunt is it, when every other day, a leading member turns out to be nothing more than racist, bigotted, ill informed or, God forbid, just plain fucking stupid?. How hard can it really be to create a cohesive group of like minded people that all follow the same simple song sheet. For crying out loud, if the WI can do it, why can’t UKIP?.
    All UKIP have to do is create a group that is united in it’s beliefs and aims and is strong enough to take on and beat the the Lib-Dems, When all is said and done these days, that could be done by simply stating –
    a) No more Nick Clegg.
    b) If a UKIP member turns out to be a bit pervy he will be kicked in the goolies, suspended with immediate effect and kicked out of the party if found guilty.
    The anti EU platform is a waste of time, It should remain a fundamental part of the group (for those that understand it) but too many regular people simply don’t understand the complexity of it and it bores them fucking rigid, UKIP would do better to concentrate on what the average, grass roots voter really wants right now, things like having your bins emptied weekly etc.
    I would love to share a pint and a fag with Nigel Farage but I don’t think he is the right person to lead the party any more. He has become a bit of a joke and it’s time he stood aside and let a better, more serious member take the lead. If UKIP want to be serious contenders in the next general election all they have to do is come up with a simple manifesto and do a swift bit of in-house cleaning that kicks out all the idiots.

  3. 4 theboilingfrog 14/03/2014 at 12:48 pm

    “While the ultra hardcore party faithful, who behave more like a cult, will forgive anything and justify or excuse the behaviour reported in the allegations – incredibly accepting apparent defrauding of the taxpayer – many of the people that UKIP needs to change their vote to support the party will be put of by the claims. They will take the view that for all his words, Farage is JAP – just another politician.”

    ————————

    That is spot on. Yesterday the Sun had Farage’s scandal on the front page – albeit not the main headline – with further details filling up page 5. The general consensus in my local was that they didn’t have a problem of the personal issues of infidelity or smoking etc but the expenses. “He’s just like the others – no different” went the refrain.

    For a party that models itself on being anti-establishment that is devastating. And no cult-like behaviour from the usual suspects can paper over that.

  4. 5 Maureen Gannon 14/03/2014 at 1:32 pm

    I felt quite happy today in the sunshine AM until I read your blog. sadly I have to agree with much of what you said , it has been obvious that the media and TV have been practising a bit of the Chinese torture method of undermining UKIP ,but not to vote for them is to consent to the system we have now where ministers lose a court battle so promptly changes the law to suit them.
    I am sad that People like Richard are not involved as I believe he could have stabalised .the party. ans yes mine is a protest vote along with all those I know who are going to vote UKIP since St Tony swanned into no 10 with no little boy to scream the King has no clothes I have spoilt my paper with None Worthy , at least now I can vote if only for something that will not beat the system, but hopefully give it a good kick..

  5. 6 Furor Teutonicus 14/03/2014 at 5:09 pm

    XX They reject our separate responses that we are actually critical friends of the party,XX

    If a party can not accept constructive criticism, they are no better than Stalin and Beria.

  6. 8 wj (@wj557) 14/03/2014 at 7:46 pm

    Which leaves “none of the above”

    The one bright spot on the future horizon is telling those earnest young believers, when they arrive on my doorstep on election day, “nope, there’s nothing between the lot of them – I’m not voting”

    Misanthropy Rules – OK!

  7. 9 cosmic 14/03/2014 at 8:15 pm

    @Sarah,

    “The anti EU platform is a waste of time, It should remain a fundamental part of the group (for those that understand it) but too many regular people simply don’t understand the complexity of it and it bores them fucking rigid, UKIP would do better to concentrate on what the average, grass roots voter really wants right now, things like having your bins emptied weekly etc.”

    I’d agree they can’t directly blame everything on the EU and immediately get into the details of which directive does what, right off the bat. It certainly isn’t as simple as the EU issuing orders, either.

    However, the EU is there in the background, even when it comes to things like not having weekly bin collections. It at least limits the scope for action the UK government has.

    So UKIP have to have simple messages, and a simple, but not inaccurate account of things, but as much detail as anyone wants in research documents, on websites etc to back it up.

    If they are talking in slogans and pushing current hot buttons, without the background research and the coherent outlook behind it, there’s a definite limit to their appeal.

    A good example was the flooding of the Somerset Levels where Farage came out with something about the over-zealous application of directives and Lisa Duffy was trapped into saying it was nothing to do with the EU at all.

    What the episode exposed was a whole system of government outside of electoral control and made even less controllable by our lack of independence, and which is largely down to EU membership. At least the EU is an important part of this system of government and Westminster has written itself out of the loop; it’s becoming there for show. This is actually the way the EU works and it’s far more subtle and dangerous than a lot of bureaucrats making up nonsense about straight bananas.

    It also showed UKIP just weren’t prepared with basic knowledge, Duffy hadn’t been prepared to deal with an obvious point raised on a public platform and so on.

    This is something quite reasonable to oppose and which can be understood on many levels. Certainly, if Westminster remains the regional council for the EU in the UK, we can’t do anything about it.

  8. 10 Dave 14/03/2014 at 8:34 pm

    One seems to treat these ‘independent’ polls with integrity – something that I feel nowadays can be bought from anyone, anytime and for whatever purpose it suits the paymaster.

  9. 11 Furor Teutonicus 15/03/2014 at 5:12 am

    XX Which leaves “none of the above”XX

    Which you do by simply saving the shoe leather and staying in bed on voting day.

    So why bother your arse telling them what they can already guess by your abscence?

  10. 12 wj (@wj557) 15/03/2014 at 12:30 pm

    @Furor Teutonicus

    Because I feel that they need to be told – and it will be cathartic.

  11. 13 Furor Teutonicus 15/03/2014 at 4:02 pm

    Cathartic, maybe, but it is as useless as bollox on a cow.

  12. 14 matthu 15/03/2014 at 8:06 pm

    ITV is now reporting a ComRes opinion poll for The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirrornow which has UKIP 9 points ahead of the Conservatives for the Euro elections … and in top place.

    So, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

  13. 15 chrisH 16/03/2014 at 3:12 pm

    Agree entirely.
    This should have been a good week for UKIP. Both Crow and Benn were anti-EU, and could easily be used to stuff the medias “only the swivel-eyed right wingers defy EU harmonisation” type of caricature.
    Not only that-but Stewart Lee wasted twenty minutes of last weeks “comedy vehicle” in ranting on at UKIP and failing to be funny or to bring his audience with him.
    Add to that the notion that Putin is more an elected and accountable spokesman for his action than the likes of Ashton and Kerry…and that a REFERENDUM is being offered-and feared/despised by the EU elite and Obamas mob-and UKIP ought to be kicking at an open door.
    But they`re not.
    Their media awareness is nil, their members seem all over the shop; and their leadership seems to be truly stupid and based on the Furherprinzip notion under Farage-and him alone.
    With the political elite in disarray, with BBC3 Free Speech shows refusing to discuss Gays and Islam from a tent outside a Mosque-with Harman and Dromey, the BBCs servile cringing over Benn and Crow…UKIP should be making hay with the political pondlife we now have in a barrel.
    But they don`t-they can`t-because they know nothing,think of nothing and have learned nothing about how the early liberals, greens etc ate our politics up from the inside…and now UKIP won`t fight back…which will leave us with something nastier than the EDL in its place very soon I fear.


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