The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

08 October
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UK Telegraph Hack Forced To Go To The Seaside To Listen To Clacton’s UKIP Supporters….Ugggghhhh..

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The top brass at the Telegraph obviously felt that they were publishing too many positive reports and comments about UKIP so they rang up their ace travel hack Tom Rowley and ordered him to get up to Clacton and write a bit of a sneer piece about the natives (y’know, mocking their ignorance and parochialism) to undermine UKIP’s candidate Douglas Carswell in the forthcoming by election.

“…after all, Tom, they’re not real people over there. Unlike we clever Telegraph types they don’t live in Somerset rectories or go to dinner parties in Notting Hill…normally we wouldn’t bother with such a bunch of losers…but with all this UKIP/Farage/Carswell nonsense they do seem to be getting ideas above their station. David says that Samantha is telling him he needs to be a bit tougher on them as she’s damned if a crowd of has beens and pensioners from a crumbling seaside town will edge her out of Downing Street….without all that publicity how can she market those bags?…..Anyway, Tory HQ is putting the squeeze on us so if you want more of those gigs in New York, Austria or Barbados you’ll get to the Essex coast pronto – or you might end up in Monrovia reporting on cut price hotels next to hospitals…don’t worry, we won’t allow any comments, they only come from the readers and what the hell do they know..”

Naturally Tom rushed to Clacton

Eileen Mattacks, at least, was hearing all the right things. Across the road from a shop selling all manner of mobility scooters, the elderly voter embraced Mr. Carswell. “For years I voted Conservative but I don’t think they’ve done the job properly,” she said. Despite her Huguenot surname, she, too, is concerned about immigration. “We are only a small island,” she said. “And we’ve got too many here.”

“Well done, Tom – you hit all the right buttons…just the sort of copy the Telegraph wants. Mrs. Mattacks just doesn’t realise that here in London we simply couldn’t survive without cheap baristas, nannies, builders and gardeners from the outside world…why, I don’t expect she even knows what a barista is…”

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18 September
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Did The Telegraph Drive Andy Murray To Support “Yes”?

I don’t usually have much time for Andy Murray’s views on anything outside tennis but I have to admit that his last minute tweet in favour of Scottish independence did resonate with me.

Huge day for Scotland today! no campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!

The Telegraph was naturally very sniffy about this – perhaps because the paper’s coverage of the referendum campaign over the last few weeks has been one never ending barrage of negativity against the Yes campaign

I do not deny the right of the DT to have an editorial stance – what I have found disturbing is their refusal to provide much in terms of column inches for supporters of independence. Instead hack after hack has been wheeled out to blather on and on about the evils of Salmond and the SNP. Any organ that aspires to be above the level of a tabloid ought to give some room to both sides of the argument. I don’t expect an even balance but it is clear that, at the very least, a substantial minority of Scots support independence. To demonise them as simpletons being manipulated by a sinister cult leadership which is distracting them from the benefits of this mystic “union” is hardly the stuff of quality “journalism”. There is a case for independence and any organ that has pretensions to intelligent analysis ought to treat it with a certain degree of respect.. Instead the Telegraph’s tone has been shrill, hysterical and as one sided as any series of articles in the Volkischer Beobachter…

Worst of all it is the voice of a particularly patronising element of the Home Counties middle class which still perceives Scotland through the lens of Walter Scott culminating in an endless parade of Burns night dinners where Reigate golfers and their wives pretend to be striding through some heather strewn glen, waxing lyrical about a place very few of them would ever visit.

But for me the clincher was the DT’s attempt to trump Murray’s declaration with a list of those “celebrities” who are campaigning for a No…..

More than 200 famous names, including rockers Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Mick Jagger; composer Andrew Lloyd Webber; comedian Eddie Izzard; model Stella Tenant; actresses Helena Bonham-Carter and Dame Judi Dench, Simon Cowell, and Stephen Hawking signed a letter urging Scotland to stay in the union.

I rest my case…..

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28 July
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The Telegraph’s UKIP Problem – Chapter 376….

Wow….it didn’t take long. That Ashcroft poll marking Thurrock and Thanet South a possible UKIP gain (and Great Yarmouth almost as close) obviously made the folks at Cameron’s PR HQ (aka The Telegraph) nervous because it undermined their carefully cultivated narrative. Ever since the Euro/local elections last May the message has been clearly defined. May was “peak UKIP”, Cameron was “relaxed”, Labour was imploding  Miliband, Clegg was drowning, the economy was now in upturn. Throw in “tough” talk about Juncker, glam up the cabinet with a few skirts and – hey presto!!! – the polls would turn around. Only they didn’t….the Tory “bounce” failed to appear, even under the disastrous Ed Labour  stayed ahead and, above all, UKIP did not melt away.

Then Nigel Farage announced UKIP’s “cabinet”, a collective which would act as the public face of the party. Shockingly the new team confounded those racist, misogynistic stereotyped images so lovingly projected by a largely hostile media.

Klaxons were now blaring at Telegraph House. Team Cameron wanted something done and done pretty damned quickly so an editorial conference was obviously convened to implement some  damage control.

The results, unfortunately, merely helped to demonstrate the general perception of a once great newspaper unable to escape from a cycle of decline.

First James Kirkup was tasked to write something “witty and amusing”….he could only come up with some meaningless survey which appeared to show that UKIP supporting men were shorter than anyone else……even Kirkup probably realised it wasn’t his finest hour.

Then Iain Martin penned a thousand words saying how Farage’s “reshuffle” wasn’t worth writing about (never mind, Iain, you survived the purge so you obviously got paid for that pointless exercise)

But the crowning glory came from Political Correspondent Georgia Graham who was obviously told to write a hit piece on Diane James and the other women in the UKIP team. It was a shallow, poorly researched collection of sneers. Ms Graham, in common with every other Telegraph hack, made no effort to find out more about them. She just cut and pasted stuff via Google and filled the column to order

Many of us had hoped that after May the new regime at the Telegraph would actually have started to use some serious journalism in their approach to UKIP rather than recycling Tory Party agitprop. It is clear, however, that we were naive in the extreme. They have no intention of exhibiting anything but blatant bias which is why Dan Hannan’s peculiar little salvo against UKIP quite enlightening.

I have great deal of respect for Dan. His euroscepticism springs, like mine, from a feeling that our long established mistrust of rulers who are unelected and see themselves as above our laws makes us a poor fit for a bureaucratic one size fits all regime like the EU. Yet he remains a loyal Tory and puts all his trust in David Cameron.

For that reason he gets some negative comments on his Telegraph blog and on Twitter from UKIP supporters or those who claim to be UKIP supporters. He claims these are hurtful (lol…join the club, Dan) and then comes up with an astonishing suggestion

A fair number of online haters are happy to identify themselves as Ukip members. That party would do itself a huge favour by expelling, with much fanfare, the next cyberkipper whose words bring it into disrepute.

Several other Telegraph “pundits” have made the same complaint. They write something critical about UKIP and then are shocked by the “venomous” response…..UKIP people are so ….aggressive…..

In actual fact, Dan and all you other Telegraph pundits, it’s not the criticism of UKIP that is the issue……it’s the sneering, dismissive and contemptuous manner in which you do it. None of you has made any serious attempt to use up some real journalistic shoeleather and talk with party members at branch meetings or conferences. Instead, like Georgia Graham, you rehash old stories (sluts, anyone?) to pad out your googling.

It’s clear that the upper echelons at the Telegraph (owners? editors?) have no interest any serious analysis of what makes UKIP tick. Perhaps, as a party of political outsiders, its members, unlike LIBLabCon (sorry…couldn’t resist it) simply do not inhabit the upper middle class North London milieu of our media elite. The idea that the concerns of Thurrock and Great Yarmouth should be treated with as much respect as those of Islington and Notting Hill is probably simply incomprehensible to the likes of Kirkup, Graham and Hannan.

Or perhaps it is simpler than that

“The most insignificant people are the most apt to sneer at others. They are safe from reprisals. And have no hope of rising in their own self esteem but by lowering their neighbors.”

Yes, William Hazlitt often did hit the nail on the head…..

 

 

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18 July
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Tories Go For PR, UKIP Prefer Principles

We hear from James Kirkup, a resident hack at David Cameron’s fan club newsletter (aka the Telegraph) that the Tory Party machine is now big into “Data Electioneering”. Apparently this is the equivalent of the supermarket loyalty card where you use information gathered at the checkout to decide how you will stock your shelves

 

 It would amass information about voters and seats, information that could be used to ensure that the party knows where the electorate is, what it thinks, what it wants.The result is an extraordinarily extensive – and expensive – programme of opinion polls and focus groups generating huge volumes of data about voters’ views and preferences

 

 In other words the quaintly old fashioned idea of a political party being the coming together of a group of individuals with a common view of political principles and ideas which then seeks to persuade the voters to elect them into government is now so yesterday. Instead you fashion your policies around consumer research, social media reaction and, eventually, product testing. Presumably, after all that, you come up with a to do list which will aim to please mumsnet, greenpeace and the Daily Mail…

Good luck with that.

Of course, it’s all very expensive for the Tories – but when you have the bosses of the big global corporations who do well out of the EU trough and cheap labour via uncontrolled immigration in your pocket then why worry? OK your party membership at local level is collapsing but, like the banks, who needs branches when you can centralise?

Hence the reshuffle, aimed, we are told at

 

women, especially those with young families. Such women, alongside Ukip supporters who used to vote Tory, were a key audience for the reshuffle, both precisely identified by that polling operation for a data-driven reshuffle that is without precedent in British politics.

 

Odd, though, that “UKIP supporters” should be furrowing brows amidst all those data drivers at Tory HQ…..UKIP, a party led by political outsiders, permanently cash strapped with only the bare bones of a professional cadre and with no support from any national media outlet yet which consistently  polls well ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Enough, if it continues, to possibly win a seat or two, certainly enough to undermine the chances of the Tories getting a working majority in 2015.

 

There is little evidence yet of a fall in Ukip support now the European Parliament elections have passed, confounding the expectations of pundits who believed the European election victory was the “peak Ukip moment”. Our estimates have Farage’s party at 14.8 per cent, down just 0.1 per cent on last month. The Liberal Democrats, however, continue to slide to new record lows. This month they register just 8.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent on last month, and an all-time low under our new methodology.

 

Much ink has been spilt, of course, over a lack of clarity over UKIP’s policies on tax, the NHS etc and, to be fair, some of this criticism has been justified. But then to what extent can people be clear about the policies of the three establishment parties on these issues. However most voters are aware that UKIP wants to withdraw from the EU (not negotiate) and impose stricter controls on immigration – and they say you cannot have one without the other. The three establishment parties claim to be concerned about uncontrolled immigration but don’t really want to leave the EU. They also have hang ups about upsetting the high priests of political correctness in the media. UKIP couldn’t care less about the media, focus groups or pontificating pundits – what you see is what you get and that message has resonated, pitching through all the spin and PR noise of modern politics.

One comment on the Kirkup piece (from Telegraf) encapsulated the vacuity and shallowness of the Tory data obsession “It’s good to know that politics is now simply a marketing campaign involving a brand on an empty box that once used to contain principles.”  But then what can you really expect from a party led by “a onetime PR man for ruthlessly profitable trash TV”

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09 July
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Bad News For Cameron’s Groupies At The Telegraph – UKIP Not Dipping In Polls…

Well that is a surprise. Just a few days after the Telegraph’s student intern Stephen Best scribbled a piece headed “Where’s Nigel” on the back of his copy of the latest Tory Party HQ press release….(Sample: “Then the wheels fell off in Newark”)

Unfortunately for young Stephen we found out today exactly where Nigel and UKIP can be found….still doing as well in the polls as they did during the May elections. Dashing some ice cold water on those over hyped claims of a “Juncker Bounce” for Cameron the highly respected Polling Report still sees little sign of the Tories overtaking Labour or, alternatively, a massive endorsement of Miliband’s Labour Party. What does seem clear, however, is that UKIP is no flash in the pan…

There is little evidence yet of a fall in Ukip support now the European Parliament elections have passed, confounding the expectations of pundits who believed the European election victory was the “peak Ukip moment”. Our estimates have Farage’s party at 14.8 per cent, down just 0.1 per cent on last month.

Not such good news for Nick Clegg and his party, however..

The Liberal Democrats, however, continue to slide to new record lows. This month they register just 8.8 per cent, down 0.5 per cent on last month, and an all-time low under our new methodology.

Never mind, Stephen…..just keep listening to Grant Shapps and cutting and pasting those Tory HQ memos and you too can end up like Benedict Brogan…….

 

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24 June
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The Telegraph Hates UKIP So Much They Decided To Recruit Stephen Bush As Dan Hodges Mk 2….

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out where the zombified Daily Telegraph might well be heading as it lurches towards the horizon ….just look at Stephen Bush,  “Editor-in-Chief” Jason Seiken’s replacement for Benedict Brogan, one of the most highly respected political journalists in the game today and the brains behind the Telegraph’s widely read weekday political e mail

During the weekend Labour’s so called rising star Chuka Umunna, a privately educated lawyer and grandson of a High Court judge, made a rather bizarre claim about UKIP voters

On the Marr Show this morning Chuka Umunna claimed voters feel disconnected from mainstream politics because they don’t know how to send emails or browse the internet and that “a lot of those voting for Ukip” in the European elections were not computer literate and can’t do things like use email or browse the internet.

UKIP’s Donna Rachel Edmunds demolished this nonsense

Umunna’s suggestion has provoked mirth because it is, quite literally, laughable. Kippers have been well known for their keyboard activism for years now. Visit almost any page on the MSM news sites and political blogs and there will be comment after comment, often thoroughly evidenced, culminating in the two words “Vote Ukip”.

But Stephen Bush  supported Umunna 100%

Why are the Cyberkippers so angry with Chuka Umunna? Because he’s right

Mr B then proceeds to scribble a piece so weird and so dismissive and ill researched that one might initially suspect it could be a parody of Dan Hodges

Such a party might yet emerge, but it won’t be Ukip, because Mr Farage’s alliance of convenience with the enraged elderly has left an unpleasant taint around the party that will not be easily expunged. To make matters worse for Ukip, it appears that Labour may, at last, be beginning to work out how to win its share of the angry octogenerian vote back.

It’s not a parody, unfortunately – Mr B, in a previous incarnation,has form

No – it’s clickbait. The new DT regime is betting the family silver on Cameron. Over the last few months the resident pundits of the supposedly conservative organ (with the honourable exception of Janet Daley and Peter Oborne) have been religiously pimping Dave and sneering at UKIP. But that was not enough so they decided to recruit Dan Hodges Mk 2

So, who is Stephen Bush?

Stephen Bush is an assistant comment editor at the Telegraph, who mainly works on Morning Briefing, the Telegraph’s must-read morning e-mail.

He , appeared out of the blue a few weeks ago “helping” Brogan – always a portent of assassination at the DT.

Where did he come from?

Guardian Bush

Guardian Bush

Telegraph Bush

Telegraph Bush

The Guardian……

Stephen Bush writes a weekly blog for Progress and works in a bookshop

And left wing websites Progress Online and LabourList…….

Stephen Bush is a writer from London. He studied history at the University of Oxford, and has written on everything from party funding to underwater hockey. He writes a weekly column, the Tuesday Review, for ProgressOnline on politics and current events, and for LabourList on European affairs.

If Mr Bush is a sign of things to come then it looks like the DT zombie might be lurching towards the metropolitan chattering class hilltop currently occupied by the Guardian and BBC where, of course, UKIP is simply not acceptable. Trouble is if you check on the majority of the responses to his Chuka Umunna/UKIP post you get the feeling that the zombie might not be taking a substantial chunk of its  readership with it.

What’s that sound?  Bill Deedes turning in his grave…..

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20 May
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The Telegraph’s Line On UKIP…Never Mind The Facts, We’re Busy Honing Our Fantasy Narratve

That the Telegraph, Mail and other papers had reached an agreement with Tory HQ that they would be fed the details of UKIP candidates making questionable/oddball statements (usually via Twitter/Facebook) in return for ignoring  or downplaying similar remarks/actions from the candidates of other parties is blindingly obvious. Low level, zero contract Tory interns provided a similar service during the run up to the 2013 local elections.

The process is straightforward enough.

The names of these UKIP members are  inserted multiple times in successive articles about UKIP in order to give the impression that a) they are legion and b) to imply they are just the tip of an iceberg.

The next stage, however, is the most important. The writer must create an atmosphere of frenetic mass disapproval as if the whole nation in pubs, shops offices and homes puts aside all other topics in order to declare their shock/horror, or, as the Mail often puts it, UKIP is once again “engulfed in controversy”

Ukip is taking a pounding, but will it make a difference? The polls give the party first place on Thursday in the Euros, but anyone reading across the papers would wonder how that can be. The main parties must wish there was a bit more time to go before polling day, as they reckon the tide has further to turn ( Benedict Brogan)

Similarly the pundits will big up someone who “fearlessly” tells Farage (or any other Ukipper) that he/she is  “Racist – Xenophobic – Fascist – Fearmongering – homophobic – Islamophobic etc etc” and applaud them for “stopping the UKIP bandwagon in its tracks” or even engineering a “car crash”. LBC’s resident pseudo socialist, the middle class public school educated 40 something white blowhard James O’Brien is the latest in a list that includes Tory politicians Eric Pickle and Anna Soubry.

Just think of all the trouble that could have been saved in the Thirties if LBC’s James O’Brien had been around to interview European party leaders. It was O’Brien, you’ll remember, who cross-examined Nigel Farage on air last week and derailed the Ukip leader’s election campaign ahead of Thursday’s vote (Iain Martin)

Over egging the pudding, Mr Martin? In Telegraph anti UKIP world fantasy reigns supreme….a mouthy talk radio host is transformed into James the Hitler Killer…

Thus is created the all important Narrative, the implication that many ordinary folk are so easily swayed by “bigotry” or “anger” that their unsophisticated minds simply cannot know what is best for them and they need to be guided back onto the proper path by those wiser souls who have true insight.

Trouble is it appears to be only those “wiser souls” in the political and media metropolitan bubble who are “engulfed” in the “car crash” “pounding” that they have created from their own imaginations. The ordinary voters do not appear to be taking any notice of the media’s anti UKIP fenzy at all…

 I wonder why?

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09 May
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The Telegraph & Spectator – Cameron’s Palace Guard When Dealing With UKIP?

A couple of days ago Isabel Hardman at The Spectator’s Coffee House blog briefly let her mask slip when she cavorted with glee over the selection of Roger Helmer as the UKIP candidate for the forthcoming Newark by election

His selection as the party’s candidate for the Newark by-election is a gift for CCHQ, which now needs a teaspoon rather than a spade to dig out awkward comments the MEP has made.

The Speccie , like The Telegraph (both owned by the rather secretive Barclay brothers) has, since the beginning of 2013, consistently sought to undermine UKIP either by constantly recycling and repeating the remarks of a handful of oddball members and, between the lines, implying that they reflect the opinions of the party’s ever increasing membership.

It’s the oldest trick in the book – guilt by association. Strangely, however, they never appear to use reports of the antics of many of our current set of MPs to push that implication to its logical conclusion – that Parliament is full of fraudsters, drunkards, gropers and liars.

Hardman is comparatively new to the Westminster media village so her lack of nuance could be put down to experience. Not so her DT colleague Benedict Brogan. He has been reporting on politics for many years and, until recently, could be relied upon to provide an insightful and perceptive analysis of the political scene.

Over the last few months, however, his comments about UKIP have followed the DT/Speccie line of recycled put downs and sneering asides, arousing suspicions that, like Hardman, he is working quite closely with Tory HQ.

But even a worm can sometimes turn and it looks as if Mr Brogan might well have decided to re-assert his independence

Will Mr Helmer make a difference? He’ll certainly attract publicity for the Ukip campaign. He’s up against the typically vanilla candidates chosen by the main parties……………………………Yes, Newark is ripe territory for the Ukip insurgency. It’s the ideal place to give Dave a bloody nose. The Tories can’t make too much of Mr Helmer’s behaviour, because his most egregious remarks were made when he was a Tory, and the party did nothing about them then.

Perhaps BB had a preview of this report in The Guardian

Ukip’s Newark byelection candidate Roger Helmer was greeted like a celebrity as he launched his campaign to be the party’s first MP – in a sign his controversial comments about rape and homosexuality appear to have had little effect on the electorate.

The 70-year-old was cheered by market traders as he visited the Nottinghamshire seat, which was vacated by former Tory Patrick Mercer after a lobbying scandal.

Helmer will be hoping to replicate and build on Ukip’s previous byelection gains, which has come from a tiny proportion of the vote to take second place in five of the past seven contests

It’s rather strange, isn’t it, that a paper which would appear to be diametrically opposed to most, if not all, of UKIP’s political positions, should actually go to Newark and report on Helmer’s campaign and treat him fairly in an interview when the Telegraph/Speccie are content to rely on their own self generated caricatures.

Cameron’s Palace Guard, perhaps?

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08 April
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Why Is The Telegraph Deliberately Insulting A Large Tranche Of Its Readers By Sneering At UKIP?

v sign

 

What is it with the Telegraph and UKIP? You would think that an anti EU, small government, low tax party standing firmly for stricter immigration controls yet free of the racist, corporate state baggage of the BNP would merit a certain degree of sympathy from a broadsheet that has always been the standard bearer of middle class conservative values. Yet over the last few months the resident political “pundits” have unleashed a constant stream of bile directed at the party in general and its leader, Nigel Farage, in particular.

Is it possible that there is a daily conference with Messrs Brogan, Wigmore, Kirkup, Hodges, Martin and Young in which they giggle like crazy as they encourage each other to deliver as much vitriol, innuendo and half truths about UKIP & Farage as possible? Surely that thought is just a flight of fancy…..surely….

Yesterday Iain Martin posted a piece on the storm battering David Cameron and Maria Miller, his Minister of Culture, over her expenses claims. A scandal the Tories need like a hole in the head, he claimed – and then proceeded to use it as a hook for an attack on UKIP.

After months of the DT over egging sundry UKIP “scandals” Martin feared that Farage might seek to capitalise on the Miller/Cameron affair. This is so unfair, said he, because UKIP scandals are ignored….UKIP is Teflon. Martin conveniently “forgets” that the so called UKIP “scandals” have been bigged up, in fact,  by the DT (via CCHQ?) in the face of UKIP’s post Eastleigh (and sustained) polling performance.

I wonder why?

Then James Kirkup (fresh from “proving” that Clegg actually “won” the EU debate with Farage) needing to fill up a column with a few hundred words but clearly suffering from Writer’s Block, decides he might as well follow the DT editorial line and sneer at Farage through the prism of “Game of Thrones”

So, just when you think the DT “pundits” cannot sink any lower in their systematic attempts to undermine UKIP – and those who either support him or, at the least, feel he has something significant to say – the bar is pushed further down and more drivel is spread around.

Memo to the DT pundits. UKIP is not just Nigel Farage….it has 34,000 members, of whom 20,000 have joined within the last two years or so. Astonishingly most Ukippers don’t slavishly agree with Farage over everything he does or says….we tend to be ornery souls with a fairly cynical view of human nature. But, as with Mrs Thatcher, we are more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is going in the same direction as us

Would it be too much to ask of the DT pundits that we would appreciate a modicum of balance and some evidence that they have used some shoe leather and left Westminster/Notting Hill/Islington to actually talk with a range of UKIP members?

Once upon a time that would have been called “journalism”…..

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25 March
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Wow – The Daily Telegraph Really Getting Desperate About UKIP…

Wow….the jolly old Telegraph really has it in for UKIP today. Benedict Brogan, conveniently forgetting his prediction that Osborne’s budget would siphon off all those silvers from UKIP in the polls, has a piece about the forthcoming Clegg/Farage debate. The bottom line of the story, to be fair to BB, is that, although the budget went down well people still don’t trust Cameron over his EU referendum renegotiation “pledge”.  However either BB or the DT staff decided once again to illustrate the article with that sweaty pic of Farage next to the statesmanlike pose of Clegg.

Nice subliminal messaging  there, Mr Brogan…

Then there up pops Iain Martin declaring that Margaret Thatcher would not have liked UKIP because, at heart, she was at one with the Tory grassroots and would never have betrayed them by going with another party. Above all her politics was about power

Ukip, with its attempt to break the party system and its howling at the moon, would have held very little appeal.

The problem is, however, that Martin is talking about the Conservative Party of 30/40 years ago when the “Tory grassroots” really did exist. Not only is the 2014 Tory party at constituency level a shadow of its former self (like the Labour Party) a substantial proportion of the lower rank foot soldiers have either joined or sympathise with UKIP.

Brogan, Martin and all the other hacks at the DT are either unable or unwilling to grasp the fact that UKIP is now very different from what it was four or five years ago. It is no longer a collection of misfits and oddballs wearing tinfoil hats fielding paper candidates with very little doorstep presence. Many parts of the country now have active and lively local UKIP branches, there is a considerable party presence in local government in terms of councillors and, over the last year or so, UKIP has been polling a steady +10% pushing the Clegg LibDems into 4th place.

UKIP is in it for the long haul. Maybe we might get a seat or two in 2015 but even the most fervent kipper would see that as a bonus. No –  it’s the elections of 2020 and 2025 that are the targets. A Labour government in 2015 led by Miliband would rapidly lode support as its internal contradictions tore it apart. But a Cameron or post Cameron Tory opposition would lack any credibility after the Coalition’s lacklustre performance – and that would be UKIP’s opportunity to offer itself as a serious, viable and principled opposition to Labour that was untainted by any connection with the political establishment that has done so much to undermine our nation.

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