UKIP purge is normal for a surging "new" party
UKIP leader Nigel Farage is right to get rid of his nutters. But all parties have them. The fact that UKIP's nut cases are attracting so much attention merely serves to underline how important the party has become
There's no doubt about it. If you want to make yourself and those associated with you look completely ridiculous, invoking the wrath of God for our earthly misfortunes is a darned good way to start. So the latest "embarrassment" for UKIP has understandably made the headlines.
A UKIP local councillor, David Silvester, who defected to UKIP from the Tories in 2012, is today widely quoted across the media as saying in relation to the recent floods and gay marriage:
"The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."
Oh dear. Many have also been quick to recall the remarks of Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP MEP who referred to African countries last year as "Bongo Bongo Land".
So, that's that then. David Cameron was right. UKIP is a party of "fruit cakes, loonies and closet racists" after all. Don't go near them!
Oh, come off it.
The three big parties have all had scandals that are much worse than this, whether it be obsessions with Jews and Jihad (David Ward and Jenny Tonge from the Lib-Dems for example, and last night's remarks from Labour MP Grahame Morris on "Zionist trolls") to the fact that they've all had MPs over the years that either are in prison (e.g. Labour former Europe Minister Denis MacShane) or have been -- too many to clutter up the page by mentioning.
So, Nigel Farage has got a few nutters in the ranks. Big deal. He's right to be on top of it, of course. But UKIP has grown enormously in the last few years, and in doing so it was always bound to be difficult to vet every candidate. It's impossible to stop people losing the plot from time to time anyway.
The real deal here is that the established parties and the (liberal-Left dominated media) are looking for any possible way of discrediting UKIP ahead of the European elections this year, and crucially the general elections in 2015. "...we are terrifying the political establishment," Farage was quoted by the Sun as saying.
Too right they are, and the very latest opinion polls emphasise why he's right. The Independent on Sunday is running polls today showing UKIP (27 percent) as the country's favourite party, just ahead of Labour (26 percent) and the Conservatives (25 percent).
That doesn't quite translate into voting intentions but when you look at the figures on that -- the really important ones -- the polling showed Labour on 35 percent (bad news), Conservatives on 30 percent (bad news) , UKIP on 19 percent (game-changing good news) and the Liberal Democrats on 8 percent (wipe-out level disastrous news).
That's what British politics is about today. Labour seems stuck below the parliamentary majority threshold. The Lib-Dems have lost their protest voters since they're in government, and the Conservatives are never going to get to the 40 percent-plus level that would get them a majority on their own.
From the viewpoint of the established parties, UKIP has messed things up for everybody.
As a centre-Right outlet we'll close with a point that never goes down well with Tory or UKIP activists, but it's one we'll keep making until we hear a credible counter-argument.
The reality for the centre-Right is that unless you want the centre-Left to form the next government (or you're happy with the possible but probably unlikely prospect of another Con-Lib coalition) Conservatives and UKIP -- which will never get far in Westminster under first-past-the-post -- are going to have to work out some sort of electoral pact for 2015.
Most among the Conservatives and UKIP are vowing this will never happen.
But you'll be amazed about the compromises politicians will ultimately make if it means the difference between being in power, being in opposition or (in UKIP's case) doing fine in local and European elections but remaining largely excluded from Westminster politics.
To return to where we started, the fact that UKIP's nut cases are attracting so much attention merely serves to underline how important they have become. People usually don't waste their time attacking you unless you matter. And UKIP plainly does.
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