Coffee House

Voters hold Ukip to a different standard: there is no point in attacking their people or their policies

29 April 2013

9:36 AM

29 April 2013

9:36 AM

Some of the coverage of the background and views of UKIP local election candidates has been met with a glee born of a belief that it might be the silver bullet to puncture the party’s recent rise in support. I have an intrinsic suspicion that this will prove not to be so.

Last night I was away from news and twitter. Before reading the papers in any detail I sent a tweet saying: ‘Attacking UKIP over policy or people won’t work. Genuinely responding to legitimate concerns of people tempted by them may well do.’ I later read Lord Ashcroft’s perceptive observations that sum up my own views precisely.

To try to tackle UKIP as though they were a conventional aspirant party of Government is, in my own view, to misunderstand what they are about and the motivation of those currently minded to support them.


The only point Michael Ashcroft makes that I take issue with is that UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage is the heir to Nick Clegg.  I think perhaps he is more akin to the heir to Charlie Kennedy. I well remember over seven winters as the Conservative candidate in Eastleigh trying to demolish the absurd Lib Dem assertion that the infamous ‘Penny on Income Tax’ that was promised would lead to a world beating education system, a perfect NHS and milk and honey following down every High Street in the land. The public were not interested for, at that time, they felt of the LibDems as they now view UKIP – they were not going to be the Government. They were judged at a lower standard.

UKIP’s rise is not based on their policy platform (which is intellectually lacking robustness, lazy and in many ways contradictory). Nor is it based on their personnel (other than the cheeky chappy Nigel Farage) who I’m certain falls short of a standard that would be expected by the three main parties. It is based on a frustration of the main parties to tackle some issues in a way a number of the public want them tackled.

Some very bright and good people I know have started supporting UKIP in recent years. I do not regard UKIP supporters as ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’ although I’m sure they have some unsavoury members.  So has my own party over the years. I view them as people frustrated with welfare, immigration and Europe. The answer to UKIP’s rise is not to attack them but to address head on their legitimate concerns which are widely shared. Iain Duncan Smith is doing just that on welfare and the Prime Minister’s promise of a referendum is another answer to the UKIP dilemma.

If attacking UKIP on detail and people was the answer Nigel Farage would have imploded last week.  He didn’t. He was the guest speaker at the Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch in Parliament. I was there as a guest of a lobby reporter. Farage made an amusing speech in which he gently mocked his own work ethic, his drinking habits, and an extramarital affair. The press laughed indulgently. Before speaking he drank a bottle of red wine over lunch. Imagine had that been the leader of the Labour, Conservative or Lib Dems? They would have been destroyed in the press. Farage was not. Therein lies the futility of attacking them. They are held to a different standard. Much better to address the concerns of their supporters head on. There lies the route to the reunification of the Conservative family.

Conor Burns is Conservative MP for Bournemouth West.

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Show comments
  • Shorne

    Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;

    For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.
    There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
    There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
    There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
    There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
    You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
    Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

    GK Chesterton

  • Jon

    I will argue that UKIP’s increased popularity is indeed due their policy platform; the difficulty for most commentators to accept is that the mandate is straight forward and doesn’t need over analysis or unpicking like previous scripts from the ‘big three’.

    At least Nigel Farage doesn’t preach ‘holier-than-thou’ attitudes or treat people like idiots. To me, he seems prepared to stand-up and face difficult situations and, unlike most politicians, does not dress-up issues or fudge debate on key policies that affect everyday life in the United Kingdom.

  • ogga1

    Coner Burns

    You are a caution,i have never read such low grade rubbish.

  • franknowzad

    And the window licking, thieving moonbats currently in Parliament are serious world leaders?
    UKIP support grows as the current political class is dying.

  • Sigfridii

    “Much better to address the concerns of their supporters head on” i.e. more spin and yet more spin, concocted by a generation of party leaders who have nothing to offer but spin. The attraction of UKIP is that it is talking about real politics, real changes, and its leadership has the credentials which come from having done a day’s work at the coal face, rather than the Eton Wall.

  • Andy M

    I am not sure they are held to a completely different standard. I think Farage comes across to many people, myself included, in an honest guy who speaks his mind, rather than panders to the public for the most votes. This is why UKIP is the party that people have turned to who feel their concerns over immigration, welfare, etc. are not being listened to. They know he will speak out frankly on these issues and also see him as a real person, with real flaws, who isn’t afraid to hide them – evidenced by his gentle self-mockery.

    I agree with the idea that they don’t have enough serious members that are legitimately electable, which is a shame – as if they had a couple more personalities like Farage I think they could at least win a substantial number of seats and have a big impact. Regardless, I appreciate Farage doing what he does and speaking for people who are otherwise not represented in politics.

    • therealguyfaux

      The Japanese have a saying to the effect that it is the nail that sticks out the farthest which will be first to be hammered. Of course, in their conformist society, this is taken as an admonition not to be outre at all, whereas in the UK, it’s likely to be interpreted as more like, all right, just so long as I have someone out there who’s more a lightning rod than I am, I’m relatively safer. In other words, strip out all the “nutters” from UKIP and you’ll have plenty more who believe the same things, but come across as much more feet-on-the-ground– and THEN what do you do, if you’re an Establishment politician, when THOSE people start making their presence known?

      • Andy M

        I am not really sure I understand the point you’re making. You think Farage is a ‘nutter’?

        • therealguyfaux

          No, HE isn’t, particularly (as opposed to, say, you or me for being political observers). What I meant to say is that many people may find the idea of UKIP appealing, and probably ol’ Nige himself too, but with the smear campaigns, they think that if they vote UKIP they might be letting some crypto-nutter in. Of course there are a few nutters in UKIP. Maybe some WILL get in. UKIP has got to vet candidates a bit better than they’ve done for council elections when 2015 rolls around. But it is better that the electorate have someone out there like Nigel running interference and taking all the slings and arrows for being outre so that they can say, all right, he’s not so bad as all they’re making him out to be. It’s quite another thing for a potential UKIP voter to see some other less-savoury person as the local candidate and be scared off. But once you have credible candidates being voted for by good honest salt-of-the-earth voters, the 3 Biggies had better watch out.

    • global city

      he also knows the EU situation inside out, which many MP actually do not.

  • Radford_NG

    Which political party has a deputy leader who was the leading legal advocate for PIE?

  • Nick

    Going off on a tangent.Do any of you think that if UKIP do really well in the upcoming local elections that the Tories will mount a serious leadership challenge to Cameron?
    Just interested in your thoughts.

  • thanksdellingpole

    This is what it sounds like when a Conservative has had a bottle of wine.

  • Jonny Wallaston

    If you believe David Cameron’s PR guff, you’ll believe anything.

  • Foot

    All Cameron has to do is hold an EU referendum now and UKIP support will go back down to 5% and the Tories will go back to 40%. But he won’t, because he’s a europhile and completely wedded to the EU project.

  • gildedtumbril

    UKIP(while they steal) is a con party, put in place by and financed by ‘government’ to attract suckers who do not have the balls to vote for the only British party.
    It will fail.

  • Collamore

    “UKIP’s rise is not based on their policy platform (which is intellectually lacking robustness, lazy and in many ways contradictory).”
    Conor, are you claiming that the Tory Party’s platform is “intellectually robust” and “non-contradictory”? Labour’s? LibDems?
    At least voters can believe that UKIP will try and enact their platform. Unlike Lib/Lab/Con.

  • doggywoggy

    Cameron is NOT offering an in or out EU referendum. We have seen through that scam.

    He IS offering a reform or out referendum. What could possibly be wrong with that?

    OK, Well, simply, He will NOT get the reform he wants by 2017. There is not enough time to get all the other 26 EU states to ratify such a new reform. It took 10 years and 4 referendums for the EU constitution to be finally retified as the Lisbon reform treaty.

    SO when he fails, to get the reforms he wants by 2017, what will he do then?

    Either Offer us a referendum on a promise that has not been delivered? or Not give us the referendum at all.

    He does not want a genuine honest IN or OUT referendum, because we know IN would mean ALL the way in, not this pie-in-the-sky reform, and the people will NOT vote in. He knows that as do all the political classes.

    That being the case, I suspect he would give us a reform or out referendum. The strategy being to offer the UK public such an amazing deal on a newly reformed EU that the people of this country would be classed as insane to vote against it. It will be a trade only deal, giving us powers clawed back in so many areas… It will not have been ratified yet, but that is the deal which we will be given a referendum on. A deal so good that it has all the upside of membership and NONE of the downside.

    So we would vote to stay in this reformed EU. Cameron would have done an amazing deal and we would be stupid to turn such a promised land down…. BUT as the EU did not give a stuff what the Irish wanted in their referendums, the EU would then refuse to ratify OUR referendum mandated version of a reformed EU. We would have been tricked into voting to stay IN the EU.

    When we complain and want another referendum, we would be told by our masters and betters in the EU and the liblabCON that we had a vote and voted to stay in!

    It is a common conman technique known as “bait and switch”.


    Vote UKIP.

  • doggywoggy

    What patronising nonsense. UKIPs candidates are far BETTER than the “mainstream” alternatives of the liblabCON precisely because they are not tuned, clipped, programmed automatons mindlessly repeating the imposed talking points dictated by the EU via a party head office.

    Their candidates are a refeshing, eclectic mix of real people from ALL backgrounds who do not give a stuff about political correctness, media image, left vs right political philosophy and ONLY care about doing the right thing for this country and all her people. and they speak their own minds in their own way, truthfully, honestly and without scripting or training and THANK GOD FOR THEM!!!

    They are real people with real concerns of the average voter and are so much more in touch with how us “normal” people feel about what is happening in this country.

    Also your arrogant dismissal of a very excellent collection of common sense policies in the UKIP manifesto does you no service and shows you to be falling into the same trap you are accusing others of.

    If you want to see self contradictory policies you only have to look at most of the coalition’s platform, where so-called localisms clashes with stripping planning regulations, and their EU policy is say one thing and do the other. Their economic policy is to talk about reducing the debt even as the reduction in deficit stops and debt keeps rising and hope that we do not notice, or how they claim to support marriage and the family and all that traditional tory stuff, whilst passing the equalities bill and legalising homosexual marriage, or how they claim to want to reduce the burdens on business whilst extending maternity leave.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Ignoring his hypocritical comments about consistency and contradiction (i.e. localist Tories supporting the political unification of Europe is probably the most priceless and damaging contradiction presently for this country of them all) , at least one within the Tory party gets some of it.

    It is based on a frustration of the main parties to tackle some issues in a way a number of the public want them tackled.

    Clearly Burns is a master of understatement. it’s not just about a few policies it is about the prevailing culture within our poltical classes. I can’t speak for others but as someone who will vote for UKIP for the second time this week I will support anyone who offers to effectively bring down the current rotten edifice of our political establishment.

    And it is rotten to the core. Over the last decade we have seen the most reprehensible scandals that touch just about every pillar of that establishment, whether it be Parliament (both Houses have been shown to be systemically corrupt), Government, the Police, the NHS, The Media etc etc. We have seen the worst crime figures in history, the greatest government debt in peacetime history, the greatest political war scandal (Iraq) in fifty years, tax avoidance, the worst economic crises in 80 years, banking scandals and so forth and that’s just domestically without addressing the outrages of the venal EU (that all three establishment parties support ) and its suffocating authoritarian aspirations. There is no debate. The establishment is a large part of the problem this country faces. The establishment is rotten to the core and needs to be ‘cleansed’.

    With withdrawal from the EU and significant changes in our own political structures UKIP offers this opportunity to rectify this whereas all three establishment parties are clearly intent on perpetuating our systemically corrupt establishment. Not only that but it offers what from a national perspective (as opposed to the delusional internationalist aspirations of the establishment parties) common sense aspirations (smaller government, rational energy policy, rationalised taxes, better democracy and localism, expansive foreign policy) which none of the corrupt establishment parties offer.

    The thing is should we withdraw from the EU then it is obvious that our worldview changes, our domestic situation changes and in many ways which no one could realistically predict (and taking all the threats and scaremongering with a pinch of salt).Withdrawal from the EU would be a game changer like no game changer before. The whole scope of our politics would change. It will be a new world of opportunities and risks.

    So picking holes in UKIPs detailed policies from this side of such an event is ridiculous because no one can realistically state exactly how this policy or that would work after we are free from Brussels just as the SNP cannot provide detailed information about what life in an independent Scotland would be like.

    The thing is we will be freer and potentially more able to influence how our country goes forward and how we might repair the damage of the last 50 years than we would otherwise. We need to wash away the taint of our current political classes and rebuild our political system and democratic Government and currently UKIP is the only way to do that.

    What we do afterwards and who we vote for is a whole different story. For now getting rid of the taint of our current rotten political establishment and its affectations is the aim.

  • Barbara Stevens

    Even this article denies accepting UKIP is here to stay, and assumes their voters will return enmass once they realise UKIP poliices are not there. Well according to their website they have several policies ready to inact.

    It appears they are not all fruit cakes as the Conservatives would have you believe, some are well educated, many have publicy come from the Conservative party, so if these people are fruit cakes and loonies, they were in the Tory party first. What does that tell you about the Tories? All parties have skeletons in their cupboards, some from other parties who we may not agree with; UKIP won’t accept those who had membership of the BNP. Well I don’t agree with that, some people make mistakes and once they realise their mistake and change their minds should not be penalised for it. We should also remember these people have not stolen from the public purse like members of the elite parties in the expenses scandal. I hope UKIP lift this silly assumption that anyone who as been previous members of othe parties they disagree with will be able to have a second chance. I considar stealing from the public purse more sickening than once being a member of the BNP.
    So there you go, even UKIP make wrong decisions, are they not all open to mistakes, for me they still get my vote as I see it they are the only party who offer change from the old parties.

  • 700islands

    The main parties each need to swing about 6% of the vote to win. They focus on this 6% like a laser. There are focus groups, polls, vetting, everything to work out what this 6% thinks, what their fears are, what they want, and what they do not like. The party troops are then whipped never to say anything that might upset this 6%. This slick operation has been underway for so long that the base is feeling not only unloved, but underrepresented. UKIP have been working on the Tory base for some time, and the base is slipping. Interestingly they are now targeting what they call Old Labour voters. Their view that Europe is hurting people on council estates because the EU is forcing Britain to extend benefits to European immigrants is hitting home. Staying in Government is always about managing to hold together a coalition of interests. Right now this Government is not succeeding.

  • Vera

    To combat UKIP the Tories need to seriously address their main policies, ie. exit from EU, control of immigration, sustainable energy. Unfortunately the Tories have a real credibility problem. So, we are to have a referendum, IF they win the next election but no doubt the options will be worded in such a way as to get the result they want and hasn’t Cameron already said he won’t necessarily act on the result?

  • Colonel Mustard

    ‘Warts and all’ upsets ‘botox, make-up and spin’. Who would have thunk it?

  • Nele Schindler

    Farage a ‘cheeky chappy’? In every discussion he outshines the other robots quite easily by being honest, to the point and knowledgeable.

    • global city

      That slur really peeves me. Farage has a much sharper intellect than any of the leaders of the ‘three main parties’. Especially with regards to Clegg who is an absolute lightweight. If I was them I would drop that angle of attack or the fact I mentioned above may be put to them.

  • Fergus Pickering

    I wish the other leaders would drink a bottle of wine every lunchtime and tell more jokes. Nigel and Boris for ever. And a bit of extra-marital infidelity is an excellent thing. Stops them getting self-righteous. If only Tony had had an affair with a stripper. It would have done him nothing but good.

    • Sean Armstrong

      He was much too uxurious and po-faced for that.

      • Wessex Man

        don’t you think it’s a little bit shady that Harriett Harman rose so far?

    • Noa

      Male, female or wall stripper?

  • duyfken

    “… the Prime Minister’s promise of a referendum is another answer to the UKIP dilemma.” That is truly fatuous. I see no dilemma on UKIP’s part, but the Tories do have a really big problem, and it will not be solved by the tentative and tenuous promise of something to be done in 2017 – if the Tories are in power and if in the unlikely event of Cameron keeping to a promise.

    • James

      Cameron insults people. I’ve no doubt he thinks we’re all stupid.

  • nationalexistance

    England votes for ukip: Scotland votes for independence.

    • Noa

      60% appear not to.

  • Forester126

    I know a number of people who will vote for them because they are the only party with a sensible energy and climate change policy.

  • Paul

    Almost exactly right, Conor.

    I’d be a Conservative voter (and have been in the past) and have recently started voting UKIP in most elections. I have no desire to see UKIP as a whole running any part of our country (there are significantly too many fruitcakes within their ranks – though I suspect this is changing).

    I vote UKIP entirely to send a message to David Cameron and the Conservative party that constantly drifting left will cost him, his party and our country.

    The reason that I say ‘almost’ is because family and economic issues are considerably more important to me (and I suspect, others) than welfare, Europe and immigration.

    • Noa

      Isn’t voting UKIP the behaviour of a fruitcake?

      And if you joined would you be a coming out of the closet racist and loonie?

      • Paul Latham

        How do you define being a fruitcake? By you posted comment you have revealed yourself to be completely ignorant of what UKIP is about and who the people really are who are paid-up party members.

        To show the contempt we have for PM David Cameron and his foolish remarks, we even have a ‘fruit and nutcase necktie’ for ardent party supporters.

        PS. If we are ‘closet racists’ why have we so many ethnic supporters. Have you seen the list of candidates we have had in recent elections, or even in our party political broadcasts on TV? The people appearing are all party members, several well-known as candidates in previous elections.

        • Noa

          You don’t recognise irony, do you?

  • Chris lancashire

    Excellent and very accurate article. UKIP successfully marry some sensible thoughts to an incoherent overall policy. As for voting for good old Nige – I am sure that a sizeable protest vote will – unfortunately, as Lord Ashcroft pointed out at the weekend – at a GE that would simply hand power to the diametric political opposite of Ukippers who would undoubtedly hand even more power to Brussels. That will certainly tell Cameron and the Conservatives where to go.
    It’s also a bit like shooting yourself in the foot in order to throw a custard pie.

    • global city

      It is not like that at all. You are supposed to vote for the party that you want to win, not contort yourself in order to vote to keep another one out.

      Do you mean that the country should be stuck with the Conservatives forever? The Conservative party has run it’s course now, it is not fitting for moving the needs of enterprise, individual freedom ad aspiration forward. They are also bent on keeping us hobbled to a statist superstate.

  • Dr Talent

    I don’t care about UKIPs lack of coherent policies…. I used to vote Tory, but I will be voting UKIP. I’ll probably vote UKIP at the next general election too.

    The focus group obsession of Tories, Lib Dems and Labour to pander to the same marginal seats, means that the traditional parties have close to identical policies.

    It is time to break some eggs.

  • MarinerAncien

    Blair was proven to be a liar and now Cameron is much the same (what happened to the manifesto referendum promise?).
    I’m sick to death of career politicians who don’t appear to know as much about people as I do, so UKIP get my vote, if that puts my old party’s nose out, so be it.

  • James

    If we live in democracy UKIP should have a voice and also be part of election TV debates. I’m voting UKIP because I am sick of the Lib/Lab/Con establishment that doesn’t believe in democracy or listen to voters and we’ve got to stop this oppression. I’d like have a real debate on EU and immigration, but it seems the main establishment doesn’t want to offer that and chooses dirty tricks instead, which furthers my wish to back Nigel Farage. In hindsight, I believe Cameron will look back and see a smarter strategy would to have been to acknowledge UKIP and the policies that address real issues for real people.

    • The_Missing_Think

      “I believe Cameron will look back and see a smarter strategy would to have been to UKIP and their policies that address real issues for real people.”

      They’ve already tried that, but it involved psychologically doffing their caps at the “fruitcake racist”. And that hurt(s) their core identities badly.

      Additionally, any such awkward gritted teeth cap doffing, gives UKIP enormous credibility as the true – right all along – intellectuals.

      This is why the LibLabCons been reduced to (therapeutic) ‘insult debating’.

      And the inescapable beauty of it is, either strategy of the three available –
      agreeing, disagreeing, or boo hissing UKIP – results in helping to propel UKIP
      faster up the hill… until the plateau of sovereign power is once more under foot.

  • Nick Berryman

    In the 200 Canadian General Election, the governing party (previously referred to as “Canada’s Natural Governing Party”) polled 40.85% of the vote.
    In the 2011 General Election, it slumped to 18.91%.
    Nothing is forever.

  • Reconstruct

    Well, I’ll be voting UKIP for a simple reason: the EU’s institutions have turned out to be a moral and ethical and economic abomination. No-one with a decent bone in their body should be arguing we should have anything to do with them. And yet all the other parties argue exactly that. I am well aware that UKIP lacks the finance, machinery or intellectual tradition to go toe-to-toe with the main parties or the media. But since those parties have been wrong, and continue to be wrong, on the main ethical issue of our times, their finance/machinery/intellectual tradition don’t look like an advantage to me.

  • Bert3000

    They don’t have legitimate concerns. Hating anyone who’s different to you is not a legitimate concern.

    • John Lea

      When exactly did they state that they ‘hated’ anyone? Please provide quotes to support your statement. Would be very interested to read them.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Ah, you have to understand the new meaning of ‘hate’ from a leftist perspective. They conflate phobia with hate. Concern about levels of immigration is now ‘hatred’ of immigrants. It is the way they manipulate and control the debate to de-legitimise any views dissenting from their orthodoxy. They ‘hate’ such views and the people expressing them. We are in a cultural war of words. Bert3000 just gives us a perfect example of it.

        • Reconstruct

          Of course we are in a cultural war of words. Since the left has abandoned the pretence either at understanding economic management, or representing the working class, they quite literally have nothing more to say, and therefore must default to a simple-minded cultural war of words. On the one hand, it’s a truly pathetic expression of their vacuity. On the other hand, they have the BBC on their side.

          Moral? The important thing to recognize is that this is the only battleground the Left can fight on. So they must be engaged and defeated there.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      You need an upgrade. The roll-out of Bert3001 is overdue

  • HookesLaw

    You are being uncommonly generous Mr Burns (a common failing with Conservatives when it comes to their opponents), but your energies would be better served actually promoting and defending current Conservative policies rather than trying to address the hysterical concerns of the swivel eyed whose main aim is to misrepresent them.

    • Wessex Man

      Oh dear Hooky, I am worried for you, you are becoming so so intolerent, is it because you are so so desperate that nobody seems to be accepting these Troy smears as anything other than they are.

  • Colonel Mustard

    The attack is more about the Conservative party’s inner angst than UKIP. Part of the de-toxification programme to cleanse its own image, the irony being that the image is a creation of the collective left anyway. The one successful policy the Conservative party seems able to implement without fail is a continuation of its own goals – and this is one of them.

    The real enemy in Britain is the collective left and the utterly false web of lies, deceit and dishonesty that they have draped over the political arena. This is what the Conservative party need to attack, as ruthlessly and as determinedly as the left attack their enemies. They won’t because they are engaged in the mass delusion that imitating and/or appeasing their enemies will bring them success.

    Attacking a mythical UKIP is just an exercise in demonstrating political correctness – the “I’m considerably less racist than yow” litany that must be constantly expressed to appease the hair-trigger offence taking identity and agenda groups and all the other minority nutters with a bigger voice than they deserve currently herding our politicians towards an ersatz East Germany.

    Yes, Hookeslaw, I know. Paranoid rubbish. There you are, I’ve saved you the bother.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘The real enemy in Britain is the collective left and the utterly false web of lies, deceit and dishonesty that they have draped over the political arena.’ — utterly correct.

      Thats why the notion of UKIP’s aim to destroy the Conservative party is so dangerous.
      The greatest danger to this country lies with the labour party. Thats why we need to vote Conservative to keep it out of power.

      You only need to look at the comments on these pages (never mind elsewhere) to see the bozos that UKIP attract and how any mainstream party joining in with them would drive the sane majority electorate into the arms of Labour or a Lab/LD coalition.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        I think you’ll find that it’s the H2B that wants to destroy the Conservative party. Except he calls it ‘detoxification’ which is but one element of his and his LibLab chums policy to detoxify the nation – or ‘rubbing the rights face in it’ as some call it.

      • Wessex Man

        That’s a petty pretty awlful way to try and hang on to the electorate, I say vote UKIP get rid of the Tories and get some corporation tax from their best buddies!

      • Anthem

        That’s the line some Conservatives are taking now – a vote for UKIP is practically a vote for Labour and you don’t want that now do you?

        I’ve heard it all before. A vote for UKIP is a vote for UKIP. A vote for Labour or Conservative is a vote for which powerless puppet you want dangling on the end of the EU’s strings.

        I actually believe that UKIP are stirring some activity in the minds of the millions who have ceased voting because they can’t see the difference in the options presented to them. These returning voters alone, if UKIP is what they have been waiting for, could cause some hefty swings.

        Interesting times…

        • doggywoggy

          There are almost as many non voters as there are tory and labour voters combined.

          If UKIP really do tap into this massive potential, they could find themselves in power.

          Why do people not vote? A lot through disinterest and ignorance and apathy, that is true…. but a lot of them do not vote because liblabCON all represent the same agenda and there has been no practical or common sense alternative, whether right or left wing or no wing at all…..

          ….. Until now.

          UKIP are appealing more and more to ALL ordinary eligible voters, those voters who have not voted because the elite corrupt failed politicians in the liblabCON have taken them for granted and abused and treated them as cash-cows for so many years. Those ordinary voters do not care about “left” or “right” they are not tribal and are not interested in politics as usual, but they ARE interested in giving the establishment elite a damned good kicking and more and more of them are seeing UKIP as a way to do just that.

          Personally? I am voting UKIP because they ARE the only alternative to the failed toxic liblabCON disaster and the ONLY way we are ever going to get a real, genuine, meaningful, honest in or out referendum on the EU.

  • john problem

    I shall vote for UKIP because they have policies just as valid as those of the other parties…… And they are a means to show one’s anger at the current lot, without actually taking to the streets. My own poll shows that people are going to vote UKIP for this reason plus the issues of immigration and the EU. And they just groan, or retch, when old elephants in the Tory party start smearing.

  • Liberanos

    The idea of UKIP as a governing party is fanciful. Yet, uniquely, they propose answers to two of the British people’s deepest political concerns.

    Immigration and the EU.

    A Conservative…or even Labour…Party willing to take a huge gamble might take these policies on board and incorporate them into its manifesto.

    There is no other way that UKIP can even touch the garment of power, let alone wear it.

    • david.geddes1

      We’re currently the second biggest party in the chamber that makes, sorry rubber stamps, 75% of British law. In the next European election we aim to be the biggest.

      • Liberanos

        Ironically, it may well be that pressure through the European Parliament will help achieve UKIP aims back home. There’s no doubt that UKIP will do extremely well in the Euro elections.

        • david.geddes1

          In the early days there was debate about whether to send our people to the EP and we still get accused of hypocrisy by the ill-informed on account of this. The reality is that without our MEP’s the we would have been completely ignored by the political class and their lackeys and we would have had no representation whatsoever.

  • bill smith65

    Only one fault with your view about Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum – even as an ex-lifelong Conservative there is no way that I believe he has any real intention to do so. I’m going with UKIP.

    • jazz606

      Yes, Cameron’s decision to kick the referendum can four miles down the road has turned out to be a tad ambitious, not to say cheeky. Anyway he’s been caught out.

    • ninoinoz

      “the Prime Minister’s promise of a referendum is another answer to the UKIP dilemma.”

      This is the second time in two days that I’ve seen David Cameron referred to by his job title, not his name.

      Does Conor think we don’t know who David Cameron is?

      More likely is the inherent absurdity of the words “Cameron” and “promise of a referendum” appearing in the same sentence.

  • kgbarrett

    Your final sentence is a profound one. Or was it just a quick sign-off? But I read it as a dog-whistle toot that the Conservatives could become unified once more if they move towards Ukip’s core beliefs.

  • Archimedes

    “The public were not interested for, at that time, they felt of the LibDems as they now view UKIP – they were not going to be the Government”

    I think you’re broadly right, but were they not going to be the Government because that’s what the LibDems were, or because that’s what the Conservative and Labour party made them?

    Did the LibDems end up with very idealistic grassroots because of the way they were portrayed, or because it was just in the nature of the party?

    Ideally, you want ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’ to be the ones joining UKIP, because it keeps their talent pool and appeal cornered, but there is obviously a thin line to walk.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Idealistic grassroots? The Libdems were fruitcakes and loonies before Nigel ever thought of going into politics.

  • jazz606

    Nice grovel to Ashcroft, I can’t see anything perceptive in his article.
    BTW what’s the difference between “intrinsic suspicion” and suspicion.

    What I’m getting from all these UKIP critical articles and posts is that the Tories are scared stiff of UKIP but don’t know what do do about it.
    The best thing they could do is to shut up.
    I proffer this free advice in the full knowledge that it will pass unneeded.

  • dominiccarman

    An echo of Boris in the Telegraph today: listen to voters, do not disparage them. But government needs to do more than listen, it needs to act. An EU referendum sooner rather than later would be an obvious first step.

  • Mr Creosote

    Ken Clarke describes the kippers as “clowns”.
    The words “pot” and “kettle” immediately spring to mind.

  • tele_machus

    There is a good list of Labour and Conservative councillors who have been in trouble with the law for a variety of criminal activities here…

    Well worth a read. It shows that politicians are not really required anymore to facilitate the Common Purpose. It has its tentacles in so may places that corrupt and criminal politicians are now rather expected.

    • JabbaTheCat

      Lol…and this contrasts with UKIP’s 2 out of 18 MEP’s, 11%, in clink for fraud?

      • Noa

        And whatever happened to all those expenses claiming MPs, Cameron included who should have been prosecuted, but weren’t?

  • Austin Barry

    The irony of a smear campaign being employed by the current set of Westminster sociopaths and crooks is laughable.

    They seem to have no understanding of why the electorate is seething with anger and resentment – but then sociopaths are not noted for their empathy.

    • HookesLaw

      Smears? You are trying to say these people did not say what they did?
      You are saying that senior UKIPers did not say their policies were in chaos?
      You clearly do not understand the meaning of the word smear.

      As for the article
      ‘hold UKIP to a different standard’ – thats an understatement if ever there was one. By your remarks and the remarks of your fellow nutjobs you show you have no standards at all.

      In trying to justify yourselves you are clearly spiralling down into ever deeper levels of fantasy.

      • SimonToo

        The term was “smears”, not “lies”.

        But why did that party not weed out candidates who had expressed potentially controversial views and had not been through their Facebook, etc., pages weeding out anything that might be taken as a “gaffe”? Are you really sure that electors right now do want to be sure that the candidates they vote for are airbrushed, sanitised clones who never go on the record saying anything they might later regret? Do they actually wish to vote for candidates of parties that sterilise their candidates ?

        Not so long ago (about a fortnight ago even) every party had some councillors who had their eccentricities, their peccadilloes, their oddities. But now, as a result of this smear campaign, we are assured that only UKIP has individuals for candidates, for good and for ill. All other candidates, we can rest assured, are reassuringly bland.

      • The_Missing_Think

        “In trying to justify yourselves you are clearly spiralling down into ever deeper levels of fantasy”

        That’s why you LibLabCon debris are relying on “ever deeper levels” of name calling, rather than dealing head on with UKIP’s political policies… right?

        By adamantly refusing to even discuss UKIP’s core issues – without resorting to traditional Leftist abuse – this proves who the anti-political flutter weights are, and how this country got into such a mess in the first place.

      • Big Harry

        and of LABOUR, accepting defections from BNP councillors amidst silence from the party machines, and paltry reportage that does not allow comment. On racism like anti-semitism and if todays comments by Livingstone [NEC member] on the Boston bombing are anything to judge by, the Labour has no standards on multiple issues, except for those of supporting and giving homes to racists, anti semites and terrorist apologists. But then Miliband D did say that some terrorism is justifiable. Any Labour supporter talking of anothers “standards” is either deluded, hypocrite, ignorant or in support of statements made, and the BNP switching to Labour – the cherry on top.

    • Dicky14

      Absolutely bob on. When faced with the charge of constantly lying to the electorate, triangulating policy so no one can tell the difference between the main parties except with a microscope or personal gripe, taking us into dodgy wars and sabre rattling more and leaving any debate on Europe and immigration as taboo, well, whether chaps like a few bevvies and say the odd chauvanistic, off the cuff blunder is hardly hear nor there. I think the 3 main parties ‘standards’ are anodyne, fixed and set to make their candidates easy to control automatons. You wouldn’t want that as a colleague let alone a candidate.

      • Patricia

        “… taking us into dodgy wars and sabre rattling…”
        Yes, let’s not forget the three main parties all have blood on their hands. They are in no position to criticise UKIP.

  • Harold Angryperson

    I’m not sure about one of the main parties’ leaders being destroyed by the press if they had shown the candour that Farage did – I think as Boris Johnson shows, the voting public is very tolerant of politicians with such personal failings, provide that they a) deliver and b) aren’t the hectoring, lecturing, moralising type.

    Frankly, we need more human beings in Parliament and fewer Mekons.

    • Mr Creosote

      Boris seems eminently relaxed about Ukip – unlike many of the other contributors and comments ConHome this morning!
      The move by central office on Friday just looks like bully-boy tactics and will blow up rather spectacularly in ken Clarke’s face this Thursday.
      A politician of Ken’s experience should know better

      • AnotherDaveB

        The weird thing about Mr Clarke, and Mr Cameron, is that they choose to insult UKIP supporters, the voters they need to attract, rather than attacking UKIP candidates/policies. It’s just dumb.

  • Russell

    I think this smear campaign (which is what it is with a 100 page document highlighting individual UKIP members historic tweets etc.) is backfiring big time on the Conservatives, as will any attack from Labour or the LibDems. People ARE totally sick of MP’s from all three main parties, and even people who do not want out of the EU will vote for UKIP.
    Big shocks in store for the people(MP’s) who regard themselves as the ‘elite’ who deserve endless financial support from the taxpayer

    • James

      Irony that most BNP members switched from Labour, according to a YouGov poll. Additionally, Labour have two current racist members.

      • Barbara Stevens

        As my post above says, most of the loonies and fruit cakes which Tories said UKIP were, came from the Tory camp first. What does that say about the Tories. However, UKIP have a policy that no previous membership of the BNP invalidates membership of UKIP, are people not allowed to make mistakes? Change their minds, that’s a pity as many have changed their minds and not renewed their membership, which in turn loses UKIP votes. People do change their minds its a human parogative.

  • nonsequiturcouk

    Good Commtent. As I pointed out to Louise Mensch on Twitter, Political classes are going to get a real close up and personal look at real people over the next few months, because real people will vote for real people like them, warts and all.

  • Youbian

    Correct. The British population tends not to riot. This is us screaming for change.

    • telemachus

      Agree we are sceaming for change
      A complete volte face of economic policy to a policy that will give us growth
      Austerity alone has not worked
      Coupled with the choking off of investment it gave us the triple dip recession(yes the flatlining is in effect the same)
      Now for pities sake can we invest in infrastructure as advised by the IMF and get us going

    • Tim Reed

      “This is us screaming for change


      This trivial smear campaign seems to be a case of the established parties of Westminster giving a warning to any possible usurpers, “Stay out, the political landscape belongs to us”.

      This is what infuriates people – the sense of superiority and entitlement possessed by ALL of the three main parties and their assumption that the game is theirs to play, with everyone else as mere spectators who should not be involved.

      This is what they find so threatening about UKIP – a new team has pushed its way into the league, with new a new style of play that they simply don’t know how to deal with, and most frighteningly a growing group of loyal supporters.

      They can’t stand the cosy status quo being shaken apart.
      I think it’s the best development in British politics for generations.