EU Referendum

UKIP: picking at a sore


000a Bloom-024 jun.jpg

You would think that, after several weeks of publicity, the legacy media could give that truly disgusting man Bloom a rest. But here we go, another soft-focus piece, this one from The Daily Telegraph.

However, even under the uncritical eye of Sarah Rainey, the oaf Bloom comes over as a lout, a braggart and a bully. But, in the piece itself, there is no serious – or any – attempt to rehearse the issues Bloom supposedly stands for. While the legacy media picks at the sore, the man has become the story.

Thus, as Your Freedom and Ours pointed out right at the beginning, far from bringing policy issues to the fore, Bloom is proving to be a distraction, diverting attention from them, rather than allowing them to be developed in a coherent – or any – manner.

In the meantime, we see Dr Eric Edmond venture into the fray again, with the well-crafted observation that: "we can't all be wrong about Farage".

Edmond has his own issues with Farage - as do we all - but his observations bring to mind the complaints of David Campbell-Bannerman, the UKIP MEP who deserted to the Tories in May 2011. Bannerman is a particularly unsympathetic character, so what he has to say does not invoke a great upwelling of support. But the fact remains that a lot of what he had to say is mirrored by what Will Gilpin has said.

In fact, there is a consistent pattern here. Given the chromic problems in UKIP, we see a cycle where voices within the ranks convince Farage that "something must be done" to improve the management of the party. In the classic cycle, Farage then steps back a few paces and someone is appointed to take on the job.

What then happens is that Farage immediately goes into high gear, sabotaging every suggestion and initiative, making it impossible for the appointee to achieve anything. In frustration and despair, the appointee resigns (or is fired for non-performance) and complains to the media.

The UKIP briefing machine then goes to work, spreading the poison about the appointee, while Farage steps up to the plate to take charge again. Equilibrium is eventually restored and the cycle starts all over again.

Even an outsider such as Iain Dale can see this – a man not entirely unsympathetic to Farage, and certainly a man who cannot be described as having a "grudge" against him.

"I like Nigel Farage and admire him", writes Dale, "but he continues to treat UKIP as his personal, private property and despite protesting that he has let go the control he has traditionally exerted, you get the feeling that he protesteth too much". He continues: "UKIP’s biggest problem has always been that it is nothing without Farage, but if he is to show true leadership he has got to allow other people to get on the with the job".

Yet, the UKIP response throughout the recent weeks has been to fend off criticism without conceding any points, dismissing critics and demanding that they cease and desist. That is UKIP's stock answer to criticism, which means we simply cannot move on. We are no further forward than we were a couple of weeks ago and then we were no further forward than we were ten years ago.

It is in fact almost exactly ten years ago that I stopped working for UKIP, and it is unsurprising that this personal anniversary should dredge up personal events for me. But if the events are in the past, the effects are not.

Ten years ago, I was fighting the EU from within the ranks of UKIP. Virtually every day since, I have continued the fight, the main differences now being that I am doing much the same work without a political platform and without a salary. And hardly a day goes by without these differences manifesting themselves in one way or another.

If there is anything I resent, though, it is the ignorant commentariat which knows nothing of past events, and nothing of how grievously Farage abused his position. Yet they charge me of holding a "grudge" and thereby seek to dismiss anything I say on UKIP – even to the extent of denying my right to make any comment on the party.

Those who know what went on (and still goes on within the higher echelons of UKIP) however, acknowledge that, by and large, my criticism has been temperate and measured. Even to call Bloom an oaf and a racist is to do nothing more than make statements of fact.

But UKIP's game is not about responding to criticism. Then as now, closed minds simply go on the attack, attempting to brow-beat critics into silence. This does not just apply to me.  It is standard procedure.  But, after ten years, I am still here. In another ten years, if the "added pig" still functions, I hope still to be here. But I suspect UKIP might not be. 

A dinosaur that can't deal with criticism and adapt is on its way to extinction.