Sunday, 5 March 2017


Isn't the Farage/Carswell spat a hoot? Ukip's only MP attacked and threatened with excommunication by the former leader; a major donor and former member of the party aims for Carswell's deselection so that said donor can run for the seat in 2020. Great news for the Tories, as the movement which once threatened to undermine their base implodes and reveals its internal contradictions.

The Old Ukip was founded on the basis of a libertarian constitutionalist idea. The state was too big, too interfering and could not be tamed because so many decisions were delegated to Brussels. There was a democratic deficit and the new decision-makers were too statist in their outlook. This was the Ukip of retired colonels and rural blue-rinsers; former Tories who thought the Tories had abandoned traditional views.

New Ukip thought it could popularise its constitutional cause by rallying support from people who usually wouldn't care in the slightest about constitutional matters. The genius of Newkip was to find an issue which was a result of the constitutional malaise but which could be explained in terms that "ordinary" people could get to grips with. Newkip found that in the immigration issue.

The trouble was that Old Ukip never cared about immigration. The Douglas Carswells and Devils Kitchens of this land were not against people coming from anywhere in the world to share in Britain's strength and success. They simply wanted a strong rule-of-law system with a small state and low taxes. So long as rhe system was robust and laisser-faire then the rest was gravy.

These contradictions became abundently clear during the referendum. Ukip and Leave forged a coalition of constitutional libertarians and out-and-out racists. That could never be sustained. Libertarian intellectuals could hold their noses while the referendum campaign played out, but were never going to be able to tolerate the nativist wing once the dust had settled. Carswell, notably, refused to endorse the comments made by Farage about Aids victims coming to Britain as health tourists, for example. While Gove and Johnson spoke up for free trade and Global Britain, Newkip talked about moratoriums on immigration and publicised photoshopped images of darl-skinned people.

Stoke crystallised all this: for the first time Ukip put up a BNP-style candidate in a constituency it thought it could win - based on the huge Leave majority in the area. It failed. The rightwing vote split between the Tories and Ukip; with presumably plenty of tacticsl voting by moderates. Nuttall proved he is nothing but a Farage Wannabe, even dressing up in a tweed beret on the campaign trail.

Ukip's main goal seems to have been realised; the UK is leaving the European Union. However Ukip is now in its death throes and will go the way of the BNP and other nasty parties of the past. There simply aren't enough racists in Britain to sustain these numpties. 

This is great news for the moderates and "classical liberals". Carswell and his herd will head back towards the Tory fold, hopefully bolstering that party's libertarian credentials. Ukip's demise will show the government and the world that the Leave vote was not a call to nativist and protectionist arms. The free-market free-enterprise free-trade open global Britain dream becomes more possible than it has been for decades.

And of course the irony is that to make it possible, all Nigel had to do was to betray the liberal worldview of his younger days.


Electro-Kevin said...

Most people just want a return to conservatism.

There is nothing racist about UKIP (racism is illegal, I believe.) Europeans are more racist than we are.

Matt said...

Proper conservatism, not the current Conservative party. Who's arguing for small government and reduce burden on taxpayers? Who's spunking money on crap like Hinkley and HS2? FFS, it's not that hard - just move a bit more to the right.

andrew said...

Conservatism without a proper opposition is about as bad as unopposed socialism.

It strikes me as rather odd that the whole country (not much of an exaggeration) reviles TB for Iraq,
but only those directly affected still revile thatcher for shutting the pits.

The same mistake was made in both cases
- no proper plan for when you won.

and imo, for the same reason - no proper opposition.

Getting to the topic, I have the feeling that nigel has a similar problem.
He won the war - he created a coalition that bought brexit
- but has no idea of how to win the peace.

I only hope he does not make the same set of mistakes as the other two.

This 'libertarian' worldview is much like socialism.
It assumes other people agree with you and are like you.
'libertarians' (badly mis-stating their views) think that if you shut down a pit, the miners will walk off and become accountants etc.

The last 35 years of experience show otherwise.

The current brexit plan is that we become a global exporting nation in 2 years time.
i.e. i stop doing work for the french and start doing work for brazil.
Only a couple of problems:- I can barely remember what I do for a living on a sunday and brazil will not want what I do.

The expectation that as a country we can pivot in a 2 year timespan is just silly.

Finishing on a happy note, as I have said before, I do not think brexit will make things much different one way or another.
Even in this supposedly open internal market, there is still paperwork and non-explicit barriers that stop german rail companies buying english etc etc.
Once we are out, these barriers will be more obvious and we can all moan about them

.. a happy finish for us all.

AndrewZ said...

"He won the war...but has no idea of how to win the peace."

It's a bigger problem than the failure of one or a few individuals to plan ahead. The core part of UKIP's identity from its very earliest days has been the demand for British independence from the EU. But what does an independence party do once independence has become official government policy? It has to find a new identity that will make it relevant in the new constitutional settlement, and that is very difficult.

The same thing will happen to the SNP if Scotland ever becomes independent. They would get a brief honeymoon period as the creators of the new nation, with a minority of loyalists despising them as traitors, but as soon as people got used to the new settlement the SNP would suddenly find that they were being treated the same as all the other parties and that they had to find a new identity.

Of course, if Brexit doesn't happen (as Electro-Kevin regularly predicts) then UKIP will suddenly be revived as the natural political home for anyone who still wants to escape the sinking ship of the EU. Failing that, it has to re-invent itself and its current problems are driven as much by disputes over what the party's new identity should be as they are by the egos of the people involved. The clashes of personality are only so damaging because they are taking place in a context of deeper structural problems.

However, I suspect that future historians of this period will spend a lot of time debating whether Farage's ego and consequent intolerance of potential rivals was a critical flaw in the party, or whether it was necessary to have a big personality like that to raise the party's profile to the point where it mattered.

A complete takeover of the party by Arron Banks could actually resolve these conflicts, because a person who had complete control of the organisation - even if it was only unofficially, by virtue of controlling most of its funding - could force it to adopt one specific identity. Of course, what that means for its long-term future depends on whether that identity has a broad popular appeal.

Anonymous said...

Of course a racist party whose cult leader can do wrong does remain in Britain - the SNP

Blue Eyes said...

AndrewZ I think it is increasingly clear that Nigel has lost his marbles. His comments about hearing forrin voices on the train vs having a German wife, his road to Auschwitz conversion from libertarian to pull-the-drawbridge-up nativism, his hostility to rivals who have achieved what he always craved: a seat in Parliament, his repeated cycle of resignation and trying to get back in charge.

EK I am impressed that you know what most people want. You obviously have better information than the main parties, media, and so on!

Blue Eyes said...

Andrew is it not possible to be a moderate libertarian? Not every lefty is a communist. Surely not everyone who would like the state to be smaller has to sign up to every minarchist requirement?

AndrewZ said...

"road to Auschwitz"

There is a significant difference between the moderate and mostly-civic nationalism that is sometimes espoused by UKIP and the explicitly racial nationalism of the BNP. There is also a difference between the views of the BNP and the literally genocidal policies that the Nazis both promoted and put into practice. If you want to present a serious argument you should avoid hyperbole.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue - The law is quite clear. Racism is a crime. A person is innocent until proven guilty by a court.

The onus is not on me to know what people want but on you *not* to assume what they do want - especially if the intent is criminal.

Blue Eyes said...

Eh? I haven't assumed anything. You said that most people wanted something. I am simply impressed that you know this. I do not know what most people want - I think there is no such thing as most people.

Also "racism is a crime" what is your point? It is bullshit by the way - if someone has racist views then nobody can prosecute them for that. Expressing them in a way contrary to the Public Order Act or similar provisions, sure, but the last time I checked there was no law against holding a particular opinion.

Blue Eyes said...

AndrewZ the gap between Ukip and the BNP has narrowed. If you read and understand my post you will see what I am saying. Their new nasty stance has garnered little support which is great news for people who aren't arseholes.

There was no hyperbole in my Road to Auschwitz comment, it was sarcastic and obviously so.

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thud said...

Not had a good Sunday B.E. you seem a bit tetchy.I would imagine most here did read and understand your post but find they disagree with parts of it, shocking I know!

Electro-Kevin said...

"Ukip and Leave forged a coalition of constitutional libertarians and out-and-out racists."

Well obviously they weren't "out-and-out" racists otherwise they would have been prosecuted under the POA.

Racism in employment law for example. Have UKIP been prosecuted for this ? No.

Have they been prosecuted for inciting race hatred ? No.

Why ? Because they are innocent of it.

Certainly not back-of-the-bus, lynch 'em racism that Americans were guilty of. Though I suppose in a country where it is racist to name a meal 'Jamaican Stew' or to be white and dare to wear dreadlocks is 'racial appropriation' or where 'coloured people' rather than 'people of colour' is a major faux pas...

...then I suppose demanding reasonable limits on numbers for immigration is out of the question.

UKIP are falling behind simply because people think they've accomplished their mission. Any fudges on Brexit and they'll be back. Why ? Because it's how the proles register their protest nowadays.

Blue Eyes said...

Thud I am having a great day winding up Ukippers! If is so easy. EK thinks that we live in a police state where if a racist thought passes through your head then you are jailed therefore if you are not in prison you cannot be a racist. This is wonderful logic, yet subtly flawed I feel.

Then we have the "it isn't racist to talk about immigration" straw man. Nobody has ever said it was racist to talk about immigration. That poster was overtly racist, though.

PLUS nobody has even begun to debate the actual point in the post. If you missed it, maybe try reading the post again. Hint: it is summarised in the final sentence.

Electro-Kevin said...

Quite the reverse, Blue.

This is getting boring now.

(If the poster was overtly racist then where is the prosecution for incitement to racial hatred ?)

No-one is against immigration nor from anywhere (perhaps maybe warlike nations) if it is done on a pointed basis.

We have all accepted unselective immigration for a long while now and the country is full.

andrew said...

Blogger Blue Eyes said...
Andrew is it not possible to be a moderate libertarian? Not every lefty is a communist. Surely not everyone who would like the state to be smaller has to sign up to every minarchist requirement?

5:46 pm

I was not pointing a finger at left or right or whatever this or that labels we want to use.
I do point a finger at people who lead political parties.
As a class they are:-
- v.v. intelligent
- believe that they are right
- are quite adaptable

and crucially

- cannot quite understand why anyone disagrees with them
- cannot quite understand that not everyone shares their abilities

(or worse, does not care)

Looking wider,

socialists basically consider that my money actually belongs to everyone and also some other bad habits

minarchists basically consider that my money actually belongs to me and whilst I like the idea of that, well, someone needs to do most of the things the govt does (I do not want people homeless and hungry in this country) and also I recognise that most of my money exists because I live here and not in south sudan.

andrew said...

Call me a dismalist.

AndrewZ said...

"it was sarcastic and obviously so"

It wasn't obvious, although I acknowledge that it is hard to unambiguously express sarcasm in writing.

Anonymous said...

Nice article and appears to be from someone with a lot of experience of a Conservative local party in a rural area. There was always a tolerance for the swivel-eyed as the were "conservative" and the party was diminished by their leaving to join UKIP.

But now is the time to welcome them back - Carswell too - and forge new alliances with their viewpoint as St Theresa of Brexit is wont to do.

I doubt r-UKIP will be seen as a BNP clone. More of a FOML leaning group, somehow detached from reality but willing to debate and issue with their own particular brand of argument based on the Magna Carta.

But the question in hand, is now those on right are coalescing again should she go for an early election to get a enough of a majority to see those polices through. I think she should.

Anonymous said...

If I remember Blues Eyes was a fervent remaineiac It still shows.

L fairfax said...

David Kurten on racism in UKIP
"‘UKIP isn’t racist; I love white people!’"
Surprisingly the unbiased BBC has never reported this!

James Higham said...

The old UKIP was ALWAYS about immigration and Carswell tried to undermine that.

Tony Harrison said...

Presumably this is tongue in cheek, or devil's advocate stuff, or something similarly puckish. I do not recognise UKIP from the descriptions here: I do not see myself anywhere on a spectrum depicted as embracing "retired colonels and rural blue-rinsers" plus crypto-fascist BNP types. And I've never thought UKIP was a libertarian Party - unfortunately - just the least-worst alternative to an enfeebled, emasculated Tory Party heading up an obscure social-democratic corridor.
May remains unproven so we'll wait and see. I spent too long watching the Tories decline into insignificance to start waving little blue flags just yet, and until UKIP genuinely "implodes" (silly hyperbole) I shall continue to lend it my vote.

Steven_L said...

I think you're reading into it too much. UKIP used to try and poach tory voters and put pressure on the tories for an EU referendum. Now it is out to poach labour voters.

Of course, the main benefit of being in UKIP (the chance to become an MEP and ride the EU gravy train) will soon no longer exist.

Anonymous said...

I think BE isn't old enough to remember that the Conservative Party of times past was way to the right of today's UKIP. I wonder what that makes them? And as for Attlee's administration (children and felons caned, death penalty, abortion and homosexuality illegal), it must have been National Socialist.

I enjoy BEs stuff, but when he riffs on "rule of law and free markets" he seems to forget that rule of law doesn't come out of thin air. They had rule of law in a lot of former colonies at independence, but it seems to have survived a lot better in some places than others. How will the rule of law fare when native Brits are a minority in what used to be their country?

Stato said...

How will the rule of law fare when native Brits are a minority in what used to be their country?

We'll check the facts here and decide.

Main findings for those that don't want to bother themselves with facts.

In 2014, 1 in 8 (13.0%) of the usual resident population of the UK were born abroad. This compares to 1 in 11 (8.9%) in 2004

There was a statistically significant increase in the non-UK born population of the UK between 2013 and 2014. The non-UK born population increased from 7,921,000 to 8,277,000 (an increase of 4.5%)

In 2014, 1 in 12 (8.4%) of the usual resident population of the UK had non-British nationality. This compares to 1 in 20 (5.0%) in 2004
There was a statistically significant increase in the non-British national population of the UK between 2013 and 2014. The non-British national population increased from 4,987,000 to 5,344,000 (an increase of 7.2%)

The number of usual residents in the UK that held EU nationality (excluding British) was higher than those that held non-EU nationality (2,938,000 compared to 2,406,000) for the second year in a row – prior to 2013 this had not occurred since the Annual Population Survey began in 2004

India is the most common non-UK country of birth in 2014. An estimated 793,000 usual residents of the UK were born in India (9.6% of the total non-UK born population resident in the UK)

Polish is the most common non-British nationality in 2014. An estimated 853,000 usual residents of the UK have Polish nationality (16.0% of the total number of non-British nationals resident in the UK)

So unless there is a real drop off in "native" fecundity you'll wait a long time for you manifestly bizarre question to be answered.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"The free-market free-enterprise free-trade open global Britain dream becomes more possible than it has been for decades"

I wish I could believe you but I don't see much sign of free anything from Mrs. May.

otoh, she only has one job to do, so let's hope she gets on and does it.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

@andrew: "...only those directly affected still revile thatcher..."

You're wrong there, mate; the whole of Scotland reviles Thatcher.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Stato is being disingenuous or if he's not twigged that I mean "native Briton" in the First Nations sense - the people who created Britain and its institutions. I suspect the former. (Or he could be a true believer that after a population swap between Haiti and Switzerland, Haiti would continue to be a dysfunctional/dangerous place and Switzerland a well-run high-tech paradise. People aren't fungible.)

Blue Eyes said...

Isn't Switzerland a country with one of the highest proportions of non-native-born populations? How does that fit your First Nations worldview?

What utter tripe. Who are the native Britons? Presumably those of us descended from Normans don't count. What about Romans? Booody Danes, coming over here and bringing their ideas of community structures over! How dare they overturn generations of Runic Tradition?!

Anonymous said...

I'll try not to respond in kind, I'll try facts rather than invective/hyperbole.

The Roman, Norman and Danish invasions all had very bad consequences (massacre, ethnic cleansing, seizure of property etc) for the people who happened to be living in these islands when they arrived. Is that the point you're trying to make?

About 20% of the population of Switzerland were born abroad, but these are not Swiss citizens, they're nearly all foreign nationals. I'm surprised you didn't quote Qatar, where 80% of the population are foreign-born, and only a tiny proportion will ever get Qatari citizenship.

"As Swiss nationality is not gained automatically, many children born to foreigners living in Switzerland keep their parents' nationality."

Blue Eyes said...

And yet Switzerland is a high tech paradise! You really don't get my point do you?!

And you didn't answer my question: who are these Native Britons you are so keen on? Who are they?

Tony Harrison said...

"Native Britons"? Fairly straightforward: the English are a fairly tight-knit grouping of Germanic, Norse and "Ancient Briton" (Brythonic) folk, very closely related to (but slightly distinct from) other North West Europeans such as Danes, Saxons, Frisians... It ain't rocket science.
I see someone has already answered your query about Switzerland. They have their heads screwed on, admitting "guest workers" but not just handing out citizenships like Smarties. Neither do they let them just hang around for years in the country, if they get awkward...