Why Nigel Farage is right about one thing

by Charlie_East_West on January 27, 2014

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Ukip appeal to the lowest common denominator. They feed off fear and loathing and tap into ignorance. They are the political equivalent of the Daily Mail and scarily, a significant percentage of the population buys into their scaremongering on immigration, welfare and Europe.

In terms of policy, Ukip are all over the place. After a grilling from Andrew Neil on The Daily Politics, Nigel Farage was unclear about his party’s current set of policies listed on their website and later described their 2010 election manifesto as “drivel.”

But, there is one area in which Farage is spot on. Blunders, gaffes and eccentric behaviour affects all political parties – not just Ukip. We are correct in highlighting the bizarre behaviour of Ukip politicians such as Godfrey Bloom’s Slutgate, and David Silvester blaming the recent flooding on the Government’s decision to legalise gay marriage. But, if we are true to ourselves, we must also highlight gaffes and mistakes within the other parties.

As such, Nigel Farage was correct to hit back at critics with a spoof weather forecast highlighting blunders made by members of the other main political parties. Nigel Farage responded with his usual inmitable style and humour. He said: “You may have heard about a storm in a teacup that developed when a Ukip town councillor in Oxfordshire was suspended from my party after he blamed the floods on David Cameron’s gay marriage bill. The old parties are seeking the cloud the big political issues of the day by focusing on the view of Ukip members like him, even though he had said a deluge of similar things before when he was a Tory councillor. How quickly some things change depending on which way the wind blows.”

In an attempt to prevent Ukip being singled out on gaffes, Farage went on to list embarrassing outbursts by members of the Labour Party, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. He said: “Now if you look around the UK you will see there are outbreaks of sometimes barmy extremist views from people of all political persuasions. In Whitby, the sun was apparently briefly obscured by a UFO after a Labour councillor claimed to have fathered a child with an extraterrestrial. He also says his real mother is a nine-foot green alien with eight fingers.

“There were earth tremors in mid-Wales where a Lib Dem councillor called John Larsen was sentenced to 18 years in prison for setting off a series of explosions in the north Wales town of Denbigh, talk about extremism.

“And the weather for those of you thinking about heading off for the slopes, well, there were flurries of embarrassment for the Tories after MP Aidan Burley, organised a Nazi-themed stag party at an Alpine ski resort.”

So, before we all get a bit too po-faced about these predictably stupid gaffes within Ukip, we also need to remember to audit the behaviour within the other political parties.

Remember, it was under the auspices of the leadership of the Labour Party that we ended up entering an unjust war in Iraq which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.

Remember, it was under the auspices of the leadership of the Tory Party that we ended up with a period of fixed austerity, which resulted in the lowest living standards seen in Britain in over 100 years.

Remember, it was under the auspices of the leadership of the Liberal Democrats that they ended up with a complete loss of trust from the electorate as they tore up their ideological principles to prop up a Tory Party hell bent on tearing up public services towards unlimited privatisation.

Yes, Ukip are a right wing protest party that has become too big for our own good, but Farage is correct on one thing – before we scapegoat Ukip by hunting down their gaffe prone soundbites, we should always remember that the other parties are making their own mistakes – both in terms of policy and gaffes – so, we should hunt them down too.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

You just don’t get the Ukip thing. The ‘cabal of 3′, main parties have sat in their Westminster ivory tower, and for too long put real democracy into a lockdown. People considering voting for Ukip, are NOT ignorant, they are angry.
They are very aware of the flaws in Ukip, but they don’t care !! Why?
Because they know that Ukip is not a solution. Ukip is a SLEDGEHAMMER. In the May elections, voters don’t want to put 18 or so Ukip MEP’s in Brussels. They want to send 18 Guy Fawkes to Brussels.
This is a pitchfork moment, not a midterm protest.

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Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I would prefer an option for an alternative ‘sledgehammer’ on the more progressive liberal left of the political spectrum.

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John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm

@ Charlie_East_West
“I would prefer an option for an alternative ‘sledgehammer’”
Perhaps you are just not angry and frustrated enough yet? Perhaps in their frustration, they see no viable alternative, but to initially, bring the corrupt Westminster House of Cards down first, before salvaging some form of true democracy from the rubble later?

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Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

There is an open goal of an alternative for the left – a perfect policy example is renationalisation of utilities, but run like a private company – like EDF in France, NPower in Germany. These examples then get to win tenders globally, and the profits are then redistributed towards providing lower tariffs in their own home markets.

John – what radical new policies would you like to see?

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John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I think renationalisation of utilities seems on the surface to be a reasonable idea, but in practice more difficult. But you have opened the debate into something far wider here with regard to resources such as Energy, and Capital.
1. Capital. : We are probably too far down the ‘rabbit hole’, to make good here. On the one hand we fear Corporate ‘Money’, and ‘Capital, doing an ‘Atlas Shrugged’, by withdrawing and going elsewhere, or going ‘on strike’. And on the other hand we print (QE), money from thin air, pretending to ourselves that all is well, when we know it isn’t.
2. Energy : We have built our economy and world on ‘cheap’ energy, and have even extended our ‘credit carded’, expectations into the future using cheap energy. But every day, more people are grasping that around 2007, ‘cheap’ energy flipped over into ‘expensive’ energy, and that that, is a permanent state. The dilemma we face now is that we cannot keep the wheels of an economy built using cheap oil, running, ‘Business as Usual’, on expensive oil.
“John – what radical new policies would you like to see?”
It will be a monumental shift, and I’m frankly, not sure we are up to it, but we will have to devise policies aimed at a Steady State Economy. I sense that ‘powering down’, to something more sustainable is our only choice. It is an understatement to say that it will not be easy?

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Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Interesting thoughts, John.

What would you envisage for a steady state economy – in terms of policy?

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John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Charlie_East_West
I could, and others have, written thousands of words on the subject of a Steady State Economy. Some believe it to be impossible. I’m not so cock sure as to be able to disagree with that view. Only that we must try to shift in that general direction. I truly wish it were otherwise, but I seriously believe we must simplify our lives, before it gets simplified for us. Remember, that decline can occur so slowly as to appear ‘glacial’, but decline over 2 or 3 decades, is still decline.
One thing is pretty sure, a Steady State economy cannot occur with 7 billion people, and rising at a rate of 70 million per year. I’ll leave that thought hanging there.
I’m trying to come up with a word or phrase that sums up the transition from where we are, to where we need to be, and the best I can noodle is :
‘…Economic Triage…’
I wish I could be more helpful and upbeat, and I hope I’m very, very wrong.

John Dunn January 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I sensed that I’d maybe left my 10.23pm comment a little toooo wrist cutting, so…… On a slightly more upbeat note, there are already people trying to design ways and lifestyles that aim for something resembling a steady state economy. They come under the banner of Transition Town Initiatives, started by a chap called Rob Hopkins. It is a fairly new and fledgling movement that have varying degrees of success both here in the UK and around the world. But without doubt, they are to be applauded for their effort.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/
http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_hopkins_transition_to_a_world_without_oil.html

Mike Killingworth January 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I’d say North Korea was as good an example of a Steady State economy as you could hope to find. Or there are plenty in history, just go back far enough (i.e. before industrialisation, before banking). Not where even UKIP wants to go.

Nonetheless there is a lot in JD’s points (1) & (2) and I suspect the next General Election will be a good one to lose. The assumption that our economy is too big for the IMF “broker’s men” to come into (as they did in the Irish Republic and in Greece) is just that: an assumption.

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Charlie_East_West January 27, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Mike – I agree. Britain is not too big to fail. We exist through the prism of a papering over the cracks economy that is surviving (just) on quantitative easing.

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