“Let’s calm down, Ukip’s popularity won’t last” proclaims David Aaronovitch from the peaks of Mt Olympus in Islington
“Association with Ukip and the bigots in its core membership won’t help the Tories pick up those votes.” simpers bright young Tory thing Kate Maltby
“Nigel Forage’s earthquake seems remarkably short on aftershocks” sniggers The DT’s political guru Benedict Brogan (Remember Brogan’s insightful “UKIP slipping” prediction just before the recent elections?)
Only three of hundreds of articles about UKIP that have been scribbled by metropolitan hacks over the last few months. From the Telegraph alone you would set your chimney alight if you tried to burn them all at once. “Analysing” UKIP has proved a goldmine, especially for the mainly white middle class penpushers and keyboard tappers who infest the broadsheet “Comment” pages. Pontificating from their book lined studies in their million pound houses in Notting Hill and Islington they predict the future with the arrogant confidence of those Roman seers who would tell you your fortune after slitting open a live chicken and throwing it’s entrails across a glistening marble floor –for a few pieces of gold, of course.
The Roman seers can be given the benefit of doubt because they could claim to be operating at a time when a belief in magic and the powers of the supernatural was deeply embedded within the culture of the time.
We should not give our broadsheet hacks such an easy way out.
The fact is that not any one of them is able to make any prediction based on incontrovertible data. They know very little about UKIP. Since when did any of them make any effort to highlight anyone from the party other than Nigel Farage – apart from recycling any smear or innuendo dug up by unpaid interns from Tory HQ. How many times have they contacted local branches to get some sort of insight into who these UKIP members are and why they joined? Why is any interview driven by references to oddball quotes (both true and untrue) by a tiny minority of members?
It’s because they just cannot grasp the concept of a party that has managed to move from the outer edges of the political fringe to the centre of public debate within two years. It is a phenomenon that is as far from their view of the world as the ships and muskets of the Spanish must have been to the native tribes of America.
None of the leadership cadre has ever been a big player in the political arena. They are not regular attendees at North London dinner parties. They have never been part of the Westminster village. They do not mix or marry into the media elite.
Their voters are from deeply unfashionable places – Great Yarmouth, Lincolnshire, Rotherham, Dudley, Thurrock, and Portsmouth. Their roots are from both the Tories and Labour – and many have never had any interest in politics before.
It’s like an alien invasion. Who the hell are these people – and what do they want? Why are they here? It’s an intriguing moment when proper journalists should be eager to expend shoe leather in answering these questions.
Instead you get people like Aaronovitch blithely predicting the future course of UKIP without even cutting up a chicken.
Evidence based analysis? My arse!!! It’s more like Political Astrology…..