Sunday, 23 March 2014

Farage Compares UKIP To Millwall Football Club

Autonomous Mind today highlights the contrast in coverage of the Conservatives and the coverage of UKIP. The UKIP’s stories clearly concentrate on the antics of leader Nigel Farage which is hardly surprising given that the man is the party and the party is the man.

As a consquence it’s not UKIP policies that take precedent but Farage himself still having to justify and deny allegations yet again about his private life – all the while consuming yet more copious quantities of alcohol.

Now it’s true that the Mail on Sunday article portrays a far from sympathetic tone, for example this particular paragraph:
[Farage] had no time for the homeless man who tried to sell him The Big Issue, ignoring him completely.
After the bedraggled toothless chap eventually gave up and trudged off, Farage quipped: ‘That’s the first Big Issue seller I’ve come across for a while who isn’t a Romanian immigrant!’
He doesn’t ‘do’ compassion.
In another article we have this:
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has come under fire for using taxpayers' money to pay for a swanky penthouse suite in Brussels.

The Euro MP, who has previously criticised the European Union for its wastefulness, is renting the luxury property in one of the most exclusive addresses in the Belgian capital.
In many ways it comes as little surprise that newspapers adopt a hostile tone. When a party aims to overturn the establishment status quo in terms of EU membership, the cosy alliance of the three biggest parties and the media’s self-interest in maintaining that status quo, any upstart is undoubtedly going to be treated unfairly.

The crucial strategy when fighting the status quo is to become grudgingly respected if not liked. This can be achieved by dealing with policy detail, establishing oneself as an authority on a subject (in UKIP’s case the EU) and - in contrast to others - being seen to be above board in honesty; for example not employing your wife, and mistress, on the taxpayers' expense.

Thus that UKIP would be subjected to smears is no surprise. However shallow smears can always be conteracted by substance. Without substance empty rhetoric is no defence.

The crucial point with UKIP is how much are smears and how much is true? Ironically we turn to Farage to answer this question. He does so by comparing UKIP to Millwall Football Club:
‘We’re like Millwall Football Club, “Everyone hates us and we don’t care!”
Firstly I would suggest that as a leader of a political party it's not entirely conducive to revel in the principle of "everyone hates us, we don’t care". It tends not to result in many votes.

It's true that Millwall's famous chant of: "no-one likes us, we don't care" is a masterpiece of defiance, in tune I guess with some aspects of UKIP which Farage indulges in. Yet conversely it is also a masterpiece of irony. If Millwall supporters truly didn't care, their club would not be defined by a chant that said they didn't.

But more importantly why has Farage compared UKIP to Millwall at all – a club that is associated with thuggery and violence? Even those of a non-football persuasion are fully aware of Millwall’s toxic reputation. Is Farage suggesting they’re all angels simply misunderstood?

We do not doubt that many Millwall fans are normal law-abiding supporters, unfortunately tarnished as they are by their club's reputation. Yet as a club they didn’t earn their infamy through unfairness.

No-one sat looking at a map and stuck a pin highlighting South Bermondsey saying let’s just pick on these chaps for no reason. Millwall earned their reputation. They can complain all they like that they are singled out but a mirror is sometimes useful. Yes their coverage is often unfavourable but a significant number don't do the club any favours.

So in many ways Farage's analogy was correct in a way he probably did not intend. Many of those in UKIP are hardworking volunteers let down by a minority. With no exit plan, a lack of a decent website, a party bereft of policies that are not “drivel” is it any wonder that the media have little else to concentrate on?

So a great deal of one of the Daily Mail articles contains Farage having to deny that he had an affair with Annabelle Fuller:
Has he had sex with Annabelle Fuller? ‘I don’t think we should go into the grisly details.’

Has he slept with her? ‘No.’ Has he kissed her? ‘No. When you work in a tight team, I understand why people might get the wrong idea.’
Why hadn’t he denied it immediately in the European Parliament? Farage falls back on his best weapon: wit. ‘There’s an old saying, if you pick a fight with a chimney sweep you get covered in soot!’
A denial despite that this has been an open secret in the party for years and Fuller herself has openingly boasted about said liason to UKIP delegates in the past. Farage is being less than candid here. Ultimately regardless of Farage's unconvincing response the entire episode detracts from any kind of important issues that UKIP might campaign on. His personal life, paid for by the taxpayer is becoming a hinderance.

And still there is much more to be released about Farage and his entourage. That they have not been made public in media is down to use of Carter Ruck. Thus we suspect that some of the current "smears" are schadenfreude on behalf of journalists who have been on the receiving end of Carter Ruck when investigating numerous alleged misdemeanours - resulting in non-disclosure settlements. For some journalists, with fingers burnt, it's become personal.

Like Millwall, there are smears and facts – and often the former depends heavily on the latter. Criticising those that point out that the emperor has no clothes does not necessarily make them incorrect however uncomfortable the truth.

In the spirit of Farage we'll use another football analogy - we may criticise the manager if he's not up to it, but to do so does not make us a lesser supporter of our club.


  1. As UKIP became a threat to the cosy parliament/media club they were bound to get the full smear treatment. That was always going to happen whether the stories were true or false.
    UKIP's real problem is their total lack of policy regarding their reason to be, ie getting us out of the now openly fascist EU. Farage's failures have been laid out for all to see here and on other sites for many months.
    Those of us that want to support UKIP are left with less and less hope on a daily basis.
    So many open goals missed and so little meat on their bones to see themselves through the coming onslaught. Farage is beginning to really piss me off.

    1. Yes, it's the lack of substance which is the problem.

    2. Indeed, the lack of substance is truly frustrating. Without substance UKIP will hit a glass ceiling (if they haven't done so already) in terms of popularity.

  2. The strategy is simple - if you can't win the argument then you don't engage. You simply rubbish the people making the argument.

    At the risk of another football analogy "If you can't kick the ball, kick the man who's got it!"

    1. We live in an age of personality politics. The man with the ball has to make sure he can't easily be kicked.

      However, I don't think that Farage's carrying on and boozing, much less dismissal of beggars, counts for a fig.

      What's much more limiting is that UKIP don't have a consistent and different set of ideas which they refer everything back to and which is fundamentally threatening to the existing parties.

      The Labour Party had that in its early days. I don't think they were good ideas and they were shown to be wrong by history, but they were a consistent set of ideas it stuck to and interpreted everything in terms of.

    2. Agree Cosmic, though would say that drinking per se is not an issue but it is if you increasingly become perceived as a drunk. Competence then comes into it.

      There are also many who can testify that Farage's alcohol consumption interferes with his ability to do his job

  3. I think Cosmic has it in relation to the Labour argument - Labour evolved out of the unions and formed a party to represent working people - especially manual workers at the bottom. Ah, memories.

    The UKIP as a campaigning group were set up to get us out of the EU - but as political party they are trying to be all things to all men - no different to the other crowd.

    Certain sections of the electorate, and i'm thinking of Maggie's working class conservatives, might go along with Farage's free market ideas, but ex BNP voters attracted by his anti-migrant worker policies will not be too impressed by Farage's opposition to water nationalisation.

    I know it's a minor point but it seems to sum up the lack of a philosophical base - there has to be a substance to our politicians.

    1. Labour's class war/socialism had a ready and waiting doctrine to run with in Marxism. It was already known and understood. Have nots - good, haves - bad. Conservatism, libertarianism etc allow free thinking and diverse opinions. That will always make it difficult to get full agreement.

    2. Labour's class war/socialism had a ready and waiting doctrine to run with in Marxism. It was already known and understood. Have nots - good, haves - bad. Conservatism, libertarianism etc allow free thinking and diverse opinions. That will always make it difficult to get full agreement.

  4. All this stuff about alleged infidelities is boring in the extreme (I'm not defending Farage, who admitted a tryst with a Latvian woman in the Mail On Sunday).

    Some of us prefer to discuss the politics of the EU, and it is no coincidence that papers that are uncritical of Cameron's faux renegotiation are very critical of Farage on the thinnest grounds.

    It seems a question of 'Can't get the ball, get the man'. And it might rebound. Mae West welcomed any publicity, and all the negative publicity about the late Amy Winehouse in 2006/7 actually propelled her towards the best selling album of the year.

    OK, UKIP isn't topping short term polls, some by known rigged (sorry 'weighted') pollsters. But I predict the tide will turn in their direction when the public starts discussing the elections seriously in mid-May.

    1. Completely agree on Farage's bedroom hopping antics. However, his hypocrisy on employing family when he said he wouldn't and even railed against people who did, is more relevant to his character flaws. More pertinent still are the allegations relating to the use of taxpayers' money. While shagging around might be set aside, ripping off public funds - if proven - is an altogether different matter. After Ashford, there could be substance in it.

      Moving on, some people do indeed prefer to discuss the politics of the EU. If only Farage was among them more often.

      But he sees votes in his anti-immigration rhetoric rather than the EU. Now he has hoovered up most of the former BNP vote he is wondering why the polling numbers have either stayed flat or fallen back. The problem is people don't want to be seen as mean-minded on immigration, but can't see what if anything else UKIP has to offer.

      As Anon said above, this highlights the lack of a philosophical (intellectual) base. Farage is running around chasing votes rather than presenting a vision people want to get behind.

    2. 'People don't want to be seen to be mean-minded on immigration'.

      The way I'd put it is that most people are galled by unending large scale immigration and the prospect of even more to come.

      Friends regard London as 'a foreign country' now and very respectable people are so fed up that they have stopped saying 'I'm not racist but' and become more direct. .

      Even the more timid want to have their cake and eat it. They don't want to be thought of as 'extreme', but well, they have had enough. Miliband, Cameron and May know this and have played up, but just won't deliver.

      Farage is clued-up to know that a tougher UKIP stance on immigration swells the vote, and to be honest, if you want to get out of the EU, you don't miss opportunities to boost your vote.

      UKIP are on the right side of public opinion, just as they are on wind turbines, road pricing, 'gay marriage', 'human rights' from the ECHR etc, and will continue to benefit from the Lib-Lab-Con parties' homage to PC and lack of credibility.

      UKIP do seem to have a vision of a less regulated, lower taxed Britain where there is free speech, but are taking the time to articulate it and cost policies.

      They have actually learned from 2010 and the wishy-washy uncosted manifesto. They have steadied the ship in other directions even if their organisation can be patchy. If they don't implode in the next 6 months, I think that they could actually be a credible alternative in 2015. A lot can still happen - don't judge just by the media and the main website.....

    3. Anon,

      I don't think it's particularly important whether their policies are costed or not, although that obviously helps.

      It's more a question of how all these things, objecting to wind turbines, ECHR human rights, anti-immigration etc, all fit together into a wider scheme, which explains how the problem came about and what they are proposing to do about it. They have to be able to articulate that scheme, which they are trying to do by calling it common sense. But saying things are common sense, without explaining what exactly they mean, is something of a cop out.

      For instance, their position on gay marriage seems to have been a bit inconsistent, apart from being vaguely not very keen.

      Until they can do that and explain how all these things fit together and could be fixed by their general view of the world, and all linking back for the need for independence, they are much in danger of becoming a home for disassociated protest interests of one sort or another.

      The important thing is not their specific policies, it's the ideas and values underlying those policies.

      I'd argue that an obvious thread in all of this is that no one damned well asked, e.g. about mass immigration.

      When you look at things like the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty and mass immigration, they were advanced exercises in avoiding asking.

  5. The main website is the shop window, and it will be judged by what it puts in the window. The party has to get that right. For you, Mr Anonymous, to suggest that it should not be judged by it is laughable. How else do you think it will be judged by ordinary people?

    1. Exactly Richard. The website will be one of the first places to go to find out more info - if it looks amateurish it will put people off.

      A classic example is local branches, when I first joined - eager to help - trying to find mine was a fiendishly complex task. It is little better now – I can’t find (quickly) my local branch via the main site. Compare this to the Green’s website. It was easy…

  6. The truth is always a defence so you must have some evidence, hence Carter Fuck as Private Eye calls them can be safely ignored. No evidence; then is it true?

    1. Stories have been circulating for years about irregularities and possible criminality concerning major figures in UKIP.

      Many people have doubts that the explanations of what happened regarding the Ashford Call Centre were entirely satisfactory.

      Despite suspicions, no evidence has turned up which witnesses would attest to in court.

      Mr. Farage would be acting quite properly seeking legal redress and by retaining Carter Fuck, for instance, to defend his good name were such claims made and couldn't be backed up by evidence which would be credible in court, leave alone triumph in cross examination. He would naturally seek exemplary damages were anyone to choose to besmirch his good name in a reckless and unprovable way.

      Now, Mr. Farage as a public figure, and even a controversial public figure, has to accept that his position will attract harsh and sometimes unjustified criticism. But there's a line to be crossed in accusing him of criminal activity, which should of course, properly result in a criminal prosecution were it shown to have a strong suspicion of being well-founded.

      There's little question that Mr. Farage is a controversial public figure and has indeed courted controversy. For instance, the statement attributed to Mr, Farage, "everyone hates us, we don’t care", is hardly the sentiment most people would assume Messrs. Cameron and Miliband would be happy to embrace concerning themselves or their parties.

      Nonetheless, as a controversial public figure, it might have been wise for Mr, Farage to go to extra lengths to ensure that his actions left no scope for misinterpretation in terms of impropriety. He might have supposed that there would be political enemies who would intimate that there was dirty laundry or encourage others to do so.

  7. so much hate about farage very childish