UKIP Manifesto shows anti-Farage split in party

May 29, 2017

UKIP's Welsh manifesto cover

The UKIP manifesto shows evidence of a movement among the membership to reduce what they describe as a Lad Culture in the party. This is clearly an attempt to remove ideas associated with its former leader, Nigel Farage. The split is also illustrated by the contents of the Manifesto issued by the Welsh UKIP party

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Nigel Farage gets his life back

November 1, 2016

nigel-farage

This is a thoroughly unreliable review of the BBC2 television programme Nigel Farage gets his Life back, broadcast Sunday 30th October 2016

Why am I publishing a review if I think it is thoroughly unreliable? Because the topic of the past and present leader of UKIP, and the treatment by the BBC are both of wider interest to anyone interested in leadership.

Excuses and apologies

I feel some apology is needed for busy subscribers who have little time to read more reliable reviews. Sorry, I missed the first bit of the programme, and I missed its last few minutes. These parts may have been quite different to the chunk in the middle which I watched. But that’s partly why this is such an unreliable source of information

The tweet that caught my attention

Shortly after the programme ended, as I was preparing my night cap and my night socks, my attention was caught by a tweet.

The tweeter had noted that most of the people who hated the program were UKIP supporters.

As a non-UKIPPER I could see why that may have been the case for this segement of the voting population . But by then, while not exactly hating the programme, and not exactly a UKIP supporter, I felt what I had seen was on the unfunny side of funny.

I wondered whether there might be shared views here between sniffy UKIP supporters and others. A nice test, I thought, might be to compare the views of two heavyweights of the mainstream media. I chose the Telegraph for the forces on the right, and The guardian for those leaning towards the righteous. TheTelegraph can be a UKIP surrogate (just like Nigel himself can be a Trump surrogate).

Maybe, I thought, The Telegraph would be with me, taking the view that the programme was not going to become a classic, endlessly recycled eventually reaching the Dave TV channels. And the Guardian’s view might be closer to Mr Roy’s.

For the Telegraph the programme was wry but ineffective as satire:

Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back is a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary [which] imagined the Leave campaigner’s summer break after the EU referendum, and his subsequent third resignation as Ukip leader. Admittedly, he soon unresigned again.

As a character comedy, it was wryly tragicomic. The gulf between Farage’s pompous bluster and the insecure windbag beneath was reminiscent of Alan Partridge. As political satire, however, it was less effective. Farage is an easy target and most of the barbs here would simply bounce off him. Not that he would pay any heed to something on the Biased Broadcast Corporation, anyway

Ouch. [I Seem to remember the Biased Broadcast Corporation is a quote from the programme.]

The Guardian was briefer in its review

This mockumentary follows Nige (Kevin Bishop) as he returns to Little England life, something that mainly consists of pints, puzzles, episodes of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and a sense of irrelevance. The premise is obviously to recast Farage as a lovable buffoon.

Ouch again. Note. The Guardian review was rather brief, as if the reviewer had more important programmes to review.  The reviewer didn’t need much in the way of recasting to describe Farage as a loveable buffoon.

“What’s your point?”

As someone asked in a subsequent tweet. What’s my point?

I suppose I was interested in the programme, trying to figure out what it was intended to do, and what effect it might have had on reviewers and viewers with differing views on Nigel and his leadership style.

I suspect Stefan Roy was right about the rather heated views expressed by UKIP supporters.

On reflection, the reviewers I read were mostly in agreement that Kevin Bishop had been given an opportunity to demonstrate his remarkable mimicry skills (he claims to have smoked thirty cigarettes a day to get his voice into condition for the part). They also liked some of the jokes, although considering them rather as amusing rather than bitingly satirical.

But now I think about it, who promised viewers they were in for a satirical treat?


Hillary, Donald, you owe me a good night’s sleep

October 10, 2016

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I did, I listened to the second debate between you both. It was not worth the loss of sleep

Why did I do it?  It was, possibly, a politically important event [October 10, 2016].

The latest of the seemingly effortless dramatic revelations coming up about you, Donald, last weekend, that video about your sexual urges, was a zinger.  A game-ender.

I admit, I wanted to hear how you would deal with it in the so-called town-hall style debate.  How would you, Hillary, deal with the Donald defence, probably a counter-attack, to use a chess term, perhaps risky involving a sacrifice of some material?

The more responsible side of me wanted to learn how either of you could demonstrate you were the more suited to be President. How Hillary was not a crook, lucky to have stayed out of jail, married to someone with enthusiasm for extra-curricular hobbies which landed him in creative linguistics (not a euphemism). How you Donald had a grasp of the mechanics of political workings required of a President of the United States.

So there I was, hanging on your every word.  Both of you sadly disappointed me.  Have you both been trained in that public speaking school of ‘answer the question you wanted to be asked, not the one you were actually asked‘? I seem to remember the trick is to reply and move on  reasonably quickly, perhaps with a link to that carefully chosen point you had been coached to get in.

Donald, you did pull out another strategy, to talk at length in a highly confusing way. I understand Nigel Farage was in with your other advisors.  I’m sure he would have warned you not to confuse your audience in such a way.

And what was all that grumpiness at the moderators? Donald, you did seem more spontaneous in your combustion.  Hillary, you sort of sounded as if you had to show you could be as ornery as Donald.

I missed a lot of the real show-biz stuff, the parade of women Donald arranged just before the debate, who, he claimed were seduced or worse by Bill, and pursued in very nasty ways by Hillary.

You both spoke your minds, so I will too.  For whatever reasons, you had a chance to say something interesting and therefore something which could impress a hundred million listeners. Don’t know what the others thought, but I felt I had been cheated out of a good night’s sleep.

Sleepless in Stockport


Dame Lowell Goddard, Donald Trump, and thoughts on Leadership Selection

August 5, 2016

 

Nigel Farage

The New Zealand Judge, Dame Lowell Goddard, prompted controversy when she was selected to head the politically sensitive investigation into child abuse over English candidates. That decision, and then her own to withdraw, invite questions about leadership selection

Selection of course, rather than election, although the selection process is made by our elected representatives. This distinction that seemed to have passed by Nigel Farage, in his often-repeated remarks about non-elected officials in the citadels of the Evil Empire in Brussels and Strasbourg.)

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Catch-up Part Two: The campaign to become Prime Minister

August 3, 2016

David Cameron ListeningIn Part One I looked at the developing stories from June 23rd 2016, the date of the European Referendum in the UK. To deal with the next part of the story, I have to go back to February, to the start of the months of national campaigning. 

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The EU Referendum: Fate knocks on the door

June 23, 2016

June 23rd 2016. After a fractious period of debate, the voters of Great Britain head for the ballot boxes. Some for various reasons have already recorded a postal vote

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And the leader of the week was …

June 14, 2016

Chosen from the eight candidates battling for votes in the ITV referendum debates

The debates were two hours long with a similar format. The leaders had a brief chance to outline positions, then faced well-thought out questions from what appeared to be audiences representing the main demographics (gender, and political persuasion were particularly well balanced).

The moderator Mary Nightingale would have been a strong contender, managing as well as any to have ‘control over the borders’ of time permitted to the panellists obviously not used to such a treatment. (I was reminded of the approach of the horse whisperer Monty Roberts, which has a well-constructed but unobtrusive approach to keeping critters moving where he would like them to go).

How to rate the leaders

I decided on a context-specific rating approach as found in such reputable scientific journals as Which, Ryan’s Air best deals, Delia’s dozen best flans, Celebrity hottest oboists.

Three factors of performance

After some thought I decided that the key measure of the leadership performance was on the influence or impact achieved by the performance on three groups of votes.

IOU: Impact on undecided (to swing to his or her side or the other side)

IOS: Impact on supporters (to stay as supporters, become unsettled, or switch)

IOO: Impact on opponents (to stay, become unsettled or switch)

Given time and a research budget I would arrive at a reasonable set of scales for each of these three factors. As I have neither, I resorted to another approach sometimes known as first impressions to help me fill in the matrix.

I read as many articles as I could find about the two debates may have been influenced by them, or (more likely) my own bias which is more strongly towards remain than it is towards the politicians and their advocacy of their cause.

Candidate Impact on undecided voters Impact on supporting voters Impact on opposing voters Notes
Cameron 4-5 5-6 3-4 12-15 Same old same old
Farage 2-3 7-8 2-3 11-13 Same old same old
Johnson 4 5 4 13 Needed plan B
Stuart 5 6 4 15 Bit bland
Leadsom 5-6 4-5 4-5 13-16 OK but forgettable
Sturgeon 6-7 6 3-4 15-17 Most authoritative
Eagle 3-7 5-6 3-4 11-17 ‘Marmite?’
Rudd 4-7 6-7 3-5 13-19 ‘Marmite?’
Range 2-7 4-8 2-5 11-19

What if anything does all this mean?

It’s just one of the thousands of ways you can set up your own thought engine, to help you get underneath the surface of arguments. These matrix methods do not give answers so much as suggest new possibilities.

My interpretation of the debates is that we have no game-changing speaker out there at present. And, of course my judgement about the impact of a speaker is unlikely to capture the views of the voters be they decided or undecided.