The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

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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09 June
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In The Real World UKIP Is Still Doing Well

According to a whole range of media pundits (yes you, Benedict Brogan of the Telegraph) when I arrived at the South East England Regional Conference of UKIP  in Eastbourne last Saturday the hall should have been almost empty with just about thirty party members wandering around all sad and miserable – dumbstruck by the massive Tory victory in the Newark by election last week…you know, the election where the Tories doubled their 16,000 2010 majority and UKIP got even fewer than the 1,900 they got in 2010.

I had been told that the wheels had come off the UKIP juggernaut, the earthquake was now a squeak and purple was so…..yesterday. Clearly the People’s Army was, like Bonaparte’s in 1812, fleeing the battlefield in chaos and confusion.

Yet when I stepped into the hall I found it packed out with a thousand members and the whole place buzzing with excitement. Far from an air of despondency everyone was eager to prepare for next year’s General Election and listened intently as Nigel Farage outlined the leadership’s plan to target those 30/40 key constituencies where UKIP had done exceptionally well in the local and EU elections. They were also pleased to hear that between now and September the party would be putting the finishing touches to its 2015 election manifesto and that the responsibilities of presentation would be shared out between UKIP’s 24 MEPs with Farage himself more “primus inter pares” than the dominant voice he has been up to now.

We heard from new SE MEPs Diane James, Janice Atkinson and Ray Finch, people whose faces will become much more familiar as one part of this collegiate leadership cadre. Local councillors and party officials spoke about political issues, campaigning and branch organisation. UKIP’s national infrastructure is clearly becoming more professional, its message more consistent.

Diane James, in particular, got a lot of respect. She doesn’t do tub thumping but comes across cool, calm and measured especially under fire. She is a great asset for the party at a time when it needs to be taken more seriously.

This was not a congress of the defeated – and why should it be? Those figures in the opening paragraph were figments of my imagination – just as the media’s interpretation of Newark was an expression of their wishful thinking. In this “safe” Tory constituency the Conservative majority was less than half the 2010 figure. UKIP’s share went up from 3% to 25%. They replaced Labour as the main opposition party and the Lib Dems evaporated. True we didn’t win the seat but away from the Cameron cheerleaders at the Telegraph and Spectator there was recognition that it was still a good result for UKIP.

Ukip didn’t quite sustain their momentum from last month’s local and Euro-elections. But it was a good result, especially as Labour’s charge that the Tories threw the kitchen sink and more into the campaign is echoed by Nigel Farage, who will be studying young Jenrick’s election expenses carefully. The Tory money wall and Ukip’s inability to match it are two of the five shrewd reasons Sparrow cites on his blog for the likely outcome.

Just consider this. In 2010 the Tory majority in Newark was 16,000 yet they were unable to gain an overall majority in Parliament. If the Newark 2014 pattern was repeated throughout Britain in 2015 Cameron and his mates would not have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning power in their own.

That’s the real message of Newark – and this is why we departed Eastbourne in such high spirits…the Purple Revolution has only just begun……..

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

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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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27 March
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That Farage/Clegg Debate – Media Pundits Caught With Their Trousers Down…

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Probably the most significant outcome of the Farage/Clegg debate was not so much the verbal fencing of the discussion itself but the final piece of evidence proving, if any further proof were needed that, with regard to UKIP most of the media establishment is as out of touch with the views of the man and woman on the street as the political class which claims to represent them.

I’m not talking about the liberal/left ramparts of The Guardian or Daily Mirror – at least the bias in those quarters is so blatant that one can immediately discount much of their “reporting” or “comment”. But the barrage of sneering anti UKIP bile filling the pages of the Telegraph and Mail, both supposedly rightward leaning and Eurosceptic, has certainly puzzled many of us in UKIP.

Many have suggested that the Telegraph/Mail have merely been pimping Tory HQ propaganda as part of a campaign to buttress Cameron. Yet the Mail is often scathing about Dave so I cannot see the Tory HQ line as being the whole story.

My feeling is that, though “journalists” work for media outlets that have varying political stances, the bulk of them are all part of the London media “village” and intermingle professionally and socially not just with each other but with the political class. All of them see politics as a political game where the terms of the debate are exclusively set by the metropolitan elite and the role of the electorate is to be as passive as a TV audience, maybe cheering or booing on cue, but otherwise happy to leave decisions about the important issues to the “professionals” who know best.

What these people hate about UKIP is that it is a party of political outsiders with no connection to the metropolitan elite. No political “big beast” SDP type defections have brought the party into the dinner party conversations in North London. They hasten to characterise UKIP members, supporters and potential voters as simple minded, racist, ignorant etc but they have made no attempt to get to know UKIP members or treat their views seriously.

The result? They constantly get blindsided…

During and immediately after the debate, Westminster observers appeared to come down on the side of Clegg – or that both men had performed competently. Initially, Lib Dem cheerleaders apparently satisfied with the performance of their leader and several “gaffes” from Farage, who they pointed out appeared to denigrate the European car industry and claimed the EU had “blood on its hands” over Ukraine.

“The truth is it was a score draw,” said Andrew Mitchell, the senior Conservative backbencher and former chief whip.

However, the mood shifted to visible disappointment in the Clegg camp as the first opinion polls showed Farage was ahead by 57% to 36%.

Asked whether the loss mattered, one Lib Dem aide said philosophically: “In a snap poll, populist arguments may well win over. The real win tonight has been that we wanted this debate and talked directly to the voters.”

Let’s face it – the media hacks were all caught with their trousers down

Backstage, Westminster’s hack-pack was necking cheap vino and Pret sandwiches after carrying out a spectacular volte face. Initially ‘the spin room’ had called the duel for Clegg, on both style and substance. But, as news of the Sun/YouGov poll filtered through to the scribblers, headlines were rewritten and awkward tweets deleted. Soon, only the BBC was left flying the Clegg flag, with the help of Danny Alexander and Tim Farron.

The moral of the story? Simples… On every Mail snide anti UKIP piece, or Tim Stanley/Dan Hodges ill informed rant, or snooty dinner party Spectator put down keep on hammering the comments with the phrases that wind them up…..LibLabCon, Tory HQ agitprop, out-of-touch media luvvies….believe me those remarks really get under their collective skin.

The media expects to be courted. Until the age of the internet there was no other option if you wished to be heard. But today is different. Journalists are ranked with estate agents, car salesmen and pimps. They don’t need to be courted – when they lie and distort and misreport they need to be exposed and attacked from every angle.

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06 March
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That BBC Farage/Clegg Debate – If It’s Dimbleby Nigel Needs A Very Long Spoon…

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Classic anti Farage tweaking via the Telegraph’s James Kirkup in a snarky piece about the forthcoming Farage/Clegg debates – Kirkup uses that pic of Farage perspiring during his UKIP conference speech alongside a standard stock photo of Clegg looking steady and serious…..par for the course, I suppose.

Young Kirkup claims that the format is nearing some sort of agreement

LBC, the radio station that hosts Mr Clegg’s weekly phone-in, will stage a debate expected to have fewer rules and restrictions than the BBC. The debate – also before a live audience – will be hosted by Nick Ferrari, a more combative broadcaster than Dimbleby, who is expected to allow more “lively” exchanges.

So far, so good….Ferrari won’t take any prisoners but, unlike anyone at the BBC (except maybe Andrew Neil) he does tend to resonate with white van drivers and their wives, a constituency that is not renowned for going starry eyed over beards and sandals.

But warning bells did start to ring in my head when I read about the TV debate

The two men will be given an hour to argue about the merits of Britain’s membership of the European Union, moderated by David Dimbleby.

Ah, Dimbleby, the Grand Panjandrum of BBC Question Time who inevitably intervenes when he feels a member of the BBCQT panel is simply not up to his own intellectual level. Pompous, smooth and trousering sackfuls of taxpayers’ money via the licence fee he is the epitome of BBC smugness, socially and culturally closer to Clegg than Farage. When you also hear that the audience will be carefully selected to demonstrate “balance” red lights should be flashing in the Farage camp because we just know the BBCQT definition of “balance” from week after week of handpicked rent-a-quote lefty androids who always seem to get chosen when Dimbleby’s eyes scour the audience for his “random” selection…..and isn’t it strange that they often seem to be allowed a few additional comments just in case the message didn’t get through.

During the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential elections the TV debates were organised and “moderated” by the big networks, all dominated by the same liberal/left viewpoint  as our own BBC. The Republican establishment is now coming under increasing pressure from the Tea Party movement to demand a less Democrat friendly structure to the 2016 debates.

I certainly hope that Farage and UKIP also box very cannily with the BBC. It is an organisation that is institutionally inimical to almost everything UKIP stands for.

When you sup with the Beeb you need a very long spoon…..

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11 February
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Farage And The Floods – Somehow He Steals The Show Again…..

While the government’s floods “strategy” appears increasingly confused UKIP’s Nigel Farage scores points

  • Actually dresses like a countryman and wears waders rather than wellies from Harrods
  • Chats to a Sikh chap who has brought down some mates from his temple in Slough to help the locals rather than give PR puff to selected hacks
  • Suggests  we pay for massive works to lessen flood risk by not sending taxpayers money to corrupt third world regimes via bloated “charities” led by fatcat troughers

Strange how a man totally outside the Westminster bubble of the chattering class is able to hit the spot while Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, surrounded by legions of spin doctors and “brilliant” young interns fresh from Oxbridge  often appear to be 2/3 steps behind…

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24 January
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UKIP Has Higher Positives & Lower Negatives Than Other Parties – Bang Goes The UKIP=Marmite Myth…

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ComRes does a monthly poll for a couple of the Sundays and for Jan 19th the figures panned out this way (figures in brackets indicate changes since December)

CON 30%(+1), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 19%(+1).

But the backroom boys and girls at Polling Report did their usual number crunching on the accompanying figures showing how positive/negative those polled felt about the parties and their leaders – and came up with findings about UKIP that challenge the accepted wisdom of the political pundits

  • That people either love or hate UKIP
  • That Nigel Farage = UKIP

The interesting findings are UKIP. There is an assumption that UKIP are a bit like marmite – love em or hate em. Their supporters are very positive (and vocal) but are vastly outnumbered by detractors. The ComRes results however paint a more positive picture for UKIP – 27% had a positive opinion of the party (so marginally higher than Labour (26%) and the Tories (25%)). Only 38% had a negative opinion though, which was significantly lower than the Conservatives or Labour, giving them the most positive net figure. The other interesting finding was that Nigel Farage polled significantly less positively than his party – a net rating of minus 18, compared to minus 11 for UKIP.

It’s only one poll, of course, and there are still many miles to walk. But it could mean that with members like Paul Nuttall, Diane James and Patrick O’Flynn appearing more often on the media and a large number of UKIP councillors making an impact on local government the party is beginning to emerge as a credible political force in its own right

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11 December
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What David Cameron Was Really Saying To US TV Hackette Christiane Amanpour ….


No, Christiane, I do not want to talk about bloody Nigel Farage…..

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03 October
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James Forsyth’s Fantasy – The Tories Have “Solved” The UKIP “Problem”….

The Grand Panjandrum of the Conservative Media, James Forsyth, has officially declared UKIP and Nigel Farage dead and buried.

Tory strategists talk of a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to dealing with the threat of Ukip on their right. The carrot is more robust Tory policies on welfare, immigration and human rights. The stick is the prospect of Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.

Not only have those brilliant “strategists” discovered the magic formula for collapsing the UKIP vote, the venerable figure of Bill Cash came forth and crushed Farage at a fringe meeting with one blow

Farage was harangued by Bill Cash for ‘not acting in the national interest’ and for making it less likely that there would be a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

According to Forsyth Farage was then barracked by Tory MPs and had to slink away a broken man. Afterwards Forsyth scuttled up to a “cabinet minister” and described the scene with great glee. Said minister was astonished that the UKIP threat had been neutralised in just a few minutes and probably thanked Forsyth from the bottom of his heart.

Really, Mr Forsyth? Other reports of that Farage/Cash incident paint it in a far less one sided light. He didn’t come as a supplicant, seeking Cash’s blessing and reacted forthrightly to his rather patronising put down.

We know that The Spectator and, to a slightly lesser extent their fellow Barclay Brothers employees at the Telegraph have been peddling this line about UKIP for quite a while. But I suspect this position is not at all based on hard facts. It is either a classic example of wishful thinking or the Forsyth is so enclosed in the Westminster bubble he has little, if any, contact with the real world.

The fact is that Cameron and his clique captured the Conservative machine thinking they could win power by being Tony Blair. It was a disastrous miscalculation.

Rather than locking in the Conservative base and – like Ronald Reagan – building out from there, creating a winning coalition around a couple of big, unifying themes, they rushed to what they thought was the middle, attacked some of their existing voters and activists, and created the space for Ukip’s rise.

However much the Tory “strategists” and their media lapdogs like Forsyth try to big up the shifts and twists of their party’s priorities those who already vote UKIP and the millions more who are moving in that direction are doing so because, if they are not Tories, they have lost faith in the political class, and, if they were they simply do not believe anything Cameron says.

The vote UKIP get Miliband scaremongering so loudly pimped by Forsyth and the “strategists” is an empty threat. Many would argue that, beyond the rhetoric, a Miliband regime would be little different from Cameron/Clegg – EU friendly, High Tax, Corporate Crony and Nanny State. But in opposition the Conservative Party, without the perks of power would collapse like a powdery fossil leaving a resurgent UKIP as the only effective alternative to rule by Big Government.

No, Mr Forsyth, UKIP is here to stay.

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