Posts Tagged 'Party Politics'

Opinion pollster ‘house effects’ revealed in report

As party political attention focuses on the General Election – albeit with the likelihood of a by-election in Cambridgeshire South when Andrew Lansley is packed off to Brussels to be the UK’s contribution to the Commissioner Corps -the opinion polls will become increasingly important in telling us the possible outcome for May 2015.

The Political Betting blog reports that  the “Polling Observatory” at Manchester University have released their latest report in which they seek to estimate current electoral sentiment by pooling all the currently available polling data, while taking into account the estimated biases of the individual pollsters (“house effects”).  This allows them to assess whether the reported vote intention for a given pollster is above or below the industry average.

This is interesting as party supporters have their favourite pollsters, who they rate more highly than the others. For example, UKIP supporters love talking up Survation polls and many reject You Gov polls because Peter Kellner is married to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton. Tories on the other hand prefer the results that Populus publish, while contending that Survation always understates the true level of Tory electoral support; and so on.

While the results are on the Manchester Uni page linked above, Political Betting’s love of Datawrapper has seen them plot the results on a party by party basis.  Makes interesting reading….

This becomes even more interesting when you look at these ‘house effects’ with the European Elections in mind, where we have already covered the accuracy of pollsters in light of the election results.

The issues seem to have their basis in both polling method (phone or internet) and adjustment methodology (how they deal with undecideds and those who won’t say who they plan to vote for).

If UKIP was really serious about the EU…

This is another of those compare and contrast moments that so annoy UKIP supporters who read this blog, but which are covered here because UKIP ignoring such major issues annoys me so much.

The Times (£) is reporting that a proposed levy on financial transactions by the EU, which could wipe more than £3.6bn from the value of UK shares and bonds and is being challenged by the UK, looks set to be approved by the courts. This has huge implications for already low yielding pensions and investments for ordinary people.

You would think UKIP would be all over this, hammering away in the media, getting faces in front of cameras, churning out press releases, using their colourful website to demonstrate how the UK’s mythical ‘influence’ in the EU is just that, a myth, and lambasting this raid on finances that will disproportionately damage UK financial markets.

But in the media, nothing. On UKIP’s website, not a word.  Another golden opportunity to make a powerful case for turning our backs on the EU has been missed.

Just weeks from its biggest election test ever in the European Elections, the UKIP website’s very latest news is two days old and concerns UKIP’s party election broadcast – and UKIP being the only party to campaign for St George’s Day to be a public holiday.  There’s a priority for you.  Has everyone from the London ‘freak show‘ nicked off early and gone to the pub again?

Four days ago the party declared that the European parliamentary elections battle was now getting underway in earnest.  Yet presented with a huge EU related story, they are silent and the media instead hoovers up unchallenged comment from the pro-EU muppets and fiction retailers at Open Europe.

So what is UKIP doing?

Instead of fighting to get this country out of the EU, UKIP is down in the gutter fighting yet another wholly avoidable reputational battle because one of its candidates, a Zimbabwean no less, who starred in their election broadcast, was (yet again) not vetted properly and has been shown to hold some rather unpleasant views.

While it’s all very well for Farage to be angry and say this man ‘slipped through the net‘ there is something about the party he has moulded that sees it continually attracting oddballs and those with racist or intolerant views – and it is putting decent people off the party and the anti-EU cause.

The party is also fighting against mockery of its takeoff of British jobs for British workers in that poster campaign, as it transpires the actor posing as an unemployed British builder is actually an immigrant from Ireland.

These cock ups follow Lizzy the ordinary voter from Devon who will support UKIP, actually being Lizzy from London who is the party’s events manager and is now trying to stop explicit photos of herself engaged in sex acts being put into the public domain.

The only conclusion we can draw is that UKIP isn’t serious about getting us out of the EU.  It is only bothered about winning a different game, but even that is something it doesn’t prepare for and ends up losing.

Of course, the moans and aggressive retorts will flood the inbox and the odd comment will be left here in an attempt to criticise me for ‘undermining’ the ‘only game in town’.  But these are people who are ignoring the reality of how badly led and run the party is and how much damage it is doing to the anti-EU side.  UKIP speaks for barely one third of voters who say they want to leave the EU.  But it is seen as the anti-EU vehicle and these avoidable injuries are completely self inflicted.

UKIP’s long suffering decent supporters – there are many of them in the party trying to make it a viable, anti-EU entity – and those who want to see the UK freed from the EU, deserve better.

Tallbloke returns! But he still dodges the question

UKIP candidate and occasional commenter on this blog, Tallbloke, returned here today to leave a ‘told you so’ comment on a blog post where we said that Farage’s comments on the floods indicate UKIP has abandoned its anti-EU role, which dates back to 9th February.

The comment he linked to in his latest contribution was this one.  As it would not be spotted by most readers, we felt it only fair to give it a good airing.  Along with the reply that has been left to the comment, which is reproduced below…

——————

Nice to see you back here after chickening out of answering the question here. But now you’re back, don’t be silly, Rog.

Farage has deliberately avoided linking the EU to a number of consequences of Brussels governance over the last year.  His shortsighted call for a public inquiry has seen him change his narrative.  He has now chosen to define this mythical inquiry in terms of abandoning dredging, but did not do so previously as you will see in his quote below.  In fact even your previous comment makes yet a different case for a public inquiry, so it’s not actually what you said at all.  In any case he has been caught on the hop by Clegg, and his refusal to immediately accept the offer of a debate has undermined confidence in him.

For clarity, do tell us, why is an inquiry necessary? Is it to explore dredging, or is it to help resolve UKIP’s internal confusion and lack of knowledge? The previous question asking you just what the UKIP line actually is, still stands for reasons the quotes below make all too clear.

1. ‘Ms Reding’s visit took place at the same time as the consequences of heavy rainfall compounded by the effect of EU regulations, have brought about widespread flooding, suffering and the destruction of property.

‘The evidence is that EU directives put wildlife before people. It is starting to be clear that DEFRA and the Environment Agency have been zealous in implementing EU directives’
William Dartmouth

2. ‘Well it’s not Brussels’ fault is it?’
Lisa Duffy

3. ‘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.’
Nigel Farage

So which is it? Let’s see if you can answer without re-writing history again.

Just so you know, should an inquiry be held it will be chaired by an on-message appointee, the terms of reference will not address what Farage has belatedly chosen to call for, the witnesses will be chosen so as to minimise any adverse reference to the EU and the findings will not change EU laws one iota. So what exactly does Farage think he will achieve? It’s as meaningless as his call for a civil defence corps.

It is just more badly thought out, scattergun rhetoric as he speaks first then tries to decide what he meant by it later, while people like you interpret in a myriad of different ways and put your own spin on it, irrespective of what was actually said.

——————

We await the reply with interest…

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.

ComRes

Opinium

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.

Latest Farage comments on floods indicate UKIP has abandoned anti-EU role

While it was not the press conference Nigel Farage referenced in his tweet to me yesterday, this morning he was interviewed for over 4 minutes by Sky News’ Dermot Murnaghan, in Somerset, about the floods there. UKIP have put the full interview up on their website.

Despite having days in which to take on board the extent of EU’s responsibility, for turning what would have been annoying floods into a major incident that has gone on for weeks, the sum total of Farage’s effort to explain it to Sky’s audience was this reference to the Environment Agency’s role in the matter:

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

This from a man whose primary focus is allegedly fighting tooth and nail for the UK to leave the EU.  Presented with yet another golden opportunity to highlight who really runs Britain, following his Farage on Friday piece before the weekend, and help voters understand and reflect about whether this is in British interests or whether we should determine laws for ourselves, he again passed it up.

Thankfully, Christopher Booker published a valuable piece about the EU’s role in degrading Britain work on flood prevention in his Sunday Telegraph column today.  At least someone with a substantial profile has tackled this head on while the politicians and lamestream media tip-toe around it and do their best to avoid any mention of the part our supreme government in Brussels has played in making flooding in recent years far worse than it ever would have been.

With a sizeable number of UKIP members not seeing leaving the EU as the number one issue for the party, it seems the leader is one of their number and EUscepticism is being forced off the party political agenda to make way for other topics.

Time spent on this UKIP infighting is time not spent fighting for UK independence

UKIP is in a state of civil war in Scotland.

A parachuted ‘Friend of Farage’ candidate, resignations, sackings, dissolution of the party’s Scottish committee, internal party intrigues, accusations of control freakery, a party spokesman so detached from events he can’t offer comment.  It’s political self destruction driven by egos, vested interests and patronage running amok.

This underlines the point made on this blog several times that relying on a political party, to drive the campaign for Brexit and independence for Britain, is a mistake.  Party management and maintenance uses up energy and focus and the time spent by UKIP as Farage tries to impose his control on the party in Scotland is time not spent on the pressing issue.

What is even more frustrating is that this is all about who UKIP sends to Brussels as an MEP if they secure sufficient votes in Scotland.  It is ultimately meaningless to the Brexit campaign, but means a lot to the likes of David Coburn who is top of the UKIP candidate list, and would climb aboard the Brussels gravy train and by the end of the next European Parliament would have received well over £1m in pay, expenses and perks.  That is a pretty generous thank you from Farage for Coburn’s loyalty – albeit a thank you paid out of our tax pounds.

This latest internal spat in UKIP harms the whole Brexit cause.   Those of us who want the UK to withdraw from the EU deserve better, much better, than this.  With Farage as leader we are not going to get it.

State funding of political parties must be opposed

Hands off taxpayers’ hard earned cash.

If a political party cannot fund itself through membership fees or donations then it should wither and die.

That is one of the more sensible comments that left in response to a typically sycophantic outburst from Steve Richards in the Guardian.

People have the freedom to join political parties or not, to donate money to them or not.  However it seems that if we use that freedom to reject the parties and withhold our money from them, the establishment will remove our freedom by compelling – through a law to which we will not be asked to give assent – the confiscation of our money for their own private, party political use.  They will attempt to justify this in much the same way Richards tries with this appeal:

We need parties. The alternative is nightmarish […]

[…] Virtually every dark story in British politics over the last 30 years has a connection with the funding of politics, but without funding parties cannot function.

In other words, they want us to believe there is no alternative to the parties bar anarchy; and all the examples of dirty dealing and misbehaviour by the parties to hoover up cash have only happened because of our unreasonable refusal to voluntarily hand over our money to subsidise their vested, tribal interests.  It is only the because the parties have made themselves irrelevant, by treating the electorate as if we are irrelevant that they find themselves in this position.  And now they are going to compound the problem.

The softening up process of preparing the way for theft on an industrial scale – not for purpose of providing essential services, but for nothing more than the maintenance of parties with agendas that run contrary to the wishes of most people – is well underway.  Richards’ piece is just the latest call from within the establishment for state funding of parties.  Its inception would represent a staggering abuse of power.

Do you think such an obscene state of affairs could ever come about in a democracy?  It must be opposed aggressively.

Longrider has a post on this subject saying much the same thing, in his own inimitable way…

When will these hacks open their eyes to the reality of party politics?

The Tories’ obsession with their ‘brand’ patronises voters by treating them as shoppers, so writes Brendan O’Neill in the Telegraph today.

It’s another of those commentary pieces that again goes around the houses to articulate and bemoan the hollowed out shell that now passes for party politics in this country, but consistently fails to seek and explain why this is the case.

In his own way, O’Neill tells us what we already know and have heard from numerous other talking heads in a variety of slants on the same core theme, when he says:

That everyone now seems to think it’s normal to talk about the Tories as a “brand” shows how shallow, how surface-driven, modern politics has become. A brand, of course, is an outer mark, a stamp either burnt on to one’s skin or, in modern parlance, stamped on to a product or service for sale. That the Tories, especially their modernisers, have become myopically obsessed with this outer mark, with the lick of paint on the outside of their party and the question of whether a new, more youth-friendly lick of paint is required, shows how bereft of serious thinking they are. Embarrassed by the historical and political substance of the existing Tory Party, and lacking any newer substantial political ideas for taking the Tory Party forward, they obsess instead over garb, over prettification strategies, over imagery, like those annoying hip graphic designers who think style is everything and substance is so 20th-century.

As always the cause and the answer are clear; we do not have democracy.  All that is left of the political parties is shallow, branded, tribal trivialities that are devoid of substance or ideas.  This is for the simple reason that all the major issues concerning goverance of this country are decided by the EU.  The UK is not a sovereign nation.  Our politicians have some relatively meaningless shreds of control left in areas the EU has not yet taken or cannot bother itself with owning.

The days of weighty and ideological battles, of matters of substance being argued over in Parliament, through the media and on the doorsteps, are gone.  This is what the EU – in all its guises – set out to do, to remove power from where ‘populist’ sentiment, i.e. voters, could influence it, because people vote for things in their ‘narrow national interest’ rather than the interest of the political class and their corporate sponsors.  I left the following comment in response to the piece:

The only philosophy is the desire to hold office, no matter how powerless or meaningless it is.  Of course there is the added incentive of pay and perks and the personal profile and future spin offs that come with such a position.  But anyone who makes the argument that they want to enter party politics to ‘change things from the inside’ is clearly too ignorant of reality to be worthy of election in the first place.

One wonders how long it will take for this to dawn on people, particularly the talking heads, who remain incapable of joining together a few dots or reading about what our surpreme government was created to do and recognising what it has so far done.  Bar a few notable exceptions, it seems the massed ranks of the lamestream media are either in denial or must have been subjected to a collective lobotomy.

Politics of the kindergarten

A measure of just how far party politics has sunk, and the extent to which the desperation of politicians to see their tribe ‘in power’ trumps everything, can be seen in Nick Boles’ suggestion that the National Liberal Party be revived by the Conservatives.

Such is the contempt in which voters are held by the political class, politicians like Boles believe that the Conservatives setting up a modern day National Liberal Party – which in its previous incarnation after splitting from the Liberal Party had the likes of Michael Heseltine and John Nott on its roll, before going on to merge completely with the Conservatives in 1968 – would attract liberal-minded voters at the next general election that the Conservative brand cannot.

The point here is that Boles is admitting the Conservatives are unpopular and need to win Liberal Democrat votes.  Knowing most of those Lib Dem supporters who could be tempted to jump ship from the SS Clegg would jump left rather than right, he is pinning his hopes on people falling for a false flag party that, he reasons, would appeal to the centre left yet obey the Conservatives’ bidding without question.  It failed in the 60s and it would fail again now.  But the fact the idea is even being kicked around shows the depths these people will plumb.

Of course, nowhere in all these shenanigans is there any consideration of what the people may want, or recognition that most of the promises the parties will make ahead of the 2015 General Election could never be honoured in any case because the power sits in Brussels, not Westminster.  While a relatively small story with little traction, this is by far one of the most cynical trains of thought and naked attempts to con voters into supporting something they don’t want that has so far emerged from the festering swamp that is home to the political bubble.

Voting for any of these lying crooks would be an obscenity.  They are nothing more than children playing games.  We are looking on at the politics of the kindergarten.  It’s well past time for a change to the system.

Why a campaign rather than parties is the route to getting the UK out of the EU

Anyone who still clings to the belief that voting for a political party, namely UKIP, is the way to bring about a Brexit from the EU could do with thinking long and hard about the following opinion poll response from YouGov.

Party that people would never vote for

PoliticalBetting.com, from where this information was taken, explains that:

This is from a survey that looks at views of the parties in different parts of the country which doesn’t produce any startling conclusions – the Tories are less popular in the north while LAB had problems in the South outside London.

These YouGov numbers are very similar to what Ipsos-MORI found in August when they asked about liking and disliking parties.

This is not a dig at UKIP.  It is just additional evidence that using the party political process to further the Eurosceptic aims of leaving the EU is at best flawed, at worst futile.

UKIP is the only party that has ever committed to leaving the EU, while the other parties are fully ‘on message’ with the Brussels machine and are either actively purusing further integration and dilution of the UK’s fabled ‘influence’ by way of enlargement, or are cheerleading such activity from the oppostion benches.   The fact that UKIP is by far the most unpopular of a very unpopular set of party entities shows it does not have the capacity for a breakthough that would lead to any form of influence in the Parliamentary process.

Instead the focus should be on having a single non-party political ‘No to EU’ type campaign that brings together all the various Eurosceptic groups to push a clear and easy to understand message about ‘Who should run Britain?’ ensuring the real issue – that of political sovereignty – is not swamped by the deceitful focus on economics and big business interests.

Such an alliance of groups, that allows the respective groups that are part of it to preserve their identity, could more effectively raise the necessary awareness of the impact of EU governance and counter the Europhile lies that have been ignored by UKIP for narrow party political reasons.  Sharing the load, the groups can establish a single shared platform to give an honest counter to the flood of nonsense filling the media, making the campaign the ‘go to’ destination for comment and insight.

A non-party ‘No to EU’ alliance established now – before Tory proxies like Matthew Elliot can undermine the ‘out’ side with irrelevant arguments and diversions – could build significant support around the country, and coordinate the right time to apply pressure to individual MPs and candidates to support an in-out referendum in return for endorsement, rather than get bogged down in fighting an election with candidates and all the problems that entails.

Taking the party political route will ensure we never arrive at our destination.  It’s time to take this essential issue out of the control of the increasingly untrusted and deceitful political class and have a genuine grassroots campaign fought on the real issue – sovereignty.

So where are the hard truths then? – Part 2

Continuing from the previous post… In his comment piece in the Guardian, Russell Brand has himself admitted that he said nothing new or original in his interview with Jeremy Paxman, acknowledging that it was the expression of the knowledge that democracy is irrelevant that resonated with both Paxman and a wider constituency.

In his op-ed, Brand argues that:

As long as the priorities of those in government remain the interests of big business, rather than the people they were elected to serve, the impact of voting is negligible and it is our responsibility to be more active if we want real change.

What Brand this fails to acknowledge or deal with is the reason why the people who politicians were elected to serve are not being served.  It is too simplistic to say the politicians are only looking after the interests of big business.  The fact is the power to effect change in this country has been given away to the European Union and politicians here cannot rein in behaviour of the corporates when EU laws give them a mandate to act as they do.

Whether Brand realises it or not, the issue again boils down to sovereignty – who should run Britain?

When Brand says that politicians are frauds, he is right on the money about many of them.  This is because there is a significant number of politicians who understand very well the limitations that EU rule has on a government’s scope for domestic governance.  Despite this they make impossible promises and hold forth about changes that need to be made in areas of policy where the UK no longer governs itself – while staying silent about the EU dimension.

However, there are politicians who simply do not understand the EU dimension and think the UK still has the ability to effect changes.  Given the fast moving world of current affairs and the sheer breadth of things they need know just enough about to comment upon, as if they were in control of a brief, these are the people who don’t take the time to learn how this country is really governed, where power really resides and how little can actually be changed even if Westminster was of a mind to.

This takes us back to the so-called ‘democratic process’, which is just long hand for ‘voting’.  This is about the limit of involvement people can have in our so-called democracy.  But where is there any value in voting when the people we elect do not have the power to change those things we are opposed to?  Back to Brand’s op-ed again:

The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don’t think it does. I fervently believe that we deserve more from our democratic system than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from the carousel of the mighty, when they hop a few inches left or right. The lazily duplicitous servants of The City expect us to gratefully participate in what amounts to little more than a political hokey cokey where every four years we get to choose what colour tie the liar who leads us wears.

Replace ‘The City’ with ‘the EU’ and Brand has actually got it spot on.  The reason we only get a few derisory tit-bits is they are all there is within the gift of the people we elect to give to us.  The reason they hop a few inches left or right is that all the big issues are dealt with in Brussels, so there’s no point in ideological battles when any mooted changes could not be delivered unless the EU willed it.  That leaves us with the change in tie colour every four or five years, because the three main parties are all fighting over that narrow piece of ground where Britain still has some control over its affairs.  That results in the insignificant differences Brand references.

Somewhere else Brand has managed to land on solid ground is with these words:

I like Jeremy Paxman, incidentally. I think he’s a decent bloke but like a lot of people who work deep within the system it’s hard for him to countenance ideas from outside the narrowly prescribed trench of contemporary democracy. Most of the people who criticized me have a vested interest in the maintenance of the system. They say the system works. What they mean is “the system works for me”.

Perhaps. Or perhaps they just have no imagination.  Perhaps that is why the likes of that fool, Harry Mount, rush forth with a blanket rejection of Brand’s comments and have to work in extremes.  The alternative to what ‘democracy’ we have today, the likes of Mount argue, is violent revolt, lawlessness, social breakdown, chaos.

Not for Mount is there any consideration of a different system where there is real democracy.  One where the politicians have to ask for permission from the people before executing some of their plans.  Not for Mount is there any route to this other than though armed revolt, rather than peaceful, intelligent civil disobedience that demonstrates a removal of consent by the people and removal of power to implement the wishes of those over whom we have no control and who we cannot hold to account.

Just as politicians avert their eyes from the EU elephant in the room, the other parts of the establishment avert their eyes from the one way they can be brought down, without them being given the excuse to use force of arms. Although Brand heads off on a flight of emotional indulgence, he does return to the core issue, possibly without realising what he has hit on, when he writes:

Here’s one for blighty; Philip Green, the bloke who owns Top Shop didn’t pay any income tax on a £1.2bn dividend in 2005. None. Unless he paid himself a salary that year, in addition to the £1.2bn dividend, the largest in corporate history, then the people who clean Top Shop paid more income tax than he did. That’s for two reasons – firstly because he said that all of his £1.2bn earnings belong to his missus, who was registered in Monaco and secondly because he’s an arsehole. The money he’s nicked through legal loopholes would pay the annual salary for 20,000 NHS nurses. It’s not illegal; it’s systemic, British people who voted, voted for it. I’m not voting for that.

What he has described is the result of the loss of sovereignty.  This is what happens when a nation state can no longer levy taxes because it is precluded from doing so by the law that applies in the political union.  This is a powerful case for leaving the EU, where corporatist interests are indeed put first.  We have never voted for it, as Brand asserts.  The politicians simply made it possible by taking decisions in our name and refusing to seek our permission.  It doesn’t take a violent revolution to correct that.  Just making ourselves ungovernable in a peaceful way is far more effective as it breaks the very system from which they derive their power and exert control.  This is Harrogate Agenda territory.  And it doesn’t require a single vote for the least worst choice of identikit political climber, it doesn’t require a spoiled ballot paper.

Brand finishes his piece thus:

If we all collude and collaborate together we can design a new system that makes the current one obsolete. The reality is there are alternatives. That is the terrifying truth that the media, government and big business work so hard to conceal. Even the outlet that printed this will tomorrow print a couple of columns saying what a naïve wanker I am, or try to find ways that I’ve fucked up. Well I am naïve and I have fucked up but I tell you something else. I believe in change. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty because my hands are dirty already. I don’t mind giving my life to this because I’m only alive because of the compassion and love of others. Men and women strong enough to defy this system and live according to higher laws. This is a journey we can all go on together, all of us. We can include everyone and fear no one. A system that serves the planet and the people. I’d vote for that.

He is mostly right.  If we collude and collaborate, if we believe in and want real change, if we defy the system in intelligent ways that frustrate and undermine our tormentors, we can indeed embark on a journey together and bring about a system where we, the people, have the power and our interests are served.

These are indeed hard truths, though perhaps moreso for those people who continue to troop to the polling station and put an ‘X’ in a box, particularly those who do it without enthusiasm because they feel it is their duty to exercise their franchise.  In the main, most of them do not realise all they are doing is legitimising a system where they are not able to vote for the people who really do make the decisions about how Britain is governed.

In such a circumstance, why bother voting?  If it changed anything, they would likely ban it.

So where are the hard truths then? – Part 1

Last week we had Russell Brand, who for reasons passing understanding is now a very rich ‘celebrity’ holding forth on politics and being selected by our dumbed down media to be afforded a platform, telling Jeremy Paxman that he ‘can’t be arsed to vote’ and looking forward to a revolution, in a Newsnight interview.

Now we have the Guardian focusing on Paxman’s confession that he himself, grizzled establishment beast that his is, once did not venture out to vote because looking at the candidates he found ‘the choice so unappetising’.  This was enough to spark off the Guardian’s Michael White into writing an op-ed, that we will look at in a moment, as it actually prompted this post.

Back to Paxman for a moment though.  Regardless of who he works for and the editorial line he takes, some of his withering assessment is illustrative and quite valuable.

Russell Brand has never voted, because he finds the process irrelevant.  I can understand that: the whole green-bench pantomime in Westminster looks a remote and self-important echo-chamber. But it is all we have.

In one recent election, I decided not to vote, because I thought the choice so unappetising. By the time the polls had closed and it was too late to take part, I was feeling really uncomfortable: the person who chooses not to vote – cannot even be bothered to write ‘none of the above’ on a ballot paper – disqualifies himself from passing any comment at all.

At the next election we shall have a choice between the people who’ve given us five years of austerity, the people who left us this mess, and the people who signed public pledges that they wouldn’t raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history.

It won’t be a bombshell if very large numbers of the electorate simply don’t bother to vote. People are sick of the tawdry pretences.

It was in response to these comments that the Guardian’s insufferably arrogant Michael White entered the fray with a voter apathy piece.  Now, things are never black and white, there are always shades of grey, which is why there were some parts of White’s piece that seem well judged.  But this is Michael White, so he undoes his good work with some typically idiotic rot:

But Paxman speaks to a wider malaise in which the media itself plays a larger part than it ever cares to admit. Yes, politicians promise too much and under-deliver. But the idea promulgated by Brand, that they deliberately “lie and deceive” while remaining indifferent to voter needs, is risible. If anything, current politicians are too keen to appease voter demands – better services for less tax – than to tell hard truths about our problems.

This is so much establishment bollocks.  Take David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband for example, promising too much and under-delivering.  Why does this happen?  It is perfectly fair to argue that they are lying and deceiving.  It is not risible.  Their failure is not about being more keen to appease voter demands than to tell the hard truths about our problems.

The first hard truth is that they infer action will be taken, or promise action will be taken, on matters where they know all too well the UK Parliament has no control, because sovereignty has been ceded to the European Union.  They know it because they are briefed about the limitations of what they can and cannot do by advisers and civil servants. They don’t make these promises to appease voters, they do it to conceal the extent to which power has been given away.  That is why they indulge in such tawdry pretences.

If these men and their ilk wanted to appease voter demands we would have had, for example, an EU referendum years ago, we would not have invaded Iraq, our troops would have already ended the Afghanistan debacle, illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers would be removed from the country as soon as their claim was rejected, people wanted on terrorist charges overseas who abuse our hospitality by using this country as a base from which to incite violence would have been deported, wind turbines would not be replacing coal and gas power stations at greatly increased expense to consumers, fuel duty would have been slashed, and idiotic rules on waste collection and spiralling landfill costs we are forced to pay would have been dropped. Just for starters.

So Russell Brand is right about the lies and deceit.  What about this assertion from White?

Consensus can be a boring but necessary part of life, at home as much as in politics. Compromise is part of the process of politics whereas polarisation fuelled by outrage (real or fake) is more fun, but also more dangerous.

The reason why there is so much consensus is that the major issues of ideological difference have been removed from national control.  Change cannot be effected, so the three main parties are congregated around the scraps that are left, where there isn’t really scope for wildly divergent viewpoints.   There is a hard truth here, but none of the politicians acknowledge it.  The EU elephant is in the room, the deception is maintained.

The hardest truth of all is that democracy has been utterly subverted.  We hear lots about democracy when politicians seek legitimacy through elections.  But when constituents try to influence how their elected representative votes on a matter in the House of Commons, they are rebuffed by the MP – often with words to the effect of they represent all constituents, not just those who write or call to press for him/her to vote in a certain way.

So where from here?  Since writing this post commenced in the late afternoon, Russell Brand has been given space in the Guardian for a lengthy opinion piece.  The comments and ideas there concerning elections and voter anger will be covered in part 2…

Charge of the Referendum Light Brigade

Having been derided for his aspiration of leading the Conservative Party, Adam Afriyie, has now determined how he plans to exact revenge – declaring via the Daily Mail’s RightMinds section that he will force David Cameron to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership ‘now’.

This really is a new charge of a light brigade, misguided and doomed to failure.  While it may elicit excitement among Eurosceptics, an early referendum would almost certainly be lost and the UK would be shackled to the twitching corpse of the EU, for decades to come or until the whole ediface comes crashing down under its own weight.

The facts are these.  The Eurosceptics are in appalling shape and nowhere close to ready to fighting the kind of campaign required to win public support for an ‘out’ vote.  We would face a biased and distorting media where the selected voices on our side will be those who will undermine us with undecided voters and where, with the exception of the Express, even the supposed Eurosceptic press like the Mail and the Telegraph will support continued EU membership and push the false ‘renegotiation’ meme.

Add in to this the fact that Afriyie is not really pushing an early referendum to hasten UK withdrawal from the EU, but for narrow party political considerations.  Always delve into a piece if you want to find the author’s genuine motivations.  The headline rationale is the ‘acceptable’ argument only put there to earn sympathy from the audience.  As a piece goes on, the author lets slip what is really on their mind.  Afriyie’s piece is no different and his motives are clear in his article:

I think people understand the argument that if you vote Conservative you will get a referendum and if you vote Labour you won’t.

But we must not rely too heavily on the belief that the promise of a referendum will persuade people to vote Conservative nor trust the Labour Party not to change its position.

In reality, the British people are unsure whether the Conservative leadership would be able to stick to its promise of holding a referendum after the Election, especially if in coalition once again.

It seems to me that if we don’t hold the referendum before 2015, large numbers of people will continue to vote UKIP whatever happens – and if they do, there is a distinct danger that Labour will gain a majority and we will never see a referendum at all.

Protest votes are understandable mid-term, but mainstream politicians continue to underestimate and dismiss the power and significance of populism – currently expressed in the form of UKIP votes. Because at the heart of a populist movement is a legitimate concern unacknowledged by the political establishment.

By holding an early EU referendum, we would have recognised, embraced and addressed those concerns.

An early EU referendum would resolve the issue for all political parties as well as the British people. And for my party, I believe it will reunite the wider Conservative family so that we can win convincingly in 2015.

That is his Afriyie’s real agenda.  Stealing a march on Labour and neutering UKIP’s capacity for harming Conservative electoral prospects.

So we now can see the only reason why Afriyie wants an early referendum.  Narrow, party political advantage.  The conventional wisdom is that the Conservatives would benefit regardless of the outcome of the referendum – and that is what Afriyie is trying to sell to his Tory colleagues right now ahead of tomorrow’s amendment.  The national and public interest, which would be served by freeing this country from the EU, isn’t the primary consideration.

That can only spell bad news for our prospects of securing our exit from the EU.  Those who are currently excited by Afriyie’s construct should be careful for what they wish for.  Rather than throwing compliments at Afriyie, they should be hurling brickbats.  We have to suit up for a referendum campaign and be strong in order to win it.  The suit has not been stitched and we are severely under our fighting weight.  An early referendum is to be avoided.

Meanwhile, on planet Hague…


Concrete Willy has also been playing a part in the coordinated whingefest about that lost vote over Syria.

Continuing on the same theme as Hammond and Rifkind, by focusing exclusively on the process story and exhibiting an unseemly and desperate fetish for being side by side with the Americans and wanting to take military action, Hague failed to even mention the Syrian people or the humanitarian drivers that supposedly necessitate military action against one side in the civil war.  But the partisan party politicking agenda was serviced in full in comments reported by the Telegraph as the assault on Miliband and Labour was upped a notch.

It wasn’t the alleged international perception of the UK being weak and the Falklands now being in dire peril as a result of us not showing we can lob missiles at Syria from afar.  No, this time it was that the defeat of the motion and Labour’s role in it has caused ‘serious concerns’ in the US and various European capitals!  Servicing Tory party interests, Concrete Willy, without batting an eyelid, told Dermot Murhaghan in respect of that Commons vote that, ‘On such occasions everyone should be able to rise above any party interests’. He also said about Labour:

There’s some serious concerns in other capitals – not just across the Atlantic but in European capitals as well – about the position they have taken in voting down a Government motion which actually had in it pretty much everything that they asked for.

So all this concern in these ‘European capitals’ is not for the Syrian people, but what it all means for the political elite.  That figures.  There’s nothing like a bit of self interest to exercise the servants of the public is there?  Perhaps that explains why none bar the French are sending their armed forces to bomb Syria.  It is a coalition of the unwilling.

Hague’s comments reek of so much bullshit.  They have most likely been provoked because after all his efforts to whip up international support for intervention on the side of the rebels, he has lost as much face as Cameron after being told by Parliament to put his guns back in their holster.

Showing up this party political, self serving crap for what it is, is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.  Nothing said since the vote has offered any reasonable justification for intervening in Syria.  The hollow arguments we heard in Parliament were the sum total on offer.  Seeking to launch an undefined, purpose-free military attack on the basis of nothing more than emotion, and the subsequent self justifying bleating that has followed, is frankly disgraceful.

How UKIP has fallen into a Tory trap and abandoned its priority of EU withdrawal

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.

Curious creatures these defecting Tories

Very interesting to read in the Telegraph today that Conservative activists have begun defecting to the UK Independence Party in protest at the Tory leadership’s ‘arrogant and insulting’ attitude towards grassroots members.

So let’s get this straight.

  • These Tory activists have stayed part of the Cameronista through broken promises over a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the craven failure to repeal the Human Rights Act and a raft of conservative principles being torn up.
  • They have seen the selection of candidate short lists taken out of their hands.
  • They have seen candidates they have voted to select in European elections passed over in favour of women who received far fewer member votes.
  • They have hung in there as a raft of EU budgetary demands have been paid in full.  They have sat tight as more and more law-making power has been thrown over the fence to Brussels.
  • They have remained in the blue corner as public borrowing and debt has escalated to shocking levels.
  • They have put up with Liberal Democrats derailing implementation of fairer parliamentary constituency boundaries.
  • They kept up their membership as wasteful and inefficient wind turbines are being imposed on communities against their wishes and reliable power stations are shut down.

And despite these and numerous other instances of the party leadership treating them with contempt and eroding their autonomy, only now are some choosing to defect to UKIP, apparently because someone in Cameron’s circle is alleged to have described party members as swivel-eyed loons.

While UKIP may be celebrating these additions to its membership, one has to ask if that party really needs to take on people who compromised their political principles for years by staying in the Conservative Party, only leaving when they perceived they had been insulted.  You’ve got to wonder about people that willingly tolerated such a sustained and overt assault on what they claim to stand for, yet leave on the basis of an as-yet unsubstantiated rumour.

Regardless, if it weakens the conservative-in-name-only Tories, then long may the defections continue.

UKIP advances as voter anger with mainstream parties runs far deeper than realised

By rights and in keeping with electoral convention, in the first County Council election results that were announced on Thursday night, UKIP should only have managed to win a handful of seats.

To have won 42 seats before the main bulk of the contests have even begun counting, against a backdrop of a concerted smear operation by the Conservatives against UKIP candidates and the absence of anything that could be fairly described as an effective UKIP local organisation, is a stunning result.  This reveals the depth of voter anger with the mainstream parties runs far deeper than perhaps even we realised.

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg will be very fearful men this morning and with good reason.  Make no mistake, if the UKIP advance continues with the results to be announced on Friday this election, and the forthcoming European elections in which UKIP were already expected to do well, could represent a game changer in national politics ahead of the 2015 General Election.  The results could be that significant.

An unexpectedly high tally of seats to accompany a strong percentage of the overall vote is likely to bring about several things.  Firstly, UKIP can expect more scrutiny, but significantly more air time and coverage in the media to present their narrative – albeit in need of urgent improvement and cohesion.  This will result in more potential voters taking a look at the alternative to the mainstream parties, which could lift UKIP’s support even higher.

Secondly, with something now approaching a local base developing, we can expect to see an increase in dissatisfied Conservative councillors defecting to UKIP, as they become confident they have a fighting chance of still being re-elected outside the Tory umbrella.  Don’t underestimate the vested self interest of electoral prospects informing the decision making of councillors, many of whom are sick to the back teeth of Cameron’s evisceration of conservative principles and policies.

Thirdly, with wider coverage and evidence that UKIP can win seats promoting more confidence, party membership can expect to increase in the coming months.  Crucially for UKIP this would also result in more money – and there could now be a real prospect that some current Tory donors might consider switching their money to UKIP, as electoral success from virtually no base will show their cash could be used to achieve some tangible success.

Fourth, the EU referendum strategy, which Cameron has developed around the idea of batting it away into the long grass beyond the next General Election – and only then if the Conservatives win, which is now looking a more distant prospect – is likely to unravel.  Internal pressure within the Conservative party to address the issue much sooner in an effort to arrest UKIP’s progress, will be deafening as the non-wets assert themselves with electoral evidence of the strength of their argument.

In politics, momentum should never be underestimated.  A combination of opposition to EU membership, anger over immigration, and the opportunity to protest against the cosy mainstream political stitch up and reject the main parties, has given UKIP momentum.

What matters now is how it’s used.  As this blogger has always maintained, with Farage at the helm things have the capacity to fall apart quickly and people might find the party is all fur coat and no knickers.  There are a number of risks but two in particular that stand out.

First, that the lack of cohesion on policy due to Farage’s refusal/incapacity to ‘do detail’ results in contradictory statements and voting which embarrass the party.  Second, that Farage’s autocratic control of the party, which because of its relative size makes him more powerful comparatively than Cameron is over his Tories, means some unsavoury candidates have slipped through the net and as they are exposed – make no mistake, the media poodles will pore over them continually – they bring the party into disrepute.  There is a greater than average chance that UKIP proves to be its own worst enemy for the reasons this blog and others have trailed for many months.

We now wait to see what Friday’s results bring.

Tory Party faced with new rift as MPs prepare to mount coup

So reads a headline in the Independent.  But this isn’t another instalment in the recent string of stories planted in the media to convince voters that backbench Tory MPs will rein in David Cameron and protect the right flank of the party from UKIP.

No, this story is different from the fayre trotted out in the pages of the Failygraph as it marks the increasing confidence of the Cameroons and a concerted effort they have undertaken to eject members of the so called ‘awkward squad’ from official positions on the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee.  And it will come as no surprise to regular readers that at the heart of this operation to protect the ‘instinctively Eurosceptic’ Cameron is supposed critic and prominent Judas goat, George EUstice – his former press secretary.

Cameron, with an ever watchful eye focused on crushing any dissent of his autocratic control of the party, has seen to it that parliamentary private secretaries – MPs who are ministerial aides and therefore are expected to toe the leadership’s line – are now able to vote in the election. This means the backbench group, which is supposed to hold the leadership (and by definition any Conservative government) to account could now have its executive and direction influenced by the leadership.  It is the political equivalent of castration – or at least it would be if there were any more than a tiny handful of Tory MPs with balls.

It is classic Cameron.  If anyone opposes his direction he changes the rules enabling his minions to be dispatched to initiate a hostile takeover.  They keep the opponents’ organisation structures intact and wear their clothes, but change the language and corrupt definitions to mean the opposite of what they did.  He has already done this by adopting the mantle of Eurosceptic despite his words and actions being entirely Europhile.

If successful, this putsch against the 1922 will still see the committee describing itself as holding Cameron to account and putting pressure on him to be ‘more conservative’, yet it will be entirely supportive of Cameron’s actions and utter all the sycophantic words of endorsement he wants to hear.  And no doubt the Failygraph will continue to publish op-eds from various talking heads earnestly telling readers that Cameron will soon show his conservative credentials, that there is real pressure for change inside the party which will win the day and there’s no need to support UKIP.

Only a simpleton could believe it.

Tories increasingly desperate to stem falling support

Earlier this week we blogged about a piece in the Daily Express where Conservative ‘EU rebel’ Mark Reckless made the ludicrous claim that as many as half of the 306-strong Parliamentary party were in favour of total withdrawal from the EU.

In the comments section we went on to explain that the Tories were desperately trying to claw back deserters and cling on to waverers as their own polling data shows they would lose the next general election if it was held tomorrow, and that many Tory supporters had been saying they would never vote Conservative again after the sellout over Lisbon, HRA being shoved on the back burner and continued EU opt ins in 2010.

Yesterday Gawain over at England Expects highlighted another ‘Eurosceptic’ Tory playing tribal party politics.

It is increasingly looking like the party-before-country sentiments being expressed are being coordinated. The Tories have been damaged as the realisation has dawned among a growing number of voters that Cameron has duped them and that he never had any intention of standing by all the Eurosceptic noises made before the election.  Now all hands are being roped in to hold the line – even the supposedly Eurosceptic backbenchers who were dumped on by Cameron and the Whips in the referendum motion vote.

Clearly the Tories are frit.

 

Rejecting political parties: A sign of things to come?

Interesting developments from the Republic of Ireland, where the Presidential election campaign has seen a previously rank outside independent candidate sweep to odds-on favourite to replace Mary McAleese (not Robinson as I wrote at 2am through bleary eyes…)

According to an opinion poll conducted by ‘Red C’, the candidates for Labour, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein are trailing in the wake of Irish ‘Dragon’s Den’ entrepreneur, Sean Gallagher.

The former Fianna Fáil man is running as an independent and his stock is rising rapidly with Irish voters who are deserting the organised political parties.

  • Independent – Sean Gallagher – 39%
  • Labour – Michael D Higgins – 27%
  • Sinn Fein – Martin McGuinness – 13%
  • Fine Gael – Gay Mitchell – 8%
  • Independent – David Norris – 7%
  • Independent – Mary Davis – 4%
  • Independent – Dana Rosemary Scallon – 2%

However not all is quite as it seems, as Gallagher is effectively running as an ‘arms length’ Fianna Fáil candidate.  He is a mere Indeplastic – a cheap rip off of the real thing.

That political party, knowing it would get short shrift from voters, does not have an official candidate and has decided the way forward is to get behind a proxy ‘celeb’ candidate.  It is a sign of weakness.  Clearly the penny is dropping in Ireland that the interests of the political parties are not the same as the electorate and that voting for the usual suspects doesn’t result in the changes they demand.  Fianna Fáil are wise to it, but will others change tack too?

If Gallagher wins the Presidency and takes up residence in the Áras it could signal the acceleration of the demise of political parties in Ireland.  While that might be honey in the ears of the unelected bureaucratic dictators of the EU, it could see more people step up as genuine independent candidates – the kind of people who still want democracy and can’t be bought off by Brussels.

One thing is clear in this political era, we are at a critical juncture and everything is to play for.  The question is, are we up for the battle?


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