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Why Labour are to blame for UKIP

Posted on May 03, 2013 by

This shouldn’t take long. Since 1997, and particularly since 2001, what passes for the political ideology of the Labour Party in Britain could be accurately summed up in one short phrase: be the smallest possible single step to the left of the Tories.

Protected by the grossly undemocratic First Past The Post electoral system – which discriminates massively against third parties and ensures that Labour or the Tories can secure huge, unassailable majorities on barely more than a third of the vote – Tony Blair’s brilliant, ruinous flash of political inspiration was the willingness to fully grasp the implication of that fact: that Labour could effectively all but become the Tories and still capture the left-wing vote, because that vote had nowhere else to go.

tubetrain

A bit like when there’s someone breathing right down your neck on a crowded train, that sent the Tories shuffling ever further along the political spectrum in an attempt to put some distance between them and their opponents, only to be confounded as Labour doggedly matched them step for step, constantly pressing their manifesto-groins into the Tories’ rear like some sort of hideous nerdy sex pest.

The phenomenon has only become more marked since Labour lost power. Shadow Cabinet members now line up to appear on the news promising to be tougher on immigration and tougher on the poor. (So desperate, in fact, are Labour not to be seen as “soft” on welfare they’re actually to the right of UKIP on the subject.) When Johann Lamont talks of changing (or “re-energising”) the Scottish devolution settlement, it’s not in terms of bringing more powers to Edinburgh but more “responsibilities”, echoing precisely the words of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

(Poor old Scottish Labour still haven’t managed to work out that the strategy that served the party so well south of the border doesn’t work in Scottish Parliament elections, because something approaching a fair electoral system DOES give voters more than a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber.)

At first glance this ought to seem like bad news for a party like UKIP. With the Tories pushed ever further to the right by Labour (David Cameron and George Osborne are, it’s widely agreed by commentators on both the left and right of the UK press, pursuing policies even Margaret Thatcher would have shied away from), there ought to be no room for an even more right-wing Tory fringe party.

But there are two reasons it hasn’t worked out that way. The first is simply a stroke of luck for Nigel Farage’s troops – the coalition has poisoned the Lib Dems, perhaps forever, which has liberated Labour from a threat on the left. With the Lib Dems hopelessly discredited on the left (and also electorally), Labour can worry even less about losing its core voters and keep pushing right.

But why does that suit UKIP, given that they don’t want the Tories encroaching on their ground? It works because with both major parties engaged in a consensus, the position of the “centre” changes radically. Policies which would once have seemed extreme suddenly find themselves in the territory of respectability, because they’re only a little to the right of the party of government.

And while it seems counter-intuitive, the disintegration of the Lib Dems also frees up a “protest vote” element sickened by the two main parties, some of which will go to UKIP purely because it’s the only alternative party with what looks like any hope of getting anyone elected.

ukip1

(An impression reinforced by the wildly disproportionate and friendly coverage the media, in particular the BBC, bestows on Farage, because he gives good TV. The Corporation recently awarded UKIP a “discretionary” extra party political broadcast, and this morning’s special election edition of BBC Breakfast was a quite extraordinary spectacle in which Farage was essentially allowed to interrogate the representatives of the other three parties as an interviewer.)

It might seem a stretch that Lib Dem voters would defect to UKIP, but not all Lib Dems are left-wingers. Some belong to the Nick Clegg “Orange Book” faction of the party, which is politically far closer to the Tories than the Lib Dems like to acknowledge, and some Lib Dem votes are tactical ones aimed at blocking Labour rather than the Tories, which could easily switch to UKIP for the same purpose.

For as long as Labour continue to handcuff themselves to the Tories in pursuit of Middle England votes, then, UKIP will continue to rise. And in the process, Labour will continue to dig itself deeper into a hole, pushing the terms of political discourse further and further onto the ground where it’s least comfortable and least trusted, and making it easier and easier for UKIP to dictate the agenda.

(With a side effect that Labour voters in the poorest areas, especially in the north of England, will also become easier prey for super-extremists like the BNP, who capitalise on the desperation of working-class poverty with what are fairly left-wing economic policies ostensibly funded by excluding ethnic minorities from services.)

Labour seems deadlocked into this cycle of self-destruction, completely bereft of the courage to offer the electorate a genuine alternative to Conservative ideology. The unfortunate British public has only begun to suffer the consequences.

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  1. 03 05 13 18:54

    Is Change in the Air? | laidbackviews

132 to “Why Labour are to blame for UKIP”

  1. Excellent analysis.  The only thing I might disagree with is that I’m not sure it’s caused by the FPTP electoral system — in Denmark, the parties also started clustering around the far right after the formation of the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) in 1995, and Denmark has a very proportional electoral system.

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    FPTP doesn’t inherently make things more right-wing. It could just as easily work the other way. What it does is eliminate alternatives and encourage the two main parties to cluster incredibly closely together, because the closer you are to your opponent politically the easier it is to steal their votes.

  3. Mac says:

    Prepare for a Tory/UKIP coalition in 2015. That reality took one almighty big step today. 
     
    For Scotland the worst of all possible scenarios has come to the fore. A Tory/UKIP government at Westminster and an enfeebled Labour party in opposition unable and unwilling to prevent attacks on Scotland and the demolition of devolution, Holyrood and all.  

  4. Seasick Dave says:

    Mac
    For Scotland the worst of all possible scenarios has come to the fore.
     
    Are you sure?

  5. Mac says:

     
    Can you imagine Nigel Farage becoming Foreign Secretary? Well imagine no more. 

  6. scottish_skier says:

    Good analysis there Rev.

    The effect of what is happening today south of the border on 2014 should not be underestimated.

    Looks like we’ll be living in UKIP land in the run-up to the referendum. Next spring’s EU elections will continue this theme.

  7. Mac says:

    Seasick Dave
     
    Many Tory MPs would like a coalition with UKIP to bring to a halt the Cameron modernising agenda that they detest. Expect more defections to UKIP if David Cameron refuses to budge. 

  8. Gizzit says:

    Proof – if any was needed, that there is a basic attitudinal difference  between what appeals to the electorate of Scotland and to the electorate of the rUK.
     
    It isn’t inborn, because I know many individuals who have come to Scotland to live and work who display the same aversion to the right-wing circus as I do.  Maybe it’s something in the water.  Or perhaps Scotland just naturally draws like-minded people.
     
    You’d think Johann Lamont and her scurvy crew would have twigged by now

  9. HandandShrimp says:

    Rev Stu
     
    This piece is a travesty… the rise of UKIP is Salmond and the evil Cybergnats’ fault
     
    Shirley?

  10. Bobby Mckail says:

    Spot on. You have to feel sorry for people who are genuine left of center who have been left with an odious choice of No representation or a vote against the Tories via a right wing Labour.

  11. Seasick Dave says:

    Mac
     
    Surely anything that forces the Westminster agenda to the far right will benefit the YES campaign?
     
    Why would you vote No to remain with a Tory / UKIP administration?
     
    It certainly must be giving some Labour voters in Scotland food for thought.

  12. Macart says:

    Well if it wasn’t a simple choice before, it Shirley is now. 🙂

  13. Doug Daniel says:

    In fairness to Labour, their voters need to accept some of the blame too. They’re the enablers. If the lefties that refuse to ditch Labour would just accept what their party has become and leave them en masse for the Greens – or even just starting their own party – then chasing the Tories would no longer be a viable vote winning option.
     
    But this is basically what happens when a party’s entire ideology becomes nothing more than “we want to be the government”. Labour don’t stand for working class people or social democracy, they simply want to be the party that governs. They don’t care what policies are being pushed through, as long as they’re the ones doing it.
     
    And no one sums that up more than Ed Miliband.

  14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “In fairness to Labour, their voters need to accept some of the blame too. They’re the enablers. If the lefties that refuse to ditch Labour would just accept what their party has become and leave them en masse for the Greens – or even just starting their own party – then chasing the Tories would no longer be a viable vote winning option.”

    Absolutely. But the Greens suffer from the opposite image to UKIP – they’re SEEN as unelectable, even though they already have an MP and UKIP don’t. (Though to be strictly fair, getting a Green elected in Brighton barely counts.)

    Partly that’s because they simply don’t get the media coverage and partly because when they DO get it they put up some whiny pious sandal-wearer who tells people that they won’t be allowed to have cars any more, whereas Farage says everything will be fine and comes across as a fun, likeable guy you’d want to hang out with.

    (Not to ME, but I’m a politics nerd and I know what’s below UKIP’s surface. The average TV viewer just sees an affable, articulate guy who’s always smiling, likes a pint and gives direct-sounding answers to questions. Seeing him eviscerate some hapless, evasive Labour dronebot on Breakfast this morning was like watching a bullfight.)

    Greens (and others on the left) are their own worst enemies. You can’t win elections on policies alone – never mind by lecturing people – and anyone who still hasn’t learned that lesson is a dangerously irresponsible cretin.

  15. Seasick Dave says:

    Careful, Rev, we don’t want any cretins in tears.

  16. scottish_skier says:

    Farage apparently saying he’ll stand as an MP in 2015.
    Enter stage right ‘Farage for PM’ election posters?

  17. Captain Caveman says:

    I too now predict a Tory/UKIP UK government in 2015. UKIP have promised reinstatement of Grammar schools – something that I have yearned for all my adult life for the sake of hardworking working class kids – so y’know what? I’m going to hold my nose & grin and bear it, just for that alone.

  18. HighlandMartin says:

    Perhaps Douglas Alexander MP and shadow uk something or other will use his time in Scotland tonight to  reassure UK voters that our position in  European Union is safe in Labour hands and he can come back another time to find out what the shtumie over who said what in this pesky  Calmangate thing.

  19. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Rev, as you rightly point out – much of the UKIP phenomenon is fuelled by the remarkable amount and nature of the media coverage it gets – particularly on the BBC. Compare and contrast, again as you say, with the Greens.
    Let this please be the last word for those on these threads who continue to argue with our focus on the MSM and its importance in the referendum. 
    Nigel Farage is vaguely sinister one trick pony and a buffoon. Yet he can get himself on any programme or front page he chooses to and a party of xenophobic nobodies at his back is now coming close to holding the balance of power in the UK. Why?
    ‘Cos telly rules.

  20. scottish_skier says:

    One possible problem for UKIP is the name.

    What are they going to call themselves for 2015?

    I mean if they’re looking good in polls for a coalition with the Tories, a new name will be needed post autumn 2014 for definite.

    Having a party name encompassing a country which no longer exists (or is in the process of coming to an end) might look a little silly.

    BritIP or EnglP might suffice I suppose.

  21. muttley79 says:

    Good article Rev.  I think this has been coming for at least twenty years.  After the 1987, and particularly the 1992 general election defeats, Labour decided to go to the right to win.  It was basically a win at all costs mentality.  They and us are reaping the whirlwind of all of that.  The trade unions appear to be getting more restless at Miliband’s direction, or lack there of, the Labour Party.  On a more shallow note, the lady with the blonde hair in the picture at the top is hot… 

  22. balgayboy says:

    What a utopia the UKIP are presenting to the English public, unfortunately implementing it will cause a lot of strife. Would not like to be in a minority if they ever have any influence in government.

  23. Doug Daniel says:

    “Partly that’s because they simply don’t get the media coverage and partly because when they DO get it they put up some whiny pious sandal-wearer who tells people that they won’t be allowed to have cars any more, whereas Farage says everything will be fine and comes across as a fun, likeable guy you’d want to hang out with.”
     
    Indeed, and I believe Natalie Ben is nowhere near as much loved across the Green movement as Caroline Lucas was. Incidentally, Patrick Harvie pointed out on Twitter yesterday that oil has uses other than fuel – i.e. pharmaceuticals, plastics etc – and that soon oil will be too valuable a resource to burn, since we’ll need them for their other uses. In other words, it’s not the extraction of oil that he’s necessarily against, just the burning of it.
     
    I really wish Greenies would say this kind of thing more loudly. To me, it represents a far more realistic way of thinking than the “ban cars, cars are evil, car drivers are worse than Hitler” attitude Greens are usually thought of having.

  24. Hetty says:

    Certainly in the North East of England people need to get together and start up a new left wing party, it takes cash though, and there isn’t much around there! A right right wing administration would spell disaster for areas traditionally working class, and yep Scotland would be stripped of any devolved powers in the meantime being used as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Scary stuff indeed and difficult to comprehend that anyone in Scotland would want to be at the mercy of a ukip/ tory regime. 
     

  25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Let this please be the last word for those on these threads who continue to argue with our focus on the MSM and its importance in the referendum.”

    Mm. I was genuinely surprised yesterday about the number of people (still small, but noticeable) moaning about the Calmangate coverage. It’s got nothing to do with one silly wee thin-skinned comedian, and everything to do with a gigantic media smear built on what so far is a complete and utter fabrication. That’s a pretty serious business, and exactly this site’s stated purpose, but some folk complained anyway.

    The really interesting thing about UKIP and the Greens, I think, is the one huge difference between them. UKIP’s core policy of “UK independence” – or to give it another name, nationalism – is a near-universally popular one. (Almost everyone is “proud” of their country, which is why we still have national sports teams and flags and so on. There are many different ways in which that nationalist feeling can be expressed, some healthy and some very ugly, but it’s common to almost all humans since evolution. We’re a tribal race.)

    The popularity of the core policy – coupled with the personality of the party’s leader – makes people overlook the rest of the manifesto, which is largely horrific.

    The Greens have the exact opposite situation. Most of their left-wing manifesto comprises policies that are actually very popular with the public. Polls constantly show large majorities in favour of nationalising big utilities like energy and train companies, for example. But the Greens’ CORE policy, which one might sum up as “environmental austerity”, is hugely UNpopular with the general public, because it involves their standard of living going down. More expensive food, more expensive travel (home and abroad), more punishments for car ownership, etc.

    So whenever a Green goes on telly, they feel compelled to promote their party’s least popular policy, whereas Farage can go on and be a loveable old-fashioned, slightly eccentric British gent, the fun bachelor uncle who never quite grew up, promoting an agenda of making people feel better about themselves, rather than worse. It’s hardly surprising that that makes him more popular, and therefore better TV, so he gets far more than his fair share of airtime, and we know the rest.

    The Greens are NOT the hope of the left. They have a fatal, unfixable flaw, and we must look elsewhere for salvation. As far as England goes, don’t ask me where, because I haven’t the slightest clue who I’m going to be able to vote for the next time anyone asks.

  26. SCED300 says:

    It suits the Tories to have Labour as a ‘force’ in Scotland. Labour obstructs the SNP but is ineffectual in Scotland; even with up to 50 MPs in Westminster, it’s ineffective there too.

  27. Cath says:

    “Expect more defections to UKIP if David Cameron refuses to budge.”
     
    This is key I think. People say UKIP won’t win MPs. But if Tory MPs begin to defect, they may very well win under the UKIP banner.

  28. Morag says:

    I’m surprised to hear anyone say that Farage is personable and comes over well on TV. I can’t stand him – he has exactly the sort of swivel-eyed loon quality that makes me want to run away very far and very fast.

  29. Craig M says:

    Perhaps I exaggerate to illustrate but there are parallels with the Weimar Republic post World War 1. And we know what that resulted in. England is really a mess.

  30. Iain More says:

    Nick Griffin must be laughing his head off at what happenned in the English Council Elections.

  31. Morag says:

    Talking of the Greens, does anyone remember that in the 1990s Plaid and the Greens co-sponsored an MP for a west Wales constituency? The guy was actually a Plaid member, but the two parties went into an electoral pact and he stood in effect for both parties. (I’ve met him, twice, and I’m struggling to remember his name.)
     
    Anyway, it all went completely pear-shaped, because the Greens set their faces against much of what the constituency actually needed, which was development. In particular, the largest town was a port, which mainly served Ireland, but it was suffering badly from poor road access. Top priority should have been to get that road upgraded, but the Greens were having none of it. The poor MP was tearing his hair out in chunks. The pact fell apart about mid-way through the parliament, with Plaid vowing that they’d never, ever do that again.
     
    That’s actually the story of the Green’s first-ever elected MP.  Blind ideology standing square-on in the way of any advance at all.

  32. Caroline Corfield says:

    I had to spoil my county council ballot paper this time around as there was no Green candidate standing. Luckily three independents stood for the Parish council, which now has repsonsibilities for street lighting and other local environmental areas. I was pleased to see however no BNP candidates this time. Can’t quite recall if there was a UKIP – probably. I think it will take time, possibly even a Tory/UKIP coalition government and Scottish independence, but eventually there will arise out of the ashes something left-wing for the English electorate to vote for…. (shirley?)

  33. Dcanmore says:

    There is an extraordinary amount of neutral coverage being given to UKIP recently. That is an indicator, if nothing else, of the shift in politics in England. The people are angry at mainstream politicians and parties, they are looking ever more harder at someone to shake things up a bit. At the moment this is Farage, whether UKIP can capitalise and consolidate their position remains to be seen. But Farage is being made out as the acceptable face of a right-wing agenda that Nick Griffin isn’t. Farage is being set up by the right-wing media as an affable, likeable and even harmless (to the middle class) alternative. The only other person who holds the same ground is Boris Johnson, who is now seen a lovable figure in London.

    I’m not convinced (yet) that UKIP are strong enough to win seats to form a possible coalition in 2015 as UKIP voters are essentially Tory voters too. It’s an interesting conundrum, whatever the shape of the next UK government will be, it will return a Tory PM. Ed Milibot is virtually invisible in the SE, its no wonder that he is being found out for what he is, a corporate tick-box bland speaker Labour Drone.
     
    As the right-wing agenda accelerates in England under whatever party, it can only be good news for the Independence Movement.

  34. john king says:

    “This piece is a travesty… the rise of UKIP is Salmond and the evil Cybergnats’ fault 

    Shirley?

      No its not and dont call me Shirley

  35. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Nick Griffin must be laughing his head off at what happenned in the English Council Elections.”

    Quite the reverse, I’d have thought. UKIP becoming more electable is bad news for the BNP, whose vote might just – if you’ll pardon the expression – migrate over to Farage’s party.

  36. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Morag.
    I agree. The appeal of Farage seems to play on peoples ignorance and fear. It’s all the fault of foreigners in the EU taking British jobs flooding the country with immigrants, consequently knackering the economy with left wing human rights issues.       

  37. Morag says:

    That’s actually the story of the Green’s first-ever elected MP.  Blind ideology standing square-on in the way of any advance at all.
     
    Hmmm.  It was Cynog Dafis.  Read between the lines on this little piece.
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-12599220

  38. YesYesYes says:

    Agree with most of this analysis. Labour is in an invidious position in England that is being compounded by the fact that, not for the first time, they’ve lumbered themselves with the wrong leader. The prospects for the left in England are getting bleaker every year and with every election. Worth noting, too, that if there’s a No vote in the independence referendum in 2014, the referendum on Britain’s EU membership in 2017 looks a certainty now, and that England will vote to leave the EU. Result? Scotland will be out of the EU even if we vote overwhelmingly to remain in it.  
     
    I hope Susan Calman is keeping a close eye on the council election results in England. With the Tories likely to get around a 32% share of the vote, UKIP 26%, and the BNP 5% (in the council seats they contested), you can begin to understand why Susan Calman’s let’s-laugh-at-the-Jocks ‘comedy’ routine got so many laughs with audiences in England. Isn’t it a huge relief that these right-wing extremists, who are dominating English politics, are in an alliance with the Labour Party in the Better Together campaign rather than contaminating our campaign?
     
    By the way, is there any truth in the rumour that Ed Miliband’s laughable ambition for a ‘one nation’ Britain has been put on hold until the year 2075 (when a Commission will be set up to enquire into the question of whether it’s still a realistic long-term objective for the twenty-second century)?

  39. a supporter says:

    “constantly pressing their manifesto-groins into the Tories’ rear like some sort of gruesome sex pest” (on the underground)
    Bravo Stu, that is a new metaphor to die for.
     

  40. Bill C says:

    @Hetty – “Scary stuff indeed and difficult to comprehend that anyone in Scotland would want to be at the mercy of a ukip/ tory regime.” This is surely the developing Achilles Heel of the Bitter Together mob.  Vote no and get a Cameron/Farage coalition in 2015 or vote YES in 2014 and get the chance to choose the government you actually want. Seems a no brainer to me.

  41. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The BNP in clean underwear, as UKIP has been described, are the visible indication of the future that is now possible or probable as UK staggers towards an economic crash.

    Parallels with 1930s Germany are unavoidable as the poor, the disabled, the unemployed and the immigrants become the whipping boys of a new right-wing fascist inclination in UK politics. By providing no protection whatsover to those who have traditionally looked to Labour for protection the New Labour abomination is allowing an unsavoury  right wing alliance to form which will dominate UK politics and unless an unlikely revolution happens inside Labour it is Labour who will be the big losers. The LibDems, who actually lost all relevance except as a receptacle for anti Labour or anti Tory votes (or both)as long ago as the 1920s, are no longer anything but a fantasy entertained by the media who sustain them as they often have use for them (particularly against the SNP).

    The form of democracy we inhabit always has a status quo collaboration at its centre to which everything else reacts. Its aim is to control everything no matter which party is power and New Labour was its dream come true (or its creation).
    The Tories as we call them is not a policy or principle driven body. It is a pragmatic coalition which adapts continually to current political circumstances and prevalent opinions with the aim of holding on to power to protect the position and privileges of those who empower it. It has always known how important it is to own the media.

    Other organisations fired by principle rise to challenge this collaboration of the rich and powerful, very often on progressive social programmes,and they come to power from time to time (the Liberals and then Labour for instance) and set about achieving change. As they achieve their reforms however somw of the steam goes out of them but paradoxically it is the achieving of power that eventually destroys them. Because their electability makes them attractive to people who may share their aims but are primarily interested in exercising power and their position in power sends them into the arms of a welcoming media which offers them conditional support. They become servants of the status quo and the establishment. This is where Labour is today, no more so than in Scotland, where it is the major player ina plot to keep Scotland’s vast natural resources  in the hands of the uK ESTABISHMENT.

  42. Ananurhing says:

    Friends from Kent staying over Easter. Visit every year. Nice middle class leafy village tory voting family. Always some friendly political banter mostly focussed on independence, with them never really expressing an opinion on the issue, and me dealing with their ignorance as constructively and politely as possible. 

    Palpable transformation this year. They’ve become full on Ukippers, and angry with it. Europe, Scotland, immigration etc. Even their kids were banging the hope and glory drum. I got the impression they feel under siege, and their perceived reality of what is England, is crumbling. I of course had to fight their ire with fire. It was refreshing and liberating to be able to take the gloves off, and start shooting from the hip. Albeit at a very big, fat, sleepy fish, in a very small barrel. I tried to explain that for us, the issues are constitutional, and we’d very much like to be able to deal with the inevitible changes that ARE going to happen, without outside interference from Ukippers and Ukokers.

    Cannae wait for next year. They’ll be on a rolling boil by then, especially if the coming run on the pound has happened. Think I’ll concentrate on Lizzy’s unavoidable Scottish coronation next time.
     

  43. scottish_skier says:

    In the by-election in my ward yesterday (Leaderdale and Melrose), Borders Party candidate took the seat vacated by the previous Borders Party candidate so no change.
    Not sure why anyone thought the Lib Dems would take the seat.
    Anyhoo, remains unionist party free (Borders Party has no official stance on the Union although they’re a bit NIMBY/small c for me).
    http://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/local-headlines/iain-gillespie-of-borders-party-wins-leaderdale-and-melrose-by-election-1-2919207
    What is interesting is the 41.6% turnout. That’s high for a single council by-election. Down in England, turnouts for a country-wide set of elections which are well publicised are much less, at 32% etc.

  44. Captain Caveman says:

    “The appeal of Farage seems to play on peoples ignorance and fear. It’s all the fault of foreigners in the EU taking British jobs flooding the country with immigrants, consequently knackering the economy with left wing human rights issues.”
     
    I’m not a UKIP voter, but let’s be fair here. Farage at least has buckets of conviction and charisma on his side – he believes in something – and he’s an erudite, witty, aggressive, effective and shrewd politician to boot. Not since Thatcher has the British voter had such an option; not to be underestimated.
     
    He’s got a message and a great many fed up people, who are sick and tired of being ignored and/or having things done in their name by yet another Social Democrat, with their hard earned money, that they categorically do not approve of – are listening. Personally I think it’s very dangerous in many ways, and yet, this may signal the dawn of the breaking of the hopeless political consensus in the UK, a return to true, radical politics instead of endless, useless tinkering?

  45. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Got suddenly chopped off there mid-rant and uncorrected.
    We will know we have won our referendum battle when elements in  the Scottish establishment recognise their best interest is in protecting their position in the independent Scotland that is certain then the same battle starts inside an independent Scotland’s politics
     
     

  46. Mac says:

    Ananurhing 
    Ukippers and Ukokers! LoL

  47. scottish_skier says:

    Oh, and UKIP came last at 3%. 

    Giggles.

  48. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Interesting. One reason why UKIP have next to no impact in Scotland is because the SNP has already got the anti-establishment vote. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of Farage’s tactics is to be seen as the English Alec Salmond. (lots of appearances in chat-shows/panel shows, rabble rousing speechs in Westminster/Brussels/taking votes from both the left and right simultaneously etc)

  49. scottish_skier says:

    He’s [Farage] got a message and a great many fed up people

    Apparently not in Leaderdale and Melrose. But hey ho.

  50. Mac says:

     
    They are predicting that Labour will come 3rd in the popular vote. No hiding place for Ed Miliband when the distasteful and the hateful are getting more votes than the people’s party in a time of austerity. 

  51. Les Wilson says:

    An excellent piece Stu!

  52. Morag says:

    Thanks for the info about the Leaderdale and Melrose result, SS.  I was looking for it but hadn’t managed to find a report.  I’m in the Borders, so I’ve been getting emails about the by-election, though to be honest it was a bit far to go for a council by-election in this weather.
     
    3%?  Tee-hee.

  53. Captain Caveman says:

    “It wouldn’t surprise me if one of Farage’s tactics is to be seen as the English Alec Salmond.”
     
    He basically is, in many ways.

  54. Lianachan says:

    The increasingly realistic (and, for Scotland, catastrophic) prospect of a Conservative/UKIP coalition in power at Westminster after the next General Election will help steer undecided Scottish independence voters towards YES.  It is likely to increase the number of Scottish Labour voters who will vote YES, too.  Scaremongering and negativity is usually the reserve of the NO camp, but still.

    (I posted that on the BBC article, but now can’t find it (thanks to the stupid way their page works) to see how well it went with readers)

  55. a supporter says:

    @Captain Caveman
    “and he’s (Farage) an erudite, witty, aggressive, effective and shrewd politician to boot. Not since Thatcher has the British voter had such an option; not to be underestimated.”

    I agree. He IS the sort of bloke you’d have a pint with. A bit like Salmond. I could not envisage ever wanting to have a pint with Milliband or Cameron. But I think UKIP’s rise is exaggerated and it is still a one trick pony with NO MPs.  Yesterday’s protest vote against the LabLibCons will dissipate as the protesters revert at the UK General Election.

    However Farage has achieved one aim. I think that it is now pretty certain that the Tories will have a Referendum on Europe in the next Tory manifesto.

  56. Rev, you wrote: FPTP doesn’t inherently make things more right-wing. It could just as easily work the other way. What it does is eliminate alternatives and encourage the two main parties to cluster incredibly closely together, because the closer you are to your opponent politically the easier it is to steal their votes.

    I cannot disagree with this, of course.  My point was that a party very similar to UKIP (Danish People’s Party) managed to exert a similar influence in Denmark, and the Danish Social Democrats started drifting towards the right (just like New Labour), in spite of Denmark using proportional representation.  The mechanisms were probably slightly different, though.  In the UK, New Labour were chasing swing seats (thinking that Tory policies would be just the thing to sway them), while in Denmark it was the swing voters across the country that were chased in a similar way.  The results were very similar.

    Ultimately, it was probably all caused by the fall of communism, which made many centre-left politicians think that their ideology had been discredited and that the neoliberals had been right all along (when actually communism as practised in the USSR was so different from mainstream “socialdemocratism” that they should have ignored it).

  57. Aplinal says:

    Yes, good old Farage.  The party’s policies are, shall we say, suspect. But let’s face it, the guy can play an audience.  He DOES appear to speak straight, and when he challenges MPs to “just answer the question” they seem to retreat into a mental shell and stare at him, rabbit-like in the headlamps.  (Don’t these people get “media” training )  They really don’t know how to respond.  So Farage appears to be an “ordinary” bloke.
     
    But, I do have a soft spot for this diatribe to the European parliament.  It was classic stuff.
     
    here 
     
    A VERY dangerous character

  58. Ghengis says:

    UKIP’s appeal is in it appearing to stand up for ordinary Britons by questioning the open borders nature of the EU.

    What is the point in having a country at all if the poor saps who live here are squeezed into the margins by an army of hard working, low pay accepting, foreigners?

    There’s a town in Wales, reported by the BBC, where there are more Poles living there than anyone else.

    Immigration is good for people who want to pay bottom dollar for workers. It’s good for getting hard working go getters into the country and it’s necessary for refreshing the population.
     
    The Tories benefit from large amounts of immigration because they can hammer the workers on pay. New Labour benefits because they get the votes from the less well off by pretending to stand up for the poor. The more poor there are, the happier the new Labour party is.

    Of course this plays into the independence referendum. Many ordinary folk will say, yes we are not against immigration, but maybe were against too much immigration. There is no comfort in the policies of the SNP as far as I know as they are committed to remaining in the EU and the EU is fully committed to open borders. I wonder what’s happening in economically vibrant countries like Norway and Switzerland which despite not being members of the EU are signed up to the actual open borders area of Shengen.

    When we are independent there will be a revival of our economy of course , more opportunities for ordinary folk, but such a country will inevitably attract migration.

    The difference might be our government will be less inclined to support the hammering of pay and conditions for workers and will not seek to increase the number of poor people. Unless new Labour gets in.

  59. Captain Caveman says:

    “I agree. He IS the sort of bloke you’d have a pint with. A bit like Salmond. I could not envisage ever wanting to have a pint with Milliband or Cameron.”

     
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, there – Farage passes “the pint test”. He would, I’m sure, make an interesting, engaging companion over a few beers, as would Salmond. Cameron? Much less so (but not necessarily other senior Tories, most notably William Hague).
     
    I’d rather consume a bottle of Mister Muscle drain cleaner than spend an evening with Messrs Miliband or Balls. 

  60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “There’s a town in Wales, reported by the BBC, where there are more Poles living there than anyone else.”

    [citation required]

  61. Morag says:

    I saw a BBC piece on it, right enough.

  62. Jiggsbro says:

    Farage at least has buckets of conviction and charisma on his side – he believes in something – and he’s an erudite, witty, aggressive, effective and shrewd politician to boot
     
    If ever a comment demanded Godwinning, it’s that. Politics really ought to be about policies, don’t you think? Not whether some right-wing nutter has ‘conviction’. Personally, I couldn’t imagine having a pint with Farage, because he’d bang on endlessly about how the Romanians were over here drinking the beer that should be going to ordinary, decent, hard-working, decent, ordinary, decent, hard-working, ordinary families and I’d have to punch him.

  63. Doug Daniel says:

    “It wouldn’t surprise me if one of Farage’s tactics is to be seen as the English Alec Salmond. (lots of appearances in chat-shows/panel shows, rabble rousing speechs in Westminster/Brussels/taking votes from both the left and right simultaneously etc)”
     
    Erm, pretty sure that’s just basic political tactics. I struggle to think of a successful leader who HASN’T appeared on chat shows and tried to give rabble rousing speeches, and the most successful parties are the ones that take votes from both sides of the spectrum.
     
    Unless we’re saying that Barack Obama is trying to be an American Alex Salmond when he goes on Letterman etc…

  64. mealer says:

    Stu,
    I cant say I’m much into the whole Greenie thing,but I quite like Patrick Harvie.

  65. Lianachan says:

    Farage doesn’t pass my pint test, not by a long way.  I’d probably rather go out for a sandwich with Ian Gray than a pint with Farage!

  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Politics really ought to be about policies, don’t you think?”

    It SHOULD, but it isn’t, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

  67. Captain Caveman says:

    “Politics really ought to be about policies, don’t you think?”
     
    Couldn’t agree more. Shame Labour (and frankly, the SNP) haven’t read that script, but I digress.
     
    Of course politics should be about policies. In very basic, high level terms at least, UKIP very much have one – get out of the EU, and all that this entails. Further, it’s crystal clear to all where their political ideology lies (their “soul” if you like) – they’re ‘True Blue’ Thatcherite Tories. That message is very clear indeed.
     
    But politics is, or should be, about belief and conviction as well; bona fide conviction politicians should surely lead parties. If people don’t even believe in themselves and their clearly defined, easily discernible cause, I’ll be damned if I will. Thatcher was the last of that breed; I’m not going to say Farage can hold a candle to her, but to be fair to him, it’s early doors yet. We’ll see.

  68. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Captain Cavemen
    Your description of Farage could be applied in some way to Alex Salmond. You stated that “Not since Thatcher has the British voter had such an option; not to be underestimated.” Possibly correct however “we in Scotland” (pun not intended) have such a thing in the SNP.
    I mentioned in an article some time ago that I could not imagine going into a poling booth and looking at the choice of Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dem, UKIP and even BNP. I am afraid that it would be “None of the above” for me. I am a natural SNP voter but I am sure that you can se why the SNP are becoming more and more attractive to the disillusioned Scottish voter. If we had an unbiased MSM BBC then it would be even more so.
    I sincerely hope that a successful Independent Scotland north of the border shows the English voter that there is a viable alternative to the way things are going in Westminster and might encourage a significant change to politicks in rUK.

  69. Captain Caveman says:

    @The Main in the Jar
    I totally agree mate, that’s why I said earlier that Salmond is very much analogous to Farage in many ways (and similarly the SNP is the Left’s answer to UKIP, albeit there’s more than a whiff of the centre-right in many of the SNP’s policies and actions IMO, not least reductions in Corporation Tax. Which, as a centre-right kinda guy, applaud).

  70. Ghengis says:

    @ Rev Stu, unfortunately I can’t find a link to the story, and it would not surprise me if the BBC were miss-reporting the situation in their never ending quest to boost the poll ratings of UKIP and the appalling Nigel.

  71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I saw a BBC piece on it, right enough.”

    So far the closest I’ve come on Google is this, which is a town in Wales with 5 (five) percent Poles in 2007:

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/poles-immigrate-welsh-town-thousands-2256284

  72. Morag says:

    I saw the piece on TV, but I can’t be sure it was the BBC.  I could only find a piece about a Small Welsh town welcoming a bunch of Polish immigrants in 2008, and I can’t even find that now.  But I did see the TV programme.  Might not have been 50%, but it was a striking percentage.

    ETA, the 2008 piece is here. The town was Llanfihangel-ar-arth in Carmarthenshire.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/7405460.stm

    It’s just a feel-good piece about a welcoming event.

  73. John Lyons says:

    Is it really Labours fault?
    Isn’t it the voters fault?
    If Labour hadn’t moved to the right, all those right wing voters would have voted Tory anyway so there would have been no Labour “Working class champion” Government anyway…
     
    Isn’t the true culprit our populations migration from working class to middle class and the fact that a huge percent of our working class jobs are now foreigners who are not engaged to vote by ANY party? Do foreigners even know thier voting rights? Have we done enough to let them know they will have a vote in the referendum?
     
    It all gets a bit complicated by how foreign you are. Commonwealth Citizens have basically the same rights as us, EU citizens can vote in our local elections, but I’m not sure if that includes the Scottish ones or just the council ones and people from outside those to groupings get nothing. (I think) but how many commonwealth citizens in the UK actually vote?

  74. Mosstrooper says:

    Odd coincidence or something for Calmanballs?
    Farage and his farrago of faintly fascist friends make great gains in English elections and in the same news coverage a WW11 German Dornier is being made ready to be rescued and restored. Hmmm! where is a hard hitting political comedian when you need one.
    Susan, Susan!  

  75. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Captain Caveman
    One thing that I think that we can rely on the SNP to do is put Scotland’s people first. I think that the ground that the SNP covers is just about right for me. Anyway what is wrong with a bit of pick and mix polices as long as the results are for the benefit of all.

  76. John Lyons says:

    LOL, I expected the place to be overrun with poles but 2000 in a town of 40,000 is only 5%, Try Living in Inverness.
    Winter population 75,000 Summer population 150,000!!!

  77. mrbfaethedee says:

    Great article!

    RevStu: ‘Greens (and others on the left) are their own worst enemies.’

    Yes. All destination but no roadmap. You’d think the SNP’s story would have given red-green all the evidence it needed to see how to show the destiantion, but also the route, and how to carry as many along as possible. Galls me no end.

    Socialism and sustainability are processes just as much as indy, both at national and personal levels.

  78. The Man in the Jar says:

    @John Lyons
    Been to Kirkcaldy lately?

  79. john king says:

    ““constantly pressing their manifesto-groins into the Tories’ rear like some sort of gruesome sex pest” (on the underground)
    Bravo Stu, that is a new metaphor to die for.”
     
    I dunno about that but I’m never going on the tube again 
     
    bbblllleeeeuuuurrrrggghhh 

  80. Jiggsbro says:

    It SHOULD, but it isn’t, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.
     
    I don’t think anyone is pretending otherwise, but one or two people do seem to think conviction and populism is more than acceptable as a substitute for realistic policies. The sort of conviction politicians that Captain Caveman admires are the sort who will let the end justify the means and who will not care who they crush with the strength of their convictions. Politicians ought to believe in their policies, but they also need to be pragmatic and to have believable policies. Farage, like Thatcher and Blair, would not care what damage his policies caused, or even whether they actually worked, because he has conviction and charisma. The problem with Labour and the LibDems is not that they lack conviction or charisma, it’s that they lack policies.

  81. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Mac
    How about getting a UKIP/UKOK twitter hashtag going on twitter?
    First attempt #UKOK=UKIP ?
    Other ideas.

  82. pmcrek says:

    Jiggsbro
    You need to be careful Farage doesnt go to the Scotsman greetin about cybernat threats. In your defense though, he does have a very punchable character.

  83. The Man in the Jar says:

    On immigration. Where I live there is a guy that owns a largish building company. He bought up about half a dozen houses in my street, which I assume he rents out to his Hungarian workers. At first they were a bit shy but most now speak English some better than others. They are bringing up young families and I noticed that one of the wives now works as a cleaner in my local Tesco. They are becoming very good neighbours and they sure work hard, good luck to them. I will wait till nearer the referendum but I will be doorsteping them when the time comes especially the guy directly opposite he seems to be the best English speaker and spokesman. I expect that there are a good few good yes votes to be had.

  84. Mosstrooper says:

    @ Amadeus@Mac
    I cant help but think that there should be some F’s included in those letters
    Just a thought ;0)

  85. Captain Caveman says:

    “The sort of conviction politicians that Captain Caveman admires are the sort who will let the end justify the means and who will not care who they crush with the strength of their convictions. …  Farage, like Thatcher and Blair …”
     
    Now see, this sort of thing irks me. For a start, any mention of Blair in the same sentence as a true conviction politician, with a discernible, consistent political philosophy, is laughable, sorry. Blair was intent to sell whatever miserable, paltry political soul he possessed – for power, for its own sake. He succeeded, but don’t ever try to tell me that somehow I am, or ever was, a fan of his. I’m not.
     
    You seem to fundamentally misunderstand the term ‘conviction politician’. This does not mean ‘gob on a stick’; merely a slick presenter, or someone who can sell themselves as ‘voter friendly’ to an increasingly dumbass electorate where appearances count above all else. A conviction politician requires conviction, borne of a firmly rooted political belief-system. As I say, Thatcher was the last of this breed, albeit Farage does at least appear to have some semblance of the qualities I’ve described, whether one agrees with them or not (and as stated, I largely do not, albeit as a Tory ‘wet’ I can identify more readily with UKIP than the true Left, which is (imo) dead as a dodo anyway in mainstream politics and has been for decades now).

  86. Braco says:

    Captain Caveman,
    “as a Tory ‘wet’ I can identify more readily with UKIP than the true Left, which is (imo) dead as a dodo anyway in mainstream [UK] politics and has been for decades now).”

    Which I would venture is why the UK is in fact dead as a Dodo now too.

  87. Captain Caveman says:

    @Braco
    But seriously, which mainstream Scots Party represents the true Left? It sure as hell isn’t the SNP, imo.

  88. Steve McKay says:

    Sitting on a train in Stockholm and your manifesto-groin ‘analorgy’ just made me laugh out loud.   Very strange looks from my fellow reserved passengers.   Worth it though!   Cheers.
     

  89. Jamie Arriere says:

    The only reason I’d have a pint with Nigel Farage is to fully comprehend his ignorance of all things Scottish, and ask him what his prospects are of gleaning votes up here and who from. I would then suggest a name-change for his party and bid him Good Day!
    [Remember to take my long spoon, and wipe the shicht aff ma shoon on the way oot!]

  90. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Captain Caveman
    Vote YES in 2014, and start your own “true left party”. Who wouldn’t want to see the headline
    “Caveman elected to Independent Scottish Parliament” 
    in 2016! 😉

  91. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    error

  92. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Defeated Tory councillor Alexis McAvoy blames CAMERON for rise of UKIP.

  93. Captain Caveman says:

    “Vote YES in 2014, and start your own “true left party”. Who wouldn’t want to see the headline
    “Caveman elected to Independent Scottish Parliament” in 2016!”
     

    😀
    Sadly, I’d be totally shit as a politician – of any stripe. I mean, I tell the truth for a start, and am blunter than a dreadnought file being used to fashion a fine diamond. A chequered past doesn’t help much either. Ho hum. 😛

  94. Braco says:

    Captain Caveman,
    I never said it did.
     
    However there is a largish minority of the Scots electorate that remains disenfranchised through the current UK political set up and asymetric population imbalance.
     
    The Scots parliament has quickly transformed from it’s initial wide range of politically voiced representatives (rainbow parliament) into a mini me Westminster two party system. This has occurred as a result of the Scots electorate coming to understand that for those kind of representatives to wield any sort of power, the Parliament must first become independent.
     
    Thus, in election after election, the rainbow vote has solidified behind the SNP and by so doing reduced the central thrust of most Scots political debate to what we have at the moment, YES or NO over powers to the parliament.

    Post YES vote this will change and normal national day to day politics will hopefully return to Scotland, resulting again in that rainbow parliament concept desired and voted for during the fist devolved parliament (except this time with real powers to enact the changes the electorate actually voted for!).

    A NO vote will result in just more of the same I am afraid.
    Vote YES in 2014 for a return to our normal national political preoccupations (Scots preoccupations that is) and let The rUK get on with their normal national preoccupations.

  95. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Captain Caveman
    MP’s at Westmonster don’t seem to suffer from chequered pasts or presents!

  96. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Braco
    Excellently put.

  97. Geoff Huijer says:

    Captain Caveman says:  A chequered past doesn’t help much either.
     
     
    Isn’t a chequered past a requirement?

  98. Braco says:

    AmadeusMinkowski,
    Cheers!

  99. Jiggsbro says:

    For a start, any mention of Blair in the same sentence as a true conviction politician, with a discernible, consistent political philosophy, is laughable, sorry.
     
    You may not like Blair, but the successful reshaping of Labour and the Iraq war suggests he was a conviction politician. ‘Conviction’ is not the same as ‘consistent political philosophy’.
     
    don’t ever try to tell me that somehow I am, or ever was, a fan of his. I’m not.
     
    I didn’t. I said he was a conviction politician. And he was. He may not have been your sort of conviction politician, but he had the sort of conviction you admire in the politicians you do like.

     
    You seem to fundamentally misunderstand the term ‘conviction politician’. This does not mean ‘gob on a stick’;
     
    You seem to have fundamentally failed to read my post. Where have I said a conviction politician is a gob on a stick, or anything like it?
     
    A conviction politician requires conviction, borne of a firmly rooted political belief-system.

    No, a conviction politician requires conviction, borne of whatever their conviction is borne of.  Farage doesn’t have a ‘firmly rooted political belief-system‘. He has a conviction that the EU and immigration is to blame for all the UK’s troubles – or at least, a conviction that he can sell that message to people – but he’s hardly got a belief-system. The rest of UKIP’s policies are pretty much pick’n’mix populism (the same firmly rooted political belief-system that Blair had: “I should be in charge”) . He’s still a conviction politician, but the conviction is borne out of discontent with one aspect of the UK’s position and the conviction that other people share that discontent.

  100. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Nigel Farage was involved in the Glenrothes by election if I’m not mistaken and he was remarkably useless

  101. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “You may not like Blair, but the successful reshaping of Labour and the Iraq war suggests he was a conviction politician.”

    That suggests he was an effective politician, which isn’t the same thing.

  102. Jiggsbro says:

    That suggests he was an effective politician, which isn’t the same thing.
     
    It suggests he was an effective conviction politician. You don’t radically reform and redirect the Labour party on a whim. And while some will no doubt think otherwise, I don’t believe he joined the war on Iraq on a whim either. He certainly defends the decision by reference to his conviction that it was the right thing to do.

  103. Braco says:

    Rev Stu,
    I would place the war as the conviction part since it undermined his effective politician bit. His ‘conviction’ was not against tyranny or anything like that, but simply that British interests lay completely in staying as close to American policy as possible (whatever that policy may have been).

  104. Peter St. John says:

    On the bright-ish side, maybe now the media might cover some of the other aspects of UKIP policy, including the usual flat-tax gibberish and a promise to either press on with Trident or even better, design and build a British nuclear sub fleet. Good times, there.
     
    (I do feel a bit sorry for the Greens, though, who have had decent showings in council elections and even have an MP but can’t seem to buy the publicity that Mr. Farage can. Who’s up for predicting a Boris/Farage union sometime in 2017 or so?)

  105. Juteman says:

    Blairs ‘conviction’ should have been a legal one, rather than his aim of turning the UK into a 2 party right-wing clone of the US.

  106. a supporter says:

    Come off it you lot about Blair and his convictions. The Iraq War was a revenge attack by the Good Ol’ Boys for 9/11 and IMO Blair’s only conviction in re of it was that he wanted to be in on it with Bush because he saw it as a self aggrandising history making opportunity. They would be  the ‘Men Who Changed the World’. They certainly did that but not in the way they expected.

  107. cadgers says:

    Nigel Farage the former commodities trader,  need anything more to be said?

  108. Braco says:

    Juteman,
    Yes, I still hope that he will go down in history certainly as a convicted politician!

  109. Bingo Wings Over Scotland says:

    I think they’re a flash in the pan, but let’s say UKIP really are on the rise. We could be looking at a future Tory/UKIP coalition government in Westminster. Now there’s a marriage made in heaven… I heard it said that one of UKIP’s policies is to get rid of the Scottish Parliament. Not exactly true, but they do want rid of MSP’s and replace them with Westminster MP’s.
    http://www.ukip.org/content/ukip-policies/2225-ukip-scotland-manifesto
    I typed “UKIP abolish Scottish parliament” into a search engine and picked these at random from the results:
    http://toque.co.uk/node/1896
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/gerry-hassan/ukip-policy-nigel-farage-doesn%E2%80%99t-want-to-talk-about
    “This is abolition of the Scottish Parliament in everything but name; the replacement of a directly elected Scottish Parliament with what is in effect a Scottish Grand Committee.”
    It’s been said before, but all the signs are there that a no vote in the 2014 referendum would lead to everything Scotland has gained under devolution being taken away (wasn’t that a SundayHerald front page?).
    If only the current coalition would collapse, resulting in a general election before the indy referendum…

  110. Jim Mitchell says:

    I notice that that nice Mr Cameron is already saying, as is the Tory party chairman, that we, well Britain. wants more of his parties polices and that is the lesson that voters South of the border have been handing out.
    So now we know for definite what is heading our way, (surprise, surprise)and the British government won’t be hanging around to implement the kind of stuff that will win those voters back, this is now like a high stakes game of cards, how do Labour and the Lib-Dems up the stakes to their benefit, the only way of course is to try and ‘out-bid’ them by lurching even further to the right.
     I wonder if our ever popular media will point this out and how their BT partners will try and dress this up in the coming months.
    Maybe they will try one of the unionists favorite tactics, namely, just don’t mention it.
    I think that this time they may find that a bit difficult!

  111. scottish_skier says:

    @Bingo Wings Over Scotland says

    You might also notice their Scottish manifesto says

    Restrict immigration so Scotland will be for the Scots and the British first.

    I believe others may have pointed this out before, i.e. this says that UKIP don’t consider the Scots as British. However, they do consider Scotland to be for the British first although are kind enough to propose we Scots can stay too.

  112. Jiggsbro says:

    However, they do consider Scotland to be for the British first although they are kind enough to propose we Scots can stay too.
     
    Those grouse won’t beat themselves, you know.

  113. Patrick Roden says:

    Not sure if it’s been mentioned before, but people on here will remember when the Tories were in the political doldrums at the hight of Tony Blairs popularity, one of their tactics was to demonise Scots about how the (Mostly Scottish) Leadership of the Labour party was giving Scotland so much more money than England.
    It was at this time that saying ‘England was subsidising the Scots’ became an exceptable slogan for Tory politicians. It was a lie of course, but it seeped into the English psyche, especialy in the South.
     
    Once David Cameron was looking favourite to be elected, he dropped this political weapon, but he did nothing to dispel the myth that we were a bunch of subsidy junkies etc.
    So all this resentment has sat dormant for some time and although it has had a lot of on-line comments and media expression, it hasn’t had any real political expression.
     
    Now that Ukip has become a legitimate political reality in England, it will allow this Anti-Scottish expression to become a political battering ram in which to smack the Labour party.
     
    The Ukip footsoldiers, and media supporters will be asking Labour what they intend doing to claw back all these extra’s that Tony Blairs ‘New Labour’ gave the Jocks. (the English simply do not except any other narative)
     
    What will the Labour parties response be ? in fact what will the Tories response be to the same question?
     
    The English are angry about the unfair way the jocks in new labour gave so much more to Scotland at the English tax payers expence, they want this unfairness to stop and they are in no mood to compromise.
     
    The only way the Tories or Labour can appease this anger and win these voters back will to initiate a masive cut in Scotlands budget.
    far fetched ? maybe….. but watch this space.
     

  114. lumilumi says:

    @Thomes Widman (1.30)
     
    You mention a ukip-style party forcing other Danish parties to lurch right, and I can say that it’s happened in Finland as well, under a wholly PR voting system.
     
    Our ukip-style party is anti-EU, anti-immigration, populist, but actually quite left-wing on welfare, health etc. (but not for the immigrants, of course), “a man-on-the-street’s party”. It’s called Perussuomalaiset. They used to call themselves Basic Finns (a literal translation) but now call themselves True Finns in English. (Real Scots, anyone?)
     
    For years, they were a fringe party but in the last parliamentary elections in 2011 they had a landslide and became the 3rd largest party in Parliament – I should point out that due to our PR voting system we usually have around ten parties in Parliament, with the traditional big three making up around 60% of the 200 MPs, then 3-4 “medium sized” parties and a couple of small parties. Oh, and all our governments are coalitions, not one party has ever won a majority. Right now our government has ministers from six different parties!
     
    The True Finns’ landslide sent shockwaves through the traditional big three parties and all started making noises about getting tougher on EU, immigration, etc. They saw that the True Finns’ populist message chimed with the electorate, so in order to lure voters back… I consequence, Finnish politics is becoming less liberal.
     
    The True Finns’ leader Timo Soini is also a charismatic leader, very good on rhethoric and tapping on to populist sentiment, and was a MEP before returning to domestic politics for the 2011 election. (While an MEP, he became a pal of Nigel Farrage’s. And a Milwall fan!)
     
    Some of the True Finns’ MPs are fairly OK, and serious politicians, and many of their voters are just ordinary Finns fed up with the big three parties, but there’s this nasty, ugly, underlying layer. Some of their MPs have been charged (and even convicted!) for inciting hatred against a group of people (or whatever is the correct translation for that particular Finnish criminal offence. Basically, public racism.), and the True Finns are the party of choice for neo-nazis and other intolerant right-wing nutter groups.
     
    The big three parties in Finland are all left of British Labour, even our “Conservative Party” (the Coalition Party), but the Social Democrats and the Centre Party have both moved right in the past 15 years or so, to the extent that the three are barely distinguishable in their policies (a strange mixture of neo-lib and welfare state policies!) and also mired in election funding scandals etc. The True Finns’ landslide was maybe just a protest vote, but they’re still riding high in the polls. The real left-wing party has been slowly sliding for years, and the Greens are also losing some ground. Scary…

  115. Laura says:

    Sorry have no time for Farage – charisma – don’t make me laugh
    Some of you may enjoy this
    http://youtu.be/0M4hExU-tfg

  116. Juteman says:

    @Thomas and lumilumi.
    Thank you for your very interesting input.

  117. Braco says:

    lumilumi,
    Very interesting. Thanks for the post.

  118. Albalha says:

    Re Wales and Poles is it the recent Channel 4 report, see below, 12%, people are thinking of? If it is, it’s curious that even people on here are buying the ‘majority in a Welsh town etc etc’. I watched the Farage in Romania/Bulgaria programme, let’s remember this public school educated, son of a stockbroker is an MEP. Smoking and mirrors.
    http://www.channel4.com/news/immigration-impact-felt-in-welsh-town

  119. Heather McLean says:

    “Captain Caveman says:
    3 May, 2013 at 1:36 pm
     
    I’d rather consume a bottle of Mister Muscle drain cleaner than spend an evening with Messrs Miliband or Balls. ”
     
    That comment has given me the best laugh I’ve had all week!!

      Captain Caveman

  120. Colin Dunn says:

    “Incidentally, Patrick Harvie pointed out on Twitter yesterday that oil has uses other than fuel – i.e. pharmaceuticals, plastics etc – and that soon oil will be too valuable a resource to burn, since we’ll need them for their other uses. In other words, it’s not the extraction of oil that he’s necessarily against, just the burning of it.”
     
    <sigh> At last. I’ve been tweeting him about this for a while making exactly that point, but each time he speaks it’s the whole ‘best leave it in the ground’ argument. Good to see he’s taken this point on board. Interesting to note that gordon over at Business For Scotland also mentions oil’s other uses – http://tinyurl.com/cg4fqwm

  121. Indion says:

     
    Jiggsbro: ‘Those grouse won’t beat themselves, you know.’
    🙂 = belly laughs of likes! (Having been peppered with shot when bobbing up late in the gapped line the bonnie birds were escaping over a brow through.)

  122. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @lumilumi
    O/T Thanks for linguist’s response to the “Phrasal Verb” comment Did you get my response?: Phrasal Verb versus Verb Phrase. Can’t recall the thread that was on, so unable to check right now.

  123. Colin Dunn says:

    “LOL, I expected the place to be overrun with poles but 2000 in a town of 40,000 is only 5%, Try Living in Inverness.”
    And very welcome they are. Polish deli food everywhere, and fantastic Dill pickles 😉
     

  124. lumilumi says:

    @AM 7.41
     
    Didn’t notice your response until today, sorry. Posted a reply in the thread Official: Britain is unsaveable. http://wingsoverscotland.com/official-britain-is-unsaveable/#comment-399173

  125. fordie says:

    What has struck me is the stream of political commentators and politicians, including the BBC and Radio Scotland, now stating that UKIP and Farrage shouldn’t be bad mouthed (now that they’ve won a considerable vote, of course) as that is equivalent to disrespecting those who voted for them. Those who voted for them should be ‘respected’. Doesn’t seem to work that way in Scotland strangely enough where the SNP, the democratically elected government, is subject to verbal, written and electronic abuse and bias on a daily basis – by the MSM, including BBC, and politicians of all Unionist persuasion and location. This illustrates how the Unionist parties in Scotland, particularly Labour, don’t even attempt to appear to want to represent SNP or other pro-Indy voters. Or even attempt to appear to want to win their votes. They are happy to have a significant minority of the Scottish population disenfranchised as long as they can win power.

  126. Indion says:

    Bingo Wings over Scotland @ 4:48pm

    Response Part 1 of 2

    I’ve missed ‘Toque’ and look forward to his return to online forums for democracy such as ‘opendemocracy.net’ in its ‘ourkingdom’ section covering UK but primarily England’s politics, as that’s where UK elections and referendums are generally lost between rarely being won.

    He had lived in Scotland, as I in England. We both thought Scotland would vote for Union come the Referendum; the question was and remains which one!

    There is no jam for Holyrood from Whitehall/Westminster tomorrow, not because ‘jam’ does not exist, but because
    ‘tomorrow’ will never come from those who believe it belongs to them. As, of course, to those in England being the majority, it does.

    But England can’t leave itself in UK guise to get its own parliament back. That’s the constitutional incapability there is demand but no practical in-house solution for: who and how are they to dissolve themselves when having no mandate, let alone mind to do so?

    Whereas we can leave them to it – and get back best together in Union once across that divide for home-rule and self-governance from bottom-up consensus instead of top-down imposition emanating from Brussels and/or London.

    So, as things stand, in the event of a YES vote we will end up with a negotiated confederal union within the UK or outwith the UK with the rUK. Without our own central bank and currency, the determinant will be turnout.

    Which is why the NO Better Together campaign is entirely negative in having nothing to lose. They ‘get’ their role is to save the ‘Union’ and are not too fussed which one so long as that does not appear to be the case.

    After all, like Rangers from maladministration, the rUK will re-emerge as the UK. Who – already thinking the UK is England – will notice ‘Great’ gone in saying Britain? Who will notice Trident gone in due course? Who will not notice oil and gas revenues are still pumping ashore?

    In ridding ourselves of needless overheads in these costly times, is there any tap being turned off here but to the troughs of ConLabLib’s thinly talented ranks of empty taxis back to Scotland?

  127. Indion says:

     
    Bingo Wings over Scotland @ 4:48pm
     
    Response Part 2 of 2
     
    If only the current coalition would collapse, resulting in a general election before the indy referendum…”
     
    I doubt it will collapse unless Mr C major’s mob engineers a LibDem walk-out from their wish to hang as long as possible to regain the credence in power sharing lost by mis-calling the graduate tax.
     
    As of now I think that more likely than Mr C major and Mr C minor deciding to go to the polls early on the back of a recovering economy, given Merkel when re-elected this autumn is facing an even tougher task with the eurozones reform which her home grown opposition is holding up. See ‘Frankly Independent’ on past and upcoming rulings by the German constitutional court which could impede recovery of the UK’s markets in the parts of Europe the UK banks are most exposed to.
     
    Wishfully thinking, I hope I’m wrong for the reasons I’m guessing you allude too. However, If the next UK General Election falls in 2014 (on the day of the EU elections, to get back the £x millions mispent on the AV nonsense), then the UKoker and UKipper manifestos would be only an indication of their negotiating positions in the event of a YES vote in our following Referendum.  Which is all that the various devo-many ideas emanating from Scotland so far are also in pretending to be otherwise.
     
    Because all would still be jam tomorrow without an agreed date stamp.  And the main lesson I drew from the results of this years batch of council elections in England & Wales was the distinct trend towards no overall control – in keeping with 2010’s hung UK parliament – as folk woke up to the causes and consequences of the 2007/2008 anglo-american induced financial crisis and crash (both here and brought on in Europe no thanks to the cooking of the big transnational banks and accountancy firms)
     
    Go to ‘Electoral Calculus’. At the predictor, insert the BBC’s PNV (Projected National Vote) figures from today’s council results of Lab 29%, Con 25%, (UKIP 23%), LibDem 14% and press to show Labour short of a majority by 2 seats. Of course that’s rough and not ready when the real effect needs to be assessed in the comparable marginal seats for the next UK General Election.  Raw or refined, my points are that another coaltion looks the most likely outcome as yet and coalition agreements take precedence over manifesto commitments until the next jam tomorrow general election.
     
    BTW I agree with those who think UKIP will take disaffected ConLabLib votes. Also that Cameron’s conservatives will still seek to occupy the centre-ground no matter how spinning delivery from the right hand.  As too will Miliband’s Labour from their left hand.  We’ve got lots of work to do in any event.  Success only comes before it in a dictionary.
             

  128. Luigi says:

    “People have had enough of three main parties, who increasingly resemble each other. The differences between them are very narrow and they don’t even speak the same language that ordinary folk out there, who are struggling with housing and jobs, speak.”.
     
    Couldn’t agree more.

  129. myk says:

    “[…] soon oil will be too valuable a resource to burn, since we’ll need them for their other uses. In other words, it’s not the extraction of oil that he’s necessarily against, just the burning of it.
     
    I really wish Greenies would say this kind of thing more loudly. To me, it represents a far more realistic way of thinking than the “ban cars, cars are evil, car drivers are worse than Hitler” attitude Greens are usually thought of having.”
     
    Given that oil is typically burned in cars it is difficult to see how to get around this. The way things are going (rising oil price due to ongoing global scarcity and with no obvious replacement) it appears that the choices we’re going to have to make over the next few decades are precisely about how this resource will be used, and transport is at the centre of it. Whilst the odd sanctimonious sandal-wearing hippie is easily dismissed, hard limits on resources are not.
    Unfortunately any attempt at even suggesting that maybe we should start restricting car use – without calling anyone Hitler – is going to be hugely unpopular due to the almost religious attachment people have to the things. There are interesting parallels with the rhetoric over smoking that began in the 1970s that eventually led to the smoking bans in the last decade. Perhaps by 2040 or so the discourse over cars will have moved similarly?

  130. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @lumilumi
    Thanks. Just read your response. Its an interesting solution you present. I’ll post an alternative on another day when we’re both on a thread; its getting to late to type set it in the manner you did. I’m sure Rev will not object to the odd linguistic/grammatical discussion; it might draw others in to greater care with words, and that can only be a good thing.

  131. ScotFree1320 says:

    Of course should the UKIP get in on their own, or even with the Tories, the Scottish Parliament as we know it could be in jeopardy.

    It’s well known that the Tories are lukewarm about it.  

    As for UKIP – They will:
     o Retain the Scottish Parliament
     o Replace MSPs with Scottish Westminster MPs

    Oh, joy!

    http://toque.co.uk/node/1896

  132. @lumilumi, that was a very interesting comment on Finnish politics! Thanks a lot!



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