In another sure sign that UKIP has begun to seriously scare what used to pass for the English Establishment, the lead editorial in that Establishment’s former house organ, The Times, has deigned to turn its lofty attention to the party.

It’s leader {behind the paywall so no link}, headlined simply ‘NewKIP’ appeared on the same day that its front page lead story was an interview with party leader Nigel Farage, so it must have received orders from its owner Rupert Murdoch and/or Tory Central Office to turn its magisterial microscope on Britain’s fastest growing political party.

The leader, typical of the Times at its out-of-touch worst, is a small masterpiece of snobbish and patronising condescension, and its tone is that of a feudal landlord addressing a  grumbling group of tenants. It’s actual advice to the party is so comically misplaced as to be worthy of The Times’s nadir as a newspaper in the 1930s when it enthusiastically advocated Neville Chamberlain’s disastrous appeasement of ‘Herr Hitler’.

According to  The Times, in order for UKIP to break out of its fringe ghetto and seriously challenge the Conservative party as the natural party of the Right it needs to ‘seek mainstream approval’ by selecting more women and ethnic minority candidates; and seek support from immigrant groups and all classes right across the country. (Er, UKIP are already doing so as a glance at the candidates for the European elections would testify).

Having achieved that, counsels the paper’s leader writer (whom I strongly suspect may be that arch-Cameroon cheerleader Lord Danny Finkelstein) NewKIP need to ‘moderate its image and appeal to the centre. Perhaps a dynamic young leader, without Mr Farage’s saloon bar image..’ and so on, and so forth. (Dump the only politician with instant voter approval and recognition – yeah, right…)

In other words – and almost incredibly – The Times is advising UKIP to make the same disastrous mistake that has doomed the Tory party and turn itself into a clone of the Camerservatives. Nothing, it can safely be said, would be more likely to lead to the almost instant demise of UKIP than that.

The paper is blithely ignoring the fact that it is precisely the espousal of this catastrophic ‘modernisation’ with itrs attendant and deeply unpopular green, leftie-liberal policies that has destroyed the Conservatives as the formidable election-winning machine they once were and doomed them to irrelevance in wide swathes of the country, alienating their core supporters and driving many of them into UKIP’s ranks in the process.

The editorial winds up by espousing the usual bleat of the Camservatives that a vote for UKIP will guarantee the triumph of Labour – again, ignoring one of the salient political facts  of our time: that it is Labour voters, betrayed by their leaders in the same way that the Cameron clique has betrayed the Tories, who are now streaming  towards UKIP, as the Wythenshawe and Sale by-election next month is likely to underline.

UKIP should be heartened by this piece of patronising piffle – as politically purblind as it is insufferably arrogant – from what was once the ‘Top people’s newspaper’: The Times’ alarm is yet another mark of a political class that is on the run, and it is UKIP that is on their case and snapping at their tail.

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