Since the beginning of the European elections campaign, not a day has passed without some vicious new assault in the media on UKIP. But as we've seen, far from denting UKIP's popularity in the polls all this free publicity - bolstering its status as the rebel-outsider, none-of-the-above party - has seen it go from strength to strength.
The people who aren't part of this Establishment, however, not remotely, are the people in the country at large. They feel, for any of number of reasons, that they have become disenfranchised; that the Establishment looks after its own interests but not theirs.
For some the problem is political correctness; for others it's immigration; for others it's the plethora of regulations over which they feel they have no democratic control regardless of which political party is in power; for others still it's the sense that, despite this blessed recovery we keep reading about in all the newspapers, their standard of living appears to be going down.
It's not so much what UKIP stands for that is attracting so many voters as what it stands against: everything they hate.
And what is the embodiment of everything they hate? The Establishment, of course. No wonder the media arm of this Establishment is as proving as discombobulated as the political wing of this Establishment: they're all in the same boat.The problem of course with being "anti" anything is that it only gets us so far and then a glass ceiling is always firmly hit. Eventually people will want to know what a party actually stands for. That requires well-worked out policies and detail.
In 2012 Delingpole wrote this (my emphasis):
Look at its manifesto. It's the most reasonable, people-friendly manifesto of any political party in Britain. You might quibble with the details: has its championing of grammar schools been rendered irrelevant by Gove's education reforms? Isn't it fence-sitting, rather, on fox-hunting by declaring it a "local issue." But by God, if we could get a government in power which ticked even half the boxes on UKIP's wish list Britain would once more become a land well worth living in.Despite Delingpole's praise, this manifesto would subsequently be one that Farage denounced as "drivel". 'Dellers' betrayed like many before him.
So with this in mind it's interesting to note that like many of us ex-Ukippers Delingpole seems to have experienced the well-trodden journey of UKIP membership from hope, to frustrations to then despair - he has somewhat belatedly noticed there is something not quite right:
I'm nervous about UKIP for different reasons. My concern is that if they're not careful they're going to end up just like all the other members of the political class in the LibLabCon bubble - more interested in the pursuit and retention of power by telling special interests groups whatever they want to hear rather than in ideological principle.
The other is the apparent lack of anyone like Margaret Thatcher had — a Keith Joseph, say, or a Norman Tebbit — with the ability to underpin party policy with some intellectual and ideological heft.
What, pray, is the point of voting Ukip into power if all you’re going to get is another bunch of career politicians on the make, aping the cynical, vote-catch opportunism of the usual suspects from LibLabCon? You might get more grammar schools here, fewer wind farms there, but without a clear direction of travel you’d just get another party prey to the inevitable temptations of shoring up its power base with eye-catching initiatives aimed at grasping special interest groups.Delingpole has spotted what a number of us have; that UKIP is bereft of substance and detailed polices (there's always always a manifesto in preparation) and that the leader is essentially trying to "wing" it.
Another (of so many) examples is Farage not bothering to campaign in the Newark by-election today but instead he has been photographed yet again on the booze accompanied yet again with another female.
Despite legitimate criticisms no doubt, as Compete Bastard notes, Delingpole's article will be "spun" as another example of "sour grapes". (how many more examples do there have to be?):
[Delingpole] is obviously out to get Ukip, and it's all just sour grapes because he didn't get selected to be an MEP.For a party that's been about for 20 years it still doesn't have a detailed policy on how to exit the damned EU project. Therefore Autonomous Mind has it so right when he says:
This blog has long considered itself a critical friend to UKIP, despite the attacks by those who consider themselves virtuous defenders of the cause. But if UKIP looks set to hamstring the prospects of the anti-EU side by acting as a repellant rather than a recruiter, then the friendship has to end and UKIP has to be taken on and defeated.
I wish there was an alternative to this. But there’s far more at stake in a referendum than there is in preserving the ambitions of Nigel Farage. UKIP’s failings must not be allowed to drag down the chances of the anti-EU side of winning a referendum.
I am often asked just what my agenda is as people cannot believe I want to leave the EU, but remain critical of UKIP. It is very simple. We need UKIP to sort itself out and shape up, or we need to get it out of the way so we can take on and defeat the Europhiles.It is no coincidence that so many go through the same experiences. So while Farage goes bonking and boozing around Brussels on the taxpayer, the heavy lifting of how to actually extricate ourselves from the monstrosity is left to others.
Despair and betrayal is an all too familiar pattern with UKIP. And sadly 'Dellers' is not immune either. Who to vote for is the cry. If not UKIP who? The answer is simple - the Lib Dems, currently the outcome will be precisely the same.