UKIP: Thanks For Nothing

We’ve noted before on this blog UKIP’s increasingly toxic tendency to blame “everything on immigrants”. Previously it was Farage’s assertion that he was held up on the M4 motorway due to the fact that “open door immigration has meant that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be'”.

That he was traveling by car early evening on a Friday around a notorious bottleneck on the M4 wasn’t taken into consideration. Thus “bloody immigrants” was dog whistle politics writ large.

With this in mind it therefore comes as no surprise to see that Farage believes that immigrants are to blame for children not playing in the streets:

Britons are so ill at ease with levels of immigration in their towns that their children do not play football with their neighbours in the streets, Nigel Farage has said.

The UK Independence Party leader said people in eastern England felt a “deep level of discomfort” about the millions of immigrants who have settled in the UK in the past decade.
He said: “I want to live in a community where our kids play football in the streets of an evening and live in a society that is at ease with itself.
And I sense over the last decade or more we are not at ease”
It’s not unfair in our view to believe that Nick Griffin would have been proud of these sentiments. That children may not, or cannot, play in the streets is often down to a myriad of factors, not least its illegal, it’s unsafe and that many roads simply have too many cars – ironically Farage’s children couldn’t play outside his own house, in the street, for this reason alone.

In trying to remove ourselves from the EU however Farage’s language is toxic. With what began as a eurosceptic party, has been hijacked by a man who has turned it into a self-promotional vehicle and is prepared as a consequence to condemn the eurosceptic movement in terms which hinder significantly the argument of getting out. So much so that we are set to lose before we even start.

With such language and thus with effectively a self-imposed glass ceiling on support, no wonder the media have begun to catch up with bloggers by noticing belatedly that UKIP’s trend is on a downward trajectory.

With so-called ‘UKIP strategy’ we get a measure of the man when we see this:

“If we went to every town up eastern England and spoke to people about how they felt, their town, their city had changed in the last 15 years, there is a deep level of discomfort, because if you have immigration at these sorts of levels integration doesn’t happen.” 

Note the words “eastern England”. It’s an odd statement to make for a leader of a party named the United Kingdom Independence Party. What about Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales where immigration is not necessarily such a vote winner – immigration has an uneven effect across the country.

But within “eastern England” is the constituency of Thanet South; where Farage is standing to be elected as an MP. It’s also next door to where UKIP held its Spring Conference in Margate which had no mobile signal nor internet access.

A professional party with workable facilities at its conference less important than Farage’s own campaign it seems. So no policies, no strategy, no exit plan just dog-whistle soundbites to get Farage elected.

Perhaps in this sense it will work and this will please the cult, but in getting us out of the EU no chance.

What a waste of 20 odd years…

Why A 2015 EU Referendum Cannot Happen (Update).

Following on from our previous post regarding the impossibility of a 2015 referendum, we contacted the Electoral Commission to try to clarify a number of further potential technical issues.

While, like most quangos, the Electoral Commission displayed a deep reluctance to commit themselves to answering certain questions posed, their first response confirmed our initial points that, contrary to Farage’s assertion, a referendum cannot happen in a few weeks (quoted from the Electoral Commission’s email):

Currently, we cannot say how the designation process will work at any future referendum until Parliament passes the legislation setting out the rules for that referendum. 

Our role is to regulate the referendum and designate campaigners under the rules for each referendum. The rules that applied at previous referendums required the Commission to designate campaigners that sufficiently represented those campaigning for the outcome they support, or, if more than one, represented those campaigning to the greatest extent.

This reiterates precisely our point that it means campaigning groups can’t begin to officially campaign until they submit bids for the official “in” and “out” campaign and have been approved. With Scotland a campaign period of 16 weeks was the recommendation.

However the approval process is likely to take six months as also recommended by the Electoral Commission. This six month process cannot happen until after the referendum bill becomes law which in itself at best will take months.

Thus with the Electoral Commission’s recommendations which considered the experience with Scotland (for recommendations, read demands) it becomes clear that a 2015 referendum is simply out of the question.

Why A 2015 EU Referendum Cannot Happen.

As noted in the Independent last Sunday, Nigel Farage has indicated that he will support a minority Conservative Government if Prime Minster David Cameron promises a referendum in 2015:

“The terms of my deal with the Tories would be very precise and simple. I want a full and fair referendum to be held in 2015 to allow Britons to vote on being in or out of the European Union. There would be no wiggle room for ‘renegotiation’ somewhere down the line’.

“The EU is facing an existential crisis and, given that it only takes a few weeks to launch and organise a referendum, it should be held in 2015.”

Although we would largely agree with the sentiments of a “full and fair” referendum, we would take issue with the “very precise and simple” demand that a referendum should be held in 2015 and “given that it only takes a few weeks to launch.” For the very precise and simple reason that it can’t be done. Farage is offering impossible terms on the practicality of timescale.

To support Farage’s demands comparisons are sometimes made with the 1975 referendum where it is claimed that it is possible to have a referendum in a few weeks, the timeline often quoted is as follows:

December 1974: Harold Wilson requests renegotiation of EEC membership terms.

European Council agreed to new terms for UK in Dublin by 11 March 1975 and renegotiation largely ended.

26 February 1975: White Paper announcing referendum to be held after result of renegotiation was known

26 March 1975: Referendum Bill published.

31 March 1975: White Paper setting out the results of the renegotiation of the UK membership of the EC.

9 April 1975: after a three-day debate on the Government’s recommendation to continue Britain’s EC membership, the Commons voted 396 to 170 to continue in Common Market on the new terms. At the same time Government drafts Referendum Bill, to be moved in case of a successful renegotiation.

On 22 April 1975 the House of Lords approved continued membership by 261 votes to 20.

Post-legislative referendum held 5 June 1975. Referendum not directly related to White Paper on renegotiation, but preamble referred to renegotiation. Question much broader: “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?” The result was 67 per cent in favour on a 65 per cent turnout.

As we can see in 1975 the passage through Parliament to holding a referendum took circa 10 weeks (26 March – 5 June) from publishing the Bill to holding the Referendum. The 1975 Referendum book though notes (p.66):

“But the real reason for the unexpectedly easy passage of the Bill was political: pro-Marketeers were in an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons and they had belatedly realised that the referendum would go their way.”

Even with an easy passage it still took two and half months to have a referendum. The election in 2015 is in May, then there’s a summer recess so we can expect it to take longer. Especially when we consider that due to the complexity of an EU that has significantly evolved in over 40 years of UK membership and the less certainty of a referendum result, that its passage through Parliament will be more turbulent and difficult.
 
We have noted before regarding trying to win a referendum, 1975 is not 2015. The country has moved on in forty years. Procedures are now different, for example in 1975 the campaign started in January 1975 long before the Referendum Bill had been passed – with self-appointed “umbrella” groups.

However unlike 1975 referendums are now the responsibility of the Electoral Commission, which was established under Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. Thus on that alone the timescale in comparison to 1975 has changed.

With the establishment of the Electoral Commission it means that campaigning groups can’t begin to officially campaign until they submit bids for the official “in” and “out” campaign and have been approved. This process cannot happen until after the referendum bill becomes law.

There has to be a reasonable period to allow the Electoral Commission to invite submissions and make the designation, and then the lead organisations must be given time to organise themselves.

As we can see from the Electoral Commission December 2014 report on the Scottish Independence Referendum held on 18 September 2014, it recommends (my emphasis):

… that in planning for any future referendums, not only in Scotland but also those held across or in other parts of the UK, governments should aim to ensure that legislation (including any secondary legislation) is clear at least six months before it is required to be implemented or complied with by campaigners, the Chief Counting Officer, Counting Officers or Electoral Registration Officers.

Thus “a reasonable period” according the Electoral Commission amounts to six months, as it argues to allow for (again my emphasis):

The benefit of this additional time was passed on to campaigners, EROs and COs in preparing for their respective roles at the referendum:

Campaigners were able to engage constructively with the legislative process and had time to develop an understanding of the relevant guidance and rules, before they came into force. EROs and COs benefitted from sufficient time to put robust plans in place for the delivery of their responsibilities under the legislation, from targeted public awareness activity to the booking of polling places and the training of staff.

In addition the Electoral Commission also recommends (again my emphasis):

2.39 Following the 2011 referendum on additional powers for the National Assembly for Wales and the Parliamentary Voting System for the House of Commons, we recommended that for future referendums the detailed rules should be clear at least 28 weeks in advance of polling day, based on a statutory regulated referendum campaign period of 16 weeks.

Although the Electoral Commission cannot demand, where it recommends will be taken into account should there be a challenge to the Bill and it goes to a Judicial Review as undoubtedly it would should there be any form of corner cutting or fast-tracking.

Yet even with a relatively smooth process by the Electoral Commission’s recommendations there would be a ten month delay between an Act of Parliament and a vote: that obviously takes us well into 2016.

In addition Farage thinks he can determine the referendum question:

 “Do you wish to be a free, independent sovereign democracy?”

Despite the fact that the Electoral Commission has already put forward its proposals for the referendum questionits full report is here, Farage’s suggestion wouldn’t even pass the unambiguity test let alone the neutral one.

At this point I don’t know what to conclude. Either Farage is very poorly briefed which is a reflection on a lack of a decent research department despite having (now) 22 very well paid MEPs or he knows this and is deliberately demanding conditions that Cameron (or indeed anyone else) cannot possibly meet.

The latter of course allows UKIP to put forward the criticism that Cameron cannot be trusted which conveniently helps prop up Farage’s position. If one is to be cynical there’s nothing better than having a perpetual enemy to oppose to justify your own existence, especially in the absence of any party polices.

Either way the eurosceptic movement is being very poorly served by UKIP.

Shameless And Cynical?

The fine line between which areas are appropriate or not with which to criticise a politician is sometimes difficult to ascertain. For example are the family members of politicians off limits to criticism? It could be considered that politician family’s privacy should largely be respected. Michael Portillo put this point rather forcefully earlier this week to Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine over her vindictive criticism of Ed “two kitchens” Miliband.

But in contrast what happens when said “happy family” is used as electioneering material such as by Cecil Parkinson and Chris Huhne only then for us to later find out what a sham it all was? Does criticism then become justified?

Very obviously the bereavements suffered by both Gordon Brown and David Cameron over the loss of a child should be completely off limits. Yet while both men would understandably at times wish to be open about such a loss, there is always the difficulty of determining if such openness is being done for political reasons.

And this brings me onto Farage. I always remember that leading up to the 2010 election, Farage gave an interview to Camilla Long of the Sunday Times. What stuck in my mind was not that clearly the article in question had an agenda to undermine Farage but that it did so by openingly mocking the fact that he reportedly had testicular cancer in his youth.

In terms of the depths that the media can sometimes plummet to we can compare this to the media treatment of the great Victorian statesman, Gladstone. He was at times vitriolically disliked – Queen Victoria famously commented that “[Gladstone] speaks to me as if I were a public meeting”. Yet despite the remorseless abuse from such satirical publications as Punch rarely, if ever, was Gladstone’s disability mocked – that he lost fingers on one hand due to a shooting accident.

Interestingly where Farage is concerned we move on five years from 2010, where we see today in the Telegraph it has extracts from Farage’s new book, where very ‘candidly’ he talks about his health:

Mr Farage, now 50, says the plane crash, combined with the effects of another car accident in his twenties, “has left me with a body 20 years older”.

It’s worth noting that the car accident in question was the consequence of being too drunk and walking out in front of a moving vehicle. However:

The National Health Service “almost killed me”, Nigel Farage says today as he reveals that his body is now so frail that he could be registered disabled.

It is indeed curious that while UKIP still haven’t publicly put forward any coherent polices in the lead up to a general election, despite a promise to have a manifesto published by their Spring Conference in Margate, Farage has managed to have another ‘leader’s book’ published – essentially an updated version of ‘Fighting Bull’. Maybe it’s a coincidence but it conveniently ensures that the spotlight is largely on him running up to an election.

So we have to consider that with ‘timing’ being everything in politics whether the release of his new book, titled ‘Purple Revolution’ is candid or simply just shameless and cynical. A line seems to have been crossed over whether Farage and his health difficulties are now being exploited as an attempt at electoral gain. The title alone suggests an attempt to own the rise of UKIP and the eurosceptic movement.

It’s also interesting that Farage has agreed to have the book be serialised for money in the Telegraph – a paper which is usually hostile to UKIP and nominally a Conservative supporting paper.

With this in mind it is indeed interesting that Farage has a great to say about his poor health, including revealing that his body is now so frail that he could be registered disabled. This rather contradicts his message at UKIP’s Spring Conference at Margate recently:

There has been a lot of speculation about where have I been, why have not been on the television all the time. This has been led to my opponents to spread some speculation about my health that I am seriously ill and that is why I have not been seen.

I hate to disappoint my opponents but can I make it clear that rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” 

So not only is the timing curious but someone it appears is making things up as he goes along. Farage then continues:

An MRI scan followed at the private London Bridge Hospital, and I was referred to Mr Bhupal Chitnavis, a top-dollar consultant neurosurgeon. He said he was shocked by the damage to my neck and that, if I wanted, he would sign me off as being partially disabled for the rest of my life. I certainly did not want one of those blue badges — it would be conceding defeat — but it was a shocking moment.

Now there’s no doubt Farage suffered injuries as a result of the plane crash:

Where the issue lies is his casual link deployed between being a Blue Badge holder and being registered partially or fully disabled.

Leaving aside the sentiment that apparently being a blue badge holder means conceding defeat – no doubt that 2.58 million blue badge holders would contest otherwise and would probably take offense at the term “those blue badges”, being registered disabled is different and is a misleading term.

Under the Equality Act it has such a varied broad definition, that it could apply to anything, including those perceived to be disabled and those associated with a disabled person (e.g. a parent or partner). The principle of the Equality Act is that discrimination on grounds of disability happens in all sorts of ways to all sorts of people.

The real test in our view of being genuinely disabled is whether you qualify for a Blue Badge and or DLA/PIP benefits. Here the criteria is far more strict; as an example if you have a permanent or substantial disability which means you can’t walk or find walking very difficult you are still required to take further assessments before a blue badge is issued.

As is obvious by the above photograph with Farage walking away from a plane crash and his current twitter status – “back on the campaign trail” – he would have absolutely no chance of being eligible for a blue badge.

We only conclude then that what we have is a rather shameless and cynical appeal for the sympathy vote.

London

Mrs TBF and I have just returned from spending a nice relaxing few days in London, not only celebrating our anniversary, but a chance to be away from work – and in this blog’s case politics.

Thus with this in mind, I’m keen to leave aside temporarily the political problems of the “Westminster bubble”, and begin with what can be described in an unusually English upbeat observation that London as a city to explore and visit is, in my view, one of the finest in the world…albeit with some understandable failings.

I have visited London on so many occasions since my childhood and have frequented not only most of the usual tourist parts, but sporting venues, conferences and other copious personal related ventures. Yet it constantly amazes me that no matter how many times I visit, there are always great areas and places that I have never been to or even heard of.

One of the reasons, and the most obvious, is that London is rather large, not as much as some other world cities admittedly but its size is significantly disproportionate to the size of a relatively small island. But alone this cannot describe London’s appeal. Los Angeles is also a large sprawling city yet it is the worst in my experience I have ever visited – in short it’s a dump.

Many tourist city guides tend to recommend visitors stay in relatively safe ‘tourist areas’ – with a dash of common sense – and in contrast warn of the dangers of completely separate “never visit after dark” areas. LA manages to combine the two along just one street (Hollywood Boulevard) …epitomised by the Hollywood film Pretty Woman, where the film attempted to glamorise the best bits of LA by having Julia Roberts play a prostitute. So size is clearly not everything.

Another advantage with London is that it simply has a lot of history; peppered as it is with thousands of historic properties, as well as four World Heritage Sites (Greenwich, Tower, Kew and Westminster) adding in scheduled ancient monuments and historic parks. What other major world city has such a comprehensive and informative blue plaque scheme allowing casual visitors to connecting buildings with the past?

This is the city I have long known, yet despite being largely familiar with London it was interesting that on this occasion it was the first time we visited the capital properly while utilizing a wheelchair. Navigating a city with the limitations that a wheelchair poses reveals a different aspect of a city, its culture and all the nuances which emerge. Not all of it initially obvious.

In our post in June last year criticism was made of wheelchair access regarding Brussels and in particular – and rather ironically – EU buildings. In contrast it can be safely argued that wheelchair access on London’s public pavements is largely spot on in comparison.

Gently sloped dropped kerbs with tactile paving are abound. It’s worth noting that tactile paving not only helps those who have sight disability to find the edge of the kerb but also acts as “foot traction” for those pushing trying to tame a ‘runaway’ wheelchair on a slope in wet weather which could otherwise lead to slipping and falling over.

And blimey isn’t London ‘hilly’- perhaps memories play tricks but it isn’t as flat I had always thought it was. I guess it should be obvious that being on a flood plain, and much of it being built around the Thames, that areas of London unsurprisingly slopes significantly towards the river, but it doesn’t truly become apparent until you have to push a wheelchair away from the river – essentially uphill.

Whenever I have previously visited London I have opted to use the Tube to travel around London. For obvious reasons on this occasion due to better accessibility we stuck to London taxis. I’d forgotten how good they were.

Each taxi came with its own ramp, the drivers were unfailing polite and helpful and they put themselves out to the most extraordinary inconvenience to drop us off to make Mrs TBF’s life a little easier, to the extend of holding up a road of busy traffic. Another ‘interesting’ feature of them, as Bill Bryson noted, is they cannot drive more than 200 feet in a straight line before charging down another obscure street you never knew existed.

Another attraction of London, and a major tourist one is its pubs. Old London pubs can be a particular nuisance if you are tall, as most of the toilets are ‘downstairs’ which requires not only navigating restricted stair access but low ceilings when in the facilities.

Invariably also these same pubs have steps outside the front door which provide a further obstacle for wheelchair bound customers. Yet many pubs were helpful with ramps and lifting. However it’s with some irony that the more modern pubs which had removed steps for a slope for the front door didn’t carry on that thinking for the rest of the pub.

A classic example was the Slug and Lettuce in Leicester Square, despite no steps into the premises, all of its ‘wheelchair access available seating’ was of the tall chair variety, pictured below:

And that helps a disabled person how? We suspect it’s not malicious just a lack of thought- undoubtedly they’ve figured out, along with many other ‘concept’ pubs, that tall chairs and standing increases the alcohol consumption.

Public buildings, in contrast tend to be better and go out of their way to help even if for very obvious reasons medieval ones like cathedrals and castles do not lend themselves fully to those who don’t have complete mobility. Here Westminster Abbey was no exception.

Of all the major London attractions I’ve always been reluctant to visit the Abbey in the past due to its ongoing standing prohibitive cost, despite being someone who greatly admires and extensively enjoys visiting medieval buildings. The Abbey, even by London standards, is expensive. It is sad that this is the case for anyone interested in British history, architecture and as an active place of worship. The expensive entrance price doesn’t allow photography inside even without a flash.

However for a wheelchair user, along with a carer, the entrance was free – mainly due to large parts of the building being inaccessible. Thus, after many years, I was able to take in, and appreciate, the internal architectural delights of the Abbey (in the absence of the somewhat overpriced entrance fee I gave a voluntary donation).

The volunteers within the Abbey though couldn’t have been more helpful, even with little details like providing, without prompting, a hands free version of the audio guide to those whose hands are tied up with pushing wheelchairs.

So what to make of Westminster Abbey itself? Oddly despite its religious heritage, and more recently the wedding of William and Kate, the Abbey really feels more like a memorial to Britain’s more famous figures than a place of worship.

What is noticeable from the outset is the incredible number of memorials, plaques and statues to famous rulers, artists, and poets that has been packed into the building. In this sense no other Abbey or Cathedral in England is like it and as consequence the religious imagery is much less noticeable here.

Given the overwhelming tributes within the building to leaders of establishment – Prime Ministers, Kings etc – it leaves us puzzled why the tribute is not reciprocated in the form of formal contributions to its upkeep:

What is less well known is that Westminster Abbey receives no regular funding from the Crown, the Church of England or the government.Neither a cathedral nor a parish church, Westminster Abbey was established as a ‘Royal Peculiar’ in 1560 by Queen Elizabeth I. The Abbey is outside the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Church of England and the Government. In short, this means we must seek our own financial support.

So instead an overpriced ticket paid for by the hoi polloi it is. The Abbey, among many others, serves as the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Laurence Olivier, and also features memorials to William Shakespeare, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen, and Oscar Romero (who are all buried elsewhere – Jane Austin for example in Winchester). 

My personal view having wandered around is this desire within an Abbey to have so many plaques, especially in Poets’ Corner, largely of non-religious nature contrary to its function becomes borderline tacky and I would include, slightly controversially, the grave of the Unknown Warrior pictured above. More a tourist existence than a dignified tribute.

An interesting architectural feature, and again rather unique and largely unseen on television coverage of royal occasions, is use of iron stabilisation bar supports around the central part of the Abbey to prop up the pillars which disappointingly suggests a fundamental instability of the original Gothic structure.

Anyway I’m glad I’ve seen it and equally pleased it didn’t cost Mrs TBF and I £40 to enter.

Moving on from Westminster Abbey, just along the road, we had a quick look at New Scotland Yard. Not surprisingly for a fortified Police Station the place was adorned with CCTV, fences and intimidating looking Policeman guarding every entrance. They probably guarded the front entrance as well but it was hard to tell where the front entrance was. Unwelcoming NSY was, and as I’ve noted before much can be garnered from a building about an institution’s culture.

But still there was always the iconic revolving triangle sign to observe:

Which now appears right in the middle of a public pavement; outside the confines of NSY, on its own, which at the time I visited was patrolled by a PCSO:

So the iconic sign is in a public space with plastic plod to look after it, but the rest of the building is not easily accessible by members of the public and is guarded by proper plod. It’s not quite how it looks on television. We should know our place.

Ultimately though London, despite its quirks, is pretty kind to those who are wheelchair bound, including the British public who were very helpful.

Mrs TBF and I rounded off a pleasant few days by going to see Shaun the Sheep The Movie – this review is pretty much right. What a delightful, funny and ‘British’ film it is.

Essentially it is a 90 minute silent stop motion film made for under 10’s which is an impressive feat in itself. It’s obviously been made with loving care and to keep the adults amused it sneaks in plenty of references to films such as Taxi Driver, Shawshank Redemption, Silence of the Lambs and Chopper.

After it had finished we caught a cab only to hear Farage on the radio regarding a little local difficulty in Rotherham.

And so back to the real world with a bump…

Parish Notice

I had intended to have part 2 up of the EU and Telecoms piece up this evening (Tuesday), however time is short this week and I would like to do the so far unfinished piece justice rather than rush it, not least because I have recently come across documentation that shows Norway has more say within its EEA agreement then the UK does over telecommunications; notably its Electronic Communications Act and also its Personal Data Act.

What becomes very obvious when researching the impact of the copious regulations on our country is the ridiculous myriad of EU and international competences which have seemingly no end and it can become quickly rather bewildering trying to follow and make sense of it all. But make sense of it and try to win a referendum we must.

We also note that the more we investigate Norway’s EEA arrangements, the more it becomes apparent that not only does it have a much better deal than us within the Single Market (albeit not perfect) but it exposes further the deception or even ignorance of our own politicians regarding this issue.

And with that in mind, and this maybe harsh, I do rather resent that it’s taking a small number of bloggers who are attempting to address these issues…unpaid…in their own time, in preparation for a possible referendum than a party which has significant funding via its now 23 MEPs yet literally pisses it up against the wall. This is all we get for our money.

We can win a referendum – we have many advantages over 1975 but we’re in danger of needlessly repeating many of the mistakes.

But that said, time is currently short because Mrs TBF and I will be in London for the next few days celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. In a few days we will return to normal service on this blog.

UKIP MEPs Falling Out With Farage?

When UKIP celebrated their “European Election win” back in May of this year, those with a more experienced eye instead wondered how many of the 24 MEPs would be left in 2019 by the time of the next elections, and with good reason. Farage, as Dr Eric Edmond observes, historically; “has a long track record of losing MEPs rather quickly as he rounds up the EU Euros”.

Of the original intake in 2009 UKIP lost nearly half of its MEPs with a small consolation of only one defector to the party – Roger Helmer from the Tories. The reason is obvious and has been well documented – Farage sees off anyone he perceives as a threat;

“He cannot tolerate anyone in the party who he feels is or might be in a position to challenge him. He prefers to surround himself with incompetents and deadbeats. Anyone who emerges who might show an independent streak, he ruthlessly eliminates, to ensure that they cannot be seen as competition.” 

As Bloom warned UKIP MP Carswell last month “watch your back“. UKIP is a one-man party by design not by accident.

O’Flynn of course has not covered himself with glory not only with his so-called “Wag Tax“, which was dismissed within 24 hours by Farage himself but with his stupidity over the 1st November nonsense. Another example of UKIP bringing in someone and promoting them to roles where they are completely unsuited, in this case to the role of “economic spokesman”. It’s worth noting though in view of O’Flynn’s comments on VAT that UKIP has this on its website under “Policies for People”:

Houses on brownfield sites will be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale and VAT relaxed for redevelopment of brownfield sites.

Thus confirming that official UKIP policy is to retain an EU tax (or remain EU members). But O’Flynn’s biggest problem was always that he had a high profile, particularly as a former journalist with contacts – thus he’s a threat to Farage. He came top of those who had a list of MEPs mostly likely to fallout with Farage. And so it’s coming to pass, the briefings have begun:

“Senior members of UKIP are campaigning behind the scenes to have Patrick O’Flynn MEP removed as economic spokesman after his appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last Monday night. In the interview O’Flynn called for higher taxes on business, having previously called for a tax on the turnover of companies so they would pay even if they did not make a profit.”

Deja Vu all over again and it’s completely of no surprise. We’ve seen it all before and then some… With no coherent polices and a leader desperate at all costs to shore up his bank account by virtue of being leader, this is no way to run what desires to be taken seriously as a political party.

And certainly it is not going to win an EU referendum, in fact quite the opposite – it will only help the side which wish us to remain in.