Posts Tagged 'Ideology-free'

Referendum, then what? Why UKIP FC might win the odd game, but won’t be challenging at the end of the season

While Nigel Farage was the focus on media attention yesterday, he said that:

If Ukip win these elections, a referendum, an opportunity for us to get back control of our country will be one massive, massive step closer.

The problem here is that an in/out referendum is seen as the be all and end all by Farage.  There are two major holes in his objective.

  1. How, in the first instance, will the anti-EU side win such a referendum in the face of FUD, misrepresentation and plain falsehoods when the people being asked to vote is many times greater than the combined audience of the recent debates? What is the plan to turn a current majority in favour of remaining in the EU to a majority in favour of leaving, particularly as UKIP is ever more focused on Westminster politics and issues such as gay marriage and HS2?
  2. Assuming a referendum is won, then what? What is the UKIP plan for events after the UK announces it is leaving the EU as set out in Article 50? What if any understanding does UKIP have of the global trading and regulatory environment into which the UK will boldly step, and what plan does it have to offer for making the transition and new arrangements a success?

The problem in British politics at the moment is tribalism, but tribalism with little or no philosophical base.  One look across comment threads on newspaper and blog websites lays this problem bare and shows that this is now more true of UKIP than any other party – which should be a huge concern to the anti-EU side. The political process now resembles more than ever something akin to football and UKIP is the club that wants to reach the Premier League but remains stuck firmly in the Conference…

All that seems to matter to the management and the vocal, cult-like supporters is the excitement of scoring goals and winning at the final whistle to get one over the opposition.  It is all superficial.  There is no detailed consideration or discussion about what makes a team successful behind the scenes, such as a set vision, effective management, leadership techniques, having the right coaches, physios on the backroom team, match strategies, repeated reviews of the previous games, the science of nutrition and fitness, training regimes, qualified scouting networks, and looking at the future opposition time and again to prepare the right tactics for the forthcoming matches.

When it comes to UKIP the management team is with the fans in the pub chewing over things like how many more fans they brought to the game, how crap the opposition fans’ support was, how their team deserved to win but were unlucky or cheated by the officials, how their players aren’t getting the recognition they think they should get, bemoaning poor write ups in the press match reports as biased rubbish, and only looking at the next match through the prism of which pub to get the best drink in, what songs to sing and how to make their presence felt, and looking at their mid-table position claiming they are making a push for promotion and that they will soon stun everyone.

Stepping away from the football analogy, what is the point of pushing for a referendum without any plan for winning it, or any idea of how to deal with what awaits the UK after leaving the EU?  The work that UKIP should be doing using the many resources at the party’s disposal – including financial – to develop, publish and campaign on a comprehensive workable plan for leaving the EU, is instead being done by a blogger.

Without the detail and the complexity having been worked out, there can be no catchy slogans, easy to understand one liners or bitesize soundbites to present to the public.  That is why the argument that the public don’t do detail doesn’t wash.

Without assurance that there is a detailed plan in place the public will not take the leap of voting to leave the EU.   Therefore details have to be carefully worked out and a compelling case made that the UK has positive reasons to leave the EU, and will have opportunities and benefits as a result.  The soundbites alone, with no plan behind them, will quickly be exposed as politicians just blowing more hot air and referendum will be lost.  But if we leave it to the fans in the pub, the armchair pundits, UKIP will not develop what is needed.  They are only bothered about the buzz of the match and don’t have a clue about what it takes to turn their team into winners.

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There is a very important reason why Parliament isn’t busy

In the Telegraph today, Tom Harris MP is whining about the lack of legislation going through Parliament.  He says that it means there were no votes in the Commons last Monday, none the previous Monday either, there won’t be any next Monday, and there hasn’t been a whipped vote on a Thursday for months.

He places the blame for this at the door of the government.  However, in the comment thread it is apparent that more and more people have grasped the essential point Harris is too unwitting to realise or unwilling to acknowledge – that Parliament has less to do because the EU is our surpreme government and rubber stamping diktat from Brussels doesn’t take very long.

This has been obvious for years.  The ever lengthening recess breaks are not just MPs wanting to take longer holidays, they are a consequence of less parliamentary business being required because the EU determines almost all the laws the people of this land must live by.  This central fact isn’t convenient for Harris, who instead makes his piece an attack on five-year fixed parliaments and government running out of ideas and having nothing to do.  Rooted in the past, when Parliament and UK courts were supreme, Harris declares:

The difference now is that the traditional remedy – to dissolve parliament and allow the various parties to be reinvigorated by a campaign and the judgment of the electorate – is unavailable.

Sadly for Harris, while an election campaign is an exciting wet dream for politicians and the media that faithfully trots alongside them hoping for some scraps to keep them sustained, the reality it is a sham.  For whichever party wins the next election, the electorate can expect more of the same.

With all the decisions of consequence being made in Brussels, or handed down from there after decisions in global committees and commissions, the UK parties have very little in their gift to manage or change.  There is little between the parties because no ideology is required to deal with the limited number of genuine matters of substance that are still governed by the UK.  So even after going through the motions of moving around and changing the colour of the deck chairs, the ship’s direction of travel will remain unchanged, unless the officers in Brussels sitting on the bridge, decide otherwise.

Harris may be upset that he is being denied involvement in big political fights like those of yesteryear, but as part of the political class he shares the blame for that and supporting the surrender of control of the UK to the EU.

A man devoid of any principle

I am sceptical of those who claim to draw the answer to every problem from a loud ideology,

It must have been incredibly easy for Cameron to write those words for the Failygraph given he lacks any ideology and is driven only by the desire to attain office for its own sake.

It is the clamour among the likes of Cameron in the political class to plant their flags in the mythical ‘centre ground’ of politics – to dispense with the challenge of adversarial politics in search of the easy comfort of unprincipled consensus, and construct a uniform and hubristic front that holds the line against the wishes of the electorate – that is accelerating the rejection of politics and the political process.

Because of his arrogance Cameron believes he knows better than everyone else, which is why he professes to know the message people are sending through the election results.  Apparently the people are telling him to focus on what matters, deliver what you promise and prove yourself in the process.  ‘I get it,’ he declares.  He draws this conclusion because it is the one he wants to be able to draw, irrespective of reality.

Cameron doesn’t want to acknowledge or accept the fact that the issue is elected representatives failing to represent the wishes of the people.

Once elected, councillors and MPs become the tools of the party whips and agenda riddled civil service, putting party and bureaucratic agenda before the issues that matter to the electorate.  Their interests are not the same as our interests.  Cameron’s message of delusion and deception makes clear he intends to continue to thumbing his nose at the country – and the fools in the Conservative party who have propped him up as he has systematically stripped its policies of anything approaching conservative values.

If Cameron’s piece in the Barclay Boys’ Beano is valuable for anything, it is that Cameron has signalled his intent to continue treating the public with contempt.  And he will do it with the help of the rest of the political class notwithstanding the trivial differences between them, because he is a man devoid of any principle.


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