Yesterday, I looked at various blogs and the posts and comments, to see what members and non-members thought of the Stoke result. The posts below are published with the permission of the writers, some of whom are UKIP members, some of whom aren’t. They have not been solicited by UKIP Daily. They are unedited and unabridged. The first is by Stuart Beaker who is not a member:
Here are the real lessons from Stoke:
- UKIP can never represent the disenfranchised working classes who have been so brutally betrayed by the Labour Party. It was a fundamental, not simply a strategic mistake, to disavow the basic Right-wing values held by the majority of its own members. The only party that would have been sufficiently attuned to the electorate to take the seat from Labour would have been the one that has yet to exist, led by the Left-Brexiteers like Gisela Stuart and even George Galloway.
- Posturing and cavorting in the manner of a conventional political party is a betrayal of the heart of UKIP, a principled desire for influence over our fundamental dispensation of governance, the heartfelt desire for the re-establishment of sovereignty, rather than a scheming, unprincipled, Machiavellian desire for power in government. UKIP was invaded by second-rate schemers, and Mr Nuttall pandered to them because his own understanding of the party he worked for for so long became fatally confused.
- The point at which dirty tricks – smears, lies, bullying, mobs – matter in a political campaign is the point at which the message is fundamentally misconceived, being based on a mistaken understanding of the electorate. There were plenty of barbs aimed at Mr Snell, but they did not make a difference which counted.
- UKIP needs to return to its true nature, instead of bashing its head against an electoral brick wall. Having seen the face of UKIP at local government level, I would even say that its representatives there are virtually indistinguishable from any those of any other party. In my own area they even backed a ban on fracking, FGS! It needs to find radically new ways to influence the politics of Great Britain, and learn to use its strengths rather than its weaknesses. It must turn away decisively and rapidly from its infatuation with second-rate political chancers, and the vain hope of aping the Labour Party when it embraced the biggest political chancer of the lot, Mr Blair. He was a consummate actor – none of the UKIP hangers-on are that talented.
So the choice now facing UKIP is between a future as a permanently-failed political party, everybody’s laughing stock, or making the colossal effort to lift its head above the gutter, reform its ambitions and examine the best way to further them and represent the heartfelt desires of its core membership – and its potential membership. Stoke is the clearest possible demonstration of the political cluelessness of UKIP – a cluelessness which does a deep disservice to its members. (Stuart Beaker)
Later, I found this lengthy post on a blog, written by ‘Stout Yeoman’ who is known to many readers of UKIP Daily:
On ‘Question Time’ last night [Ed: February 23rd, broadcast just after the polls had closed but before the result was out] an audience member explained why Nuttall was unlikely to win: he was viewed as merely using it as a platform to promote himself. The address in Stoke nonsense, exposed by Crick, was the beginning of the rot.
Nuttall was badly advised. He should have attacked Snell putting his tweets on billboards and calling him out for his claim to be local and proud when he had earlier said he was a Suffolk boy at heart. Others have noted that Nuttall’s entourage have tried to rebrand UKIP as NiceKIP.
The problem at the top of our party is a lack of sound instincts, a lack of courage, and a lack of principle. Nigel (for all his faults) had political instinct in spades. It was immigration that drove the referendum (encompassing concern for identity, preservation of one’s culture etc) and he pushed his message despite the howls of protest and smears, and he never succumbed to the temptation to be nice, to put personal comfort above what the party stood for. Carswell, O’Flynn, Evans, Bickley dream of becoming `mainstream’, to be accepted in polite society, and to achieve that they think we must move to the centre ground. In so doing they ignore the party’s constitution, the party’s history, and the party’s members. If they succeed the party will be lost in the over crowded centre ground. Their lack of understanding, their lack of true UKIP instincts, corrupts their tactical sense.
Radical or `mainstream’ is the defining issue in our party as Nigel so aptly identified in his conference speech, and Nuttall’s future depends on his decision over where he himself places himself on the at spectrum, of where he decides to lead the party.
I (sort of) understood his first act, his first utterance even on being elected leader, of wanting to unify the party. He opted for the ‘bring everyone into the tent’ approach and so the previously sidelined (Carswell, Evans, O’Flynn et al) found themselves in prominent roles. But I increasingly suspect – he said O’Flynn had been giving him the best political advice ever – he is not actually radical himself, not courageous enough to lead a party like UKIP, too emotionally fragile, and too vulnerable to a need to be personally liked. He should have told Crick to just eff off instead of continuing to engage with him, fearful of what Crick might say about him. The story `Nuttall tells Crick to eff off’ would have been worth votes. The weasel-word attempt to deflect Crick lost some. Nuttall failed to understand that UKIP’s success lies in being the bête noire of the MSM (like Trump and Nigel before him), of saying the unsayable etc. That requires a very thick skinned leader and alas Paul is not that.
We must not slip into just mouthing off about Paul himself in the post-mortems and ignore those around him. It is about radical v mainstream. Once that debate is properly framed then at some point Paul (or any leader) will come under scrutiny for his or her position on that spectrum. I hope he comes to see that Nigel has better instincts than O’Flynn et al, that mainstream popularity is a false goal and that he can adapt and discover his inner Trump.
Trump won by talking over the media, by ignoring them, by challenging them. `Nice’ never came into it. It is a huge mistake to appease – the media, muslims or anyone. Speak out loudly for what you really believe, speak directly to people, and forgo this suicidal attempt to move UKIP to the centre, to be NiceKIP.
The one thing that the upper clique will do now is try to stifle proper debate about the soul of UKIP. We must ensure they do not succeed in doing that. (Stout Yeoman)
Finally, below is a comment posted by our reader AJAX on yesterday’s Editorial. It was far too long to be allowed, but the points raised are important and need to be taken on board:
#1. The result isn’t as bad as the Liblabcon/MSM will present it now, i.e. “It’s the end of UKIP”. UKIP came second & was only 2,500 votes off in a Westminster Parliamentary election from taking it, in a constituency that’s been Labour for 7 decades.
#2. There was tactical voting by LD voters voting Labour to keep UKIP out by the look of it, given the publicity/prominence of this event.
#3. It was a mistake busing Nuttall in from Merseyside considering UKIP had an effective local candidate in Mick Harold, who had performed v. well in the same seat in the 2015 GE. Nuttall never shook off the opportunistic interloper feel about his candidacy.
#4. Nuttall is now under a cloud of suspicion with regard to Hillsborough, & things that the MSM have found on his website & past statements, & whether he immaturely exaggerates things for publicity. I don’t think this lost many votes per se, but it gave the MSM an excuse to ignore the ball & play the man, drowning out in the process UKIP’s political statements.
#5. I hear rumours that the campaign wasn’t particularly professionally organized on the ground. UKIP needs to develop a permanent on-standby by-election special ops. team that’s ready to go into action in by-elections at the drop of a hat, no matter where they occur in the country, like the one the Lib Dems had in the 1990’s under Chris Rennard.
#6. UKIP has 2 options to replace Labour as the party of opposition in England & Wales.
a). Gradual development on a piece-meal basis interpolating into Westminster in small increments, as the Lib Dems did from the late 1980’s to 2010.
b). A quick revolutionary sweep into power via a realignment, as Trump has done in the USA in extraordinary fashion, & as the Labour Party did with its destruction of the Classical Liberal Party in the 1910-1920’s period.
The former requires attention to detail, plausible professional presentation, seizing every small chance & patience; the latter requires genuinely a radical philosophical zeitgeist supported by politically revolutionary policies & that captures the public’s imagination. At the moment, Nuttall is talking the latter option, but not backing it up with any substance. What I heard in the election from him was: Bring back Capital Punishment for child rapists, something about being against abortion, Catholicism, support the military, VAT on fish & chips, & “what I never said about the NHS”, all presented by a strange looking man in a scruffy beard, 1950’s NHS issue big thick glasses & a weird ‘bookie at the race-track’ outfit.
This isn’t a serious radical message (or presentational look) to capture the public’s imagination & offers at best option a). If option b). is to be pursued Nuttall needs a re-think of his game-plan & start to really envisage something a lot bigger & bolder – on the proviso that he’s able to do so in the 1st place, which I’m tentatively beginning to suspect now may not be there now.
UKIP also needs to start attacking Liblabcon with real intellectual venom in its public utterances, to get a discontented public listening to it on domestic politics. Peter Whittle seems to sense this, & began to do it over the last couple of weeks, but it was too little too late. May is highly vulnerable from her awful track-record in Government, & handicapped by the fact that she’s philosophical gossamer, yet I’ve heard Nuttall hardly attack her once, in fact the only thing I recall him saying about her is standing in front of tv cameras awarding her “7 out of 10″(!).
The gradual abandonment of confronting the issue of foreign immigration that is becoming apparent under Nuttall’s leadership, with the bogus “Australian points …. etc.” (presented increasingly as an after-thought in speeches) is now noticeable, & Farage’s warning about a shying away from Radicalism being fatal for UKIP’s prospects was well made.
#7. The Copeland result is more worrying with a collapse of 10% from 2015. This heavy fall-back is ominous & is a straw in the wind indicating that UKIP needs to re-configure itself into a domestic political movement sharpish. (AJAX)
I set out this collection of views because they all go to the core of what went wrong in Stoke. Please hand them around your branches and send them to Head Office! There will be another collection of such posts in a later edition.