During the last week we learned that a motion was proposed for Conference, to allow Tommy Robinson to join UKIP. Behind the scenes, members went on the warpath. It seemed that even just talking about such motion was unacceptable. Let’s make it quite clear: this was not – yet – a debate about admitting Tommy Robinson, it was initially a debate about allowing a motion for Conference, i.e. for members, to decide if the NEC should be approached. In the run-up to the NEC meeting on Sunday (9th Sept.), Gerard Batten was reported to back such motion (see here).
At yesterday’s NEC meeting, the Party Chairman Tony McIntyre made clear what would happen:
UKIP Party Chairman Tony McIntyre has come to a decision on allowing a debate at the party conference on whether Tommy Robinson should be allowed to join UKIP. pic.twitter.com/qwalbmEVVU
— UKIP (@UKIP) September 9, 2018
So in good UKIP tradition, members can now decide if they back the motion or not. Let me emphasise again: this is a motion to ask the NEC to make an exemption to the Rule, it is not a motion to admit Tommy Robinson straightaway.
But what, you might ask, does this have to do with the elections in Sweden?
Let me explain: yesterday the Swedes elected a new government, a new Parliament. The results overnight show that neither of the two great blocs in Swedish politics gained a majority. The reigning coalition parties of Red/Green and the ‘reigning’ opposition of LibCon, all associated with a handful of minority parties, achieved roughly 40% of votes each. The Sweden Democrats, described by the Quality Press across the EU as ‘anti-immigration party’ and as ‘nationalistic populists’ at best, as ‘far-extreme-right’ with ‘nazi members’ at worst, gained about 18% and are the third strongest party. Signs are that the establishment parties will again form a coalition, excluding nearly one fifth of the voters, with Red-Green perhaps taking in Yellow. Alternatively there may be no change and Red-Green will govern with case-by-case support from the LibCon opposition.
This result shows us yet again that the Establishment in certain EU countries which went to elect new governments in the past two years is far more interested in keeping their own power and far less with the concerns of their citizens. The pattern has been remarkably similar, from the Netherlands (remember Geert Wilders?) to France to Germany and now to Sweden: declare the members and voters of “anti-immigration” parties as being beyond the pale with whom one cannot possibly enter into a coalition to form a government, declare the concerns of the voters as based on fear solely relying on ‘fake news’. At the same time they repeat the mantra that yes, one must listen to those voters and talk to them and show them that their fears are unfounded while doing precisely nothing about them.
It’s working because the big stick of ‘far-right’ and ‘nazis’ used by the establishment means that many citizens who do see what is going on – after all, burning of cars, ghettos and no-go-zones can’t be overlooked for ever – are still too frightened to be thus smeared.
But reality has a strange way of clobbering people. There are now two countries where this strategy has not worked: Austria and Italy. Why should that be? It couldn’t be because they were hit too hard by ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum-seekers’, to the detriment of their countries, could it? Perhaps Italians and Austrians, having known real nazis, real fascists, in their recent history, can recognise the difference between the past and the present new Parties, and are perhaps not so subservient to their estabishment?
Here in our country we face the same problems – only these problems have been with us for a generation. Our Establishment has been trumpeting the PC memes of multi-culti for years while labelling any who are not singing from that song sheet as racists, islamophobics, far right. Because this has been going on for so long, many voters have recognised that voting for LibLabCon does not bring any change whatsoever and simply stopped voting. Turnout at local elections is generally around 33% – a scandal! – and between 50-60% at GEs. It was only at the EU referendum that we saw a turnout of 72%.
To reach the stay-at-home voters was always one aim of UKIP. So: Tommy Robinson. It is entirely possible that, as he maintains, his membership can bring in not just more members but attract voters who have turned their backs on LibLabCon and on voting altogether. It is of course entirely possible on the other hand that many Kippers see this as betrayal and will leave. Tommy Robinson pointed out that he can attract Labour voters – surely this was once one of UKIP’s aims? I do seem to recall a certain former Leader talking about parking the UKIP tank on Labour’s front lawn …
Given the ongoing mess that is Brexit, given the call for a “Blue Wave” by that former so-called ‘big donor’, for Kippers to join the Tories – that Party whose former leader called us swivel-eyed loons, that Party whose current leader is selling out Brexit – surely we need to think about our election strategies, about attracting new voters?
Thus the question: do we in UKIP play to the Establishment – or do we go out and talk to the actual voters who do not see themselves represented any longer, do we go out to win them? The parties of the Austrian Chancellor Mr Kurz, of the leaders of the current coalition in Italy, Mr Salvini and Mr Maio, were denigrated by their establishment just as Geert Wilders was, just as the AfD and the Sweden Democrats were. Has the sky fallen in yet in Italy and Austria? Would it fall in if we attracted the voters Tommy Robinson can reach?
As events in Germany have shown during these past weeks: trying to keep the lid on legitimate protests by tarring all protesters with the same ‘nazi’-brush, will not work in the long run. I do not understand why so many politicians and journalists cannot see that, by denigrating voters’ concerns as far-right, by pinning the lame label of ‘racist islamophobic xenophobic’ on parties which address these concerns, they are in actual fact preparing the soil for the true nazis. The more legitimate concerns are suppressed and brushed under the carpet the more radical if not bloody solutions will be sought by some citizens.
That is where this may be going. That is what we must prevent. That is why we do need the debate about the motion to admit Tommy Robinson. And that is the ‘Swedish Connection’.