Friday, September 28, 2012

UKIP, The EU, A Referendum And A Conspiracy

One of the things that sometimes amused me, but often really angered me when I was active in politics was the conspiracy theorists. Believe me in Eurosceptic politics there are plenty of conspiracy theorists.

On Wednesday I posted about UKIP and the We Want A Referendum Party, you can read it below. There are several comments from a very typical conspiracy theorist. He is typical because he bends the truth, or simply ignores the truth, because it doesn't fit in with his theory. So he began by saying that the We Want A Referendum Party is a black op initiated, I presume, by the secret service to kibosh UKIP. He then changed tack and the We Want A Referendum Party became merely a vehicle for people to jump aboard the Brussels gravy train. He even cited incorrect reasons for the party's founder, Nikki Sinclair, leaving UKIP. When I pointed out the reality, that she hadn't resigned the whip but refused to sit with ultra-right extremists in UKIP's group in Brussels, as did two other UKIP MEPs, she was expelled while the other two were not, he convenmniently ignored this truth.

I have waffled on above to highlight the point. I'm sure most people have come across similar whether it be a theory about the EU, the assassination of JFK, the sinking of the Titanic or whatever. It serves no purpose to debate with these people because no matter what evidence or argument you put forward they do not believe the reality. Usually, if you're case is particularly strong, they will eventually accuse you of being in on the conspiracy.

In the case of the EU/UKIP conspiracy I do not believe one exists. The starting point for this particular conspiracy theory is that 50%, maybe more, have wanted to leave the EU for many years, but we are still deeply in there. Well forgive me but similar numbers want the return of the death penalty, is that a conspiracy too? I'd say that way more than 50% want overseas aid at least cut if not scrapped. Is that too a conspiracy? No, governments have a habit of ignoring the people when it suits them, and if you don't get that you don't get the nature of government and why so many of us are so very disillusioned with our system. Rather than face the reality, which might mean getting off their arses and doing something, it is easier for conspiracy theorists to sit at their laptops and tilt at windmills.

The reason Eurosceptics haven't achived independence from the EU is quite simple. The movement is a disparate group of politicos who agree on little other than leaving the EU. Secondly although around 50% of the electorate would be happy to leave the EU they vote in elections on health, education, law and order and a whole range of issues. They do not feel strongly enough about the EU to vote on that single issue. To those who are vehement that the EU is the only issue they cannot caccept this and search for a sinister reason for their failure. Up pops a conspiracy.

Then there is UKIP itself. People over the years have been attracted to UKIP, despite them having MEPs, because the argument was that they would use the MEP resources to build a solid party in the UK to fight elections to Westminster. Sadly, whereas with never more than two MEPs since 1999 the Green Party now has an MP in Westminster and even Respect has an MP, UKIP is no nearer gaining a seat today than they were in 1999. Incompetence? The MEPs have gone native and enjoy the gravy train a little too much? Or is Nigel Farage part of a conspiracy to derail the Eurosceptic movement by coralling Eurosceptics into a cul-de-sac?

For my part I believe UKIP have gone native. They have some of the worst attendance records in Brussels but do little that attracts publicity in the UK. In short they get their fat salaries, huge  expenses and allowances and do very little of any worth.

As for taking seriously our Westminster elections I suggest you watch the Daily Politics clip that I posted on Wednesday from about 4 minutes in. If you do then bear in mind that UKIP claim that MEPs and the Euro Parliament is a complete waste of time and money and that it is only our parliament in Westminster that can get us out of the EU. You will hear UKIP's deputy leader telling Katie Hopkins of We Want A Referendum that her party should not fight UKIP in the 2014 Euro elections but should fight the 2015 UK general election.

Now, why would UKIP's deputy leader prefer the Eurosceptic vote to be split in a Westminster election rather than a Euro election? Conspiracy or boring old, straightforward gone native?


Daz Pearce said...

Your analysis of the Eurosceptic 'movement' is pretty accurate from my own experience.

People who want to leave the EU do so for wildly different reasons. The cocktail is a strange one, comprising as it does of outright racists/xenophobes, instinctive liberals who believe in transferring power downwards, cheap populists and even the odd socialist who still sees the EU as a 'capitalist club'.

Getting all of these people to agree on a common platform in an argument about the EU is difficult, trying to mould them into a political movement that tackles all of the current issues that the electorate cares about is nigh-on impossible.

It's likely that although a clear majority want out, the most cohesive and therefore organised group in this discussion is the 30% or so who see the EU as an overwhelmingly good thing.

Re:- conspiracy theories. It's a tricky area since once you start going down that road it's very difficult to stop, but it's possible that many of them contain at least a grain of truth.

Do the authorities lie en masse and cover things up? Yes, as we discovered with the Hillsborough report. Is the 'official' version of a major event likely to have been untrue on a number of occasions? Yes.

I dunno about you, but I tend to approach both the official version of an event and the conspiracy theory with equal scepticism, then find out whatever I can.

Gregg said...

One of the most amusing things about UKIP's recent history is advocating a burka ban while describing themselves as a 'libertarian party'. OK the policy has been dropped but Farage is about as libertarian as Pol Pot. Furthermore the easiest way to give your average UKIP member a coronary is to explain what libertarianism actually means.

Stephen Lark said...

The 'kippers have even suggested that the ownership of a chocolate manufacturer is such a matter of national importance that it requires Government intervention. Some libertarians. One only has to be reminded of their (unelected parish) councillor "Pooter" Parr and his professed LD support not so long ago.