07 February 2007

UKIP: what should one think?

The alternatives available to voters in Britain today are dispiriting. The three main parties are now all pro-state. Even the Tories no longer talk about "rolling back the state", or tax reduction, or preserving civil liberties. David Davis's querying of New Labour authoritarianism in yesterday's Guardian was a bit of a case of "too little, too late".

Having browsed their website a bit, I haven't yet seen a single policy statement where UKIP (apparently* soon to be rechristened "Independence Party") doesn't sound preferable to its rivals.

And yet, doubts remain. Perhaps they're just prejudices. It's not exactly that I suspect UKIP of being "loonies" or worse, as our dear Tory leader has suggested. It's just that one has a natural distrust of a newish, fringey party that hasn't been tried or tested.

Wherefore the hostility of people like Guido and Dale towards UKIP, on occasion apparently greater than towards Labour? Could they have been infected by the bias of the currently dominant bunch of Tories? I.e. those Tories who appear to hate those who might steal their own clothes, more than those whose clothes they seek to steal?

I don't have much more to say on this, except that I am considering voting for UKIP at the next election. I'd be interested in the views of others, for and against.

Note: I usually have no problem with publishing anonymous comments. However, in this case I'd be grateful if you could disclose where you're coming from, e.g. UKIP councillor, Tory agitator, Robert Kilroy-Silk, Joan Collins, etc.

* via Bel Is Thinking

Update: Steve at Pub Philosopher has written a scathing attack on UKIP, alleging they are corrupt and ineffectual. He may be right, but ...

I'm considering voting for them, not because of their imminent rebranding (which if anything puts me off, being an example of 'style over substance'), or because I think they will exercise significant political influence in practice. Rather, as an alternative to not voting at all, which I would otherwise do. I.e. as a protest vote, to express my dissatisfaction with being unable to vote for a major party which respects civil liberties and which doesn't want to further increase state funding and powers. I have reservations about voting for them even on that level, because of their apparent dodginess as reported by the media. However, it's difficult to know how much of the alleged dodginess is real, and how much of it is misrepresented by a political establishment which is clearly hostile.

Steve says that UKIP have achieved nothing useful in spite of winning several MEP seats, and he has a point. But on the other hand there is something to be said for a party which sits on its backside. Every time our present government comes out with another initiative, it makes me wish for leaders who thought doing nothing was the way to go. Politicians who just want to live the high life and fiddle their perks are far less dangerous in my opinion than those who feel they're on some utopian crusade. That's why I think it's a bit misplaced when people get more worked up about Blair's holidays, or Irvine's wallpaper, than about (say) New Labour's abolition of double jeopardy.

16 comments:

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Guido is hostile to UKIP loonies, but not the whole UKIP agenda.

Some of GUido's best friends are UKIPpers...

Chippy said...

I don't think I've ever seen this put so well. I instinctively think of UKIP as odd, but many of the Tories I meet strike me as equally strange. And those at the xenophobic, hanging fringe of the Tory Party scare me much more...

I consider myself an usually sexy Lib Dem leaning centrist.

Fabian Tassano said...

Hmm ... I think you mean "an un-usually sexy Lib Dem leaning centrist". Well, if Catherine Z-J thinks you're hot, who am I to disagree?

Chippy said...

Of course 'unusually' but the thought of voting UKIP made me feel less than my sexy self.

Catherine finds many men sexy but it usually means they're reached that 'certain age'. By a strange coincidence, I believe she's thinking of voting UKIP too.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you. Now I know what "TIP" stands for. I wouldn't vote for them myself - that's if I could still vote in UK elections, which I understand I can, only my postal vote wouldn't arrive in time so why bother and incidentally what, I ask myself, is email for? - because I think they are hopelessly unrealistic. There is so much funding of UK projects now tied up in the EU that it would be very difficult to unravel it. I wopuldn't want to, as I'm a European at heart.

Fabian Tassano said...

If UKIP could get someone like CZJ to publicly support them, their image would be much improved.

Paul said...

Yes, I have the odd qualm, but I think I'll probably go for UKIP/TIP/whatever. It'll be nice to be able to actually vote for someone, after endless years of paper-spoiling.

I believe that in May they'll be standing here in sunny Wales, hoping to release us from the clutches of that wheezing abomination over the Bay. They'll certainly get my vote for that...

...And with regards to the disclosure-bit, I've never belonged to any political party. I could never quite fathom why anyone would want to pay actual money into the coffers of these jokers. Having said that, there are parts of UKIP's manifesto that make me feel all tingly, so it's conceivable that I might one day sign up with them --- provided they continue heading in the right direction...

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Yet more publicity for The Purple Machine.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Sorry. I should have declared my candidacy at the 2005 for UKIP at F&GG

Paul said...

"Yet more publicity for The Purple Machine."

...Sounds like you disapprove. Tell us more...

"If UKIP could get someone like CZJ to publicly support them, their image would be much improved."

I dunno --- aren't folks sick of the obsession with "image" by now? I remember New Labour's initial feting of assorted pop stars and other fashionable nonentities after being elected (the drinks parties at Number 10, and so forth). It'd be nice to see a political party deciding not to court celebrities, but to concentrate on policy instead.

...I believe, though, that UKIP/TIP/whatever have blotted their copybook on this score in the past: they had dear old Leo McKern appearing in their PPBs. Mind you, I don't think he really counts: I can't see someone like him going in for the Hello! treatment, or being given a VIP-style tour of Westminster, with a retinue of fawning politicians hanging on his words, eager for a photo-op. ...But then I can't imagine that he'd ever have contemplated appearing on a "reality" TV show. It would've been like seeing Bron Waugh on Pop Idol.

Fabian Tassano said...

No prob, Jeremy. The requirement to declare an interest was only meant to apply to those wanting to comment anonymously, but I probably didn't make that clear enough.

What is "The Purple Machine"?

Fabian Tassano said...

Paul: Aren't folks sick of the obsession with "image" by now?

People like you or me, perhaps. But probably not the vast majority of ordinary voters, who may need people like Bono or Angelina Jolie to tell them what to think.

Paul said...

...yeah, I think you're probably right. God help us.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

The colour of UKIP is purple. Just happens to be my favourite colour as well. I still have my rosette from the 2005 GE. Will be worth millions in years to come.

Devil's Kitchen said...

I joined UKIP when I was a bit pissed one night, and then found out that their policies were far closer to my minarchist, free-trade libertarian position than any other party.

Since then I have been an enthusiastic cheerleader and I am standing for election to the NEC.

There are a few problems at the moment, all of them linked to Roger Knapman's leadership. Nigel Farage is taking a far stronger line on corruption, etc. We shall weather this current storm and emerge a much leaner, meaner party.

I wrote an essay on the "image problem" over at IndependenceHome.org. Image should not be everything, but UKIP have to present the fact that they are no longer (and have not been for some time) a single issue party. The point is, when people say, "so you lead us out of the EU, what then?" we have to be able to reply.

DK

Fabian Tassano said...

Wow, a proper picture of the great DK. I thought you were a quasi-mythical creature like "V". (On a completely unrelated note, I don't understand why some libertarians like the film V for Vendetta when it's clearly inspired by anti-Tory paranoia, notwithstanding that the obvious reps for authoritarianism right now are Labour. Lewis Prothero seems intended to be a caricature of Peter Hitchens.)

I don't myself have a problem with UKIP looking like a single issue party, though it may need to broaden its image if it's to have mainstream appeal. However, I think it would be a pity if they dropped their vigorous EU opposition altogether. It's easy to despise euroscepticism, but in some ways the issue is key. The EU project long ago became one of centralisation rather than about economic efficiency. (Probably because that was always the driving motivation of those pushing for it.) Leaving the EU is not a sufficient condition for restoring sanity, but it may be a necessary one. I think the downside would be far less dire than most europhiles fear.