How Nigel Farage gave British democracy back to the voters

Ukip has changed the shape of politics – for the better

24 May 2014

9:00 AM

24 May 2014

9:00 AM

Whether or not Ukip wins, this month’s European election campaign has belonged to one politician alone: Nigel Farage. Single-handedly he has brought these otherwise moribund elections to life. Single-handedly he has restored passion, genuine debate and meaning to politics. Single-handedly he has reinvented British democracy.

This is a superlative achievement, and Mr Farage deserves to be celebrated. Instead strenuous attempts have been made to turn him into a figure of odium and contempt. Farage has twice been physically assaulted, once when attacked with eggs whilst campaigning in Nottingham, once when struck on the head by a placard-bearing protester in Margate.

He has been labelled a racist and a fascist. There have been comparisons with Hitler. He has endured by far the most hostile press and media coverage of any mainstream politician in living memory — far more brutal than anything encountered by Neil Kinnock in 1987 and 1992.

Besides the smears, Mr Farage has endured intrusion into his private life. In the European parliament, Nikki Sinclaire used parliamentary privilege to accuse Mr Farage of having an affair with his press officer. This unproven allegation, denied by both parties, was reported at substantial length that night on BBC News at Ten.

The BBC coverage of Mr Farage has been hostile, while Channel 4 News has treated Mr Farage with contempt. Several newspapers, above all the Times, have run vendettas or smear campaigns. The Sun pictured Mr Farage as half devil, in an echo of the notorious ‘demon eyes’ attack by the Conservatives on Tony Blair. Mr Farage has carried on regardless, in a praiseworthy display of moral and physical courage.

This deep, visceral media and political contempt should be put into context. Nigel Farage is a subversive who has reintroduced the vanished concept of political opposition into British politics.

When he emerged as a force ten years ago, Britain was governed by a cross-party conspiracy. It was impossible to raise the issue of immigration without being labelled racist, or of leaving the EU without being insulted as a fanatic. Mainstream arguments to shrink the size of the state, or even to challenge its growth, were regarded as a sign of madness or inhumanity — hence Michael Howard’s decision to sack Howard Flight for advocating just that during the 2005 election campaign. The NHS and Britain’s collapsing education system were beyond criticism. Any failure to conform was policed by the media, and the BBC in particular.

Meanwhile, the three main political parties had been captured by the modernisers, an elite group which defied political boundaries and was contemptuous of party rank and file. As I demonstrated in The Triumph of the Political Class (2007), politicians suddenly emerged as a separate interest group. The senior cadres of the New Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties had far more in common with each other than ordinary voters. General elections were taken out of the hands of (unpaid) party activists and placed in the hands of a new class of political expert. Ed Miliband’s expensive American strategist, David Axelrod, who flew into London on a fleeting visit to the shadow cabinet last week, is an example.

In this new world, the vast majority of voters ceased to count. The new political class immediately wrote off all voters in safe seats — from unemployed ship-workers in Glasgow to retired lieutenant colonels in Tunbridge Wells. Their views could be disregarded because in electoral terms they were of no account. This callous attitude brought into existence a system of pocket boroughs in parts of Scotland, driving traditional Labour voters into the hands of the SNP and (as can now be seen clearly with hindsight) jeopardising the union. The only voters that political modernisers cared about were those in Britain’s approximately 100 marginal seats — and even the majority of those were considered of no significance. During the 2005 general election I went to see the co-chairman of the Conservatives, Maurice Saatchi, who boasted that barely 100,000 swing voters in the marginal seats mattered to him. Saatchi reassured me that the Conservative party had bought a large American computer that would (with the help of focus groups) single out these voters and tell them what they needed in order to make them vote Conservative.

The majority of national journalists, for the most part well-paid Londoners, were part of this conspiracy against the British public. They were often personally connected with the new elite, with whom they shared a snobbery about the concerns of ordinary voters.

Immigration is an interesting case study. For affluent political correspondents, it made domestic help cheaper, enabling them to pay for the nannies, au pairs, cleaning ladies, gardeners and tradesmen who make middle-class life comfortable.

These journalists were often provided with private health schemes, and were therefore immune from the pressure on NHS hospitals from immigration. They tended to send their children to private schools. This meant they rarely faced the problems of poorer parents, whose children find themselves in schools where scores of different languages were spoken in the playground. Meanwhile the corporate bosses who funded all the main political parties (and owned the big media groups) tended to love immigration because it meant cheaper labour and higher profits.

Great tracts of urban Britain have been utterly changed by immigration in the course of barely a generation. The people who originally lived in these areas were never consulted and felt that the communities they lived in had been wilfully destroyed. Nobody would speak up for them: not the Conservatives, not Labour, not the Lib Dems. They were literally left without a voice.

To sum up, the most powerful and influential figures in British public life entered into a conspiracy to ignore and to denigrate millions of British voters. Many of these people were Labour supporters. Ten years ago, when Tony Blair was in his pomp, some of these voters were driven into the arms of the racist British National Party and its grotesque leader Nick Griffin. One of Britain’s unacknowledged debts to Nigel Farage is the failure of Griffin’s racist project. Disenfranchised Labour voters tend to drift to the SNP in Scotland and Ukip in England.

Here is the second debt that Britain owes to Nigel Farage. Until his arrival on the scene, political debate was in the hands of calculating machines like George Osborne and Peter Mandelson. For them politics is neither more nor less than a cynical game, the possession of the elite. Their real objective was the abolition of politics itself, at any rate as it had been understood during the age of mass democracy.

Nigel Farage and Ukip have brilliantly challenged the arrogance of this political class. Look at the way that David Cameron, at first contemptuously hostile, has been forced to throw his weight behind the referendum. Without Nigel Farage, this year’s Euro elections would have been meaningless and a degradation of democracy. Thanks to Ukip, they have served a visceral political purpose and changed the nature of our national debate.

Rather than stay silent about great issues of the day, the main parties have been forced into the open. The last few weeks have seen the most thoroughgoing debate about immigration Britain has ever had, with Ukip forced to defend its position. It has lost many of the arguments — but at last they are being heard and tested.

For ten years, academic theorists and political experts have been wringing their hands about voter apathy. The Hansard Society would annually come up with a new proposal to remedy declining turnout at general elections. Baroness Helena Kennedy’s Power Inquiry conveyed its earnest bafflement about the readiness of the British people to join charities like Oxfam while turning their backs on our national politics.

In reality, it was the British politicians who turned their back on the electorate, not the other way around. The voters were much less apathetic than the national politicians assumed and (horrifying for the Helena Kennedys of this world) Ukip is the party that has proved it.

Nigel Farage has made plenty of mistakes in his campaign, and his attack on Romanians in last week’s LBC interview was lamentable. But he has shown remarkable stamina and, most of all, he has given British democracy back to the people it belongs to — the voters.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Peter Oborne is chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph and an associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • cargill55

    The British state is contributing money to anti UKIP extremists .
    What’s most upsetting is that the extremist anti UKIP propaganda has incited violence against UKIP members.
    Democracy , what democracy ?

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Right on, cargill55.
      “Democracy , what democracy ?”

      Free press, what free press?

    • MikeF

      The violence against UKIP members epitomised by the recent incident in Blackburn is shocking but not surprising. Underneath the smiley badge veneer of multi-culturalist ‘anti-racism’ is truly nasty concoction of ultra-left authoritarianism, self-righteous arrogance fuelled by a spurious libertarianism and increasingly assertive Islamic sectarianism. To use its own terminology it constitutes the ‘politics of hate’ and if it feels itself to be seriously challenged then its first line of defence of patronising dismissal will give way to something much uglier very quickly.

      • cargill55

        The anti democratic establishment will not let go without throwing everything it can at us , whether legal or not.

        • you_kid

          “Single-handedly he has reinvented British democracy.”

          No he has not. Farage is not a Beppe Grillo. What that means the British electorate are only beginning to grasp now. You will never grasp it. Carry on ‘believing’.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I’ve asked you before but you haven’t told me. What are you talking about, little fellow?

          • you_kid

            I tell you everything, big daddy. Whatcha wanna know?

          • George Scoresby

            I assert this and I assert that, and I have a silly screen name.

          • Colonel Mustard

            And an even sillier avatar.

          • Mike

            Farage has re-started democracy in the sense that the many in the electorate have woken up to the real agenda of the LibLabCon artists and they won’t be having it so easy in the future to lie and spin.

        • RolftheGanger

          Remember that next time you attack the self government movement.

          • cargill55

            I’m not attacking self government, I think federalism could work brilliantly in the UK , full devolution including to England and a core Westminster federal government,

          • Mikesmount

            I agree, Cargill… As I often do with yout sensible posts!

      • Movies Online

        What is highly amusing about these thugs is they’re actually in the pockets of big business and very rich people who they despise but are too thick to realise it.. Talk about sock puppets…

        • horace4831

          Insulation, insulation, INSULATION!

        • Mike

          I think in truth that the Tories fully realise who they prostitute themselves with and the same goes for Labour and the Liberals and I can’t let them off the hook by pretending they were that naive.

          Politicians desperate to retain power will align themselves with the worst examples of humanity including pedophiles, sex perverts & predators, fraudulent bankers and scam artists. LibLabCon are full of these examples.

          • FrenchNewsonlin

            …most particularly fraudulent bankers and financial scam artists, but the European election outcome has proved salutary.

      • Andy

        They are basically Fascists. That’s what you find on the Left – bile, hate and violence.

      • Mike

        I think its fair to say that the left harbours fascists and bigots that could have tought Germany’s brown shirts a thing or two and the only difference between them is that our left wing fascists have been pretty clever at covering up their traits.

        Now they’ve been exposed for what they truly stand for, the left is losing their power base and is on the decline.

      • Terry Field

        Yes. An Asian UKIP guy had is eye orbit shattered by a knife attack – probably from a modern person who cannot tolerate different views.
        The attack was hardly reported, in contrast to the Prescott punch. If a right wing guy is attacked, the media dump the story.

    • rtj1211

      I seem to remember UKIP supporters using language so foul and disgusting on the DT blogs about Nick Clegg and the Libdems that really, you can’t complain about having to take it back.

      I’m sure you all hate the Libdems, that’s your right.

      What is not your right is to use the language your party members did, not once, but two hundred plus times, and then say that people can’t attack UKIP back.

      You reap what you sow…..and just remember that I didn’t vote Libdem this morning. I merely note how each and every party behaves and remind them of it when they reap what they sow……..

      • Druth

        There’s a big difference between angry trolls (badged up as UKIP) on a forum and:

        “The majority of national journalists … were part of this conspiracy against the British public”

      • global city


      • MissDeanniemite


        Hello, not sure that you realised but a high percentage of that abuse was from trolls paid by the EU to impersonate UKIP supporters. I have met many UKIP supporters (genuine ones) and they behave very well. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/05/21/EXCLUSIVE-UK-government-funds-anti-UKIP-group
        And the EU parliament was involved

      • Colonel Mustard

        “I merely note how each and every party behaves and remind them of it when they reap what they sow……..”

        How self important and pompous of you. I note that your vigilance on behalf of propriety doesn’t extend to your own brand of cowardly and snide side-swiping.

    • sarah_13

      I often think Osborne’s views are suspect, especially on Iraq but much of what he says above is right. Except he is wrong that Farage lost many of the arguments, i’m not sure he has lost any. I have not voted ukip but I’ve been very tempted after the disgraceful way Farage has been treated. I’m grateful that he has forced the conservatives to give us a referendum, that he has destroyed the BNP and that he has enabled the disgruntled and disinterested to vote for someone they can believe in and importantly someone who is decent. He has done us all a favour. I really take my hat of to him, how he has put up with the bullying of the last few weeks I’ll never know. I was very disappointed with Toby Young having a go at him today also.

      • Movies Online

        It was actually the BNP who got the debate rolling about immigration. At the time the UKIP were only interested in the EU then only later got involved in immigration. Like him or loathe him Nick Griffin should be applauded for that reason alone.

        • Druth

          Old Nick is the poster boy for multi-culturalism. He’s played the part of ‘right-wing bogey man’ so well that for the last decade the Trots haven’t needed to debate any issue but simply rush to shout racist. Well done Nick. What a prize chump.

          • Movies Online

            And now they do the same to UKIP and it’ll be the same with anyone who opposes EU rule. Turn it into a debate on immigration and then start shouting racist..

          • Druth

            If the B&P tell me that 2+2=4 I’m not the sort of person to immediately shout racist, but you must understand that Nick has no political finesse and his behaviour does nothing to advance his politics.

        • Dogzzz

          Nick should certainly be lauded for one thing, and that is exposing the vile Islamic rape gangs, for which Nick was arrested.

          Beyond this, the BNP have been a discredited socialist and racist bunch of amateurs. I am very grateful to Nigel Farage and UKIP for providing a rational, non-racist, tolerant alternative to the socialist BNP. UKIP is a party I am very comfortable voting for.

          • MissDeanniemite

            Well said compatriote. I will continue to vote UKIP.

      • cargill55

        Thank you for letting me know your views.
        I voted Tory for 30 years and changed to UKIP at the beginning of 2012 as the coalition policies just seemed to continue failed policies of the previous fifteen years.
        People sneer at the use of Liblabcon but I do believe there is little differentiation in what these parties do,they just spin it differently.
        So for them it’s big state , pro EU , high tax and spend, no attempt to repair our democracy, zero desire for English devolution, maintaining political correctness and multicultural extremism where communities are allowed to opt wholly out of British core values giving us appalling things like FGM and the disgraceful example of tower hamlets politics and giving away huge amounts of our wealth to international allcomers.
        UKIP provides wholly different, in my view better , policies and philosophy on these issues and more.
        The 2015 UKIP manifesto is being prepared now,you should have a look when it’s finished, you might be persuaded to give UKIP a go.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I was astonished to hear that idiot Grayling affirm that Britain was “multi-cultural” on QT last night, to loud seal clapping from the other left wing or left wing brainwashed idiots in the rigged audience. I thought his fellow parliamentary idiots, including Cameron, had admitted a few years back that the multi-cultural “experiment” had failed in Britain so why was Grayling peddling that New Labour nonsense again, so very pleased with himself, conflating multi-ethnicity with multi-culturalism and glibly relegating a self-identifying people who have never been asked and never consulted?

          • Ipsmick

            Hasn’t Britain been multi-cultural, and increasingly so, ever since the Romans turned up?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Wouldn’t have thought so. I wouldn’t want to compare the England I grew up in (which was monocultural) with Romano or Norman Britain thanks. We had moved on from there although I know lefties like to peddle those comparisons to justify what they inflicted on us from 1997-2010 et seq.

            Maybe you mean multi-ethnic. The conflation seems prevalent since Blair and Brown. Also the conflation of culture with sub-culture.

          • Muttley

            No, that’s one of the myths used to excuse mass immigration. The rate of immigration has always been very low in the past. The English of 1927 were more than 90% the descendants of the English of 927, according to Ed West’s book The Diversity Illusion. The “always been a nation of immigrants” is a specious argument in any case, but it’s not even factual.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Did he? He’s another ratbag then. Another rich arse-crawler.

    • global city

      What it has done is consolidate the idea of a corrupt, indistinguishable, cross party establishment elite as a fact… as their joint campaign of vilification against their enemy proved beyond doubt to the population.

    • MissDeanniemite

      Hello Cargill55

      I may have said to you in the past that I used to vote Conservative; that was up until 1997.. like so many around that time, I became disillussioned. Then the awful labour Governent (Blair with his NEW LABOUR) came in, and quite frankly there wasn’t anyone in my mind worthy enough to give my vote to.

      Then one sunny day I was out walking and I saw a large sticker in a car window; so I took a look. The literature seemed interesting… I went along to a meeting and that was it.
      17 years on and I am still supporting UKIP… It has been a long time coming for them to get to this stage… but WOW!

      UKIP never deserved to be treated the way that they have; its been utterly disgusting all the corruption and some of it from our own GOVERNMENT!
      Today, UKIP are the worthy WINNERS Nigel Farage has put Politics back onto the map and made it more interesting and for that I’m grateful.

    • lordcubby

      It did.

      Two activist beaten up in Bristol.
      Another it the north stabbed in the eye by a Labour supporter.

  • cargill55

    Mr Oborne , I voted Tory for. 30 years, switched to UKIP , saw the obscenity of the establishment and the political and media class in the last two years and will never vote Liblabcon again.
    I will do what I have been doing since February 2012, communicating my views against Liblabcon and for UKIP to anyone who wants to listen

    • Terry Field

      Why do you repeat the same old note. Show some creativity.

      • cargill55

        Says the person who says nothing.

      • slyblade

        Try coming up with some reasons for not voting UKIP, or we will see you as just a troll

      • Dogzzz

        Some things really do bare repeating and need to be said often.

  • EschersStairs

    If it came to a good, honest fist-fight between Cameron, Milliband, Clegg and Farage, the money would be on Farage. I suspect this is part of why people find him a refreshing contrast.

    • JabbaTheCat

      Considering how much Farage smokes and drinks I expect he’ll be wheezing by the time he manages to walk to the middle of the ring…

      • Kitty MLB

        Now you just be a nice little moggy . Cats like Fish you know.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Ah, a puritan. Back to your rusks and hot milk, feller..

    • rtj1211

      I”m not sure Mike Tyson would have made the best President of the USA to be honest………

  • cargill55

    Of course the Liblabcon leaders are dangerous and all their actions point to anti democracy.
    The political system in Britain is now one you would find in a 19th century colony or an autonomous region of a dictatorship with a PR facade of democracy.
    At its base is a political cartel created by first past the post, a monopoly of political donations from self serving big business cronies going to the cartel, zero independent control of what government does in relation to responsibilities and promises, zero local democracy and too little use of referenda, no local primaries, no MP recall, a sycophantic and tribal MSM which works to maintain the cartel and corrupt postal voting system.
    Overlaying this is rule by the EU superstate whose foreign laws are imposed on Britain by Westminster stooges and their quangocrats and bureaucrats.
    The results are clear :
    – our sovereignty has been handed over to the EU
    – Britain’s broken political system has disenfranchised the voters
    – the Liblabcon political cartel consensus has completely gone against the wishes of the British people on most fundamental issues. For example eu, immigration, overseas aid, state finances.
    – the cartel, run by the professional political class and MSM rely on spin, propaganda, PR , lies, deceit, to maintain power with absolutely no interest in doing what is right for Britain
    – endemic cronyism, nepotism in politics.
    -endemic big business lobbying in Westminster and in the EU to buy policies to benefit their businesses
    British politics and democracy are broken, the political,business, quangocrat and bureaucrat elite carves up Britain and the people for their own business, political and personal benefit and Britain will not revive until Liblabcon has gone.

  • cargill55

    Farage and UKIP have a vision, the Liblabcon oligarchy just has self interest , abuse of our political system, cronies and are parasites on Britain and the British people.
    UKIP v Liblabcon corporate Fascism (Costed , comprehensive 2015 manifesto coming soon.)
    Smaller v big state.
    Sovereign v Britain in a superstate.
    Lower tax and spend v higher tax and spend
    No political correctness or multiculturalism v political correctness and
    multicultural extremism.
    Defend Britain v illegal and unnecessary wars
    Functioning democracy v broken democracy
    Keep nation state v EU superstate
    Controlled v uncontrolled immigration
    Deal with illegal immigrants v let 1 million illegal immigrants stay
    Welfare as a short term basic emergency v welfare as a lifestyle
    Lower tax and spend and balanced books v higher tax and spend and soaring state debt
    Common sense Britain v cronyism, quangocracy, charitocracy, bureaucracy.
    Britain first v Britain last.
    No instant immigrant benefits v immediate immigrant benefits
    EU exit v EU
    Emergency humanitarian aid v £60 billion every 5 years.
    NHS with fewer managers and higher standards v NHS cronyism
    Tough on Law & Order v Soft on Law & Orde
    No unnecessary foreign wars v EU/US expansionism

    • Realismista

      I very much doubt that the attraction of UKIP to those Labour – and BNP – voters who have now defected to UKIP – and on whom UKIP will depend to win the euro elections – has anything remotely to do with “lower taxation” and a “smaller state”. It probably has everything to do with the single issue on which UKIP has focused recently: those millions of foreigners who are “after your job” and keeping them out.

      If UKIP had remained true to its purely anti-EU – on economic grounds – and economically libertarian and fiscally thrifty message without the focus on immigration, it would now be where most libertarian parties are: languishing in the polls.

      This poses a huge dilemma for the future of UKIP: does it shift back to a focus on its original small state/ low taxation principles (the policies of which its BNP and Labour influx of voters seem unaware) after the euro elections – and risk losing the huge number of extra votes that this campaigning has brought from the BNP ad Labour – or keep up and hype up the anti-immigration messages – and ignore the references to lower taxation etc in order to keep those new votes?

      • cargill55

        UKIP does what it said it would do, work fir a sovereign, democratic Britain with common sense policies such as EU exit, controlled immigration, ending political correctness and multicultural extremism, smaller affordable state, stopping voter bribes, spending British money on Britain, better birder controls and policing and extensive supply side reform.

        • Realismista

          In the small print that most voters don’t read. Its main focus has been an anti-immigration one which is a real vote winner with those (on average) 15% of voters who currently say they’ll vote UKIP in May 2015 (that’s 85% of voters who currently have no intention of doing so: really popular party, isn’t it?)

          • Bill_der_Berg

            I can see nothing admirable about wanting foreigners to come here to empty bedpans and live on a pittance.

          • Realismista

            If you wish to have a debate with me, fine. But at least try to address a point that I have actually made.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            Something to do with UKIP having to change its policies and cosy up to liblabcon. Is that it?

          • Gregory Mason

            I thought it was 60% planned to stick with them at the GE?

      • Gregory Mason

        Many libertarians, including myself, recognise that you cannot have open borders whilst the welfare state exists. Hopefully people will begin to realise that a bigger state has not made them better off and vote accordingly.

    • rtj1211

      Actually, Farage and UKIP have a vision which has not been subjected to the pressures of being in Government. All the three major parties have been in government for at least 4 years in the past decade, so all have had their dreams modified by experience.

      The time to state that UKIP are different is if they win the 2015 General Election and deliver 5 years according to that vision without bankrupting the nation or causing the Americans to ‘do a Ukraine’ on good ol’ Blighty.

      • horace4831

        I can see your reasoning and I’m not saying that a UKIP Government will be without its hitches. But if common sense is applied, as Farage & Co seem to have bundles of, they seem to me to be worth a try. Yes, we’ll kick their ass along the way, the same as we do now.The difference is, they’ll listen. And act accordingly – how refreshing is that? For me, the main thing is that we extricate ourselves from EU ties, then at least we are free to govern ourselves without outside interference. Then, and only then, can we shape ourselves into the nation that we want and indeed, need to be – free, independent, unrestricted.

    • somewhereinthesouth

      Wow some good stuff here.. Not much of this would have appealed to labour supporters in the past – except that they now think the much cherished welfare state is in danger of being swamped by immigrants for the EU and elsewhere and I suspect the prospect of longer queues at the surgery, unemployment, no Council housing or paying more tax to fund foreigners benefits doesn’t go down too well in the pub. Then of course theres “uman rights which seems these days to be a criminals charter.

    • RolftheGanger

      With marginal changes to the words, eg substituting UK for EU , you have just reproduced the core of the Scottish self government argument, for those not sold on joining the EU.

      • cargill55

        I would be happy to see EU exit and a real federal UK structure .

  • Realismista

    Yes, Peter, all very interesting.

    All those ex-Labour and ex-BNP voters – about whose defection Nigel boasted a few weeks ago – have, of course, flocked over to UKIP because of its finely expressed and costed (????) objections to the EU on issues such as sovereignty, smaller state, lower taxation, lost potential trade deals and all sorts of other libertarian arguments (save freedom of movement), haven’t they?

    It was nothing to do with the pointy-fingered, “millions of foreigners are after your jobs” poster campaign, was it?

    Now, I wonder, what does the post euro election future hold for UKIP? A bit of a dilemma, I’d say. It could continue with its single-track, anti-immigration rhetoric and develop other themes to scare people about having various other nationalities who might end up living next door to indigenous Brits,whom we know, never commit any crimes at all. this will certainly keep many disaffected voters on board and voting UKIP right up to May 2015.
    Or, it could focus on its small state / lower taxation libertarian (except for freedom of movement) principles and risk losing its recent influx of former Labour and BNP voters?

    What a dilemma Mr Farage faces over the next year. No wonder that he has announced that UKIP can no longer be a one-man band: in that way, he will be able to claim all the credit for winning the euro elections while being able to share the blame should his dysfunctional party and unjoined-up and fiscally innumerate policies start to unravel and hit the buffers with voters in the run up to May 2015.

    • cargill55

      UKIP 2015 manifesto, independently costed, coming out soon.
      UKIP is not single policy, much to the annoyance of Liblabcon political crooks.

      • Realismista

        Be careful with your LibLabCon smears…because you’re also insulting not just the politicians but also those voters who support LibLabCon and you need a lot more votes from those people to have any real success in 2015. The smearing has a law of diminishing returns, you know: in both directions.

        However, at just 15% in the polls re GE 2015, it’s UKIP that needs a lot more votes, not “LibLabCon” which still regularly polls 75-80%.

        And, don’t for one minute forget that, just as UKIP core support has hardened with people who pledge they will never go back to “LibLabCon”, the same tendency is taking place the other way round: after UKIP’s recent campaigning, there is now a very substantial body of voters who not only intend to continue voting “LibLabCon” and would never touch UKIP with a barge pole, many would probably now be prepared to vote tactically just to keep UKIP out.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          Nothing said by UKIP supporters is as virulent as the abuse Labour and Conservative supporters have been heaping on each other for years. They must have skins like rhinos. Is it likely that they are now going to turn into sensitive little flowers?

          • Realismista

            That’s not the point I was making. Try again.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            It was one of the points you were making. Read your first sentence again.

        • Tom

          Do you mean people like Ian Wallace.

      • Realismista

        There you go again “LibLabCon” “crooks” – this is the kind of tarring of politicians that is used as a tactic by supporters of single party states when they are winding up “the people” prior to storming the “elite” and replacing them with the ONLY party that “truly represents” “the people”. Yet, it is the “LibLabCon” on whom Farage will depend – if he ever manages to get elected to the HoC – to get what he wants by striking deals: so, in your world, Farage would presumably become a “collaborator”….

        This is exactly the kind of mindset that leads people to label some UKIP activists “fruitcakes”.

        • belarusi

          You sound like telemachus without the style. Do you share a desk?

    • Tom

      It never ceases to amaze me how many people can see how the electorate will vote regarding UKIP in the General Election, especially as how people will vote as never been so uncertain.

    • belarusi

      ” should his dysfunctional party and unjoined-up and fiscally innumerate
      policies start to unravel and hit the buffers with voters in the run up
      to May 2015..”

      Then you have nothing to worry about do you?
      Us serfs will tug our forelocks and vote for our beloved masters just as you want us to.

  • Kitty MLB

    Well people are far more interested in the EU elections then they usually are,
    and they should be . We also like to see our political leaders given a bloody nose.
    And because Nigel Farage doesn’t have a seat in Westminster he’s not considered
    part of the ‘ establishment’. And if he replaces the Labour Party and becomes a
    voice for the forgotten working class Labour core voter that’s a good thing.
    But a word of warning, those you place on a pedal stool can sometimes end up
    having a massive fall. I remember when Blair was thought of as the saviour.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      You meant to write ‘pedestal’, Kitty.

      • Kitty MLB

        Yes I did indeed. Thank you sir.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    The man should be knighted.

    • Kitty MLB

      Nigel Farage is a good egg. But you are knighted for actions not popular words. And to be able to act you need responsibility. And with that comes
      the odd fly in the ointment.
      Placing anyone on a pedal stool may lead to a massive fall, even for the most
      divine who walk amongst us.

      • Ricky Strong

        Or you could just make a large donation to either LibLabCon.

        • Kitty MLB

          Or I could send them some lovely smoked kippers for breakfast,
          they’d love them I am sure.

          • Ricky Strong

            You know what, I think I am going to have kippers for breakfast this weekend. Following last nights results and the excitement of the EU elections I can sense a real change in our political system.

          • Kitty MLB

            Yes, I am actually very pleased that UKIP that seats. The others have become too complacent and needed waking up,
            especially my esteemed leader, he with the furrowed brow,
            dearest Mr Cameron.
            I have kippers in the freezer. Shall have them at the weekend too.

      • Fraser Bailey

        No, for the most part you are knighted for being an establishment lickspittle, for time serving in one of our useless Ministries, or for running around a sports pitch or producing very bad music.

        Very few people are knighted for anything worthwhile.

  • Its a tough game

    Blair was probably groomed by the CIA from very early on. 222218@cwctv.net.uk

  • Tom

    The best article I have read about UKIP during this campaign.
    The smear campaign against UKIP has been a disgrace, the only saving grace is that the british are quite savvy when it comes to spotting moonshine.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      And BS.

      • George Smiley

        Stop randomly and constantly tagging the comments of others with your dross, tripe and drivel! We are know that you are just an anti-English, anti-British and anti-UKIP non-English, non-British troll and agent provocateur, who tags along whilst pretending to be some kind of a UKIP supporter because you just like to troll a little too much to help yourself!

        • guest

          If voting made any real change the government would make it illegal, when are folk going to see through this BS system that exists only for a few to live like kings whilst the rest waste half their life doing pointless worthless jobs for peanuts, nothing will change until humans grow up and grow a back-bone and take responsibility for themselves. even a dog will eventually work out not to keep going back to those who keep kicking it.

    • guest

      Laughable, the british public are ignorance incarnate, they ridicule anyone who see’s that the whole voting system is BS and its only there for the superficial things, the agenda is always set by the real controllers, they have not the brains nor guts to accept this and actually rid themselves of these parasitic toffs who could not give a toss for you or I. We still have a royal family and a class system for gods sake, the british are pushovers and the rest of Europe and the world knows it.

    • PainfulButTrue

      Although disgraceful the smear campaign might even have helped UKIP since a growing slice of the population have been as agree with the media as with LibLabCon…and when the MedLibLabCon turned on UKIP these people decided to come out the woodwork in droves even if just to embarrass them all.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Oh dear, Oborne off his meds again…

  • Andy mx

    Well Said!

  • Terry Field

    There has been no real right wing politics in Europe since the Hitler period. That has allowed the forces of the left a free hand. No representation of right wing thought has been acceptable. Now, with the passage of time, the full replacement of the generations that saw the horrors, there is a renewed p-lace for the right. As there always had been before the fascists.
    The appearance of Le Pen mk2, the Dutch right. Farage, etc is the first emergence , not of right wing thought, but of a rejection of left-wing thought.
    A little plant growing in the cinders.
    Who can say the future shape of right wing thought in Europe, but it is most certainly beginning to emerge.
    The propaganda of the left has been un-challenged for nearly seven decades. Now its core beliefs are being reviewed and often rejected.
    We have lived through the absurdity of every party in England and its hanger-on countries and principalities accepting nationalisation, of a conservative PM saying ‘we are all socialists now’, etc
    This is the start of very real change.
    The co-incidence of European economic semi-collapse and the accession of many tinpot economies with little more than slave-state populations has assured deep ruptures in Europe, and the sovietisation of European currencies and economic activities has brought about long term structural economic failure. This may mean the end of the EU, and the emergence f something more truthful more dynamic, more successful. But it will also mean that the postwar consensus of the illiberal liberal left is shattered. Finished.
    State socialism is a dead letter now. Its mis-allocation of resources a known horror that at least two thirds of the European populations understand. And they reject it. That is expressed as a revival in nationalism, in separateness. Not healthy, but i=understandable.

  • Odar Berkley

    Fantastic article and a reminder of how insightful Oborne can be when not under orders from CCHQ. The thing that has shocked me about the relentless UKIP bashing isn’t the vileness, which is to be expected from frightened, vile people, but rather the clumsy ineptitude and transparency of it all. Even not politically engaged people have started to cotton on and the media/political establishment conspiracy is out in the open. Even the left seem to be waking from their slumber and they want a UKIP alternative. It might not be this cycle but revolution is in the air and the edifice of the old is crumbling. Thank god.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Rebellion rather than revolution I hope. Rebellion is what is needed. Good old fashioned English rebellion. The cowardly Tory back benchers could start the ball rolling.

  • Roberto Machado

    We are being Hyperbolic this morning, aren’t we.

    • Druth

      A lot of us believe this Rob. Put away the party politic, re-read the article and ask yourself if you really want to be governed in such a manner?

  • Shazza

    Excellent article Mr Oborne. I do not agree with all your views, but this time you are spot on.

    I, a tribal Conservative, have just voted UKIP and felt so exhilarated. I am worried about the positioning of the UKIP box on the ballot paper and just hope that the electorate are not fooled into voting for another party.

    I will return to the Conservative fold next year because the thought of Red Ed and the rest of his PARTY OF MASS DESTRUCTION being allowed to finish their policy of the annihilation of GB and render this country into being just a zone of the EU is the stuff of nightmares.

    • slyblade

      How will you feel when you return to the Conservatives to find that the debt has increased to 1.5 trillion, the so called recovery is actually built on sand, that immigration is still out of control, That we still have a million youth unemployed because better educated immigrants came in and took the jobs. The five years conservatives have been power are still churning out half illiterate youths with no work ethics and world owes me a living attitude.
      Good luck with that Shazza, but thanks for giving UKIP a try.

      • Shazza

        What I was trying to say is that if Labour get in again, there will be no chance whatsoever, of a referendum on EU membership. They will act in all haste to ensnare us and after 5 years of their being in power, all will be lost.

        Should Cameron win, I believe he will give us a referendum. If UKIP get a good result now, it will strengthen the Eurosceptic influence in the Conservative party. Without the shackles of Clegg et al, I believe that Cameron will deliver.

        At this stage I am terrified of splitting the vote and Red Ed getting the keys to No. 10 by default.

        • slyblade

          You do raise an interesting point, but i do not believe Cameron will deliver on a referendum and if he did it would not be a simple in/out one.

          Ask yourself this, if he really meant it, why not do it now and shoot the UKIP fox? Why did he three line whip his party to vote against one. The man is a charlatan.

          i know how you feel about Red Ed i must admit is something that worries me too but UKIP are taking loads of Labour votes as well. So i am going to hold my nerve and vote UKIP in the GE as well.

          i wish you all the best

          • Shazza

            And you. I will make my final decision closer to the election.
            A lot can happen before that!

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Another good article, following the earlier one from Douglas Murray. It’s almost enough to make me buy a copy of the magazine.

  • Slavic Girl

    I can assure you that from my perspective it looks quite the opposite!

    • Trofim

      By the way, kaszanka is vastly superior to our black pudding. Why can’t they sell it in Sainsbury’s? My nearest Polish shop is 5 miles away.

      • Slavic Girl

        Me not likey Kaszanka, I much prefer bangers and mash. Hmmmm….
        Returning to your question, it may have something to do with the fact that Qatar Holding LLC is the major shareholder?

        • Trofim

          Really? It’s a pity anyway. What’s especially good about kaszanka is that it’s got plenty of tasty fat, which is as it should be. The British product is horrible healthy stuff, with hardly any fat.

  • Gregory Mason

    Tear down the walls today folks! Vote UKIP!

  • Fraser Bailey

    Well of course he’s changed it for the better, not least because they could not get any worse. (And I will not be voting for UKIP or anyone else, I hasten to add).

    This has been obvious for some time. Why is the media consistently so far behind the rest of us?

  • IainRMuir

    “Ten years ago, when Tony Blair was in his pomp, some of these voters
    were driven into the arms of the racist British National Party and its
    grotesque leader Nick Griffin.”

    How many deaths is Blair responsible for? How many deaths is the “grotesque” Griffin responsible for?

    • Bill_der_Berg

      And Blair won a third term as PM, dodgy dossier or no dodgy dossier. Still, he did not come out with anything that could be called ‘racist’ and it’s that what matters.

      • IainRMuir

        All that matters, apparently.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          The anti-racists do not care about foreigners (unless they have votes, perhaps).

      • somewhereinthesouth

        Yes but Tone was good at interviews slick and “trust me ” I’m a kind of ordinary guy. Yeah right. Trouble was we believed it like we believed the rubbish about the needs for wars etc Farage is fallible but at least he direct and honest.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          We also believed that he was still undecided about going to war when he had already made a committment to George Bush. Never mind, the important think is that he did not say anything that would brand him as a racist.

          • Trofim

            Please don’t write that word X-4577138-FN again, you know, the one beginning with r, c in the middle, and ending in t. It makes me shiver with horror whenever I read it.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            To me it’s just like the buzzing of an insect; something that is always there and that you get used to.
            But if it driving you mad. I will refrain from using i, or I will at least ration it.

        • global city

          Some had a sense that Blair was the polar opposite of his persona all along.

          That same sense leads me to deduce that UKIP are a force for good.

      • vieuxceps2

        This “racism” is but a small part of our existence, no matter what your provenance.Why so much emphasis on it?

        • Colonel Mustard

          An invented term, too often conflated these days with a subjective inferiority complex. And that has been pandered to by officialdom so that ethnicity makes a “victim” without a shred of real evidence of prejudice or discrimination. Unless and until ethnicity becomes invisible in both the eye of the beholder and the consciousness of the “victims” this nonsense will continue.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I just watched that You Tube video of Farage berating Blair and Blair’s reply where the mask slips and he reveals what a nasty and malevolent fellow he really is, as the multi-ugly, odious and oily Barroso chortles beside him.

      Blair boasted about how the EU had prevented war (really?) which was some irony given his role in committing Britain to two of them.

      Repulsive all of them, whether from fake charity to quango, or Westminster to the EU, a horrible combination of hubris and vindictiveness from the New Left now that they have established themselves in their own minds as our single party saviours.

  • Superb article. Nails it.

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    I love the way Oborne talks about the political and media class ignoring the public yet he berated Conservative MPs for not towing the party line. It is the whip system and towing the party line that has led us to a situation where, despite the majority of the public not wanting further integration into the EU, all three parties are pushing for it.

  • Very good article, except that of course Nigel did not attack Romanians – he was bounced into an ambiguous and terse response that was interpreted as such, but after such an interview it’s understandable.

  • Jim_Watford

    Fantastic article however we’re not there yet, the politicians still aren’t listening and their thralls is the press are still using lies to avoid the debate, what’s needed is a good win today, that will bring home what they fear most, their loss of influence.

  • cambridgeelephant

    Brilliant article Peter.

    Pity others in your ‘profession’ weren’t in possession of similar honesty.

    But a first class analysis all the same. And you rate right, Farage has given democracy a shot in the arm. To prove the point, I’ve just voted for the first time any election in 13 years.

    He gave me something to vote for.

  • Jazatw

    Credit where it is due: Farage has achieved what many thought was impossible — making a European election interesting.

    But his is the politics of division, the politics of “us” and “them”. Farage’s tactic is that of the demagog through out the ages: make people afraid and tell them who is to blame. History is littered with Farages — those who have played the conspiracy card, the honest-speaking “man of the people” card, the “anti-politician” card (ignoring the fact that he has been a politician since 1999). He is just the latest.

    The rather unpleasant cult of the personality that has grown up around him from some his more, how can we put this kindly, obsessive, supporters in an unattractive, but again all too common, spectacle among these kinds of movements.

    Yes I am sure UKIP will do very well today. It will be a huge boost to their supporters. Equally well I am sure that come the General Election in 2015 UKIP will stumble and fall. Why? Because when all is said and done the European elections are a sideshow. While voting for bigots and buffoons is a laugh when someone else has to deal with them, the British public has a lot more sense than to do that when we have to suffer the consequences.

    So Kippers, enjoy your day, revel in it for you have worked hard for it and despite what Mr Oborne says, the media gave you an easy ride (where was the debate about policy? And a daily UKIP story, even from the over-crowded fruitcake wing of the party kept you in the public eye) but when the real election starts your problems begin in earnest. Blaming foreigners isn’t going to get you very far.

    • chris_xxxx

      The politics of ‘us’ and ‘them’? Have you not read any of the articles by Peter Hitchens or Douglas Murray, describing the vilification of UKIP by the main stream media?

      And your claim of ‘obsessive supporters’ and ‘cult’ is nonsense. The reason why Nigel Farage is popular, is because people support his policies. Sitting in a pub and smoking a fag, will only get you so far.

      Apart from ‘controlled immigration’, UKIP also has many other policies including energy, grammar schools and defense.

      So, who do you support Jazatw?

      • Jazatw

        UKIP’s poster campaign was entirely aimed at “us” and “them”. “26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?” Text book tactics of division, fear, and demonization.

        “The old chestnuts of calling UKIP candidates ‘bigots’ and ‘buffoons’ does not work anymore” Oh how UKIP and its supporters would love for that to be true. Alas the torrent of evidence is there for all to see.

        Have a look at some of the comments by among many others: Maggie Chapman, Andre Lampitt, William Henwood, James Elgar, James Silverfox, Gary Port, David Silvester, Julia Gasper, Jan Zolyniak, Eric Kitson, Paul Wiffen, Douglas Denny. What about Gerard Batten demanding Britain’s Muslims sign up to a special code of conduct? Godfrey Bloom and Bongo Bongo land (or any of his other comments until he became even for UKIP too much of a liability)? Then of course one of their own poster children, Sanya-Jeet Thandi, quit the party over the issue of racism. UKIP supporters and candidates have supported forced repatriation and euthanasia for elderly people when they become a burden.

        ‘bigots’ and ‘buffoons’ was, and remains, apposite.

        “shows far more about you than that of UKIP.”

        Then it is just as well I am not running for election, isn’t it?

        So, who do you support Jazatw?

        That is between me and the ballot box. But I’ll let you in on a secret — I didn’t vote for UKIP today.

        • chris_xxxx

          The UKIP campaign was based on facts, which has been backed up in today’s immigration statistics: they’ve increased again. So much for Cameron’s promise of getting it down to the tens of thousands.

          “Then of course one of their own poster children, Sanya-Jeet Thandi, quit the party over the issue of racism.”

          Strange that the previous week she was on Channel 4 news defending UKIP’s immigration policy. Yet 7 days later, it was wrong and UKIP is racist. Do you not see anything strange in that?

          “That is between me and the ballot box.”

          Yes, I thought you’d be keeping that close to your chest. You actively come on this and other websites, to criticise UKIP but haven’t the guts to say who you vote for.

          And if you want some examples of unuitable candidates, then look no further than some of the other parties:

          John Morgan, Conservative councillor on Vale of White Horse District Council: Convicted of stealing £150,000 from Beryl Gittens, who had alzheimers, between 2004 and 2012.

          David Whittaker, former Conservative councillor on Isle of Wight Council:
          “Found guilty of two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual activity with a child, and engaging in sexual activity while in the presence of a child.”

          Dr Peter Moseley, Conservative candidate for South Kesteven District Council: Formerly an activist in the hard right British National Party, selected to contest a safe Conservative seat.


          • Jazatw

            Do you not see anything strange in that?
            I suspect she had had enough. That list of bigots and buffoons took a few minutes to draw up. Believe me it wasn’t hard.

            You actively come on this and other websites, to criticise UKIP
            ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’ — Edmund Burke

          • mohdanga

            ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’ — Edmund Burke
            Which is basically what the current lot has done. Mass immigration, vilification of anyone who dare criticizes this unpopular policy, cultural relativisim, appeasement of theocratic Muslim nutbars and their ‘culture’, bending over for every European Human Rights Court idiotic decision allowing Muslim terrorists to stay in Britain….the list goes on and on. But UKIP are the ‘bigots and buffoons’.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          The fact that the offenders have been disciplined is evidence enough that they do not speak for the party.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “UKIP’s poster campaign was entirely aimed at “us” and “them”.”

          Only in the context of what has been done to “us” without our consent.

          Don’t think you can ram your preferred version of this country down everyone else’s throat and then expect them to be happy about it. Then when people start to push back you sneer at them.

          Your kind of smug and judgemental intervention makes me want to puke and I couldn’t give a flying f*** who you voted for. It’s your business but strangely for those who voted UKIP you don’t think it should be their business. You think you should be able to gob off at them to demonstrate how f***ing superior you are.

          • Jazatw

            Oh my goodness your chipiness is really coming through. Calm down.

            No one is ramming anything down anyone’s throats, but don’t think you can run the sort of campaign that UKIP did without having people challenge its nasty, divisive tactics.

            For the first time I am actually embarrassed by this country and have never been prouder of London for so robustly rejecting the politics of division.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I’m calm. Don’t mistake contempt for lack of cool.

            London IS the politics of division.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      “Farage’s tactic is that of the demagog through out the ages: make people afraid and tell them who is to blame”.

      In what way are the people being spooked?

    • WhiskeyGiro

      A UKIP vote from people that have had to put up with and suffer the consequences of the LabCon for too long.

    • Druth

      “Blaming foreigners isn’t going to get you very far.”

      I don’t see how arguing for a ‘controlled immigration policy’ represents ‘blaming foreigners’ or indeed how repeatedly shouting ‘racist’ represent a mature response to the idea.

    • “But his is the politics of division, the politics of “us” and “them”.”

      Yes, but we are the ‘them’, castigated by right and left, politicos and journos, ‘us’ liberals of all political persuasion. We didn’t start this, and your comment, and its openly bigoted caricature is just an example of what has been going on for decades:
      Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
      Be the good voter you always had to be
      Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
      Well now they know

      • Jazatw

        That isn’t the politics of division, that is party politics. What UKIP has done is to look for divisions in society and exploit them. It identified a group that felt it was left behind and voiceless, and it played to that group. It said it wasn’t your fault you were left behind it was theirs. It isn’t your fault that you no longer feel at ease with society, it is theirs.

        History is absolutely littered with these movements, throughout all time and on all continents.

        UKIP isn’t interested in healing those divisions, it isn’t interested in making society work better. It is interested in exacerbating those divisions for its own political ends.

        For UKIP to complain about the media is laughable. The media have delivered for UKIP every single day, kept it at the forefront of the agenda, kept people talking about it. Why do you think UKIP chose Roger Helmer to stand in the by-election? Because they know that every idiotic comment the buffoon makes will keep them on the news bulletins, on the front page.

        But it suits UKIP’s narrative to claim there is a conspiracy against it. There exists some shadowy cabal of the establishment that is running scared and so trying to deny the common man his vote. Only UKIP knows the truth. That perfectly feeds the persecution narrative of its supporters. Farage is as an establishment figure as you can find. He has been a politician since 1999.

        Farage is no fool. He knows that UKIP has been given life by the media. He knows how to grab a headline, how to get in the press. In that way, and I stress only in that way, he is like Anjem Choudary, another very skilled media operator who can get the press to dance to his tune.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Hogwash and tripe. No party has done more to divide people into identity groups of race, religion, gender and class than the Labour party with their draconian and wholly unnecessary “hate speech” and equality laws. They have made the UK into pecking order factions at war with each other over rights and envy.

      And very few people are blaming the foreigners themselves. It is the political class being blamed and the political class that is being rebelled against. Don’t you get that?

      • Jazatw

        So why the divisive poster campaign Why the comments about Romanians, the “you know the difference”? Why the homophobic comments from so, so many UKIP candidates?

        • Colonel Mustard

          No idea. Ask them.

  • JimmyLinton

    And, Peter Oborne, for one, is happy to welcome his new UKIP masters.

  • soundchaser

    Great artical.

    In the not too distant future I hope the BBC has the title ‘British’ removed.
    Whatever it’s function, it certainly isn’t fit for providing fair and ballanced political news.
    Who is advising the journalists, the editors to print such biased rubbish?

    There needs to be an investigation why the BBC is using tax payers money to run an anti-UKIP campaign.

    • chris_xxxx

      More evidence of the BBC’s non-impartiality, with the anti-UKIP rant of BBC News Channel deputy editor Jasmine Lawrence.


    • EschersStairs

      Two cheers for the EUBC.

    • horace4831

      Why do I still care when I’m not paying the BBC tax?
      Biased.. Brainwashing.. Corrupt.. but I’d still like to see them do what they are paid to do. In times of national distress, broadcast Government advice. Other than that, serve up entertainment, not repeats, and stop claiming neutrality on programs like q

  • chris_xxxx

    The vilification of UKIP has been summarised by both Peter Hitchens and Douglas Murray.

    Peter Hitchens:

    “I have taken a close interest in British politics since I was a schoolboy, and I have never seen a more disgraceful alliance between politicians and their media toadies than the one that has been secretly made to do down UKIP.”

    Douglas Murray:

    “At some point in recent days it seems to have become accepted wisdom that if you are married to a German then you should believe in an utterly unrestricted open door immigration policy. It also appears that to distinguish between different types of immigrant (as Canada and Australia do, to give just two examples) is to be deemed irredeemably ‘racist’.”


  • Augustus

    Voting for UKIP is simply about people fed up with politics as usual, and the EU in particular, and determined to change things.

  • justejudexultionis

    I am a lifelong socialist and just voted UKIP in the European elections. The treatment of Mr Farage by the metropolitan media and Westminster cabal over the last few weeks has been disgraceful.

    • Druth

      Thank you. You and I may disagree on a number of issues but not on our democratic right to meaningfully have that disagreement.

      • global city

        Which is at the core of the EU debate and our continued membership of the political project, which is founded on fundamentally ANTI democratic principles……

        I hope UKIP would remember and campaign on that one from now on!

    • Jazatw

      How are you enjoying the atmosphere and your fellow UKIP voters, whom you hold in such high regard?

      “justejudexultionis • 11 days ago
      Planet UKIP is a cold, dark and lonely place. The atmosphere is very thin and only the most basic of amoeba may survive there.”

    • cargill55


    • global city

      All genuine democrats will rightly be appalled by the assault on the democratic process our elite and their sycophants have undertaken this last quarter.

  • MrJones

    thumbs up

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Oh dear, Dave and Ed, what have you done?

    “Dave and Ed just don’t get it: by branding Ukip racist they’re damning millions of decent Britons” (Stephen Glover, Daily Mail)

  • somewhereinthesouth

    Nigel Farage was only wrong in the tone of what was said.In fact he is right about Romanians and crime [even if many are Roma that makes them Romanian nationals in my book] and it seems also about the rising numbers of migrants from that country and Bulgaria . I fear none of this will make any difference as the elite [ and their main parties cadres] have all sorts of ways to manipulate the agenda and of course will do just enough to persuade those marginal supporters to stay in the EU and of course to continue to vote for them.

  • Doggie Roussel

    Good God…. Eureka !

  • Hear, hear. The rise of UKIP reflects the realisation among British voters that our democracy is becoming increasingly illusory. Regular elections may still take place and the campaigns may be boisterous as ever, but they are increasingly fought within a vanishingly small segment of the political spectrum, with an enormous degree of consensus among the ruling elite that has simply not been achieved among the population in general:


    The establishment may vilify Nigel Farage all they want, but each further attack only confirms the perception of UKIP as the underdog and the main parties as the bully. And the British people cannot abide bullies, but they love an underdog.

  • colliemum

    One point overlooked by Mr Oborne in this excellent analyis is that thanks to ‘progressive’ education our children, now grown up and being allowed to vote for the first time in these EU elections, have never learned to think for themselves.
    Politicians of the establishment parties can congratulate themselves for having raise a generation which takes it’s cues from social media and happily follows the pied pipers of such NGOs like HnH and similar.
    The sad incidence of Ms Thandi, who bowed to peer pressure at the LSE illustrates that, as do the tweets from the happy herd.

    Today and next year are our last chances to turn things around.

    • chris_xxxx

      One of the advantages of the internet colliemum, is that people have the opportunity to not have to rely on the main stream media for their news. It has allowed people to get access to the ‘real facts’, which has been unavailable in the MSM e.g. the Ukraine crisis.

  • Druth

    “Single-handedly he has reinvented British democracy.”

    Or rather UKIP have illustrated what a post-democratic country will look like.

    • cargill55

      This isn’t post democracy, it’s just manipulation and abuse of a broken political system.

      • Druth

        It’s the EU which has previously informed us that we were entering a ‘post-democratic phase’.

        I can’t think how you would want to describe an election campaign in which the main protagonists conspire with the MSM to not debate and issues but rather turn it into a reality tv type smear fest. Don’t mistake what has gone on here as just the rough and tumble of politics.

        I think we will do well and coming first will put us in an excellent position to condemn the manner in which this race has been run and what has become of so called British democracy.

  • Well, if it can all be laid out as clearly and as succinctly as that, it really begs the question – a rhetorical question, given the points in the article – why did no one else report it, outside of Breitbart, Spiked and the Speccie sometimes? Why did everyone else pretend we were in the grip of the Mosley Black Shirts, the worst domestic crisis of the 21st century, the demise of democracy, the end of the world yada yada yada.

    I especially like the fact that Mr Oborne has vocalised a view I and others hold, that UKIP has defused the potentiality for racial aggravation and a summer of fire and hate by pulling the rug from under the BNP (and EDL being scuttled by Tommy Robinson for whatever reason). However, there is a lot of anger out there and the whiff of a fraudulent election count might make matters worse.

    The non-rhetorical question now is, are journos like Peter Oborne and perhaps Janet Daley going to jump ship from the DT and start reporting the news rather than making it? We’re not asking for them to join Breitbart, but to just do what journalists should do, and call out those who don’t. You are the Fourth Estate; you are one of the checks and balances of our democracy; stop getting cosy with the politicians.

  • transponder

    Bravo UKIP, and take a bow, Mr Farage!

  • Robertus Maximus

    There are a number of subjects where one can disagree with Peter Oborne, but my goodness, his articles on UKIP are little short of heroic. His upholding of ethical journalistic values – namely fairness and truth – put to shame the bullying horde of morally bankrupt lick-spittles who bring shame on Peter’s profession.

  • Dogzzz

    Whilst this article is excellent and thank you for finally exposing the truth of the establishment conspiracy against UKIP and the public which supports them, we have not had our democracy returned to us yet. When we have finally left the EU, then we will have returned to us the right to vote out those who make bad laws. We cannot currently vote out the EU commission. Once our collective sovereignty over our elected parliament is returned to us, and the EU commission can no longer impose even a single law upon us, then we will have had our democracy returned to us.

  • Dissavowed

    I voted UKIP. My vote is a protest vote against Lib/Lab/Con. UKIP are the only party, who are legitimising the disruption of our political system.
    The national average age of a FTB is now 40 years old.
    I have been priced out of housing since I began working, yet people just two to three years older, in the same job, on the same wage [FFS] are sitting on their main asset which tripled in value in a decade, whilst I’ve been forced to waste six figures in rent, and missed all the important windows in life.

    They didnt just price us out of a house, they priced us out of a life.

    I dont think UKIP will help me, but I might as well kick Lib/Lab/Con in the face as my generation, who missed the boat, sink into oblivion.

    My parents, life long tories understand that higher house prices dont make them richer, and they’ve voted for UKIP because I asked them to.

    Stick that in your expensive american computer.

  • Dissavowed

    I voted UKIP. My vote is a protest vote against Lib/Lab/Con. UKIP are the only party, who are legitimising the disruption of our political system.
    The national average age of a FTB is now 40 years old.

    I have been priced out of housing since I began working, yet people just two to three years older, in the same job, on the same wage [FFS] are sitting on their main asset which tripled in value in a decade, whilst I’ve been forced to waste six figures in rent, and missed all the important windows in life.

    They didnt just price us out of a house, they priced us out of a life.

    I dont think UKIP will help me, but I might as well kick Lib/Lab/Con in the face as my generation, who missed the boat, sink into oblivion.

    My parents, life long tories understand that higher house prices dont make them richer, and they’ve voted for UKIP because I asked them to.

    Stick that in your expensive american computer.

  • cdvision

    Mr Oborne: good analysis, almost hit the nail.


    “It has lost many of the arguments” – I don’t accept that. Farage wiped the floor with Clegg and since then there has been little debate on policy only viceral abuse from the BBC and the MSM, particularly your colleagues at the DT.

    “his attack on Romanians in last week’s LBC interview was lamentable” – I don’t accept that. What he said to that idiot on LBC was willfully misquoted. Most normal people recognise the point Farage was making, and the crime stats bear that out.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Good piece, Mr Oborne. But when you say middle-class I think you mean upper middle class. Most middle class people don’t have the servants you speak of. I don’t. I never did. But I assume I am middle class. And I voted UKIP. As I said before, Mr Farage strikes me as a nice man. The other party leaders are either fools of knaves, in the case of Cleggy, both.

  • DNACowboy

    I was appalled at Farage’s treatment during Question Time but was nothing to the experience of witnessing the smear campaign against him and his party in the last week.
    The establishment are terrified of UKIP and rightly so

    • Dissavowed

      Not just QT. HIGNFY, was disgusting as well. Merton and Hislop, week after week, describing people as gullible or stupid to vote UKIP, from their BBC ivory tower, when ours was a protest vote brought about by sheer desperation, as UKIP are the only party legitimising the disruption of our political system.

  • mightymark

    The overwhelming majority of successful western nations have had large third world immigration for the past half century or so. The UK is among those nations. Why do people here think it’s migration experience should be different?

    • Bill_der_Berg

      ‘The only major inquiry ever conducted in the UK was carried out by the Select Committee on Economic Affairs of the House of Lords in 2007/08. In April 2008 they reported that “We have found no evidence for the argument, made by the government, business and many others, that net immigration – immigration minus emigration – generates significant economic benefits for the existing UK population.” As regards the contribution of migrants to the Exchequer, they concluded that “The overall fiscal impact of immigration is likely to be small, though this masks significant variations across different immigrant groups.”‘ (Migration Watch).

    • mohdanga

      “The overwhelming majority of successful western nations have had large third world immigration for the past half century or so.” This has to be the laugher of the day!! Delusional!!
      Here in Canada something like 60% of our enriching 3rd worlders are on some sort of social assistance. How did we ever survive without them??

      • mightymark

        The problem with your response (which I doubt anyway but lets’ assume it is true) is that I have not said I necessarily think they are the cause of Western prosperity. My point is exactly what I have said – i.e. they seem to be a feature of all advanced Western /Western Style (so include e.g. Israel and Australia) societies.

        So, to repeat the question – why do you think Britain is going to be different?

        • mohdanga

          Why doubt my comment? I read a few years ago of a study that showed this….here is another one that shows the fiscal burden of immigration on Canada is $20 billion a year.
          White guilt liberals are responsible for the mass influx of 3rd worlders into the West, all for purposes of ‘diversity’ and some bean brained attempt at ‘penance’ for whitey’s imperialist past. The Labour party in the UK admitted as much. There is absolutely no logical reason to admit illiterate, poor 3rd worlders.

          • mightymark

            You are the one who appears in denial of the truth of my comment – which is presumably why you have not even addressed it.

            In fact third world immigration to Britain really advanced under the Conservative governments of the 1950’s when West Indian migration was seen as a way to staff hospitals and public transport. Whatever the truth of your “gulit tripped” lefties (and there may be some) the overwhelming reason for the continuation of third world immigration under governments of both left and right has been to ensure a supply of cheap(er), and it is sometimes suggested, more reliable labour than would be available otherwise.

            I don’t say all this is necessarily a good thing by the way. However simply experiencing on a purely observational basis how a vast part of the UK economy is staffed today I certainly would doubt that most third world immigrants an their progeny are not working. Simple common sense suggests that given that that is the picture across vast parts of the developed world then the economic rationale explains the extent of third world migration in those countries. Anything else suggests conspiracy theorising on a frankly headbanger basis.

          • mohdanga

            What denial am I in? That there’s too many 3rd worlders in the West?? You call me a conspiracy headbanger yet don’t address the statistics and reports I quote. From 1945 to the present the Labour party has been in Britain about 1/2 of the time and they were the ones that started immigration on a large scale into the UK. Once the gates are open no gov’t will close because of the accusations of racism, bigotry, etc that the media will tarnish them with. Just look at wishy washy Dave Cameron and the Conservatives.
            If most 3rd world immigrants are working why are so many on social assistance?? Take a look at the statistics for employment of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Somalians and Muslims in Britain, this has been publicized recently. This isn’t to condone the abuse of social assistance by the indigenous population, the modern welfare state is responsible for healthy, able citizens collecting benefits while eager 3rd worlders are eager to come here and ‘do the jobs we won’t do’.

  • Goinlike Billio

    Peter Oborne fails to mention the attempt by the Electoral Commission to do down UKIP.
    At the top of my ballot paper yesterday was a party calling itself the UKIN or something similar . A blatant attempt to pass itself off as UKIP.
    As I live in a constituency with one of the oldest average ages in the country ,many of us can’t see too well, my guess is that it will syphon off quite a few votes.
    The Electoral Commission does nothing about scandals like the abuse of postal voting and allows patently bogus parties to stand for election.

  • Roald

    The UKIP merges genuine libertarian values with loony xenophobe positions. If there is a single thing that we should celebrate in Europe it is the free movement of people, capital and goods. We should fight the BigGov corporatist BigWigs, but not the freedom of the continent. Especially this dark continent of genocide and massmurder of the 20th century.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      You may like some aspects of the EU and be opposed to others, but if you want to belong you must accept the lot.

    • mohdanga

      Why is wanting to prevent the overrunning of the country with millions of non-assimilateable 3rd world enrichers ‘xenophobic’?? Every Western country is branded ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’ if the plebs make any criticism of the culturally destroying, economic disaster that is mass immigration and multiculturalism…yet if non-white countries protect their cultures by not allowing any immigration they are lauded by the same dense lefties that want it in the West.

    • derek thecat

      Does the free movement of people include thieves, rapists, beggars and scroungers?

  • Rillian

    If you believe that handing power over to an undemocratic,
    expansionist, socialist superstate, that has an unelected leader, Van
    Rompuy, who was recently quoted as saying ‘If the public don’t want EU
    expansion, we do it anyway” and that threatens world peace, is good for
    Britain, then vote for Labour.

    If you have common sense at all, vote for UKIP.

  • RavenRandom

    Good points. UKIP and the SNP exist because of perceived and actual disenfranchisement. If I am a Tory voter in Southern England or Labour voter in Newcastle my vote effectively does not count as the incumbent majorities are so large. First past the post is a disenfranchising system.

  • Cyril

    I think the smear campaign against UKIP is totally disgraceful and smacks of American politics. At the European election in our area UKIP was placed at the bottom of a long list of other candidates and just to confuse the public another Independent Party was at the top.
    When are politicians going to realise that they do not listen to the British public and that is why they are losing to UKIP?
    The Spectator is the only news paper that has written anything truthful about Nigel Farage and UKIP.
    We are not racist! We just want our country back.

  • Guest

    If you believe that handing power over to an undemocratic,
    expansionist, socialist superstate, that has an unelected leader, Van
    Rompuy, who was recently quoted as saying ‘If the public don’t want EU
    expansion, we do it anyway” and that threatens world peace, is good for
    Britain, then vote for Labour.

    If you have common sense at all, vote for UKIP.

  • Edward Hubbard

    It seems very odd to attribute the dismissal of the views of voters in safe seats to the elitist and cynical nature of our political class when there is a much more obvious explanation for this phenomenon – it is a rational response to our simple plurality voting system (wrongly called “first past the post”). The reason no new party has managed to break into mainstream politics in nearly 100 years is very likely the British voting system, not British political culture. Ironically, it is the unBritish innovation of proportional representation in elections for an overseas parliament which has enabled UKIP to achieve something which was previously nigh impossible. Without PR, probably no UKIP MEP would ever have been elected and Nigel Farage would not have been able to use his party’s presence in Strasbourg as a launching pad into domestic politics.

  • mdj

    ‘ and his attack on Romanians in last week’s LBC interview was lamentable.’

    Not if the last two conversations you had with Romanians were while they were going through your bins, as mine were. What the economics are of crossing Europe to tot rubbish is mysterious to me.
    Look at the delightful interview between Peter Snow and two long-settled Romanians, where he repeatedly tries to make them call Farage racist. Finally, he says,’Well would you want a houseful of Romanians next door?’ to which they say ‘No, of course not. Who would?’

    • Al Rex

      Why blame only Romanians and not the Muslims and the Indians and all the Africans and the Chinese and all the other third world skunks? That’s all I hear…Romanians and Eastern Europeans and not much about all the other ugly,destructive non-Europeans who have no right to live in Europe!!!

  • MissDeanniemite

    That was a beautifully written article by Peter Oborne; so pleasing and without bias.
    Yes Nigel Farage has brough out the best and the worst in the Politicians…. But it need to happen. Politics is achanging and I agree that if Nigel Farage hadn’t come along – most of us would still be thinking why should I bother voting?

    Nigel has made Politics more interesting – brought debates alive….Well Done UKIP for helping to change the face of politics.

  • MissDeanniemite

    That was a beautifully written article by Peter Oborne; so pleasing and without bias. – Which is more than can be said of the BBC, Channel 4, SKY and the rest of the MSM (excluding the Spectator, Breibart and the Express)

    Yes Nigel Farage has brough out the best and the worst in the Politicians…. But it needed to happen. Yesterday people voted who had never done so.http://www.breitbart.com/breit

    Politics is achanging and I agree that if Nigel Farage hadn’t come along – most of us would still be thinking why should I bother voting?

    Nigel has made Politics more interesting – brought debates alive….Well Done UKIP for helping to change the face of politics.

  • The_Magic_Flute

    What a wonderful article, wish I could have wrote it.

  • Tom King

    I hope to God UKIP win this Election. Nigel Farage speaks for the people of Britain and not scared to tell it how it is!! We salute you Nigel!!

  • Alan Walker

    What the hell? A fair and balanced article from the media? Spectator you just gained a lifelong reader.

  • Trofim

    They just never stop digging – unless they are in fact working for UKIP:


  • Ipsmick

    Except Farage has been given an extremely easy ride. We know his his views on Europe and immigration. It would be a democratic good were he to be taxed on UKIP’s policies on health, education, transport, defence and so forth. I’m afraid that, to this disaffected voter, he appears a politician of neither depth nor bottom. Oborne, in another column, recommends Perry Anderson’s long essay in the current LRB; a piece which lays horrifically bare the extent to which corruption completely embraces an EU that, in its furthering global corporate interests above those of national populations, is contemptuous of democracy. There are real issues here, and they need to be dicussed openly and seriously. They won’t be. Farage tends to be a repetitive sloganeer; Osborne or Mandelson are slickly vacuuous. This is one reason for a widespread popular disaffection with politics of a kind that is actually very dangerous, for it could easily exploited by any determined demagogue.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      It is hard to see questions of EU and global corruption ever being the subject of widespread public discussion. The pro-EU mainstream parties are not going to drive the debate and I do not think that the public is greatly interested; it’s not as though they can do much about it. Some time ago the press ran reports of corruption involving farm produce but, as far as I know, nothing came of it.

      Not that the situation is new. The people have few sources of information other than the media and, as George Orwell told us, even an uncensored press usually toes the line.

    • Penny

      These were elections for the European elections so the public is not going to hear about domestic policies. It would be rather like a clothing company sending out their 2014 winter collection catalogues in March. Pointless because it would be advertising too far into the future and would miss the consumer need for spring and summer clothing.

      • Bill_der_Berg

        It could be that those who showed no interest in ‘real issues’ before the election are now regretting that they chose to rely on abuse and are trying to put the blame for their mistake on Nigel Farage.

        • Penny

          I am still utterly bewildered as to why the media ran such a negative campaign because they can backfire spectacularly. They could have just argued the merits of their case – harder to do than mud-sling but usually more effective. That said, the media does rather dumb-down the issues while also presenting the side it would prefer you to see. UKIP will, without doubt, fall victim to this in the coming year.

          You won’t find on-the-street TV crews chatting to the middle-class lawyer voting UKIP; they’ll create a stereotype and find someone to fit it. You won’t find them portraying the selfless community worker but the ne’er do well. I’ve seen it all before, can spot it a mile off and am predicting more of it with UKIP.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            The fact that Nick Clegg was mauled when he twice debated the EU with Nigel Farage may have something to do with it. The tactic of demonisation and ridicule may not have seemed very risky. It has worked before. It was used against Neil Kinnock.

          • Penny

            This campaign was different to any I’ve known. It’s one thing to attack a politician (I dislike it but they are the ones at the top of the political pyramid) but it’s something else to attack the people. The media used shame tactics (i.e. “you’re racist/xenphobic/homophobic/Little Englanders) in order to intimidate voters. To trawl social media seeking out the thought crimes of candidates – non-elected folk who may never even be elected – was chilling. Then we had the people only linked to UKIP via their work – the young girl who had allowed a boyfriend to take unfortunate photos; the young man in a poster and so on. The sneering and smearing has been unique in my experience.

            I can’t say that any previous campaign has made me feel sickened, angry and chilled. From comments I’m reading around and about, others have felt similar. Maybe time will cause the anger to fade away and so the risk the political elite and media took may have only a passing effect. Or, perhaps there will be people like me who are not likely to be quite so forgiving – not because of Farage, but because of the attacks on ordinary people and in particular this trawling of social media to out “thought crimes”.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            It has certainly been an eye-opener. We all know that the media go in for dirty tricks but there is nothing like seeing them in action to bring home just how bad things are. I believe that the lesson will stick that the media libconlab politicians cannot be trusted.

  • stickywicket

    Bang on the button Peter.

    The mainstream plastic politicians must be terrified.

  • Peter1000

    Wow. I have been saying this bit-by-bit in comment sections. This article just about hits the nail on the head.

    I am middle class, despise racism, think that being in Europe is probably a good thing. But voted UKIP.

    I did so when I saw the main parties setting up an alliance with thee media elite to close the Westminster borders to the UKIP immigrants.

    Faraga might express some uncomfortable views about Romanians. But not as half as uncomfortable as those attitudes of the media elite towards white working class people in the provinces.

    Remember Mrs Duffy? A sort of bigot according to Gordon Brown.

  • Pam Chan

    Excellent article. I voted UKIP, I was a University lecturer, have friends who are gay, have a measured IQ in the top 1% of the population and married someone from an ethnic minority background in the 1960s. I dont need lecturing on racism and I have been feeling increasingly oppressed in my own country. Take the Halal meat scandal. 50% of out meat is now Halal. Any sociologist will tell you that food is a main vehicle of cultural identity. Is it any wonder that many people objected to such a proliferation of an alien religious practice, where values they do not agree to are celebrated, where a prayer is said in a foreign language and a ritual slaughter undertaken in a country when only 5% of the population belong to that creed. Yet the subject was avoided and anyone who complained was labelled racist! Is it any wonder that so many people feel disempowered and alientated when David Cameron seemed to be caught on the hop when the strength of feeling surfaced. How out of touch can you get? The fact is that the political class allowed this to happen.They were more interested in courting ethnic minority votes than the best interests of a society and as a result racial and religious tension has been fuelled not aleviated. Yet they STILL havent got the message have they? They STILL think they know better than the rest of us how we should think. .

    I will be voting UKIP in the general election, the rest of them are useless.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The fantastic thing is that the “multi-culturalism” that the political class imposed without consent allowed immigrant communities to ghettoise, segregate and self identify. They provided translation services at taxpayer expense to facilitate benefits including the NHS so reduced any obligation for immigrants to learn English. They ignored behaviour of violent hostility and hatred towards the host nation and failed to enforce the rule of law impartially, making concessions on grounds of “culture”. But then when people of the host nation felt uncomfortable with all that and voiced their concerns it was they who were deemed to be racist and told to shut up. That old adage “When in Rome…” was thrown out in favour of accommodating all comers.

      As you say the political class have stoked racial and religious tensions, exacerbating it with their bad law and even worse selective enforcement.

      • Pam Chan

        If you agree sign here and send to your friends! You wont believe the level of vitriol I have been subjected to for what is actually a very reasonable request!


        • Colonel Mustard

          Why do you think so few have signed it? Do you think it is:-

          a) Because no-one really cares

          b) Concern that their names will be recorded by some “agency” on a blacklist as “racists”?

          • Pam Chan

            Hi, you have to have a snowball effect. i have done pettions before and its very hard work if you dont get onto social media/shared by emails. What we need is for people to sign and share. I have asked friends on Facebook, but I think most of them are scared of being labellled racist. Its ridiculous, because it isnt, but with all the vitriole UKIP supporters have recieved I am not surprised, its going to take a while to get people to realise its OK to speak out! The Guardian did a poll and I think it was about 46% of people objected. But they felt safe to say that because it was going nowhere and no one had to sign anything. If you can get it circulated it would be helpful.Its a daming indictment of our society that people are frightened to speak openly.

          • Pam Chan

            You have to have a snowball effect. I have done petitions before and they are very hard work if you cant get the early numbers. The guardian did a poll and they found 46% per cent of people objected but then that was anonymous. People are terrified of saying anything ‘racist’ If I masked it by talking about animal welfare I would get many more signatures, because thats PC.. I have asked friends on Facebook to sign but you need them to sign it and then their friends to sign it. One of my friends shared it and some Moslem guy came on hurling abuse and told me I couldnt even spell Muslim because I had spelt it Moslem! I pointed out to him that both spellings were right! Some people arent very bright…… you need to get on webpages and traffic passing through. Its a damning indictment of our society that people are so cowed, but its just an extension of the climate of fear which has been engendered by political correctness. I could try Twitter but I dont have many connections. Its only just started though, so I need to get it circulated while its still topical.

          • Steve Cheney

            Um, it’s a).

            Seriously, it’s a).

            b) is completely ridiculous, the paranoid fantasies of people who, while possibly not racist, are still desperate to find any evidence, no matter how slight or imaginary, that they are being persecuted as racists.

            It is undeniably true that, until The Sun started its big halal exposé, the majority of people who were pushing for proper labelling of halal meat were Muslims.

            If you were to ask why Muslims have not elected to sign the petition in their thousands, I might suggest that it’s because of the rather accusatory wording of it. Labelling halal meat is as much for the benefit of Muslims as it is for people who are worried about getting Muslamic cooties from it, but the petition frames the issue as if Muslims are trying to sneak halal into people’s food, and that would annoy me if I were them.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I wasn’t asking you and in any case you would say all that wouldn’t you.

          • Steve Cheney

            You published the question in a public forum. And I think that any sane person would say what I have said.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I asked Pam Chan not you. But I see that you’ve trimmed your “comment”.

            “And I think that any sane person would say what I have said.”

            That’s the problem with people like you. You think you are always right about everything but in terms of absolute right or wrong, sanity or insanity, morality or immorality. The same type of absolutist thinking that saw people burnt at the stake for heresy, shot for being counter revolutionaries or consigned to gulags for “wrong thoughts”. Having once again unleashed a coerced “vision” of a society on a society you have to put down all those who might dissent from it as having something “wrong” with them. Then you have the nerve to write about their “paranoid fantasies” and bleat about diversity.

          • Steve Cheney

            “That’s the problem with people like you. You think you are always right about everything but in terms of absolute right or wrong, sanity or insanity, morality or immorality.”

            Actually, that’s complete nonsense, and I think my posts make that clear.

            The fact that I think an insane theory is insane does not mean that I think in absolutist terms about everything. You are the one jumping to conclusions. It is clearly paranoid to imagine, without any evidence whatsoever, that a petition on direct.gov isn’t getting many signatures because people who totally *want* to sign it are terrified of being put on some kind of register of racists.

            To be honest, it’s quite likely that c) it just isn’t a well promoted petition. But I would argue that if someone can’t get an anti-halal petition to take off even now, they probably need to re-examine their approach. Trying to blame it on people being too scared to say something that half of Facebook seems happy enough to say is just absurd.

          • Colonel Mustard


            And of course those previously valued foster parents in Rotherham who were denied the right to adopt children just because they were UKIP party members were paranoid fantasists too.

          • Steve Cheney

            No, they were let down by the actions of very stupid individuals. That’s pretty common in the foster system, sadly.

            But hey, if you’d prefer to believe that it was the most inept and short-lived and small-scale conspiracy ever, you go ahead.

          • Steve Cheney

            By the way, another reason why Mr Cham’s petition might not be doing so well is that there’s a much more successful halal-related petition on Directgov already, calling for a ban on all non-stun slaughter. Clearly the majority of people who are concerned about halal are more concerned about the welfare of the animal than the dreaded Islamopox that they might catch from someone else’s religious mumbo jumbo.

      • Ms J Tiwari

        Though I am British born, British raised and British educated, my mother was allowed to physically abuse me(because that’s how discipline was practised in India), my family were able to arrange my kidnap for a forced marriage (when I was just 16 yrs old), and when I escaped back to England, no help was available to me as I’d made myself intentionally homeless, so being forced to go back to a hell I’d tried to escape from. My family brought their extended family members to the country, got British residency for them and claimed benefits for them, which helped pay for their mortgages. I have always felt British, and it’s painful to see words like forced marriage, honour killings and female genital mutilation becoming a part of the vernacular. We should never have imported multi-culturalism and demanded that immigrants coming here embraced the British way of life. Food, fashion and art is one thing. Unacceptable customs and practises are quite another.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Ms Tiwari, thank you for your comment and may I say how sorry I am to read of your treatment and personal tragedies. A single rule of law for all who live here is never more important.

          • Steve Cheney

            I think that multiculturalism is being misrepresented – perhaps wilfully – as “one rule for culture A, one rule for culture B”.

            In reality, no one who supports multiculturalism believes that different LAWS should apply to different cultures. We simply believe that “integration” should amount to adhering to the law and being able to function within society – as oppose to the “cricket exam” standard where one is expected to integrate beyond that point and “become British”.

            I suspect that the only reason that this huge ideological debate rages between multiculturalism and integration is that the media constantly presents any debate as between irreconcilable opposites. Multiculturalism MUST be about something more serious and society-rocking than whether Indians should be permitted to speak their own language amongst themselves, because otherwise, why would we all be yelling at each other about it, right?

            I object strongly to the fact that whenever someone who is not white/native British breaks the law, people say “that proves multiculturalism is wrong”. It’s nonsense, because people break the law everywhere, in all cultures, including ours.

            What is important in cases such as Ms Tiwari’s is that people have resources available to them that can help them if something is happening which is wrong but *within* the law. And ultimately, the law is shockingly impotent when people are threatened with criminal activity (e.g. violence) but not actually subjected to it. You need only look at rape conviction rates to see that.

            The solution, I’m afraid to say, is for the government to spend more money on social services and on outreach programs, and basically all the stuff that conservatives and small-statists think of derisively as “soft services”, so that people who are trapped in dysfunctional environments have a means to escape before anything criminal is forced on them.

            I mean, really: you have a situation here where someone was forced to leave the country, escaped back to this country, and was told “you made yourself homeless, you have to go back to live with your family”. You can’t just dismiss that as “multiculturalism”; forcing someone to return to an abusive family is inhumane regardless of their culture.

            This is something that has been warned of ever since the draconian Tory attacks on the benefits system – that people would be trapped in abusive families because they simply because they could not afford to leave and would not be supported in doing so.

    • Steve Cheney

      “Any sociologist will tell you that food is a main vehicle of cultural identity.”

      Uh, would they?

      Even accepting that conceit, you know as well as anyone that halal meat is not used as part of some insidious plan to give us all a case of Islamic cooties. It’s simply a practicality – Muslims want to eat halal only, and until the Sun decided to kick off about it, non-Muslims didn’t care either way – so it was only logical.

      I assume you also know that Muslims actually *want* halal to be labeled – for reasons that should be obvious. So again, the idea that unlabeled halal meat represents the vanguard of some kind of cultural invasion is simply nonsense – it ignores, perhaps wilfully, the fact that it is the sellers of the meat that are not labelling it.

      I think you can probably very easily understand why people who were furious at Islam because British/Western-owned businesses decided not to label halal are being accused of bigotry. Not only is their fury entirely media-generated, it is also directed at an entire group of people that not only are not responsible, but actually agree with them!

      Now, perhaps you should do a little research UKIP’s voting record on the matter of halal labelling, before you start talking about how useless everyone else is.

      • Pam Chan

        Yes I did know that.And if you took time to look at the petition you would see that it clearly states that everyone should have equal rights with regard to deciding whether or not to participate in ritual slaughter. Incidently Steve I married someone from a minority background in the 1960s, I dont need lectures on racism or bigotry from you. You are racing to conclusions without thinking through the points that you are making. If you can find a Sociologist who denies that food is a major vehicle of cultural identity then I would be interested to read their work and how they reached that conclusion. As regard UKIP, they are not in Government. When they are and if they ever are, and they allowed this situation to continue I would be the first to speak out. I have been campaigning on this matter for years, it is against a person Human Rights to not be able to give informed consent regarding involvement in a religious activity. I assume that you would agree with that, so whats your problem? Presumably I should be silent on the matter because you dont approve of things like this being mentioned. Thats an example of intellectual fascism. Tough, I will say what I like. and if you dont like it thats your problem.

        • Steve Cheney

          “Presumably I should be silent on the matter because you dont approve of things like this being mentioned. Thats an example of intellectual fascism. Tough, I will say what I like. and if you dont like it thats your problem.”

          Gosh, for a minute there I thought you might make it through a whole post without declaring that anyone who doesn’t disagree with you want to “silence” you. Oh well, never mind.

          You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but my rebuttals still stand. So I would continue to argue that, while sociologists would indeed agree with you that rituals around food are central to culture, they would probably agree with *me* that they probably don’t mean the same thing if the consumer is unaware that the ritual has taken place. They’re not a participant in the culture.

          I’m not that interested in who you’re married to. It doesn’t actually prove anything. You might as well say that a man can’t be sexist because his wife is a woman.

          With regard UKIP, they are not the only ones. IIRC, the Conservatives in the EU were just as kneejerky in rejecting the labelling of halal meat. I imagine they thought it sounded a bit wishy-washy and didn’t think about it much more than that. Obviously requiring labelling of halal is in everyone’s interest – those who want to eat it, and those who don’t.

          That said, I do wish that people who are being drummed up into fervour over a specific religious type of slaughter that isn’t even that common anymore would channel that energy and enthusiasm in improving conditions in ALL slaughterhouses. Maybe if they pushed for all meat packaging to feature an animated gif of the animal in question being bolt-gunned everyone would be a lot happier?

          I appreciate that this is a big issue for you and has been since before the recent furore; but I assume that, if that’s the case, you’re well aware that the vast majority of people who really really care since The Sun’s big exposé didn’t care even slightly before. I would imagine many of them have been going to curry houses for decades without giving a moment’s thought to the mode of slaughter.

          This is where I feel the sociological argument falls apart. The people eating halal don’t know they’re eating halal, so they’re not active participants in the Islamic culture; the people who *want* to eat halal – who *are* active participants – *want* to know whether what they’re eating is halal. The idea that this is some creeping insidious Islamicisation of Britain ignores the basic fact that it’s not Muslims driving this, at all – it is supermarkets who want to get the busienss of halal eaters without making the effort to package halal meat separately.

          The idea of imparting religion in any meaningful way by food requires knowledge to be conveyed, rather than just protein. You will surely agree that there is no physical trace of Muslimness – a muslon particle or whatever – that is conferred to the meat as a result of halal slaughter. Do a blind taste test with the nation’s greatest gourmands and the nation’s most erudite religious leaders, and I guarantee, they wouldn’t know halal from riba. It is the knowledge of the slaughter that imparts the religiosity; if people don’t know, they aren’t affected by it, at all.

          And, again, I would argue that more knowledge of the slaughter process – halal or otherwise – would be beneficial for everyone. If you were pushing for that, I wouldn’t argue a bit.

          • Pam Chan

            Sorry, thats a none argument, at least the bit of your overlong post I bothered to read. The fact someone is unaware of something that is done doesnt mean that the action is of no significance to their sense of self. Therefore finding out that their food is subject to a religious practice they dont agree with likely to challenge their sense of identity. And peple are suprised when there is an outcry? By this argument you would presumably suggest that if you gave a vegetarian meat in a dish and they didnt know it would be OK, after all its only molecules. How about Sikhs they are not allowed by their religion to eat ritually slaughtered meat so its OK not to tell them? You are in danger of transposing your own value system onto others. Because it doesnt matter to you, its shouldn’t matter to anyone else. Freedom to chose is the central argument here, .Perhaps we should baptise a Moslem baby while he sleeps, after all, it doesnt matter does it, its only water by your logic?. People have right to have their value system and/or culture respected and that applied EQUALLY. At the moment thaey are not given the choice and that is highly disrespectful.

          • Steve Cheney

            “Sorry, thats a none argument, at least the bit of your overlong post I bothered to read.”

            Well if you won’t do me the courtesy of reading my post, I shall not bother to read yours. You have admitted that you won’t listen.

            Regarding your point about whether we should “baptise a Moslem baby”, though: my grandmother had my sister baptised in secret, against her son/my father’s wishes (she was very very Catholic; her kids turned out to be an atheist, a Communist and an Oedipal shut-in respectively – go Catholicism, I guess).

            This made *him* really annoyed, because he saw it as a violation of his choices as a parent by an interfering outsider. However, to my knowledge, it has yet to bother my sister, or force her to consider herself Catholic forever and always – she had her kids well out of wedlock, doesn’t go to church, etc.

            As you say, and as you are right to say: it is only water. It is symbolic water, but that symbolism is not physical or chemical; it exists only in the minds of people who are aware of it. As soon as people don’t know about it, it has no power whatsoever.

            And regarding THIS point:

            “How about Sikhs they are not allowed by their religion to eat ritually slaughtered meat so its OK not to tell them?”

            Perhaps if you had read my “over-long” post, you would realise that I, along with the vast majority of Muslims, actually agree – food that has been blessed by a religion SHOULD be labelled. The supermarkets left halal unlabelled purely for convenience and because, until recently, the majority of non-Muslims didn’t really care. Now they do, so they might as well label it.

            Really, the only people who’ll be holding out against accurate labelling at this point will be people who want to ban halal outright.

          • Pam Chan

            Oh thats fine then, baptise a Moslem baby Christian and see how the parents might feel about that, pop some illicit pork in a Moslem or Jewish persons food, after all their views on the subject dont matter do they? After all you dont see the value in their objections so therefore we should ignore them. And you accuse ME of arrogance? This cavalier attitude to value systems you do not appear to subscribe to is EXACTLY the problem in society, the intellectual fascism I first mentioned. Thank you for exhibiting it so clearly.

          • Steve Cheney

            See, I feel like I absolutely *can* accuse you of arrogance now, because you have once again responded to an argument that you cannot possibly have read.

            If you had read what I had said, you would not be trying to frame my entire argument as “what they don’t know can’t hurt them”. Yes, I have made that argument – but I have also argued strongly that if people *want* to know, they should not be obstructed in knowing.

            As an atheist, I stand by the claim that nothing is imparted by a ritual to anyone who is unaware of that ritual. Whatever the symbolic value of baptism, it is not a physical process that conveys religiosity. Does that mean I agree with it? No!

            I would go further than you. I would say that to involve someone in religious rituals without their informed consent is a mild form of abuse. I would say that this is true whether the child you baptise is the child of Muslims or Catholics. If you think that’s extreme, why should you? Many acts that are innocuous in their physical effects can be criminal if there is the intent to violate or degrade – force-feeding someone, for example. And as we know, the majority of child abuse is within the family. Why should we not call out baptism of a minor for what it is?

            You say, angrily and derisively, that I have “spelt it out so clearly” that I think people should just put up with other people’s rituals. You say this either out of dishonesty or disinterest. I have clearly not said that at all. This term you use – “intellectual fascism” – is merely abuse.

            Since you are probably not going to be reading this post either before responding to it as if you have, I don’t know why I bothered to go into any detail. But for anyone who is: if you read my posts, you can see that I quite plainly did NOT advocate halal being unlabelled. I have simply made the point that it is not Muslims who are responsible for it NOT being labelled – they are actually very keen for it to be labelled – and that sociologists who would agree that food rituals are important to a culture would NOT agree that those rituals impart anything on a person if they are not aware that they are participating in them.

            This does NOT mean that I think people should be kept in the dark; it simply means that, while they have been kept in the dark, no damage has actually been done. As I said, my sister was baptised a Catholic, and that was the beginning and the end of her involvement in Catholicism. So clearly, whatever symbolic value the rite had, it had nothing to do with cause-and-effect.

            I am absolutely clear, in all of my posts, that I believe people should have information. I have been absolutely clear that the packagers and retailers, not “the Muslim community”, are responsible for labelling halal. And I have been absolutely clear that I think they should label it if it bothers people this much.

            Mr Pam Chan is either responding to my posts without having read them – as he has already admitted to doing – or is simply lying because he wants an argument. I agree with him on most things, disputed one or two points, and the result is that he is accusing me of fascism. How can anyone take someone like seriously?

  • John Smith

    The establishment fights dirty. It has not finished yet .. .

  • Gwangi

    Yes, I agree with this. All the main parties (all led by born millionaires of course) are smug, complacent, contemptuous or ordinary people and their lives and worries, constantly basking in the warmth of an assumption that, at least in the case of Labour and the Tories, that no matter what they do, it will be their turn next, or if not next, then at the election after that.

    The possibility however is that UKIP may lead the way to a Lib-Lab pact being in government.

    I also worry that Nigel Farage soon won’t be able to have his daily pint in a local pub – because all the local pubs I know are closing on a weekly basis, it seems.

    I can’t remember the name of the book explaining why this has happened, because of changes made to laws by governments in the 1990s. Any ideas anyone?

    • jon

      No UKIP is doing well because its a populist party with simple crowd pleasing policies.

      • Bill_der_Berg

        There is more to it than that. Disenchantment with the mainstream parties has been around for years, as can be seen by the percentage of the electorate which do not turn out to vote.

        • jon


  • elystan

    Hear, hear. It is deeply disappointing not to say positively shocking how Farage’s remarks have deliberately been simplified and misquoted by the media whose responsibility is to inform not to mislead. Voters luckily are quite capable of judging the issues for themselves.

  • The part about the few voters, virtually identikit politicians and hand picked (by a few hands) journalists was fine.
    I’m not convinced Farage is the most maligned politician of recent times. I think Kinnock, Major and Griffin might have something to say about that. Obourne describes Griffin as ‘grotesque’ in the article. As he is bankrupt due to a (think of another country) hatchet job by the Electoral Commission. he maybe wins the ‘most maligned’ title, though I guess Kinnock and Major are maybe ahead on the sheer volume.
    Mr Obourne himself might have said some things about Kinnock, Major and Griffin.

    • Although he was rather bad internationally (for example, he had a hand in messing up Zimbabwe), domestically, Major was probably the most successful Prime Minister of recent times.

  • Spoodle

    Where is the resistance, amongst the aggrieved and definitely not racist UKIP voters, when the ever-present racist contingent with whom they mingle beneath articles like this start spewing their bile?

    Why do statements like: “third world skunks” and “ugly,destructive non-Europeans who have no right to live in Europe!!!” get up-voted and go unchallenged?

    • Steve Cheney

      Half of them are protest-voters. Of the remaining half, half probably *are* racists; the other half I assume are just so obsessed with the EU that they don’t mind what they have to wade through to get their referendum.

      Either way, you’re right to be shocked, even if it is not surprising.

      • Shiloh

        Protest voting never got a nation anywhere, just look at Italy.

    • jon

      I suspect you are encountering a well organised internet campaign, the trolls and the embittered are out in numbers.

  • Steve Cheney

    The media reporting of the local elections has been ridiculous. The idea that UKIP’s “earthquake” should change anything – particularly for Labour – is just laughable.

    When polled, only something like 11% of UKIP supporters said they voted Labour in 2010; looking at UKIP’s poll results, that’s 11% of 15% that Labour are missing out on. And we’re supposed to believe that they can’t do without it? That they MUST adapt their approach to persuade them to come back?

    UKIP’s plan has always been to force a change in the political landscape while only commanding a minority of the vote. It is deeply anti-democratic. How many times have we heard supporters insisting that Labour – along with the Tories, UKIP and the Greens – need to promise us an EU referendum? A good third of the country don’t want one, and I’m pretty sure still more of those who do want one consider other issues more important, and only really care if the pollsters ask.

    The truth is, the media coverage of the local elections appears to have had one purpose alone: to protect the government. Presenting UKIP as some kind of political behemoth allows them to make the Tories’ defeat by a joke party less humiliating. When you look at the polling of UKIP’s voters, a lot of them are surprisingly left-wing, and seem to be voting out of protest to punish the Tories, rather than out of support for the party.

    Really though, how anyone can read this as UKIP “winning”… I mean, what have they won? Only, I suspect, a few more fat publicly funded salaries in do-nothing jobs for their chums.

    • SteveFusionX .

      “Labour – along with the Tories, UKIP and the Greens – need to promise us an EU referendum? A good third of the country don’t want one, and I’m pretty sure still more of those who do want one consider other issues more important”

      You spoke of “democracy” earlier. Yet you want to deny 2/3 or the electorate a vote on the EU.

      You don’t understand the meaning of democracy.

      Those ex-commie commissioners and “presidents” who make our laws and regulations in the EU are unelected by the people.

      They are voted in by each other, via secret-ballot as President Borrosso famously told us.

      In terms of positive seats won, UKIP came 2nd in the local elections, that was a pretty decent “win” I’d say for a fringe-party.
      Of course no new party can actually gain real control in our archaic first past the post system.
      But even the left-wing, statist BBC recognised how well UKIP have done.

      • Steve Cheney

        “You spoke of “democracy” earlier. Yet you want to deny 2/3 or the electorate a vote on the EU.

        “You don’t understand the meaning of democracy.”

        Actually, if you re-read what I said, and if you know enough about the parties listed, it’s pretty obvious that I’m not saying that.

        What I am saying is that three out of five parties (Tories, Greens and UKIP) promising a referendum should more than enough for the two-thirds of voters who want a referendum to make up their minds. The remaining third is slightly over-represented by the remaining two (Labour and Lib Dems) of the big five parties. But let’s look at it like this:

        At present, 66% of the people can vote for 60% of the parties to support a referendum; and 33% of the people can vote for 40% of the parties to oppose a referendum.

        That’s as close as you can get to representing both groups proportionately. If Labour or the Lib Dems switch to supporting a referendum, the 33% are reduced to 20% of the big five parties (i.e. one of them) and don’t have a choice of options either. Meanwhile, the 66% get 80% of the big five, which is disproportionate.

        I hope that it is now clear that, far from “not understanding the meaning of democracy”, I actually do understand democracy, and that I am merely supporting the need for plurarlity within democracy. After all, democracy without plurality really is just personality politics.

        Of course, you may simply believe that anybody who opposes a referendum just hates democracy flat-out. If that’s the case, I can’t argue with you; it’s a common belief, which I happen to disagree with strongly.

      • Steve Cheney

        Oh, and:

        “Of course no new party can actually gain real control in our archaic first past the post system.”

        That’s completely untrue. If you are a UKIP supporter, I might suggest that you are only saying that it is impossible for a new party to “gain real control” – by which I assume you mean obtain a significant number of MPs – because your party of choice has so far failed to do so.

        Of course, in reality, independent candidates and minor parties *have* gotten MPs. Sure, they’ve only got a few – but UKIP hasn’t got any, despite being much better resourced and having huge media exposure. I’m inclined to say that if George Galloway can win an election then it can’t be that hard, but that’s just baiting you.

        It is perfectly fair to say that a party cannot go from zero MPs to a sizeable chunk of power over the course of one or two elections.

        I would say that it is also fair to say that a party which starts from a position of “what we will do when we run the country” is doomed from the start. UKIP could have focused their resources on getting a few MPs in a few areas by listening to locals, finding out what they want, and doing a good job. Instead they campaign on national-level issues and on positions that can only be acted on by a party that has a majority. That is a great way to tell constituents “you are only a stepping stone for us”, and that quite unsurprisingly guarantees that they won’t get any breakthroughs.

        See, it’s like the claims that UKIP can’t win with the press; they’d be a lot more plausible if UKIP had ever actually gone a week without some stupid gaffe. In the same way, I’d give your claim that the system makes it impossible for UKIP to get MPs a lot more seriously if UKIP were actually using sound political strategies to get MPs. Since they aren’t, it’s hard to say whether they are being hard done by by the system or by themselves.

        What is undeniably true, however, is that for a party to build support takes time and patience, as well as good strategy. It seems to me that you are declaring the system to be stacked against you purely because you weren’t able to run before you could walk.

      • SP

        The other issue that seems to be willfully ignored is that not all council seats were contested.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      Labour or Tory. Tweedledum or Tweedledee. What does it matter?

      • Steve Cheney

        It matters if, for example, you’re unemployed and don’t want to be forced into unpaid labour.

    • SP

      unlike Labours 35% strategy. Get real and stop talking bollocks. The reality is the press has been attacking UKIP because they are what they fear most.

      The rest of the country taking control from the minority in London.

      • Steve Cheney

        The rest of the country = Cornwall? UKIP made more headway in London than in a whole sheaf of other cities, all over the country. This idea that only “the metropolitan elite” dislike UKIP is complete hogwash.

  • jon

    “In reality, it was the British politicians who turned their back on the electorate, not the other way around.”

    Absolute tosh, the public demands tabloid journalism and even broadsheet readers want their own political spin. In this environment where no-one wanted to hear the complexities of any debate the politican had to resort to spin and sound bites in order to even get the attention of the voter. You cannot separate voter and politician, the downward spiral is a two way thing. The politician faces a people who already have decided what they think of what he/she is about to say before it has been said – people have babel fishes in their ears that translate every statement according to their pre-wired predujices fuelled by the bias of their own paper.

    If anyone is truely to blame it is the self serving British press who have little interest in a dispassionate disection of the facts but instead gleefully leap on any story that can further their own political agenda. How dare the press jump on the bandwagon of anti-elite when they more than anyone else have taken it upon themselves to tell people what to think rather than giving the undistorted fact and helping them form their own opinion. It is at its worst in “the SUN says” but this elitist dumb down and skew appoach infests most of the press on all sides.

    Its a two way street, the politician has equally had to adapt to address a public who want the bite-sized version.

    Taking an interest in politics demands more than a single outburts, it means being prepared to take a deeper interest and follow the underlying argument.

    An immediate improvement would be to insist that Question time include a qualified
    statistician to “instruct the jury” when a statistic is being quoted out of context or without the qualifying caveats that put it into context. I am only a degree level educated mathematician but without even knowing the background to the political point being made I can shoot holes in half the statistical statements made because of what they did not say, the important caveats that they have ommitted to include and those are part and parcel of the spin.

    The first step in cleaning up British politics is for the press to clean themselves up and the second is for the voting public to start to say no to simplified or dumbed down rhetoric and to start to demand quality information. It is no longer acceptable for statistics to be thrown around without qualification or challenge – we should probably go as far as to include the National office of statistics to add clarity to all points made and similar points for claims of expenditure or spending on X vs the previous government – the complexity of finance leaves plenty of room for political gameplay but we can at least start to demand higher quality information on all major televised events.

    “One of Britain’s unacknowledged debts to Nigel Farage is the failure of Griffin’s racist project.”

    Try reading through the comments by the trolls on the telegraph UKIP threads to see where some of that hatred and bile has apparently moved to. Until Farage convincingly disavows the nasties on his coat tails people will have their suspicions.

    The moderators on the Telegraph forums have been busy deleting the racial slurs but the more adept trolls have learnt what language they can use that just takes it to the line but not over.

    • John Davidson Jr

      I think youre going to be a very unhappy regressive progressive very soon. Id suggest suicide watch in the coming days. The EU experiment is about to be dissolved! The bloody smoking ban and all the sock puppets along with it and its inglorious JUNK SCIENCE!

    • The masterminds behind the electoral commission’s hatched job on the BNP are seeing the fruition of their dirty work.

    • I like what you say about the press. The broadsheets are worse than Tabloid Entertainment. Its getting to the state where (in a legal way) they could be destroyed.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      “The politician faces a people who already have decided what they think of what the politician is about to say before it has been said”

      Those politicians might not be in Parliament if the voters were better informed and more critical.

      • jon

        In a sane and healthy political system it would be hard to imagine a politician going through all the drudgery and set backs of the formative years of a political career if in some part they were not motivated by a genuine wish to improve the world as they see it.

        The method and the goal may not be universally accepted but that does not mean that the intention was not honourable viewed from a particular perspective.

        A small percentage of the population are pyschopaths and this needs to be taken into account but for the large part I think its safe to assume that most people start for the right reasons as they see it, and that if cynicism sets in then it does so as a result of the process rather than the class of human being known as a politician.

        What we should encounter is only a difference of opinion and perspective and group self interest. In what way should politics be any different?

        In contrast if we encounter disfunction then we need to look at the process that malformed those good intentions and perhaps reflect that fault may lie with us as much as any other. Society as a whole needs to accept responsibility for politics, so that we are finally able to see them as us.

        When you can finally look at a politician and see them as being no different to a teacher or a doctor then you are there. Doctors screw up but the widespread belief is that they try to look after us and do not deliberately compromise our health.

        As long as we see politicians as a different species we are apt to hide our own culpability and point fingers at an ‘elite’.

        In a democracy fault with the system implies fault with the people, the fault may be understandable but it is there all the same. Either we give up on the notion that we have democracy and opt for revolution or we accept that we do actually have a democratic system if perhaps not a fully functioning democracy* and we decide to take on full responsibility for it.

        In essence a well functioning democracy gives you the right to vote but not to complain, if this is not so we can only assume you wish to impose the minority view. This level of distillation of course leads to immediate thoughts of an irrational or vindictive majority but in such case the value system that democrats talk of has already broken down and presence or absence of democracy would no longer help anyway.

        *The thorn of PR is already accounted for in this statement as a workable democracy that does not see itself as a true democracy can hope to become one whatever the definition may be.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          “When you can finally look at a politician and see them as being no different to a teacher or a doctor then you are there”
          There are some similarities. A teacher, say, is there to do the best for his or her pupils; a good MP does the same for his or her constituents regardless of party affiliation.
          The difference is that, as you point out, MP’s are there to represent particular interests. Perhaps a better comparison is with lawyers. Good advocates are those who get their clients off, even if those clients are guilty.

          • jon

            Yes but since that kind of legal process is widespread around the world it is perhaps a reasonable model. On this basis the advocate is acting in good faith as instructed by society and elected leaders.

            The advocate is not corrupted by cynicism provided they do their job as well as they can. However cynical we may feel about a particular person getting off on a particular occasion it is exactly what we asked for, we asked for due legal process and thats precisely what we got.

            Again its about us taking responsibility for the framework of our society and not taking it out on the poor old advocate just because we did not like the outcome on a particular occassion. We will doubtless like the outcome of the same principles applied on another occasion.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            The resemblance to legal advocacy should not be taken too far. A lawyer represents one client or a group of clients with similar interests. An MP represents people with conflicting interests; an MP has party loyalties and is expected to toe the party line; his or party has to look after the interests of its supporters and donors.

          • jon

            But again the politician is working within the framework that we have endorsed – its a democracy, if you analyse the chain of responsibility it falls back on us, even in a case that a non-democratic decision has been made on our behalf the responsibility falls ultimately back on us. The price you pay for democracy is collective responsibility – the reality is we pay people to worry about what we cannot be bothered to think about and then we shoot them when in our view they did the wrong thing.

            If the system is not working then no-one else can fix it but us, we are collectively responsible for its failure.

            As long as we point fingers at others we are missing the fundamental point. Collective decision making which is what democracy aims to be cannot be run by negative feedback and blaming all the time. At some point people have to start making a positive contribution and you can only do that when you are prepared to accept collective responsibility.

            Only someone living in a dictatorship can convincingly blame the system.

            We will not have a happy system until ordinary people stop finger pointing and instead acknowledge their own complicity.

            Take Denmark (I am married to a Dane and have spent a lot of time in Denmark) there are nasties in Denmark and I do not present it as a utopia, however the one thing I do find refreshing is the general view that when Denmark screws up then all Danes have screwed up.

            They are much better as saying “we screwed up” instead of “they screwed up” – its a cultural mindset pure and simple. Then again the Danish queen was known for riding her bicycle in Copenhagen – again a different mindset.

            If everyone agrees you can change anything, if no-one agrees then you have grumpy old men blaming the system for its democratic inaction on their minority view.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            A request for clarification. Are you saying that every voters is responsible for every decision by his or her local authority, national government and by the EU?

          • jon

            Not exactly and its a fine point.

            I am saying that collectively the electorate taken as a group are responsible for every decision taken on their behalf within any representative elected body provided that they still possess the means to change the framework in which those bodies were elected.

            Accepting that in a democracy you are culpable for decisions made on your behalf that you did not personally agree with is also part of the fuller responsibility.

            PR has always been available – if the entire population wanted PR and were prepared to go out Monday morning and sit in the nearest road as a protest then they would have PR. If the entire population want better, more accurate or truthful information they can successfully demand it if they do so in suffciently large and well motivated numbers.

            Democracy is not just something that happens at the ballot box, people fleeing dictatorships also note that in a democracy people can send an effective message any time they choose if they do so in large enough numbers – democracy does not stop and end at the ballot box, it is about engagement.

            This is not a dictatorship, the mechanism may have faults but people collectively have the power to insist on those faults being fixed.

            The only conclusion to draw when the mechanism is not fixed is that not enough people wanted to fix it, not enough people took the trouble to notice it was broken or actually a significant proportion choose not to fix it. Thats the warts and all picture of democracy.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            I agree that voters cannot escape responsibility for decisions taken in their name. Those who voted for Blair knowing of his penchant for invading other countries were risking more of the same; arguably, they were endorsing the invasion of Iraq. The applies all the more where people refuse to take any interest in what they are voting for.

            Nevertheless, the amount and complexity of information on which government decision-making is based must defeat even the keenest amateur politico. That applies with even greater force to the EU.

          • jon

            Absolutely complexity is the issue.

            However the word I come back to is ‘mindset’.

            If I vote Labour but a Conservative gets in then the popular mindset is to disengage any form of positive participation and to only offer scorn and criticism for four years. In addition the popular mindset is to disconnect with any sense of personal responsibility.

            What I actually need to do is to engage just as constructively and positively with the Conservative as I would have done with the Labour candidate. In addition I need to accept responsibility if only in principle for what the Conservative does.

            The principle brings about the mindset and that enables politics to work in a constructive atmosphere of give and take. Partisan squabblings end in mud slinging and spin – this is what we have because it is what we asked for by means of our perchant for the negative behaviour outlined above.

            Its tough to take the blame for what others have done in your name but that is the underlying discipline of democracy – full and absolute responsibility for everything done in your name.

            I do hear it in the language of my wifes friends, “the problem is that Denmark has decided to ….” and in the UK, “the problem is that Labour have decided to …” even the way we choose to express it (WE vs THEM) alters our perspective, its a downwards spiral and corrosive path to partisan, teflon jacket political disfunction.

            Even if we cannot follow every debate or choose to only “pop in” when our particular topic of interest comes into play we can still adopt a more positive position by a change of mindset – even if it is only to recognise – “I am culpable precisely because I recognise the fact that I did not take the time to listen to the debate and I abstained”, even that is an improvement in the political mindset.

            Collective responsibility therefore is not just a practical thing – it is a state of mind that improves the mood of the political landscape.

          • Bill_der_Berg

            That sounds like the kind of approach that would appeal to a Quaker. It is worthy but I can’t help feeling sorry for the MP who finds that thousands of his constituents want to commune with him.

        • Steve Cheney

          “In a sane and healthy political system it would be hard to imagine a politician going through all the drudgery and set backs of the formative years of a political career if in some part they were not motivated by a genuine wish to improve the world as they see it.”

          Actually, I would say that that’s true of our world. Yes, you can make money as a politician, but you can make a lot more money a lot easier in a whole bunch of other ways. Not saying no one goes into politics more interested in the money than the politics, but I would say that anyone who was solely money-focused would probably have more sense.

    • Steve Cheney

      “Absolute tosh, the public demands tabloid journalism and even broadsheet readers want their own political spin.”

      Although if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have any free-market way to express it, since no one is offering it.

  • UKIP is the best thing to happen in British politics “since sliced bread”..period..their continued rise & success due to being the first ever party in history to deliver standby and speak out publically on their policies..without ” fear of rocking the boat”..unlike the major 3 UK parties have done throughout history..”frightened” to speak out what they really think & believe in..NOW in 2014 through the UKIP rise they all either want to form “some sort of pact” with them or tweak their policies to “include” various UKIP policies..therefore all the major 3 are “hypocrites”..they dont believe in..they are/will do purely to try and win back voters..hopefully before the 2015 General Election..yet the UK voting public are “savvy” they know this is not a game of Monopoly..ITS REAL LIFE TODAY..and reflects their future..and finally Nigel Farage is the most down to earth approachable natural MP to emerge out of British politics.. justice should prevail over all the “smear” campaigns against UKIP.. its a disgusting disgrace although “smear campaigns” are usually organised and set up “when one feels threatened”..enough said..

    • I reckon the most likely general election result is an outright Conservative majority.

  • Len Ear

    Since our intellect adapted upon a framework of customs, traditions, and morality, it is less important than the lattice upon which it grew.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    The General Election campaigns are going to be very dirty. I hope that there are not going to be photos of Ed Balls eating a meat pie to show that he is a man of the people.

    • LegalTerms

      Any decent pie manufacturer should run a mile as they attempt to grasp their pasties. It certainly did not help Greggs bakeries. perhaps because they then became known was the choice food of socialist.

      I claim Hollands meats pies to be above all that sort of crap. They do excellent pies not politics.

      • Bill_der_Berg

        Connoisseurs recommend Blair’s Porky Pies.

        • LegalTerms

          with a side order of his special fresh Hypocrisy,

  • Kasperlos

    It’s probable that the rise of anti-EU voters and nationalist parties could have been mitigated had the EU project not gone as fast or as far as it has. The speed and scale at which the Berlaymont mandarins have ursurped powers – even down to town and county level – and wealth to form a unaccountable supranational entity has brought about today’s electoral results. The peoples of the EU were never given a direct referendum vote as to what the basics – read limits – of EU should be, never mind not having elected the supreme leader ‘damp rag’ Van Rompuy. This was a mistake to the eurocrats benefit; without any brakes they ran with the ball whilst falsely proclaiming that the creature they birthed was legitimate, based on an imaginary mandate. Characteristically, the last thing institutions and organisations are is democratic.
    Most citizens don’t know the ins and outs of the politics of their local constituency, and to believe that they have a handle on the workings of the Brussels behemoth is ludicrous. A embryo of a mouse, the ECSC, morphed into an elephant and which may yet find a dinosaur ending if serious reforms to radically reduce the EU’s scope are not taken soon.

  • adrianlithgow

    Thank you for this impressive article, Peter.

  • moiaussi

    Can we please start showing some respect, Peter, and spell UKIP as UKIP not as Ukip. After all we don’t spell BBC as Bbc and EU as Eu do we? even though perhaps we should!

  • Peter_Wilson81

    What’s going on? An article by Oborne – and I agree with every word. Strange days indeed.

  • LegalTerms

    Well done. Better than a Wikipedia entry. Critical but fair.
    Gives credit where credit is due as the EU immigration topic is now clearly on the nations agenda.

    The lack of EU accountablility, the misrepresentation of the content of the Lisbon treaty, QMV, Federalism and consequence on national sovereignty/democracy have yet to be full appreciated by the UK citizenship. Probably to late for any counter reaction.

  • Michael Byrne

    agree with the article. not so much the shrinking of the british state as to shrink it there needs to community supports in place which no longer exist as we are a much selfish society. but i totally agree and that all the major parties arent like the old parties who were concerned with britain socially or culturally. new labour title says it all for me they havent been for ordinary labour people for ages but are hoodwinked for ages. the coubtry has changed and nobody asked for it