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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Would you vote for a party with no stated policies or manifesto?

I mean yes, we know that in this era of coalitions and compromise, manifesto pledges are not what they once were. But it’s often in the details that you can get a proper grasp of what a party truly stands for, as well as how serious they are.

This is an especially vital issue for parties that have never held office, and so have no real track record.

In the last UK general election, I was torn between four parties – the Lib Dems, Greens, Tories and Labour all had something major I could agree with, some major things I disagreed with. Hell, I could find something to agree about in the manifestos of all parties – yes, including UKIP (support for pubs and the beer trade) and including the BNP (they may be vile racists, but they had a smattering of economic policies that weren’t totally insane, probably a Mosleyite legacy).

So now that UKIP has disowned its entire 2010 manifesto and Nigel Farage has openly stated that his party won’t issue a new one ahead of May’s European Parliament elections, where does this leave prospective UKIP voters?

OK, so we know they don’t like the EU and want to leave, but what alternative do they propose? What steps will they take in the meantime to work to lessen the malicious impact of Brussels? Which policy areas in particular do they see as most pernicious? Will they do anything active to reform the EU institutions and laws they see as most harmful to the UK? To flesh out partnerships and deals with other European parties to gain favourable terms and conditions for their proposed Brexit? What do they see as the key battleground issues? Where do they see potential for cross-party support?

Or are they merely saying “elect us to the Brussels gravy train we profess to hate so much, and trust us”? Because if so, their MEPs’ track records don’t offer up much cause for UKIP supporters to give them that trust.

In the current EP term they’ve seen multiple defections and suspensions, just as they did in the previous one, and the roll call of UKIP MEPs isn’t an especially auspicious one – 6 of the 13 UKIP MEPs who were elected in 2009 have since fallen out with the party for various reasons, including former EU whistleblower Marta Andreasen, the only one they had who it was possible to respect. In the previous parliament it was much the same story – remember Robert Killroy-Silk‘s challenge for the leadership and then setting up of the short-lived rival Veritas, or the conviction of UKIP MEP Ashley Mote for benefit fraud?

And that’s not to mention their dire attendance records.

All that said, Farage is entirely right to ditch UKIP’s 2010 manifesto, because it was packed full of the kinds of bizarre policies you’d expect from a joke group, not a serious us contender. Not to mention the unpleasant anti-Muslim tone that permeated the thing under the temporary leadership of Lord Pearson, a man who seemed even more of a caricature than Farage himself – only in Pearson’s case, an infinitely less likeable caricature.

However, while scrapping stupid policies is to be welcomed, not committing to replacements is nothing short of dishonest, especially after the various UKIP controversies of recent years, from homophobic election leaflets to racist rants about Nelson Mandela to “send the lot back” anti-immigration comments, to blaming floods on gays, to burka bans to banning teaching about climate change in schools, to incredibly vague tax policies.

It’s entirely possible UKIP supporters want these all to be party policy. It’s entirely possible they’re planning to vote UKIP because they think they still are, or will be again. It’s quite possible they see UKIP merely as a protest vote and don’t really care what their policies are.

The only thing that is certain is that it’s entirely dishonest of the party leadership not to come clean about which policies it is and is not committed to fighting for. And with so many policy flip-flops, how long until they change their minds again?

We know roughly what UKIP is against (even if the details are vague), but what is it actually for?

12 Comments

  1. Pingback: @dnotice2012

  2. Pingback: Ralf Grahn (@RalfGrahn)

  3. does UKIP electorate actually care what they stand for ?
    or do they prefer to know what UKIP stand against ?

    if you believe that UKIP attracts those voters who feel marginalised or disgusted at traditional parties, then most of their vote is more like a giant middle finger to Tories/Labour/LibDem, than any push for reform.
    it’s quite depressing, since they do tend to think that voting is more about a “tradition” or “routine”, than about framing policy for the common good.

    and of course, there is the core group of UKIPers who have been aptly described by the Eton toff of a prime minister …

  4. It’s one of the most amusing things in EU politics – that the actual politicians and MSM are 10,000 miles behind the curve.

    So in thrall to their perception of their own superiority are they that they don’t realise Jo and Jane Public have long ago disappeared over a different hill.

    In good times we could all tolerate the incompetent EU fools but when austerity hits we all raise our eyes to the glass palaces of Brussels and wonder why they carry on as they do.

    Once people’s eyes settle on the six-figure salaries, chauffeur driven cars, and exotic junkets they all start to wonder who this construct is for.

    UKIP, and they won’t like me saying it, are attracting a very large middle digit from the disenfranchised.

    I have been a UKIP member ( I despise the EU with a passion) but I am amazed at the crass stupidity and lack of coherent thinking of Farage and some of his closest friends.

    I have two alternatives – vote for UKIP or don’t vote at all in the EU elections.

    My preferred choice is not to vote at all, which indicates to some that I am quite happy with the direction of the other parties – or I vote for UKIP and register my protest.

    UKIP, in a way, is the UK’s Beppe Grillo moment (Though I know that they are most probably poles apart)

    • Spot on. The contempt, in the age of total information access, mind you, that the msm and politicians have is breathtaking.

      They are so dislocated from reality it would be laughable if not so damaging to this Nation.

      UKIP is an insurgency that is getting many plutocrats feeling rattled – why? They’ve been busted

  5. Pingback: @EuropeanCitizen

  6. I think you are missing the point why issue a manifesto when even if you win you will have no way of fulfilling your promises.

    In the EU parliament no one country can control what is put on the policy table as that is in gift of the Commission.

    In any case we already know that UKIP stands on a platform of leaving the EU just as we know the other parties stand on a platform of staying in. In short UKIP are being honest the other parties if they issue a manifesto are not.

  7. Pingback: Does UKIP need a manifesto? | Politics at Surrey

  8. Pingback: Andrea Glorioso (@andreaglorioso)

  9. Pingback: Does UKIP need a manifesto? | Politics @ Surrey

  10. You will really have to do better than this. UKIP has a clear and unambiguous message.

    1. Believe in real democracy

    2. Give the British people a referendum – in or out

    3. Make it clear that you want out by voting UKIP in May 2014.

    The pro EU mob are disingenuous to be polite. They advocate staying in a rotten marriage riddled with thievery, extortion, lies, bullying and domestic abuse.

    UKIP – whatever you try and spin or smear – as an opposition party does not need detailed policies.

    It is an insurgency to to plutocrats and they are very very afraid.