Thursday, 15 May 2014

Nigel Farage, Who are you ?

The Euroskeptic UK Independence Party, UKIP, has changed the face of British politics. 

So who is UKIP leader, Nigel Farage?

Former leftie and middle-aged libertarian Martin Durkin asks “Who Are You,” for better and worse.

As my friend says who sent me the link, he is “as close as he is far away.”


  1. UKIP hasn't really changed the face of British politics at all.

    What has happened is this -

    (bear with me as I give a brief UK political history lesson to put things into context)

    In the 1960s the Liberal party focused on reasons for voting for them for which they gained 10% of the vote overall (and around 15% where there was a Liberal candidate).

    The 'Liberal Revival' started by Jo Grimond in the late 50s was very successful in giving a positive liberal program an airing, and attracting a lot of new supporters particularly in England with what was known as "Orpington Man" - young, middle class, forward looking, non socialist, pro business, pro exports, pro modernisation of Britain.

    'Orpington Man' was real; very successful in terms of votes - around 1.5 million throughout England - but not seats, and if you analyse Liberal party support in 1959/64/66/70 it came from positive reasons to vote for the Liberals rather than against someone else.

    There is also enormous anecdotal evidence, which showed up (to the genuine surprise of David Butler) in the Nuffield election studies during this period, of several thousand 'Liberal supporters' not voting at all in constituencies where there was no Liberal candidate.

    In the early 1970s all that changed and the Liberals became a vehicle not only for the 10% of people who vote 'for' them, but another 10% of 'Whinging Poms' who were casting protest votes.

    Because this resulted in votes, donations, members, 'one issue nutter' activists, and seats in Parliament nobody minded very much and Liberals happily championed every popular cause of the protest voters (and often 1 Liberal MP would be championing a cause of one group of protest voters which directly contradicted a colleague supporting another group of protest voters taking an opposite position on the same issue!)

    As I predicted many, many years ago the moment the Liberals actually entered government that protest vote would evaporate - as it did.

    In the last 3 years or so Liberal support has simply gone back to the 10% it always was (albeit 40 years ago) and the 10% of 'Whinging Poms' have now found themselves another vehicle for protesting against everything.

    There are a very small number of people who support UKIP's original ideas and ideals - ie: who vote for them.

    All that has happened in the last 3 years is instead of the Liberals being on 20% and UKIP on 5% (the true believers), the Liberals have gone to 10% (their 'real' support) and UKIP has gone to 15% (their 5% plus the 10% of Whinging Pom protest voters).

    The only person who doesn't realise this, and who thinks 3 million people have suddenly fallen in love with his smile, is Mr Farage

  2. Whinging Pom protest voters I'd protest against the EU every day. Nigel's for making plans.

  3. Hi Greg! nice to see you ....I was not really commenting on specific UK political issues, but giving a psephologist view of where Liberal and LibDem votes have come from in the last 60 or so years.

    Interestingly enough, despite 10% of the votes the LibDems would still win at least 33 seats.

    Add to that a couple of MPs with a high personal vote who may well hang on, and a further 3 seats in the West Country and Scotland which it is hard to see the Tories actually winning; there is also 1 Conservative seat in Wales they are likely to gain.

    Not a bad number of seats for 10% of the votes compared with the 1960s.

    Probably the most interesting LibDem seat will be Berwick Upon Tweed where the long serving MP is retiring, but some doubt whether after 40 years the Tories pick it up despite its place on the 'Electoral Pendulum' (ie: was it always only a personal vote for Alan Beith?) - should be fun to watch!

  4. Well Mr Lineberry, the Liberal Party has had four major transformations since the early 1970s. The first being the Jeremy Thorpe scandal, which removed the party's most capable and charismatic leader, the second being the merger with the SDP - refugees from Marxist Labour, who were themselves less interested in small government and more interested in "social democracy" that positioned the party between Thatcher and hard-left Labour. The third being the Gulf War, which saw the LibDems swing hard left on an anti-war and ultra-green ticket, picking up leftwing Labour voters who were disenchanted with Blair/Brown and lastly the coalition with the Tories, which has chased those voters away. The LibDems have little constituency left, all they rely on are their MPs being exceptionally hard working constituency MPs, but the core vote has shrunk.

    UKIP is another story and has evolved from being a party of Tories disenchanted with Major, and then disenchanted with Cameron, to a menagerie of libertarians, nationalists and conservative leftists, who are united on one point - immigration.

    I was a member of UKIP until a couple of months ago, it now chases the knuckle dragging "your job is at risk because Romanians that are barely literate are coming here" crowd, and promising all sorts of extra spending, even promising Ulster to keep farm subsidies if Britain leaves the EU. UKIP = NZ First run by Rodney Hide

  5. Yes I am aware of all the Scott.

    As I said I was simply giving a psephological perspective - that the LibDems were a vehicle for protest votes and oddball causes for many years, and so their support was always going to fall substantially when in government (which I predicted about 25 years ago).

    That protest vote has to go somewhere, as those people always need to be angry with government about something, and UKIP is where it has gone.

    As you say, from what UKIP was originally it has evolved into protesting and anger about everything (immigration being the issue of the moment) and it is not 'real' support, much the same way Winston First has little 'real' support.

    I suspect there are many in the LibDems - the Orange Book folk - who are quite happy about all this and keen to rid the party of silly policies and left wing nonsense in order to return it to what it was 50 years ago.

    Surprised to read you were an actual member of UKIP, but well, there we are.

  6. Maybe the advantage for UKIP over the older options is the growth of a perceived common enemy - the EU. Its easier to gain support to attack an enemy when its not someone or something home grown.


  7. Mr Lineberry - There is a brief story to it, which I shall not publish. Suffice to say I once had hope, and in a FPP system compromises are necessary, but I've been put off. The LibDem protest vote isn't a vote that is going to UKIP, it is slipping back to Labour. UKIP is attracting non-voters who were put off Labour. Depending how long the momentum lasts, it could turn the election in funny ways. About a third of UKIPs support is ex. Labour

  8. Hi Scott - oh I wasn't making any criticism of that, just expressing surprise.

    I stick to my view that the LibDem game plan probably goes something like this -

    1. They get 10% of the vote and 33 - 35 seats with over 20 left wing loons losing their seats in 2015.

    2. Those that remain are under the control of David Laws and others, leading to the immediate ditching of all loony left policies and embracing the 'Orange Book'.

    3. By the 2020 election the LibDems policies and principles resemble what they were a century ago.

    David Laws is a devious bugger and has filled the party organisation at senior levels with 'his' people; all they need is the exit of left wingers at the election ...("oh dear we've lost 25 seats, now where's that bottle of Champers?")....and they have the party all to themselves....something I am fully in agreement with (as a long term student/observer of UK 'Liberal' history)

    I think everybody involved in UK politics would be delighted if the LibDems were the 'right wing' party, the Tories were centre right (like National in NZ), and Labour on the left.

    This is a bit like in NZ where the loudest cheers if ACT gets 4 MPs would come from John Key - he is salivating at the thought of Jamie Whyte in Parliament (and on TV every night) saying the things no one in National wants to say - so he can look 'centrist' and 'moderate'.

    Visualise the scene:

    September 20th, 8:19pm.

    John Key rings Jamie Whyte to congratulate him on ACT getting 3.2% of the votes and 4 MPs, and casually weaves into the conversation... "Now Jamie, don't forget to mention abolishing welfare benefits and pensions, selling National Parks, privatising roads, legalising heroin and scrapping the minimum wage in your victory speech to the TV audience.." hahahahaha!!


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