Monday, 11 January 2016

A most puzzling bunch

As I understood it, the whole point of Ukip was to get us out of the EU. And when I attack Ukip in any way, I get the old canard that we wouldn't be having this referendum were it not for Nigel Farage. For arguments sake, let's take that as a given.

Ukippers should then want to take it to the next level and think about how we win. In that regard you would want to secure the confidence of business and opinion formers. You would seek to avoid alienating moderate minded people and you would definitely wish to avoid anything that could be construed as racism or xenophobia.

You would also have made certain to know your subject well so you don't make outlandish claims about what Brexit can achieve. You would be careful to make a Brexit plan that shows how we can de-risk Brexit and convince ordinary people it is safe and doesn't threaten their jobs. You would do it on the basis of hard fact rather than supposition and guesswork. Moreover, you would be very careful to craft your message so the claims you make about Brexit do not contradict that plan.

What you wouldn't do is settle on a plan that major banks and credit agencies has already rubbished and you would not want one that raises very serious questions for exporters when there is a global slowdown in trade. You wouldn't want to speak casually about regulations without knowing where they come from or which ones you even seek to reform.

What you absolutely wouldn't do is attack an individual who came up with a plan that de-risks Brexit and neutralises most of the core arguments of the opposition. And if it changed the pitch of the debate and moved it into territory where your opposition was not equipped to argue then you would embrace it fully.

But Ukip hasn't done any of this. The hashtags are cluttered with anti-muslim/immigration bile, Flexcit is being smeared and demands for an unreasonable an unworkable exit model have been ramped up instead of quietly disowned.

Thus, from this, we can only conclude that the real agenda of the vocal and nasty minority representing Ukip online is to whinge and shout about the EU, Muslims and foreigners in general with no political endgame. They certainly don't look like a bunch set on leaving the European Union. I guess we've had the wrong end of the stick all this time.

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