Saturday, 4 May 2013

Anger And Apathy

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget, 
For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet. G.K. Chesterton
I attended the local election count yesterday as a UKIP candidate. Standing as a paper candidate I never expected to win and I didn't... coming 4th with 167 votes. However in my ward the Independent won against the long standing Tory incumbent with a victory of fewer than 100 votes. If the view is that UKIP take away Tory votes then it could be argued I cost him the seat, and overall Tory control of the Council, which they one seat. It's amazing what a paper candidate can do.

This was certainly his view; his taking defeat badly meant I was left in no doubt of his opinion. He apparently subsequently acted in a manner to fellow UKIP members that was described by one as "graceless and ill mannered", his actions clearly an embarrassment to his fellow Tory colleagues.

His behaviour gave me reason to be highly amused. He deserved it. In a safe ward, he took it for granted - I never once in 10 years seen him nor been canvassed by him prior to this election, unlike the independent candidate. Yet they were worried, deeply worried and had good reason to be, so in the last few weeks I've been canvassed twice, had copious leaflets pushed through my door, and even had the local Tory MP canvassing. In other nearby areas the Tories were literally busing party members in from other parts of the country to help. Illustrating beautifully what the threat of losing power does to concentrate the minds.

Thus UKIP has good reason to be cheerful this weekend, despite being labeled as "fruitcakes", "clowns" and "goodness knows what else" they are now being taken seriously as a political force. With that though will undoubtedly be more scrutiny particularly by an establishment, which UKIP is a challenge to, that consists of a largely hostile media.

Embarrassing behaviour (true or otherwise) of some elected UKIP councillors will be published in the coming weeks and months. It is inevitable in large part because UKIP has arrived at this position mainly by circumstance rather than competence. Its voter capacity is outstripping its ability to administer it effectively. I mean that as no slur on the many capable hard working members, but as a reflection of Nigel Farage's admission that UKIP has no structures in place - no due process - to vet candidates. For a party that wishes to run town and county councils, particularly budgets, that's not good enough.

Yet in many ways to scrutinise UKIP in this way is to miss the point - a common trait amongst the establishment. What is clear is, as Autonomous Mind argues, the public anger is deep. After all who are going to take lessons from an establishment who cover up for pedophiles, hack dead teenage mobile phone messages, steal taxpayer's money to build property portfolios and much more besides.

Instead the message is clear that voting mostly for a bunch of amateurs (and I include myself in that), led by a leader likes to be photographed getting inebriated is a better option than the current lot. It is also a warning of behalf of the biggest party in Britain - none of the above. As Richard North notes, the real message is the voters, via very low turnouts, are continuing to retreat from the political process altogether. UKIP therefore acts as a warning beacon albeit a flawed one.

The English have historically been slow to anger in terms of major public disobedience but when they do, look out.

Cameron et al are on notice...


  1. Well done..they don't seem to like it up em !

    1. No they don't...great ain't it?

    2. Certainly is. People seem to be waking up and seeing the LibLabCon's as a big club and dumping them in favour of SNP/ independents/ UKIP etc

  2. The problem, it seems to me, is that there is no other game in town. The Harrogate Agenda is much too sophisticated and esoteric to catch on in today's world. What else is there - emigration is no use as the rest of the world (at least those parts that would welcome me) are at least as bad?!

    My consolation is that in 1,000 years it will just be ancient history. My amusement is in watching those who consider Farage of trifling importance (probably true, of course) spending vast amounts of time and pixels telling anyone who will read how irrelevant the man is and how little worth our attention (and, no, I don't count AM in the group of persistent cavillers)!

    1. The six demands are part of a movement, which in some ways UKIP is part of. I believe some demands will eventually be adopted - particularly; a referendum on budgets and an elected PM.

      I'm not entirely convinced they all will. Chartism is a classic example, it took many many years and even then not all were properly adopted.

      What is clear though is there is a massive void and it's one that needs filling and Harrogate is part of that.

    2. Exactly, we have the right to bare arms, even before the Yanks! long as you're a Proddy.

  3. p.s. I meant TBF rather than AM within my last brackets: still you can see where I spend the odd 5 minutes!

  4. Congratulations, TBF. It seems you made a difference and that's something to be proud of.

  5. As you say, TBF, it's amazing what a paper candidate can do. The point of elections has always been "to turn out the old rogues and put in the new" and yours was not an insignificant part.

    I stood for UKIP in the 1999 EU elections and that Europlastic specimen, Chris Heaton Harris, took me aside and berated me for standing because "it could cost us seats". I said that was the idea but, if he would endorse leaving the EU as an aim of his campaign I would withdraw and work for him. He didn't take up the offer but is now involved, I think, in the fraudulent "Fresh Start" group - people who want a Eurosceptic reputation whilst desperately hoping for a phone call from Mr. Cameron.

  6. Oh, come on, what did he do, what did he say?!!!