Anyone who read the national newspapers over the weekend will realise that UKIP is floundering and near death as a serious political Party. The blame and they are quick to lay blame, lies, so they tell us, with Nigel Farage and Aaron Banks. A megalomaniac and an insurance multi-millionaire.
Ordinarily I would not even give these rumours copy space but, the MSM loves nothing better than to ridicule UKIP and stir up trouble between the Party and its supporters. On this occasion however they have a point as it seems that once again the leadership is shooting the Party in the foot. For years we have been told that a successful campaign to get out of the EU must be backed by big business. Who told us this? Nigel Farage told us this and, on many occasions.
So when he announced that the Party would be backing “Leave EU” a group run by the aforesaid Mr Banks you can understand Mr Carswell’s displeasure, especially as he heard of it at the same time as the delegates at the conference. Not, I would suggest, the way to treat your only MP.
Whether or not you like or believe in Douglas Carswell he does seem, and I use the term loosely, to be choosing the right side in the fight for OUT in the forthcoming referendum. Although I would be happier if there was evidence that he and the Party had, had serious debate about whom to follow prior to the conference.
Carswell is on the board of the rival “For Britain” campaign run by Mathew Elliott. He is a seasoned campaigner and has the backing of many Tory MPs and business leaders.
Once again, it would seem that money is the key factor here. Both groups are in the running to be recognised by the Electoral Commission as the official cross-party leave campaign. The group chosen by the EC will be allowed to spend up to £5million, including State funding of up to £600,000.
The cynic in me says that the real reason for Mr Farage’s choice of campaign for the Party to back is more to do with the fact that UKIP is in financial trouble and upsetting the vain Mr Banks, the main Party donor, would not be the sensible thing to do.
To emphasise the power that this man wields, he told Mr Carswell that if he didn’t back him he would have him deselected. Carswell, it seems, is made of sterner stuff and has stuck to his guns.
However, to be fair to Mr Farage, he does have a valid point when he says that the “For Britain” campaign is still clinging to the false belief that Cameron can renegotiate Britain’s position within the EU and come away with a better deal for all. This is too important a decision for a campaign committee to be hedging its bets and I believe Nigel Farage when he says that they, (“For Britain”) are sitting on the fence.
All this aside, the message sent out to the grassroots within UKIP is one of disunity at a time when unity is all important.
Disagree if you want but I would point you in the direction of the Labour Party, a Party so bereft after GE2015 that the MSM and pundits were writing its obituary. When Jeremy Corbyn became the front-runner for leader of the Party, the MSM would have you believe that the whole country was in fits of laughter.
Yes, they were laughing so much that twice the number of members that UKIP have registered to join Labour. I’m talking here of legitimate new members not the spoilers and clowns who sought to disrupt the vote.
Jeremy Corbyn is the ‘new kid on the block’, he is the one who is grabbing all of the headlines, he is the one who people want to hear. Why, I don’t know.
My point is, that mantle once belonged to Nigel Farage and his antics at the UKIP conference have not enamoured him to the British public anymore than his conscious uncoupling from UKIP swiftly followed by his conscious re-coupling a few days later. Unfortunately this is still fresh in many people’s minds and has done his standing with the public no good at all.
I am still passionate about UKIP, even more so of leaving the vile EU. Much as I admire Nigel I think that he needs to take a back seat on this one. There are plenty of people within the Party who are quite capable of putting UKIP’s message across. By all means use Nigel and his skills when the need arises but not centre stage as this, IMO, will distract from the main issue.
As for which campaign to back, “For Britain” seems at best wishy-washy and at worst uncertain of its objectives. Mr Banks, on the other hand, is a dangerous man who, I believe, wants to control UKIP from the sidelines.
I would look to patience and serious, sensible debate before choosing which of the OUT campaigns to follow.