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Time to grow up!

It is time for this party to grow up and have a common sense adult conversation. The debacle at Stoke needs some serious examination. No, this is not a hatchet job born from disillusionment. It is a serious forensic examination of our party, our future and how we need to change.

  1. It is quite clear that a local candidate should have stood in Stoke, given that the town is wary of us as a party, what we stand for and what our intentions are. Parachuting in a candidate who rented a house a week before the nomination and could not name basic things like the names of the six towns that make up Stoke left the campaign deeply flawed from the outset. His Hillsborough debacle needs no further examination but it does just totally underline the immaturity and naivety of where we are as a collective in the world of grown up politics. We have created radicalism within politics within this country and someone chancing their arm as a candidate was never going to work with a working class plain speaking electorate looking for a radical change in their town. This election was ours to win and ended up being ours to lose, which we duly did. A massive own goal and an enormous missed opportunity in the Brexit capital of this country from which we will take an awful long time to recover.
  2. Our Leader Paul Nuttall (of whom I am a fan) needs to get his house in order and look to himself and his actions and behaviour. He should not resign, I was there at the conference and stood and applauded him for the five minutes. He has a lot of soul searching to do though and some serious re-thinking.
  3. The management of the campaign was handed to Lisa Duffy, no criticism here but there is a wealth of experience and good campaign managers in the party, some of whom were there on Tuesday and Wednesday, they were not called on other than to deliver leaflets, one man a chair of a branch has managed three campaigns before for another party and successfully had three MP`s elected …
  4. To underline the poor quality of the organisation. The shop in Piccadilly epitomised the campaign. It was disorganised, unwelcoming (people arriving from all over the country were not even offered a cup of tea or coffee), it was scruffy, untidy and very poorly presented.
  5. Copeland is a blot on our party, we should all, every member, hang our heads in shame, giving Fiona £20,000 to fight that campaign with is admirable, but money alone does not get you elected. I was angry on Tuesday and Wednesday to find that I was not really needed in Stoke, we spent the day delivering pledge letters, five of us, it was a job that two could have done. I am sad to say that I should have, and regret not doing, gone to Copeland to help our candidate there. To say she was largely abandoned by the party hierarchy is not a stretch. I congratulate those who did go and help. We should never ever again look to throw the might and finances of the party at one constituency for a senior party member at the cost of another good candidate in a by-election. It is divisive and does not in any way pass the smell test.
  6. Outside the campaigns in Stoke and Copeland our new leader has seen fit to award the position of party spokesmen to all but one who are MEP`s and AM`s. This is seriously flawed and appears to have been a knee jerk reaction to try unite the party. Many many members of this party have expertise and a lifetime of understanding in these manifesto areas such as business, the Police, armed forces, NHS and others. Especially fishing. Many people have simply been ignored. Yes, we were invited to meet the relevant spokesperson to offer our input into potential policy areas, but this was cancelled. Even if this is brought in again, the question has to be asked if theories, ideas and expertise are offered will they actually be listened to. Just because you are an MEP or an Assembly member does not and should not automatically mean that you are an expert in all matters and qualified to speak in isolation on such matters. It looks and sounds like the old boys network at play here.
  7. Our only MP, Mr Carswell`s conduct and behaviour on Question time (23rd February from Stoke) needs examining. Are you really for this cause Douglas? I have serious reservations. Your opening statement consisted of you conceding defeat, that was atrocious and at the very least disloyal. You are hardly a committed defender of the party and its policies and future. You snigger and chortle at any defamatory mention of Nigel Farage by others and your tweets are often childish and unprofessional. You need to grow up and nail your colours convincingly to this mast or defect back to the Tories or go independent.
  8. Nigel said that “if Ukip is not a radical party it is nothing” at his speech at the recent conference, never a truer word has been said. Time then for a radical re-think of what when and how we do things, who are we what do we stand for and how will we move forward from this disastrous night in Stoke and the shame of how we abandoned Copeland.
  9. I was hurting a great deal, to listen to political commentators having so much ammunition to hit us with, especially when asking if the house in stoke will be back on the market tomorrow.

We are polling well nationally, but my goodness, that will not last with this behaviour! We have to get our manifesto out. It has to be radical, with thinking out of the box and strong. We need to start talking about it, get behind it and sell it to have any future……….or is it actually too late?

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About Stephen Place (28 Articles)
I am the Chairman of the Ukip Richmond (Yorks) branch. I am also deputy chair of North Yorkshire.

43 Comments on Time to grow up!

  1. Unfortunately, Stoke became about Paul and not about what he could do for Stoke people.
    UKIP needs strategies and policies to fix problems and quickly, otherwise good night Vienna.
    Millions of people are fed up with soft establishment failing to put English and Englishness first: soft on attacking Politcal Correctness, soft on crime an safety ( covers PC policing and criminal immigrants), soft on defence (stories that we are going to integrate in Euro Army and maybe our nukes), soft on Brexit, soft on spending our taxes abroad etc.etc.
    How about we attack Lab on its self-righteous, sanctimonious, virtue-signalling hypocrisy and the cowardly Tories for joining in on their side?
    How about a new deal for the corroding and corrosive inner cities: could we offer policies to make our cities safe, get better well paid jobs and most of all, do something about our failing inner city schools. Most inner cities have been Lab or neither Liberal nor Democrat for decades. But still schools fail to teach the basics and, again through PC, are outstanding more for indoctrination than education. Mrs. MAYBE has offered grammar schools but not yet delivered. Our radical next step could be to offer inner city vouchers and set up free schools outside the state (nationalised system) with the help of organisations such as Civitas New Model Schools. My God will we be attacked by teachers and their unions. Great! Get people talking about our radicalism….. perhaps they will forget Paul and footer gaffes.
    People may not like these ideas, but we need policies to deal with the frustrations of millions and put us up as their champions.

  2. Paul Nuttall simply has to go; he has been branded by the media and will remain so. There could be someone presently outside the UKIP cronies who could do the job. Would a company looking for a new CEO restrict the search to existing employees? There are believers outside UKIP who will not join the party because of the evident cronyism which prevails and is killing it through incompetence and worse.

  3. Not every day I agree with Q but on PN’s performance, it’s beyond parody. 38% turnout. Defeat snatched…etc.

    Being charitable, the Party has always had the problem of the leadership group looking after itself. Incl under Nigel. Likewise parachuting candidates. How many times does ukip have to screw up by dumping the known local face for a head office preference?

    Paul has made some welcome progress, bringing NEC reporting back for example and we can only hope that the policy input idea (interrupted by the by elections) actually turns into substance, although what really gets me is all the policy spokesmen make zero effort to gain policy input from the membership and it hasn’t occurred to him to get over themselves and get them communicating. And still no place for JRE.

    Almost every comment I’ve seen here and elsewhere is either calling for Nigel’s brand of radicalism or walking away because it’s gone with him, but Paul is apparently taking advice from a few well placed people who can’t wait to see the back of that radicalism.

    And P O’F’s his new best friend. Now that worries me.

    Nigel was a right of centre leader who appealed to old fashioned left and right by hitting the stuff the old parties abandoned.

  4. Sad to say I find myself very much in agreement with Stephen’s analysis and many of the comments on this site over the last couple of days.
    I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I’m gutted that we lost this make-or-break by-election and to see that twerp Gareth Snell being returned to parliament.
    Most gutting of all, as Rhys pointed out in the comments on Anthony Nailer’s article, “a month ago UKIP led.” We didn’t just fail to win this seat, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was like going on a date with a girl who already likes you and then blowing it through trying too hard and looking desperate.
    8 months previously UKIP achieved our most stunning victory – and did we build on it and go from strength to strength? No. We spent 6 months in embarrassing leaderless confusion. How different it could have been if, when Farage resigned, he had endorsed Nuttall, who threw his hat in the ring there and then, while staying in position as caretaker leader.
    We are where we are now though. If Nuttall stands down it’ll be even more embarrassing and destructive for the party. At least UKIP’s vote has held up rather than collapsing.
    Incredible as it seems to ardent Brexiteers such us, I suspect the public is getting a bit tired of hearing about Brexit after over a year of it. What’s more it looks to the average voter at the moment that Brexit really does mean Brexit with Theresa May. Waiting around for her to renege or be scuppered is not a winning strategy.
    We must remember the issue that swung the referendum – immigration. UKIP must be the party not saying it’ll take years to reduce immigration or advocating an inappropriate Australian-style points system, but demanding a moratorium.
    The beard must stay though! He looks so much better with it.

    • CK,

      I agree with everything you say here, we just need some time to calm down and do some serious analysis of what has happened and not rush into anything. I am glad that you also prefer him with a beard as I thought I was the only one, I was going to say it gives him some gravitas but perhaps that is the wrong word.

    • Difficult to think how another leadership election could be any more embarrassing, CK. At least it would give us some publicity, which is about the only attention we’ll get now.
      Paul let us down badly and his mistakes will always be a millstone as long as he stays. The best thing for the Party would be for him to hand over. It would also be a good opportunity to have a root and branch reform and get John Rees-Evans onboard with some youthful energy and better policies.

      • Absolutely agree Q. Paul should step down. Stoke was his showcase in the eyes of the public – he will never overcome it. He will always be on the defensive, and his confidence will suffer, as will UKIP’s, who will also have to spend more time defending him than being able to focus on policy.
        On LBC last night Arron said he was going to have a chat with Paul in the near future, and, as like it or not I would imagine that money is needed to keep UKIP going forward, we will see what happens.

  5. Watching the the betting odds for Stoke and UKIP was favourite 7 or 8 days before the event, with the conservatives 33:1 against. Then came the dissection of Paul’s webpage that had been up since 2011 or 2012. It was just like the CV’s for contenders in the Apprentice with numerous exaggerations.

    The odds then slid away and those of the Conservatives rose up. Two days before the event Labour was in the lead almost 1:2, UKIp had dropped to 2:1 and the Conservatives had risen to 9:1.

    From the result where Labour lost 2% from 2015 it is clear that the 37% is their core vote. Also clear is that until the webpage debacle UKIP was getting support from Tory voters who then all went back to where they voted in 2015. That is why we finished almost neck & neck with them as in 2015.

    Paul profile and exaggeration torpedoed an otherwise very successful challenge.

    As Quercus has said a number of times now, as I did in the Crocodile tears article, that is going to be trotted out by the media every time Paul and possibly other candidates are in the spotlight. It is a classic Achilles Heel.

  6. Old timer from Hampshire // February 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm // Reply

    Phil, you are bang on the money! UKIP must never tailor it’s stance (but maybe it can and should tailor its presentation) to chase votes. It must speak the truth unto power – the power of the people – regardless of perceived “correctness”. A few more Tory voters and we would have been a lot nearer in Stoke.

    Quercus, old timer, Paul has hopefully learned a few very expensive lessons. We will encourage him to learn them well and then replace him only if he doesn’t. I’m sure that his mind isn’t closed. One of the lessons is that Labour seats don’t open to us without reason. Another is that killing Labour is not our task – electing UKIP is, but always in order to promote our policies, which must be the best for the United Kingdom. One of the reasons we lost in Stoke is that we don’t have any clear policies at the moment beyond “holding the Government’s feet to the fire” on Brexit, and bashing Labour. It’s not good enough. The perception is that Brexit will be over in two years so what are voters voting for if they vote UKIP? You can’t win anywhere on that basis.
    About the treatment of election volunteers – I may appreciate a cup of tea but I would appreciate much more if someone gave me a side of A4 spelling out the campaign’s hot buttons and what we should be emphasising on the doorstep. Also what feedback is wanted re issues that are brought up, both general and individual. These are the things that people care about but our instructions are invariably designed only to chase out voters on the day – how myopic. Maybe we should be more voter-centric and set up a feedback loop so that the office can instigate action on behalf of voters’ reported worries. I’d be prepared to bet that this would get us more votes than continually knocking up the same voters multiple times – and it would more fun for everyone!

    • Sure, Mr Old Timer from Hampshire, but is it sustainable — in the long-run at least?

      Sure, we can discount the (electoral) apathy of many Old Labour voters whom UKIP hasn’t reached out effectively …..

      But then again we are talking about the North here ….. Labour strongholds and safe seats by and large …..

      • Your strategy and tactic would probably be more suited to the East in places like Thurrock and Basildon and East Thurrock but even in places like Castle Point (used to be held by Dr Bob Spink, unofficially the first UKIP MP), the UKIP candidate, Jamie Huntman lost by nearly 10,000 votes in what is supposed to be a target seat …..

        And what about Harwich? After much hype that UKIP was going to snatch the seat from the Rt Hon Bernard Jenkin at the last GE, the UKIP candidate only managed 3rd place despite or was it rather precisely because the incumbent is a prominent eurosceptic?

        And lastly but not least, Mrs May’s honeymoon isn’t over yet anytime soon – going by the polls and the by-election results …..

        • And Rushcliffe, the Nottinghamshire seat held by Ken Clarke …. well, the UKIP candidate got only 3rd place with a distance of more than 20,000 votes …..

          Broxtowe held by Anna Soubry ….. same story ….

          South West Surrey held by the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt ….. a 25000 majority …..

          On the whole Surrey voted (to) Remain …..

          And not least, majority of the Tory Party MPs are eurosceptics ……

          So how to engage in a war of attrition against the Tories?

          • What about Sleaford and Hykeham?

            It’s quite possible, however, that May will return to power with a strong majority at the next GE ….. this might ‘lull’ northern Tories to lend their votes to UKIP …..

            Safe or secure in the thought that there is no chance Labour is going to form the next govt ….. assuming at the same time also that Corbyn continues to be or that his political lookalike is at the helm …..

    • Hello OTFH, good to hear from you!
      On return to Stoke a form for that very purpose was in evidence, so I guess there was some of that.
      Thanks for your navigation that day.
      Toodlepip – as one old hand might say to another …

  7. MIKE N
    I quite agree about May, she’s excellent at promising but lousy at delivering and we’ll end up with a pale immitation of Brexit. Unfortunately people believe her as they believed Cameron’s renegotiation promise and we can’t wait for her to fail. We must cease to be nice to Tories.
    The reality is another UKIP leadership contest will make us a laughing stock, divide the party and will take years to recover from. The best plan is to stick with Paul. He need to be carful about what he says in future and get rid of the shooting outfit, as someone else said. Nigel could get away with more or less anything, no one else will, including Paul.

    • Icini, what matters most is the quality of the leadership we have in place for the next GE.
      Paul’s just told the world “UKIP isn’t going anywhere”. We’re a laughing stock already, the sooner he stands down the better if we are to have any future.

  8. I don’t wish to naval gaze and criticize too much here as that would not be fair, but my general opinion now is that we should have stuck with the local candidate. But I am as much to blame for wanting Paul to run as I thought they would want a high profile working class sort of individual, that was totally wrong and really undermining the local candidate and the voters.

    If we had done that as stated we could have then split our resources more fairly between Stoke and Copeland, we over saturated Stoke and the locals got sick to death of being pestered, I had personal experience of that and I would have felt the same about being disturbed and having leaflets constantly pushed through my letter box.

    I spent four stints up in Stoke and sometimes felt like we were running round like headless chickens, especially in that awful weather on polling day itself but understand we only had a short time to organize it all plus not knowing where our support base may be. Hopefully we will really learn lessons from this and be much smarter next time using social media more to reach people or maybe just phoning them up instead.

    Finally, I agree it was sometimes chaos in the shop and not always a welcoming experience but that down to thew sheer number of volunteers turning up and not really knowing what was required of the. It would have been great if we could have had some local Ukippers to help us out but obviously they were thin on the ground.

    Finally, as they were sometimes what appeared to be some surplus people they could have acted as ‘welcomers’ leaving the busy coordinators to get on with their duties, I personally would happy to fulfill that capacity making coffee, tea etc and handing out biscuits, after all the weather was appalling and a nice cup of tea would not have gone amiss.

    Looking at the things I have mentioned above is not real rocket science is it? It just needed some forethought and planning, but putting that aside a big ‘well done’ to every one who took part and for all their hardwork. And a big thank you to Paul for taking this monumental task on and paying a terrible price at the hands of the press (vultures), now is not the time to tear him apart anymore unless you think you can do a better job. Also hats off to the staff in the shop who worked their socks off, sometimes under a lot of duress and nastiness aimed at them for simply doing their job.

    And to Douglas Carswell: Hang your head in shame and do us all a favour and b^^^ger off back to the Tories!

    • There’s nothing fair in politics, Daffy.
      Yes we should be robust with Douglas – but also, I regret, with Paul.

    • I wonder if having a town centre shop plastered with posters is really a good idea. Why not have a small office, with loads of parking, just out of town that’s a really good campaign HQ with a few rooms in it? We need more cars and more communication to get teller sheets back to do knocking up etc. That side of it was hopeless. I tell you, one more election day like that, and it’ll be finito. Sorry to say that but it’s true.

      • ANV,

        Yes, I did not like the shop much either, it was very much in ‘your face’ with all those posters, and there was no privacy from prying eyes. This presentation did add to making it look desperate and somewhat unprofessional, but hey, we all learn by our mistakes perhaps in future some offices somewhere in the locality would be better, but parking is always a problem these days.

        • let’s make sure we do everything right at Leigh, so everyone says, ‘wow, there were no cockups this time’. Then, we’ve done all we can.

    • P*** poor planning = p*** poor performance. Organising a party in a brewery comes to mind.

  9. Quercus. Someone tells you that the owner of a small cafe has say, TB. or even a dirty kitchen. It’s not necessarily true, the owner of another Cafe on the high street may possibly have spread the rumour but you have no way of proving it one way or the other. Do you ignore it and keep on eating there or shrug your shoulders and say, well… to be on the safe side.

    You have to understand that ANYONE who leads Ukip will be attacked in this way, very few of us are without sin of any kind and if we are, the media will invent some for us. The better the leader the stronger the attacks will be. The last thing we need now is another leadership contest.
    What would have happened if we had tried to remove Nigel because he said or did something others considered inappropriate ? It happened often enough. Paul won the election by a wide margin for a reason, there was simply no one better, there still isn’t.

    • I understand only too well, Icini.
      But you have to understand that this will now always dog both Paul, and, more importantly, UKIP.
      One person’s feelings and future are not important here. The only question is what will give us a greater chance of success in the future.

    • To answer your question more fully, Icini – ‘inappropriate’ isn’t the issue, it’s porkies, unforced errors, image.

  10. Agreed Stephen, but I think you need to go further on the leadership, because it’s pretty poor in every respect but especially its most important role, its collective judgment – hence all the mistakes.
    Sorry, leaders must know that their first duty is to the Party and its members. Like it or not, Paul will now be a liability as long as he stays. We have to grasp that reality and act accordingly – if Paul can’t see it then we have to tell him.

    • Q, I absolutely agree, and have said so commenting on the other article. Stoke was Paul Nuttall’s showcase, and that is how he will for ever be seen by the public. That he and his minders didn’t understand that, says volumes, as does the insult of trying to dress our Leader in what was their idea of a Working class outfit.

  11. Very good article, Stephen.

    Yes, the person who I feel most sorry for in this whole sad saga is Fiona Mills.

    All UKIP’s leadership seemed to be bothered about was Stoke and Nuttall.

    I’ve had three emails from Oakden telling me the party needed my help in Stoke, the last one saying “We know we have the votes in Stoke-on-Trent Central to win…”. Look how that assurance turned out!

    I’ve also had two emails from UKIP London urging me to help out in Stoke.

    And I’ve had one from Mr Nuttall himself asking every member to help him win the election.

    None of these missives ever mentioned, just once, that we were also fighting another by-election in Copeland. Everything was concentrated on Stoke and Nuttall. It was as though Copeland didn’t exist. If I was Fiona Mills I’d feel like telling UKIP leadership where to get off if they asked for my help in the future. I realize, of course, from postings on here that there were loyal UKIP members helping Fiona in her campaign but it seems to me that this was despite the party’s leadership (or lack of), not because of it.

    At least, though, it confirmed that UKIP, under the present hierarchy, is incapable of fighting two constituencies at the same time. And, even then, when it concentrates all its efforts on a seat “we have the votes to win” we end up losing. What a let down.

  12. Yes, at the moment we’ve clearly peaked and to progress we must detoxify and accept that anyone who put their head above the parapet is going to be dissected to find any flaws, which will be magnified out of all proportion by the established parties and their media friends.
    That’s why I get somewhat cross with members who wish to go hard on just immigration and being extra radical. It’s very important but we have other issues that need addressing too and the Tories have now seized it as their own, together with some other policies of ours. “You don’t need those nasty kippers, we can do that for you, they can go home now we have Brexit”.

    I’m personally in a unique position, I’m a UKIP councillor at District and was elected as an Independent one, nominally at least we all are, in a big Town/parish, with a senior portfolio, for the same ward.
    I see the different ways that I get treated by local organisations, depending on who I’m representing, that somewhat suspect UKIP or the non-political Parish. I’m aware that I stand a better chance of getting elected at County if I stand as an Independent rather than for UKIP ( I will be standing for UKIP anyway). This is why it’s necessary to detoxify, not in order to become part of mainstream politics.

    All this is not right and not fair but it’s the way it works and we simply have to live with what we can’t change… but we can change ourselves and if we want to be a force for good, it’s now time to do just that.

    • Detoxify, Icini? You make it sound as though we have some sort of nasty disease. Yes our enemies say that, but if we’re going to kow-tow to them on that we might just as well put out feet up and let our country go hang.
      We have to go on telling the truth about the disaster of mass immigration but also start putting policies together on the economy designed to get mass suppport.
      This all about leadership and judgment and we need to radically improve both.

    • “You don’t need those nasty kippers, we can do that for you, they can go home now we have Brexit”.

      Of course that is what May is telling people and for the moment they are taking it on trust icini. The MSM is having a field day attacking UKIP. But David Davis says mass unskilled immigration to continue. What about the demographics of those already here? We are being dispossessed. Immigration not so important?

      Play it down don’t frighten the horses being too radical? That’s the way people think in politics once they’ve got a position and it may well kill UKIP. That was the huge mistake in Stoke. Too many chiefs with a position. Don’t rock our boat. You see it in every party. Only disaster shifts them out and allows a new approach led by the lean and hungry. That should be ready when people realise May is tricking them into thinking she’s for rhe people and it’s all talk. It won’t be long.

  13. Across the Europe and the USA there has been a rise of Nationalist+Populist+Anti-establishment politics. UKIP pretty much embodied this on the UK but for some reason our leadership has decided to suddenly abandon this position and go “mainstream”. It seems insane. If it goes on the party will lose its mojo and then its base.

    However I think the electorate don’t have an appetite for too much change at once. Brexit is enough for the moment. UKIP has to play a long game, maintaining our base and staying controversial & relevant on strong topics like immigration, waiting until the public are ready for more political change.

    Our current top team isn’t up to that job. Every time Carswell speaks on behalf of UKIP my blood runs cold. He needs to go. I like Nuttall and Whittle but they both need proper training to improve their debating skills and they need to present unashamedly “populist” arguments. Actually there are a lot of training resources available from the USA in this regard, and I imagine UKIP would find some friendly assistance from some of Nigels new friends.

  14. With you on policies and I too would have preferred a local to stand in Stoke. I have in the past suffered from a clapped out Tory reject of a candidate with loads of baggage when a much better and cleaner local one was available. Sometimes branches know better than HQ selection systems, which should largly be restricted to searching for skeletons and providing appropriate training. To put the leader up in a by-election is asking for trouble. Paul is the best person available to lead the party, members should grasp that Nigel is a once in a generation politician who we could never replace. If the dissidents within our party force another leadership election any time soon, I will be seriously considering my position.

    All that said, this was the nastiest campaign I can recall, most of the smears were utterly irrelevant but they stuck, just as the general demonisation of our party has. Whilst radical is fine, screaming abuse at muslims and others is not. It’s government’s fault we treat loud minorities ( except Ukip) with kid gloves, blame Blair and Cameron etc. and get the rules changed for new immigration.

    • Before forgetting, it is an absolute must that every branch must have the final say over the selection of the candidate.

      There must be a check-and-balance between the top leadership and the local branch – for example, a check and balance between a strongman leader (like Nigel was) and the rank-and-file membership.

      On certain matters, the top leadership has the final say and on other matters, its the grassroots that have the final say. It makes sense that on local candidacy, it’s the local members that have the final say.

      The NEC should only get involved in the most extreme of circumstances if in the event there is no candidate forthcoming.

      Having said that, and I think this chimes with people — that the Nigel Farage persona only comes once in a generation, so to speak ….. we are indeed past the one-man show leadership style and so the NEC must be less politicking, discard past baggages and less interfering in branch affairs …..

    • Dear Icini,

      Yes, Nigel is once in a generation politician.

      Didn’t catch that sentence in the middle of your paragraph as your last paragraph was what caught my eye.

      But yes, didn’t realise that what I wrote is already in your comment already …..(!)

    • Paul might have been the best once, Icini, but I’m afraid he isn’t now.
      We have to face the realities.

      • But whom do you suggest in his place ?

        I rack my brain to see if there is any way to stop the MSM banging on forever about the various GATES : Hillsborough~G; UnfurnishedPrincipalResidence~G PhD-G Footballer-G…………I fear they are like dogs with a bone on this……..
        And I read there is a Jesuit priest former Teacher at his school who even casts doubt on his being present at Hillsborough , so it may not even have reached its climax…..
        We LED in Stoke at the start.
        In this case it was , very unusually, not the FPTP system.
        One could weep for what might have been.
        I see in today’s Telegraph that Nigel says he still supports Paul for Leader, but insists he must ‘own’ the immigration issue for UKIP and stress it unapologetically.
        Well I have said much the same elsewhere on here ( about immigration ) .
        We now know that Tories have no intention of even trying to reduce immigration from Europe, let along the wider world.

        • Anyone who’ll understand the need to temper the liberal economics agenda, a la le Pen, Rhys – and if no-one comes forward, J R-E, in the hope that full debate in the Party on this vital aspect will result in this. Admittedly no obvious names yet other than R-E himself, tho I’d be happier if he actually believed in such a change of direction himself. Perhaps debate would bring forward some candidates.
          And we have to be stronger on immigration – tho Stokes voters know perfectly well we’re already strongest apart from BNP on this anyway.
          Le Pen and wilders doing well – real reason Nigel disapproves is that he’s a Thatcherite, they’re not.

  15. At the risk of over-simplification, Stoke and Copeland demonstrated the following …..

    That …..
    – Support for UKIP in the North has peaked; and
    – Support for UKIP has shifted, respectively.


    – The UKIP brand is toxic beyond the existing ‘Old Labour’ base;
    – The UKIP brand has lost its appeal to the existing ex-Conservative base.

    It’s been shown that ex-Conservative voters do not maintain loyalty to UKIP. It is the ‘Old labour’ voters that remained loyal.

    It would therefore be an act of betrayal not to transform UKIP into that *genuine* party for the working-class. Not to mention hypocritical too as insincerity and opportunism makes UKIP looks mainstream ….. like the champagne socialists …..

    UKIP will not go any further unless its brand its de-toxified.

    All the talk about being radical must be matched by concrete, context-specific, particular, focussed policies *targeted* at the working-class.

    • Jason, I would respectfully take issue with a couple of points you make.

      With Brexit supposedly settled, and with no attempt by Ukip to disseminate and big-up its policies on a wide range of other issues (so easily seen or painted as a single-issue party past its sell-by), and where Ukip realistically has no chance of taking a seat, those ex-Conservatives who put their country first now feel safe to revert to their former party, as happened in Copeland. Ukip now needs to give them and folk generally reasons – other than Brexit – that resonate with their innate instincts, to vote for it.

      Secondly, does Britain really need another demographic-based, demographic-targeting party? Chasing a demographic is largely self-limiting; even if successful it can grow only as large as that group; one of the reasons Blair et al began importing voters. Ukip always said it was neither Left nor Right but pragmatic, offering practical solutions not politically biased ones. Ukip’s energy policy is a perfect example.

      The country has problems across the board, many rooted in the EU, but Brexit, if or when it happens, will not cure these overnight. Ukip needs to offer obvious clear practical answers, such that people regardless of their politics will see the benefits to them and to the country. Scrapping climate change levies, carbon tax and green energy subsidies would be a good start so folk can see their energy bills fall dramatically, and to boost industrial competitiveness. And pound away at restoring the sovereignty of our territorial waters to revitalise our fishing industry; no need then for that embarrassing, myopic offer to cut tax on fish and chips, which seemed to sum up the problem.

      • Of course our policies need to appeal to both Old labour and Middlin Tory, Phil, but let’s not be under any illusions. With Labour in disarray and the Tories riding high we have to put the emphasis right now on Labour. Corbyn isn’t going to stay for ever.
        As we like to say of Mrs May – at Stoke we talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. Paul cocked it up and we didn’t offer any eye-catching policies to win.

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