The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

22 May
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UKIP Should Reach For The Stars With A Ten Year 25/50 Plan

Starsinthesky

Nobody can deny that the last two weeks have not exactly been been the greatest for UKIP as we shot ourselves in the foot over Nigels “unresignation”, the dispute over Short money and some loose tongues  It was a gift to our enemies in the media (especially at the Telegraph and Mail) and we simply have to bite the bullet until it becomes yesterday’s news and the inevitable Tory “failure to deliver” starts to hit the headlines.

In the meantime UKIP must continue with the process of establishing a lean, mean and professional party apparatus if it wants to shift up a gear and capture those extra six million votes that would transform it into a serious political force. Nigel is perfectly aware of his own strengths and weaknesses and the need to establish a more collegiate approach to leadership so that it becomes Team UKIP rather than Team Farage but he was probably justified in cracking some heads together to restore order.

Fortunately over the last year or two we have built up an impressive cadre of activists – Paul Nuttall, Diane James, Suzanne Evans, Steven Woolfe (and yes..Patrick O’Flynn) all come to mind but there are others. They have proved to be able advocates and staunch defenders both on TV and radio and have taken a lot of the strain from Nigel Farage’s shoulders

But, despite the unwanted media attention, we must not forget that nearly 4m voters supported UKIP candidates in the general election, we have one MP and hundreds of local councillors – and the control of one council. The party is putting down roots but it is still a fragile plant. Consolidation must be the priority for the next year or two, not just at HQ but also at branch level. We need to encourage all our members to play an active role in their local branches and develop a seeding policy to set up new branches in fallow areas.

Above all we must ensure that we keep hold of those 4m voters and attract another 6m by 2020 – or, how about this, in terms of percentages…25% of the votes by 2020, 50% by 2025. Let’s call it UKIP’s 25/50 plan.

A fantasy – well anyone who said in 2010 that UKIP would get nearly 13% of the turnout in 2015 would have been sectioned so why not reach for the stars?

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14 May
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UKIP Leaders – You Are Betraying Four Million Of Us With This Squabbling – Get It Sorted!!!

Is anyone else as angry as I am about this UKIP infighting?

Nearly 4m votes, third largest support by far, one MP, two near misses, hundreds of seconds and very few lost deposits.

Significant swathes of support in traditional Labour areas in Wales and up north. Eastern areas still loyal. Numerous gains in local elections.

All this from a 2010 base of just above zilch. In fact one can bring it forward in time to early 2013 when our first significant gains in bye elections and local elections shook the legacy media out of its metropolitan comfort zone.

We should be celebrating, sticking it to the man. Rubbing their media noses into the mud for the abysmal failure of their orchestrated smear campaign….instead we are on the back foot, bemused by a public display of handbags at dawn from the party’s head honchos.

What a betrayal of those millions of voters who disobeyed orders and went with UKIP and those platoons of volunteers who trudged the streets for The Purple.

Many folk are heaping calumny on Patrick O’Flynn and I suppose his asides to the media were not particularly helpful. But I have the impression that his outburst was sparked off by the unedifying catfight between elements of Team Farage and Douglas Carswell over the short money. Moreover I feel that Nigel made a big mistake in appearing to take up a position against Carswell on this matter. DC is the Tory version of Labour’s Frank Field – a granite rock of integrity against which even the stormiest waves of attack can leave no mark.

I love Nigel. His contribution to the growth of UKIP has been immense. No other political figure in recent times has had to endure such a vicious and unending campaign of denigration and vilification as this man – much of it, disgracefully, from the pages of the Telegraph and Mail. But he definitely fumbled the ball with the quite bizarre “unresignation” episode. It was quite unnecessary. He had given himself a period of grace of several months to reflect on his future as leader. By passing the temporary reins to Suzanne Evans he chose wisely for Suzanne made a favourable impression across all political lines with her handling of the media and the production of a manifesto so well presented that no hack or political opponent could tear even one page apart.

I suspect that elements of Team Farage suddenly panicked. The prospect of Suzanne taking over the mantle with ease raised made them recall the successful SNP transition from Salmond to a little known Sturgeon and proving that UKIP could survive and thrive beyond Nigel and, without Nigel there would be no Team Farage.

It seems clear that much of the “don’t go away for even six months, Nige” surge was as orchestrated as a spontaneous love in for Stalin in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Nigel’s mistake was to accept it at face value. It undermined the reputation that he had built up over the years as a plain speaking bloke who meant what he said.

In fact this episode of leaks and innuendo is merely the latest of a long line of poisonous anonymous “briefings” over the last year or so from disaffected elements within UKIP, many of them popping up at Breitbart where James Delingpole and others have been waging a subtle campaign against “RedUKIP” in the hope of returning it to its libertarian free market roots and targeting Farage because he was one of the first to notice that many disgruntled Labour voters were going UKIP. It’s almost as if the Delingpole brigade looked back to those halcyon days when UKIP had little electoral support but the few could comfort themselves with clutching their Ayn Rand books and being voices in the wilderness.

We cannot afford this. By this time next year we know that the Cameron mirage will have faded – he won’t be able to deliver on the referendum conditions, immigration or his Micawber like dependency of hoping something will turn up to pour into the bottomless pit of the NHS and Foreign Aid. Labour will still be tearing itself apart trying to be left and right at the same time.

You owe us that, Team UKIP. We are here in our masses, ready to cross the Rubicon and all we can see are the senior officers hitting each other with their handbags.

Knock it off, you lot – this is not about petty squabbles – we’re talking about saving the soul of our nation.

 

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15 April
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Sorry But Telegraph Hack At UKIP Manifesto Launch Deserves Zero Sympathy

Sob story in the Telegraph today by James Kirkup demanding that UKIP “apologise” to DT hack Christopher Hope about the response of kippers to his “innocent” question at the launch of the UKIP Manifesto.

According to The Speccie it happened thus

Unlike the Liberal Democrats’ launch this morning, Ukip did take plenty of questions from the media — including from the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope. He asked why there was only one black face in the manifesto and the room exploded with boos and cheers — egged on by party staffers —  until a group of black and Asian supporters stood up and the jeers turned into applause.

In actual fact it appears to me from the Speccie vidclip that Hope’s question was initially greeted with groans rather than boos…

However Kirkup hinted that poor Christopher might have been traumatised by the negative reaction. After all he is a Lobby Correspondent so much more familiar with the carefully choreographed world of the Westminster political village – and he does have an extremely “stressful” – lol – life (as you can see from his rather pooterish contribution to this brief report about The Lobby)

Well, if he is traumatised then it serves him right. It wasn’t a genuine information seeking question – it was a snide little piece of stirring that actually backfired as black and Asian kippers stood up to show their contempt.

Hope and his Telegraph colleagues have spent three years pouring scorn on UKIP and denigrating the party’s membership and supporters. There has been little (if any) attempt to make any serious analysis of why UKIP has grown. Instead kippers have been characterised as cartoon freaks.

What makes the whole affair even more laughable is that you would have to dig very deep into the online Telegraph to find a staffer with a black face. But Mr Hope, who is, we are informed, so knowledgeable about politics, didn’t know that Steven Woolfe, MEP, whose photo adorns the immigration section of the manifesto, is mixed race.

Perhaps he ought to get out of Westminster a little more often…

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26 February
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Telegraph Show Biz Editor Sneers At UKIP…But Maybe She Is The Clown…

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It must have seemed a good idea at the time at Telegraph HQ. In the wake of the BBC2 UKIP hit piece (“six months of filming, focus on four people”)the DT let loose their “showbiz editor” Anita Singh just to add a few knifecuts to the supposedly twitching UKIP corpse.

Well, folks, Anita delivered, in spades. Naturally she homed in on Cllr Rozanne Duncan’s “negroid” comments to imply that she had revealed the true face of UKIP – subliminally reinforced with a screenshot of a Times article on the subject. Then, just to add fuel to the flames she revealed that Ms Duncan not only smoked but also rolled her own fags….quelle horreur!!!!!!

But that was not enough for the “gifted and talented” Ms Singh. As a demonstration of her journalistic skills she showed a pic of Nigel Farage with a local vicar and poked fun at a UKIP official’s name…nudge nudge, wink wink, gedditt?

But for Anita the killer moment was when she was able to prove how UKIP members were so common and unsophisticated, dahling….they actually have collections of porcelain clowns…..oh  my gawdddddd. Who the hell are these people?????

Well, Anita, no doubt you and the other Telegraph hacks were screeching with laughter in the wine bar – there’s probably not a single porcelain clown in any part of Richard Curtis Land where you and your media/showbiz gaggle hang out. But in places like Margate and Thurrock and Clacton and Grimsby, well outside the metropolitan bubble, you’ll find quite a few….clowns, cats, shepherds…

Of course Cllr Duncan’s remarks were ill considered and the party acted quickly by expelling her. But if you look at it from another angle after six months filming that was the only major blooper that emerged – hardly a devastating indictment of the whole Thanet South UKIP membership.

But the fact that Anita Singh was so keen to sneer at the clowns says more about her and her media friends and their failure to grasp the significance of the UKIP surge than it does about the ordinary folk of the Kent coast.

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11 February
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The Telegraph Still Doesn’t Get UKIP…

A few days ago The Daily Telegraph sank to a new low in its coverage of UKIP. Of course it seems hardly possible that the circulation losing Telegraph could sink even lower in its coverage of UKIP. After all their hacks, no doubt under instructions from Tory HQ, have been merrily dumping on the party since early 2013 when Diane James nearly won the Eastleigh by election for UKIP and knocked a Cameron cutie into third place

Publicly dismissing Eastleigh as a blip, in private the editorial team reached out to Tory high command and offered to headline any item that appeared to show Nigel Farage and UKIP in a negative way supplied to them by Tory staff – be it true, half true or simply inadvertent. The Telegraph (and the Mail) gleefully went to work in the weeks leading up to the 2013 local elections.

UKIP won more council seats than they had ever won before.

Nevertheless during subsequent by elections, local elections and Euro elections the anti UKIP drumbeat continued – and the party continued to prosper both at the ballot box and the polls.

Finally the bright young things in the Telegraph officers mess have begun to grasp that their two year offensive has been a dismal failure and they have admitted such in a recent, rather pathetic cri de Coeur

If Labour’s performance in the long general election campaign has thus far been so risible, why do the polls remain so close? For the simple, frustrating reason that the British centre-Right is split. While Labour is stuck at around 30 per cent of the prospective vote, the Tories fail to build up a comparative advantage because so much of their support is sapped away by the Ukip revolt. Yet Ukip’s supporters ought to consider the warnings of businessmen and think carefully about the consequences of dividing the centre-Right and letting Labour back into power by default. Labour is anti-capitalist at a time when the country desperately needs innovation and enterprise. Its accidental victory could indeed be a “catastrophe” for Britain.

Yes folks, it’s the familiar Vote UKIP Get Miliband Ploy – the old ones are the best ones, after all.…

Ignoring for the moment the assumption that UKIP supporters are fans of big business, multi nationals and corporate tax avoidance let’s just ask ourselves why the Telegraph failed to answer the obvious question – why is so much Tory support “sapped away” by the UKIP revolt – and why, instead of burying their heads deep into Cameron’s posterior for two years hasn’t the Telegraph given some attention to analysing this phenomenon and made a serious and sympathetic attempt to understand it rather than encouraging the sneering, dismissive put downs peddled on an almost daily basis by their political hacks.

The answer, I fear, is that the Telegraph, like much of the metropolitan media, is targeting Richard Curtis Land, those parts of London where the bright young things supposedly chatter at dinner parties and network about servants, food, fashion and culture and where the Tesco shelf fillers, taxi drivers and hairdressers are peripheral to the action, like the sentries or country yokels in a Shakespeare play.

Trouble is that the Richard Curtis strategy isn’t working. The Telegraph is remorselessly losing circulation, alienating much of its old core readership without gaining the “bright young things” while UKIP is gaining support from those very “peripherals” who feel they have been left behind.

Sad for it was once a great paper…

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23 January
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Ace Reporter At Daily Mail Pimping Al Murray As Candidate To Beat At Thanet South….

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Interesting post at Conservative Woman by Nicholas Booth helpfully deflating the Al Murray balloon and – shock/horror – questioning his motives in claiming that he will be standing against Nigel Farage in Thanet South.

I doubt Al Murray (or his alter ego, The Pub Landlord) will be doing any door stepping in the constituency but, if he did, what sort of returns would he get? How likely is it that even one householder would suddenly be convinced that Ed Miliband is the best man to bat for Britain on the international stage? So, what can Al Murray’s motivation be?

Here’s some news just in. His publisher – Random House Penguin – is launching a new Al Murray product to coincide with the election publicity campaign. Given the long gestation period of a book, this must have been months in planning.

Murray is a moderately amusing one trick pony entertainer. His background, of course, is very “posh” but, unlike James Blunt, he covers his origins up with with a mockney accent (in character, natch) and has fashionable liberal/left views. Above all his alter ego is constructed to caricature and demonise the white van men. Thus, naturally, he escaped the sneers of Chris Bryant re posh boys/girls dominating our cultural scene.

While he remained merely a marginal showbiz celeb very few of us gave him any thought. But the move into “politics”, while probably a very shrewd PR move by his managers and agents in terms of media coverage, has made him a legitimate target for criticism – and he doesn’t like it. A man who makes belittling and embarrassing individual members of his audience a big part of his act appeared to be very sensitive to such slings and arrows when they were fired at him on Twitter (see @almurray) complaining of name calling etc.

For people like Murray satire is very much a one way street…

But the prize for the biggest Murray blooper must go to former left wing Daily Mirror hack Tom McTague, now slumming at at the Mail. After a well researched in depth investigation into UKIP ace reporter Tom came out with this gem about Farage

His election bid was also dealt a blow after stand-up comic Al Murray announced he would stand against Mr Farage as his TV character ‘The Pub Landlord’.

I’m sure the man who duffed up Nick Clegg and is making both Labour and the Tories very nervous is shaking with fear at McTague’s revelations….

 

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14 December
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Are The Mail on Sunday & Margaret Hodge Really Accusing Three Distinguished Academics Of Creating A Racist Quiz For UKIP?

 

 

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Thus thundered Simon Walters, ace reporter, otherwise known as  Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday

Nigel Farage was in another race row last night after asking supporters to rate ‘blacks, Muslims and Eastern Europeans’ in a game – with prizes of cash and a Ukip golf umbrella.The ‘rate an immigrant’ survey is part of a Ukip private survey of members aimed at helping the party draw up its policies.Sent last week by Ukip chairman Steve Crowther, it asks members to say ‘how close they feel’ to a number of groups.They include ‘Blacks, Asians, Muslims, English, Eastern Europeans and Whites’ as well as the four main political parties.Ukip activists are urged to rate each on a scale from 0 for ‘not close at all’ to 10 for ‘very close.’But the survey was slammed as a racist stunt after details were leaked to The Mail on Sunday.Last night, senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge condemned the Ukip survey as ‘shocking’

Gotcha, UKIP….we’ve finally caught up with you. It’s Hate An Immigrant week and obviously the biggest prizes will go to the biggest haters. Another coup by the fearless UKIP sniffers at the  Mail

Except ………….there is something that was missed by ace reporter Simon Walters and his team…..the survey was designed and distributed on behalf of UKIP by a team of highly respected academics. It was framed to gain an overall picture of UKIP member’s views and attitudes. Simon Walters took a set of perfectly acceptable questions, a regular feature of many of these surveys, and pimped it up as a “race quiz”. A shoddy piece of reporting that, regrettably, is often par for the course for the Mail.

Here is your UKIP Members Survey.   Please help UKIP by completing the Members Survey.

Your Answers Help the Party and You Can Win Great Prizes!

Three academics are helping us. They are Professor Matthew Goodwin (University of Nottingham and author of Revolt on the Right),
Professor Harold Clarke at the University of Texas and Professor Paul Whiteley at the University of Essex, who are former
Directors of the prestigious British Election Study.  Professor Clarke is distributing the survey.

That’s this Prof Harold Clarke

That’s this Prof Matthew Goodwin

That’s this Prof Paul Whiteley

Now, are Mr Ace Reporter Simon Walters of the Mail on Sunday and the very wealthy Labour MP Margaret Hodge (who gained a Third Class Degree at LSE) really ready to accuse these three highly distinguished academics of putting together a racist quiz for the entertainment of UKIP’s membership?

I really think we should be told….

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13 December
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When Russell Brand Was Treated Like An Adult Rather Than A Precocious Infant He Collapsed Like A Deflated Balloon

Russell Brand – sliced and diced during BBC Question Time by a member of the audience (who was obviously a UKIP supporter)……

It had all been going so well for Brand – he had been interrupting with impunity, shouting over the women on the panel, shrieking simplistic slogans buttered by vulgarities.
‘Stand for Parliament then!’ the old man boomed. Russell looked as though he had been rabbit-punched. ‘Stand!’ repeated the man. ‘Do it!’
‘I’m scared I’d become one of them,’ mewed Brand. He meant become one of the Westminster crowd. The audience scoffed at this pathetic excuse, perhaps suspecting that multi-millionaire Brand would hate to be an MP because he’d have to declare his income and would soon be exposed as a political fraud……….The fight went out of Brand. A balloon shrivelled

Brand had prepared for the show by memorising a few pithy phrases (Farage as a “pound shop Enoch Powell” was clearly contrived but nevertheless a neat barb) and, on a series of cards, had written down a series of Unite bullet points. Add to the mix those trusty old BBCQT crowd pleasers ”bankers” (BOO) “the city” (HISS) “tax dodgers” (SNARL) and orgasms of ecstasy were rippling through many in the “balanced” audience.

Everything was working to script.

But Russell had made a fatal mistake. He had forgotten that BBCQT is a two way show. Unlike his own routines or the regular chat shows or HIGNFY the audience is not there as a congregation of sycophants whose sole purpose is to massage showbiz egos with rapturous applause. It’s there to come back at the panel with awkward ripostes – and that’s where the script gets blown out of the window.

Brand was obviously shaken by that man’s contemptuous put down and, for the rest of the programme, appeared visibly shrunken.

But why the hell does it take an anonymous face in a crowd to show up Brand as a stuttering, stumbling knownothing with less grasp of political and economic reality than an earwig of average intelligence?

It’s because, on television, he’s been given an easy ride with softball interviews, indulged like some sort of precocious infant actor from a remake of “Annie”….Paxman, anyone?

That hasn’t always been the case with other inarticulate peddlers of political  infantilism. BNP’s Nick Griffin was mercilessly dismantled on one BBCQT show and the assault was so savage that both himself and his party slipped mercifully into oblivion.

So why not Brand?

The answer, my friend, is obvious. His infantile pseudo revolutionary rhetoric, his friend of the downtrodden posturing, his carefully choreographed presence at left wing protests fits comfortably with the mindset of the middle class metropolitan poseurs who dominate the worlds of the media and the arts. They despise the “fatcats” of industry and commerce, the men and women who run the systems that generate the wealth that funds the cultural sector either directly by paying the wages which enables their employees to purchase the tickets or indirectly via the taxes that subsidise elements of the media (BBC) and whole swathes of grant funded artistic ventures.

If only once, on television, an interviewer or a fellow panellist had just turned round at the end of one of Brand’s unintelligible diatribes, looked him squarely in the eye and and said “What a load of bollocks” and asked him to explain his commercial activities in Hollywood, his association with nice little tax avoidance schemes in the UK and his regular forays into the Ritz and Claridges.

But he’s a luvvie – and luvvies never eat their own…unless they’re called Angus Deayton

 

 

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11 December
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Exit Neil Hamilton…Much To The Relief Of UKIP Members…

That is really good news. In the age of Douglas Carswell, Diane James, Tim Akers and a multitude of others like them – serious people for a serious party – poor old Neil has simply too much baggage. Rightly or wrongly he will always be associated with brown envelopes and cash for questions and 1990s Tory Sleaze  and subsequent appearances on low level TV shows, describing himself as  “an object of professional curiosity” Perhaps he hoped UKIP, which he joined in 2011, would provide an opportunity for a political second coming.

On the surface he appeared to receive a welcome but, though he had aspirations to become a candidate for the Euros he failed to make the final cut. I heard him speak at the 2013 UKIP Conference where he was presented as the party’s Campaign Director. He was pure unadulterated ham. The party was already on a high and all speakers, good or bad, got a good round of applause – except Neil. The clapping was polite, nothing more and I noticed that quite a few members kept their hands apart. Obviously they shared my  misgivings.

He was removed from his new role a few months later and appeared to be a fading star so the news that he was replacing Natasha Bolter at the South Basildon UKIP hustings was a nasty shock. However, by a strange coincidence (cough,cough,) on the very day of the hustings it seemed that Mr H received a letter from UKIP’s beancounters asking some rather awkward questions about expense claims. He then turned up at the hustings, withdrew his candidacy and endorsed local UKIP councillor Kerry Smith.

 

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Sighs of relief all round….

With hindsight the candidate selection procedure for South Basildon showed up some flaws. Not much due diligence appears to have been done on Mrs Bolter, a Labour defector who joined UKIP only four months ago. Councillor Smith had been blocked from the hustings and although he didn’t throw his toys out of the pram some local members were unsettled. Then the sudden appearance of Neil Hamilton, carpetbagger extraordinaire, threatened to turn the whole thing into a circus…..but, fortunately sanity prevailed.

I do have a sneaking admiration for Neil. He has taken quite a few kicks from fate (mostly as a result of his own actions) and remained chipper and self deprecating. His wife, Christine, is his tower of strength – a tough cookie and a tiger in defence of her man.

Now if Christine Hamilton took it into her mind to put herself forward as a candidate, well, that might be a different story…

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03 December
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Libertarianism – Nice Idea But For UKIP A Bit Ivory Tower…

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A confession.

My first political action was helping my dad, a working class Tory, put a poster in our window for the 1950 election. Since then, until 2013 I was often an active party member but always a loyal Tory voter…sometimes while holding my nose (Heath) other times almost ecstatic with enthusiasm (Thatcher)

Admittedly from 2006 I had my doubts about Cameron and developed an interest in UKIP but I only actually joined UKIP in 2013 because of Diane James and Eastleigh. Until then, outside of Farage, many other UKIP figures did appear to me to be oddballs. Diane James was no oddball and, more importantly, she almost won – and that was why I joined. UKIP was obviously appealing to a considerable number of ordinary voters.

But I have never been a libertarian.

After all, who in terms of practical politics could honestly see a “libertarian” government being elected and then proceeding to dismantle the apparatus of the state? Ron Paul won the devotion of a handful of bright young Ayn Rand groupies. He managed to win straw polls yet remained electorally irrelevant. The Tea Party was a genuine grassroots movement with a laser like focus on fiscal probity that fired the 2010 election and began the undermining of the Democrats and their hold on political power that had been handed to them on a plate by the beltway GOP in 2006 and 2008. After 2008 the GOP leadership and their media pundits were all for going with the flow and working with the Democrats. The Tea Party and their biggest fan, Sarah Palin, went for Obama, Pelosi & Co with knives and baseball bats. The beltway pundits rolled their eyes but the voters liked what they heard. Meanwhile Ron Paul stood aloof from the Tea Party and watched as politics passed him by.

Similarly while UKIP was a tiny fringe cult where libertarians could play all day it attracted few votes outside the meaningless Euros. Once it began to be perceived as a populist party resonating with a shift in public mood in 1913 it began winning local council seats and making an impact in parliamentary elections. This was accompanied by a dramatic increase in membership and the expansion of the branch structure which in some areas generated a lively and energetic core of local activists. The result? More local election gains in 2014 and UKIP’s first MPs’

Not all of the pre 2013 kippers have been impressed, particularly the libertarians. Policy shifts on the NHS, taxation and welfare have led to mutterings about “red UKIP” and perhaps one can understand their concerns. But I also feel that some of them are maybe subconsciously uncomfortable with the influx of new members and the prospects of electoral success. They were happier being perceived as the followers of a fringe cult baying helplessly at the moon because it helped to reinforce their own conviction that they were prophets crying in the wilderness, ignored by an ignorant majority who would suffer on the Day of Judgement.

I would guess that the vast majority of the post 2013 UKIP intake are, like me, inclined towards small government. But we also recognise that a modern nation state is a highly complex structure that needs a modicum of direction if only to guard its citizens from the designs of those who wish us harm through criminal activity within or without the realm.

Of course any political movement needs to be grounded with principles – yet it must also seek to gain power to put those principles into practice. There are only three ways of doing this – by taking over an existing party, by creating a separate party and start to win elections or by some sort of coup or insurrection .Either way means getting your hands dirty with political action….and I really can’t see any of our libertarian dream weavers leaving their ivory towers to do that….

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