The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

08 September
Comments Off on Diane James Was Very Briefly UKIP Leader

Diane James Was Very Briefly UKIP Leader

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Plenty of coverage of the Labour leadership contest in the media – but very little about the UKIP leadership election – which Peter Preston at the Guardian finds rather odd considering

Ukip scored 3,881,099 votes in the 2015 general election. More than the Lib Dems and SNP put together. Its current poll rating, even leaderless in the lee of Theresa, mostly hovers in the 14% region. Last June, at Brexit time, it was five or six points higher than that. Without Ukip, Remain would have won. Editorialists talked obsessively, post-referendum, about the disaffected white legions of the north and Midlands in revolt against London’s elite. Yet where is that newfound extra-metropolitan fascination when Ukip makes its own top choices?

Of course this could be down to the fact that our media gurus, permanently ensconced in their North London bubble have little understanding and even less sympathy with the party and its supporters. Maybe they assume (or hope) that, with Nigel Farage slipping into the background and Brexit won, UKIP will just go away

John Harris, also in the Guardian, has a word of caution for his fellow hacks…

At which point, a few corrective thoughts. First, whatever the state of Ukip’s internal affairs, the state of politics in both Europe and the US suggests that as economies and societies continue to fragment, and the mainstream seems to have no clear answers, the new rightwing populism is going be with us for some time to come.

Second, given that the referendum happened only two months ago, it is worth at least briefly reflecting on the part Ukip played in the outcome. With a solitary MP and a flimsy activist base, it still played a huge role in embedding the connection between most of Britain’s ills and the EU, and thereby carrying its cause from the margins of politics to its very centre. Here is an example of postmodern politics from which people on the left would do well to learn. Moreover, the people responsible are hardly likely to simply disappear.

Which is why it is absolutely essential for the future of UKIP that the next leader should be Diane James. She is the only candidate who has a national media profile, who comes across as cool, calm and collected whenever she is on TV or radio but is also rock solid on core UKIP values – and tough enough to bring some order and discipline into the organisational mess that currently fractures the party (and infuriates the grassroots….)

Remember the Eastleigh by-election when the media were shocked that UKIP came so close to winning A LIB Dem seat that Cameron had hoped to bag for the Tories?

There was a time when Ukip candidates were noted for their flakiness and eccentricity, but James, a healthcare executive and a councillor in Surrey, has come over as mainstream and professional. The Guardian’s John Harris said she was a smart, apparently unflappable operator who you might easily mistake for an A-list Tory candidate

Diane James certainly made an impression on me. For quite a while I had found myself in sympathy with UKIP on many issues but the quality of its leadership cadre before 2013 left much to be desired. Diane changed my perception of the party. As a new member I attended the 2013 party conference and discovered that quite a few other new faces felt the same way. Talking now to ordinary members it appears to me that at the grassroots level she remains very popular.

However there is some evidence that amongst the old guard, the pre 2010 folk, she is perceived by some as “not quite one of us”, rather aloof and unwilling to socialise. Some of these are keyboard warriors who, I suspect, preferred the old days of obscurity and isolation when they could play out their fantasies of worldwide conspiracies far away from the media spotlight.

If you want to go back to those times then Diane James is not your candidate. But if you want UKIP to tack on another 2/3m votes to the 4m of 2015 – and thus break into parliament – then she is the leader who can do it.

UPDATE..21/11/16

So what do I know….lol….it wasn’t to be. Pity.

“At a high profile public event in Cambridge last week, I was asked why I had not completed the process to become Leader of UKIP? I had little option, but to give the truthful response that, although nominated Leader by popular vote in the membership, I found that I had no support within the executive and thus no ability to carry forward the policies on which I had campaigned.

“My decision to retire from the election process and not complete it was very difficult personally and professionally, given that UKIP has dominated my life and all my efforts for over 5 years. In recent weeks, my relationship with the Party has been increasingly difficult and | feel it is now time to move on. | wish the Party well for the future under new leadership.”

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14 May
Comments Off on Farage Can Win EU TV Debate – But He Needs To Ditch BreitbartUK’s Raheem Kassam.

Farage Can Win EU TV Debate – But He Needs To Ditch BreitbartUK’s Raheem Kassam.

Whoops!!!  Iain Dale for the naughty step….

He pours scorn on the temper tantrum being thrown by the Vote Leave camp because ITV have invited UKIP leader Nigel Farage to oppose David Cameron in their set piece EU Referendum debate. He also has the audacity to suggest Farage would do better than Boris or Gove…

It’s not as if Nigel Farage isn’t a good media performer or doesn’t know the arguments. In fact, I’d say he’s a far better performer in debates than either Boris Johnson or Michael Gove would necessarily be.

Naturally this goes against the grain of the currently accepted narrative that Marmite Nige turns off as many people as he turns on. How could he possibly cope against the smooth as silk double glazing salesman that is Dave?

But hark back to 2010. Dave’s failure to achieve an overall majority and his need to swallow the bitter pill of a coalition with the Lib Dems is often put down to his failure to outsmart Nick Clegg in a TV debate. Clegg became the SuperDebateMan and the bruised Dave steered clear of repeating the format in 2015.

Yet who was it who crushed SuperDebateMan Clegg in two widely broadcast debates on the EU just two years ago?

That’s right – Marmite Nige…

Nigel Farage triumphed in the second television debate on Europe by a clear-cut 69% to 31%, an instant poll showed, suggesting that a more emotional but often overscripted Nick Clegg failed to convince viewers that Ukip is selling the British people a “dangerous con” and a “fantasy”.

The Guardian/ICM findings after the BBC2 debate were almost exactly matched by a separate YouGov poll for the Sun, showing that in a sometimes brutal debate, with both men accusing the other of lying, it was the Ukip leader who came out ahead by an even bigger margin than a week earlier.

fc

Yet a year later in a TV match up with SNP, PC and Greens he didn’t do well at all. He scored a pathetic own goal by linking health tourism with Aids and became very bad tempered with the audience. This was not the confident operator of the Clegg Debates or a score of BBCQT appearances where he had overcome hostile audiences with a good grasp of facts and a sense of humour.

Some blamed campaign exhaustion. Others sensed ill health. But many squarely placed the blame on Nigel’s campaign guru and right hand man at the time, BreitbartUK editor Raheem Kassam who, it has been claimed, advised Farage to go “shock and awe”. With Kassam’s guidance Farage not only was marginalised in the 2015 TV debate but he also failed to win a constituency that had earlier appeared to be “in the bag” for UKIP.

So, yes, Iain Dale, Farage is a good media performer. There’s no reason why he couldn’t do a  Clegg on Cameron as well – but only if the loose cannon that is Raheem Kassam is locked firmly in a box for the duration.

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01 March
Comments Off on Nailing The Pro EU “Leap In The Dark” Lie

Nailing The Pro EU “Leap In The Dark” Lie

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An ice cold bucket of cold water from Roger Helmer MEP over the claim by government minister and former George Osborne bagman Matthew Hancock MP that Brexit would be a “leap in the dark” and lead to a decade of uncertainty – so therefore there is really no safe and sensible alternative to being shackled to the zombie EU.

The alternative to being in the EU is not being in the EU. And far from being a mystery, it is in fact the current state of a hundred-plus countries around the world – most of whom are doing rather better, in economic terms, than the declining and dysfunctional EU.  It is the state that Britain was in for centuries before we joined the “Common Market” less than half a century ago.   I don’t think that many Canadians or Australians or Singaporeans wake up in the morning scared to death because their countries are independent and not in the EU.  

For the benefit of Mr. Hancock, let me set out the parameters of Britain post-Brexit.  We shall have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and contrary to the government’s scare story, that will involve negotiation not “with 27 member-states” but with just one interlocutor – the EU itself. 

But imagine a worst case, where we failed to negotiate an FTA. Then, as Matt Hancock knows perfectly well (or ought to know), the default position is simply the WTO rules.   Arm’s-length trading on a WTO basis would be less advantageous that an FTA – but not much.  For example, the duties payable on our exports to the EU under the Common External Tariff would be less than half our current net contributions to the EU budget. Dozens of countries around the world trade perfectly well with the EU on WTO terms. The three largest external suppliers into the EU are China, Russia and the USA. None of these has an FTA with the EU, but they trade with it very successfully nonetheless.

Simples….

 

 

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12 June
Comments Off on Raheem Kassam Was Farage’s Andy Coulson…

Raheem Kassam Was Farage’s Andy Coulson…

 

Nigel Farage has written a knife sharp article about TTIP.  It is great stuff and I agree with every word. The trouble is by being willing to have it placed in Raheem Kassam’s Breitbart London he appears to be signalling that RK is an OK bloke…and that is a big mistake.

How Farage can write for a website run by a weasel like Mr Kassam who over the last few days has been sneering at UKIP and saying some odd things about Farage himself is a mystery. His recent outburst in the Guardian proves that Suzanne Evans and co were dead right about Mr Kassam….he shouldn’t be touched with a UKIP barge pole.

Nigel’s choice of Kassam  was one of the worst decisions he has ever made. Just when UKIP was beginning to be treated as a serious party this clown jumped in and acted like a throwback to the fallow years before 2010. A man who has no backstory of election campaigning became Nigel’s campaign aide – and didn’t manage to win the seat for him.

The keyboard warriors who infest Breitbart love him – I suspect those of us actual members who tramped the streets for UKIP (and are nearest to the voters) despise him

Kassam is a carpet bagging keyboard warrior who wrote Nigel’s tweets and advised him how to sell himself to the electorate. His campaign was so successful that Nigel failed to win the seat. Mr K is now spitting bile about UKIP via the Guardian/BBC who are still having orgasms about yet another opportunity to denigrate the party.

RK is peddling the myth that a handful of UKIP’s top brass plotted against him. Not true….it wasn’t “a few jealous insiders” who saw him as an accident waiting to happen – he was mistrusted at all levels from HQ to local branches.

As for Breitbart London during RK’s absence James Delingpole and Milo Yiannopou‎los had started to turn it into a website that fulfilled Andrew Breitbart’s original intention of showing that right wing writers could be witty as well as keeping  abreast with cultural fashion. RK’s return and their departure indicates the likelihood that the more discerning readers will surf elsewhere and the site will attract the tinfoil hat brigade and Russian trolls….what a tragedy.

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

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

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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
Comments Off on UKIP Leaders – You Are Betraying Four Million Of Us With This Squabbling – Get It Sorted!!!

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
Comments Off on Sorry But Telegraph Hack At UKIP Manifesto Launch Deserves Zero Sympathy

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
Comments Off on Telegraph Show Biz Editor Sneers At UKIP…But Maybe She Is The Clown…

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
Comments Off on The Telegraph Still Doesn’t Get UKIP…

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
Comments Off on Ace Reporter At Daily Mail Pimping Al Murray As Candidate To Beat At Thanet South….

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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