He has a book out.

I was driving in the car this afternoon. I haven’t changed the CD in the player for weeks now, and I’m getting a little tired of it. Of course, I didn’t consider this before I set out on my journey, and I wasn’t about to monkey about with it whilst I was driving, that’s a really stupid and not inconsiderably dangerous thing to do, so I turned on the radio.

Immediately my back stiffened, I’d been listening to the football coverage on Sunday on radio 5 when I last had the radio on, so it defaulted to that station when I jumped from disc to radio. That was a mistake. It is hard to describe how monumentally irritating I find Richard Bacon. He is a man for whom the word ‘cock’ was invented. His interviewing style is especially irksome when it comes to covering anything with the merest controversy, his idea of ‘balance’ is to shout over all his interviewees putting a polar opposite view in his whiny voice. If he agrees with the interviewee he’ll do it the once, because the BBC demands ‘balance’, if he doesn’t agree with the interviewee (and it is obvious when he doesn’t) he’ll do it for the whole time the interviewee is on the air.

When listening to Richard Bacon I get this irresistible urge to tie him to a grating and to employ a cricket bat, baseball bat, snooker cue, tennis racquet, croquet mallet, etc, to see which makes the most satisfying sound as I smash it against his skull.

Worse still are his ‘sleb interviews, he is so sickeningly supine, obsequious and generally sycophantic that it makes one want to retch. This is especially true when the interviewee is a fellow BBC type. Today the interviewee was Hugh Dennis, a man who as far as I can make out has the BBC to thank for 80% of his income, what with Mock the Week, Outnumbered, The Now Show and sundry other stuff.

As an aside, when my annoy-o-meter hit 11 I switched stations to Radio 2, whereupon I heard the arse end of a record, and then the DJ trailing an interview with this bloke who has a new book out; Hugh Dennis. So we have a BBC employee schlepping round the BBC radio studios hawking his new book. I wouldn’t be surprised if he popped up/has already appeared on the BBC breakfast sofa, The Graham Norton chat show and one of the Radio 4 review shows. The BBC has form for this, but I understand that recently they investigated themselves over the practice and found that it was all fine.

That’s OK then. Jimmy Savile, anyone?

Anyhow, back to the interview, after the initial line of questioning which went something along the lines of ‘You have a new book out, how fantastic is it?’ and ‘You do lots of stuff for the BBC, how fantastic are you?’ and ‘You’re one of the country’s best loved comics, would you mind if I just slipped your penis into my mouth whilst you tell us all about your magnificence?’, we turned to the premise of the book. I forget the title of the book, it is a play on words on the title of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it seems to suggest (bearing in mind I’ve not read the book) that being British is pretty cool; but only if you’re a part of the ever so clever metropolitan ‘liberal’ elite.

The starting point for the premise appears to be the opening ceremony of last summer’s Olympics. It was, as we all know, a triumph. I’m happy to accept that, I was sceptical about the Olympics and I was absolutely delighted to be proven incredibly wrong, the whole affair from curtain up to curtain down was a wonderful thing. Anyhow, Dennis was saying about how the opening ceremony got him to ponder the age old question of what it is to be British. Here things started to get a little lazy, Bacon was breathlessly talking about how we obviously all love the NHS and what a great thing it is, yada yada yada.

The conversation took a very odd turn here, with a line drawn between the bounce in the feeling that it was good to British (as long as you’re a part of the ever so clever metropolitan ‘liberal’ elite) and the increase in ‘anti-European’ sentiment, which is obviously an opinion held by those who are not a part of the ever so clever metropolitan ‘liberal’ elite.

No! I was screaming at the radio, it isn’t anti-European sentiment at all. Let me place this on the record once again; I adore Europe, it is the most magical place, there is nowhere on Earth with the diversity of our continent. Visitors from North America and the Antipodes are dumbstruck that you can drive your car onto a train in Folkestone, speaking English and doing something one way, arrive just over half an hour later in France, speaking French and doing something another way, and then driving east for twenty minutes, turning up in Belgium, speaking Flemish and doing that thing in another different way. It is amazing, beautiful, exciting, and the people in charge of the EU will not stop until every bit of joy and difference is squeezed out of it, they will not stop until everything is grey, uniform, dull and predictable, and they will not stop to ask us if it is what we want. It isn’t anti-Europe, it is anti-EU, they are two very, very different things.

It is all part of this bias which pervades the BBC. They really do believe that anyone who is opposed to the EU is a small minded bigot, they are incapable of considering any other point of view. They think that we are dangerous and unhinged.

It continued with accusations of opinion becoming insular. No! Not insular at all. The EU is a bloc, a cell. It locks us up, it prevents us from looking outside, it prevents us from expanding, from interacting. Opposition to the EU is precisely because we do not want to be insular, we want to be out there in the wilds, doing exciting stuff, getting dirty. The EU may be a bloody big place, but it is still a prison cell, with the way Europe’s economy is going it is akin to being locked inside a stately home as it falls into disrepair around you.

Then came the charge of isolationism. God, I hate that, it is so, so lazy. It is the EU which is isolationist, it is seeking to build a wall between its citizens, its member states and the rest of the world. They don’t want us to talk outside the club, they’ll look after that for us. We are a member of a bigger club, a better club, with more to offer, a club which exists to facilitate communication, business, ideas, real proper progress, it is the Commonwealth. You run a referendum on EU membership alongside a referendum on Commonwealth membership and see what the result is, you’d have to be certifiable to suggest leaving the Commonwealth, membership of it is nothing but virtuous. It doesn’t seek to dictate, it doesn’t seek to exclude or to control. It is the perfect model of what a multi-national organisation should be, it is neighbourly, friendly, egalitarian. There’s no ulterior motive, there’s no big political agenda, it is a group of countries working together to help each other out, nobody has to do anything they don’t want to, nobody is strong armed into doing anything, and we’re right at the heart of it.

Isolationism? Give me strength, we’re looking at expanding our horizons across the globe, not pulling down the shutters and pretending the world stops at Dover.

I get so angry with this lazy, prejudiced and wrong headed attitude, and the BBC promotes it unthinkingly. It isn’t about Little England, it is about Global Britain.

Needless to say I changed the CD as soon as I got home.

Is there some sort of award on offer?

I’m trying to fathom the thinking (assuming there is some) behind the amazing commentary coming out of the Tories at the moment.

Let’s just take a quick review of the last few days, shall we?

  • Cameron tells us, repeatedly, that he wants a referendum. But only if we elect his lot outright.
  • Cameron does not put anything about a referendum in the Queen’s speech.
  • Cameron gets sniffy when the backbenchers lodge an amendment regretting the lack of any referendum.
  • Cameron writes, on the back of an organic tofu packet, a draft bill for a referendum.
  • Cameron hands draft bill to a backbencher to adopt as a private members’ bill.
  • Cameron then makes noises about this PMB being subject to a three line whip.
  • Cameron studiously ignores the fact that he cannot bind any future governments into holding a referendum, but it doesn’t matter, because this is doing something, making a statement.
  • Cameron says nothing, when making a statement would be a very good thing, after one of his inner circle dismisses the Tory grassroots as swivel eyed lunatics (where have we heard that before?).

Now, if I were leader of a political party and one of my colleagues spoke about the core support in such hostile and unforgivable terms, not only would I release a statement PDQ decrying the decrier as a nincompoop and all round farty-pants, but I would also, in the full view of the party and national media, eviscerate the decrier and march his head on a pole up Whitehall, round Trafalgar Square and down The Strand as a warning to others.

Instead we’ve heard nothing. Not a peep. Is it any wonder that the Tory grassroots are so furious? Is it any wonder that they are jumping over to UKIP?

Dave, c’mon! Hey, I’m quite happy about it, but you? What in the wide wide world of sports is going on in that little Eton head of yours? You really do treat your rank and file as oiky first year scholarship boys, don’t you?

The truth is, dear reader, that as far as Cameron and his pals are concerned, if you didn’t attend the right schools (I think it is limited to Eton, Harrow and Winchester), if you didn’t go to the right universities, if you didn’t join the right societies, then you really are nothing more than an educationally sub-normal, cretinous, drooling simpleton; the owner of a opinion that is to be ignored or shouted down. Know your place, you scruffy little oik.

I’m not one to play the toff game, but the longer this goes on, the longer I think there’s something in it. I always thought it was an easy sop from the Labour mob, and don’t worry, I’m coming to you lot in a moment, so you can stop looking so bloody smug, but if this is how he treats ‘his own kind’, well, of course the grassroots aren’t ‘his own kind’, they are beneath him. Just look at this photo again:

Is there not one of them you couldn’t cheerfully hit in the face with a brick?

He despises anyone who isn’t in his club.

Well, keep it up Dave, keep it up. Your uppity loons will find a home elsewhere. Let’s see how many seats you win when only Bullingdon Club members vote Tory.

Now, Labour members, you’re looking very pleased with yourselves, aren’t you? Well, why? Your leadership are just as elitist as the Tories, some of the schools are different – although not all that different, the universities are the same. You sit there in your Islington town houses pontificating on how people should live their lives, oh, you’re so superior, aren’t you? Hmmm? Intellectually, morally, spiritually, golly gosh if you aren’t just wonderful people. Except you’re not, you’re driven by hate, spite, jealousy and an unmanageable desire to control every aspect of every person’s life. You really are the most patronising and condescending lot, I loathe the Tories, you I just pity.

As far as you’re concerned, the only thing worse than a Tory (who you are convinced are all toffs – give it six weeks and you may be right) is one of those working class types. You’ve not met any working class, well, perhaps one or two, but they’ve been bathed and shaved, had some rudimentary education and, most importantly, would never disagree with you, mainly because you’d decry them as racist homophobe paedos and have their kids taken from them.

Anyhow, these working class types, you read about them in the sociology elective of your politics degree, some of them have improved themselves, some of them don’t want to be most ‘umbly grateful for the benefits you give them, or the dead end McJobs you’ll allow them to have, as long as they pay their union dues and do what they’re told like good little drones. Man, you HATE them. They improve their lot, and they don’t ask your permission. All of a sudden, you don’t look quite so attractive to them. They don’t need you any more, they don’t seek out your protective little pat on the head. Then there’s the other lot, who do outrageous things like question your immigration policies when their kids waste days in school waiting for everything to be translated, when even a seasonal farm job is out of reach because they don’t speak the right lingo. Class traitors! Racists! Throw in a ‘homophobe!’ as well, hell, let’s give ‘em a ‘paedo!’ for good measure.

No, your leader doesn’t want anyone to have a say on anything. It would appear that he doesn’t have a great deal to say himself, as when he stands up to talk it is utter, meaningless bollocks. At least when Cameron speaks you can pick apart what it is he’s saying and call him a large foreheaded arse-clown, your bloke speaks through his adenoids it’s like he’s suffering from dysphasia, he may just as well be saying ‘duvet renewable fan, chilli sauce, social justice ironing board cornflakes, privet hedge fund managers, chocolate seagulls feet.’ I just. . . he’s hopeless. You want us to back him? I mean, why? Why would we do that? Yes, Cameron is a shambling disaster too, but that’s no reason to back your shambling disaster. There’s more than two horses in this race, you know.

And LibDems, I was going to say I hadn’t forgotten about you. But that would have been a lie, because just like everyone else I HAD forgotten about you, due to your complete irrelevance.

Is there some sort of award on offer for most dysfunctional party and least effective leader? Bugger me, it would be a close run thing.

Keep it up.

How much?

I’ve had a bit of a break as you’ll have noticed. Feeling a little more energised now.

I’ve been wanting to write on the whole EU referendum thing, but it’s been moving so quickly, every time I settle on a plan about what to write, something else happens that changes that. As far as I can make out we have three leaders who have attitudes that range from lip-service at best to preventing anyone being able to have a say at worst, and they are running parties who are either desperate to have the vote, see the sense in giving a vote some consideration or will do anything to have that vote nixed.

All in all, the only people I trust to hold a proper, open vote are UKIP. That’s the long and short of it.

Anyhow, that’s not what I want to write about today.

I am a Star Trek fan, a big one. I’m not quite at the level of attending conventions, dressing up and speaking in Klingon, but yes, I’m a big fan.

I hated the last film, the JJ Abrams ‘re-boot’. I thought it took 50 years of canon and pissed all over it, I left the cinema feeling very angry about it all and resolved that I’d not watch another one as long as that man was in charge of the output.

However, I’ve been in conversation with other fans who have opinions I respect, and apparently the new movie which is out now goes some way to repairing the damage. I understand that Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as the villain. Accordingly Mrs. Snowolf and I decided last night that today we would go and watch it.

There is a problem. The Odeon cinema in the centre of Canterbury is a dump. It is uncomfortable, limited in space, boiling hot in summer and arctic in the winter. I try to avoid it.

A twenty five minute car journey away we a multiplex elsewhere, the parking is good, the seats are comfortable and it is very nice. I’d rather drive for twenty minutes and watch in comfort than walk for ten and watch in Canterbury. So this morning I visited their website with a view to booking some tickets.

My God, those tickets are expensive, to watch it in 3D (there is a 2D screening, I prefer 2D but the screening time just isn’t that convenient today) comes in at almost £15 per head for adults.

Fifteen bloody quid. that’s before you factor in the cost of the fuel for the car and the fact that I’m pretty much obliged, on pain of silent treatment for a week, to purchase some ice-cream and a soft drink at a cost of around about £30 per litre for each commodity. All in all a two hour trip to the cinema would leave me very little change from £50. And that’s just for two adults, the cost if you factor in kids and friends of kids must make it prohibitive.

You’ll be told it will start at 1430, say, so you’ll be in your seat for 1425, then you’ll see twenty minutes of adverts that you’ve seen a hundred times before on TV (where are the charming local adverts of yesteryear?), but for some reason people will laugh at them, like they’ve never seen them before, then you’ll be bombarded with trailers for seven films, five of which will indistinguishable from each other, each with premises that seem paper thin at best. Finally at around 1505 the film will be just about to start when the warning will come on about piracy and how you are scum if you film a film or buy a knock-off copy of the movie.

Well, given that I’m expected to pay almost £50 for the privilege of watching this movie I’m not in the slightest bit surprised that I can go down the local Sunday morning bootfair and buy the latest movie releases for a fiver a time on moody DVD.

Perhaps if you didn’t take the piss with your pricing strategy people wouldn’t be so willing to buy the pirated stuff, you bastards.

I can think of very few places I’d rather be less than the bootfair, so I suppose I shall have to wait for the film to come to the rather lovely cinema up at the university or I shall wait for it to come onto my magic sky telebox where I can ‘rent’ it for two quid, sit on my own sofa with a drink and a smoke, and if I need to go for a wee, I can just press pause.

Cinemas, if you don’t sort yourself out soon, you’ll be dead. It isn’t going take long for the major picture producers to realise that they can stream new releases direct over the ‘net to peoples’ homes and keep all that lovely lolly to themselves, no distribution costs, no cutting deals with screeners over percentages, it makes perfect sense.

Quite a day.

I’ve been a mischievous little snowolf today and have been enjoying the role of ‘agenting’ for UKIP at the count down in this corner of the country. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit shell-shocked. It wasn’t so much that we won a couple of seats, more of which in a moment, it was that we did so well in the seats where we didn’t win. In all bar a couple of seats we came second, close seconds at that. In those where we didn’t come second, we comfortably beat an established party into fourth place.

By and large I have to say that our opponents were a pretty decent lot who coped pretty well with what must have been quite a culture shock, as these brash new kids on the block turned up. They were pretty much all quite friendly, welcoming and in more than several cases admiring of how we performed. These were people who also cared about local issues, that is an important observation, these are different people to the ones who swan about Westminster as if they are better than us.

The performance is really interesting, because all the UKIP candidates down here were paper candidates. We did very little to push ourselves, it was all a bit of a ramshackle, last minute rush job. What we could achieve with a little organisation and strategy could be astounding.

The day built to a crescendo, with our two wins coming in one district which was, as if the script had been written, the last one called. Most of the people from the other parties congratulated our winning candidates, our new County Councillors, with grace and generosity of spirit. All bar one of the Conservatives, who burst into tears, complained about UKIP ‘taking’ her seat and stared daggers at us. We may have looked a little smug, but hey, that’s politics. It is precisely because she viewed the seat as her right that she lost it.

Post-match the first stop was in a pub about 100 yards from the count venue. We got some funny looks as we walked in, all badged up, but the revelation that a new Councillor for the ward was amongst the UKIP numbers was greeted with a thumbs up. A splendid time was had by all.

I feel the need for some sleep, it’s been emotional.

Benched.

Or not.

I marvel at the navel gazing being employed over at the Telegraph. It is difficult to strategise when your premise is so completely wrong.

Daniel Hannan started it yesterday with a quite startling piece about how a ‘spat’ between the Tories and UKIP will see Labour into office at the next general election. I used to quite like Dan, indeed he’s still one of the Tories I find most attractive in a political sense, but boy is he wrong. Even the opening line of his piece is a startling inaccuracy.

If we carry on like this, we’ll give Labour a massive parliamentary majority with a minority of the popular vote.

We? Who is this we? There is no ‘we’. Yet another Tory makes the fatal error of assuming that UKIP are a Conservative second XI, pissed off at being made to sit on the bench when we feel we should be out in the middle like some gloriously industrious midfield terrier. Dan, mate, I don’t want to play for your team.

Together, the Conservatives and Ukip could deliver the referendum on leaving the EU which more than 80 per cent of people want.

And together Labour and the Lib Dems could block it. He’s obsessed with this Canadian reconciliation thing, and it all sounds very nice, how Rohan and Gondor united to defeat the massed forces of Sowron, but of course as a Tory, we Kippers should just stop being silly and fall in line.

What Dan fails to understand is that UKIP is more than wanting out of the EU, and that fact is one of the reasons why some imagined reconciliation won’t happen, at least any time soon, and certainly not on the Tory’s terms. So, Labour will get in. And? I’ve said it time and again, I will vote UKIP because I want UKIP. If I don’t get UKIP, I don’t care what I get. There are three identikit (anti)social (un)democrat parties, I don’t want any of them, if one of them wins, I don’t care which it is. It makes no difference to me. Labour holds no more dread for me than the Tories, the LibDems or any combination of the above.

What is it, after all, that Ukip stands for? The same things as the Conservatives: lower taxes, independence from Brussels, an end to the human rights culture, localism. Above all, the party was established to give the British people a chance to leave the EU.

I’m sorry Dan, that isn’t what the Tories stand for. Look, you were up against one of the most useless, hated, ineffective, complacent and downright appalling governments we’ve ever had and you still couldn’t get the job done. Perhaps if at the last election Cameron had made the point that all that is what we’d have got if they’d have won (and yes, we all know Cast Iron Dave has significant form in this area), you wouldn’t be in this situation now. You know, this situation where last minute panicked leaflets were put out, purporting to be something they were not, the situation where UKIP boards are mysteriously disappearing from view. Perhaps, if Cameron had made a song and dance about this in the run up to the election, instead of being a policy free zone, you might have properly won.

But he didn’t, and you didn’t. There has been no indication that your party has any intention of offering what you try to persuade me they stand for. You pretend this golden dawn is just round the corner, but there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that your party are even thinking about considering what you claim is tantalisingly just out of reach.

How wretched we should all feel, the day after the 2015 general election, if we saw that there weren’t quite enough MPs to deliver an In/Out referendum because of a split in the Eurosceptic vote.

Again with the ‘we’. I simply don’t believe that Cameron can, will and wants to deliver on that. I don’t believe him. I have no faith in him. The trust I have in him is zero.

consider the recent Eastleigh by-election. Two Right-of-Centre candidates stood on virtually identical platforms. Both wanted an In/Out referendum, and both would have voted to leave.

It makes no difference which way your candidate would have voted. Look, Cameron is promising a referendum, perhaps, if we’re lucky, don’t make a mess and eat all our greens, not because he wants one, but because it is expedient for him to do so. It was an attempt to ‘shoot UKIP’s fox’, the fox has now turned into a wolf. Didn’t go so well, did it? Your candidate was at odds with your leader.

Whilst we’re on the subject, don’t come over all senior partner about Eastleigh, it may have escaped your attention, but we polled more than you. We came second. Well whoop-de-do, there’s no prizes for second. But if all you Tories had stopped being so silly and voted UKIP, we’d have won.

All you’re doing by labouring this point that we’re all narked Tories is deluding yourselves. Hell, I’ve not been pounding the pavements and knocking on doors. I’m a passionate UKIP supporter, but I’m not in the habit going on about out it out in the real world. I’ve heard so many people, so many, at work, in the pub, walking the dog, so very many people telling me that they don’t vote, or they certainly don’t vote Tory. But they’ll be voting tomorrow, and they’ll be voting UKIP. I’ve never seen such interest in a local election before, and I don’t mean from the media, I mean from real, proper people. They like UKIP precisely because of what we’re not. UKIP aren’t a collection of little grey people, in little grey suits, with little grey policies, telling people to be content with their little grey lives.

We’re sick of it, all of it, all of you. Not just you Tories, but of Labour, of the LibDems, all these, a-ha, clowns who seem to think they have some god given right to tell us what to say, think, do, drink, smoke, eat, believe. We’ve had enough of you. We are raucous, we say outrageous things. Sure we get things wrong, we make mistakes, but we make them honestly, we’re not obsessed with little focus groups and chasing that x% who ‘decide’ elections. We’re not playing by those rules.

In the main it isn’t about the EU, it is about a plain talking ‘common sense’ leader, it is about this, about that, the EU question is something I’ve not actually heard mentioned a great deal. It isn’t because it isn’t important to people, it is because it is so bloody obvious. I mention it to these newly enthused voters and I get ‘yeah, well the EU’s crap, isn’t it?’

These people see a party who resonates with them, a party they hope could speak for them, a party they can relate to, a party that hasn’t been tainted with expenses, that doesn’t lecture, a party that has real ideas. Sure, they’re not fully formed, but what’s the rush, we’ve a while until the general election, but you can bet we’ll have policies to hang your hat on. What did you have last time? Nothing.

And that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Tories like you look at UKIP and think, ‘damn, if only we were like that’. You’ve settled for second best.

So no, I won’t stop being silly and do as you tell me. I’ll do what I want, thank you.

On reflection.

I was quite hard on the Tories yesterday. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still think they’re dumber than a bag of hair, but it occurred to me this morning that they’re actually doing us (UKIP) a big favour.

You see there was a statement on the UKIP facebook thingy the other day. It was quite clear and simple; ‘We rely on people to tell the truth. We trust people to be honest. We ask people questions. If they lie, we sack them.’

Now, I’m not a candidate, but I am a member. When I joined I had to give a statement to the effect that I was not, nor have ever been, a member of the BNP and other ultra-left racist national socialist groups. I would imagine that when one asks for the nod as a candidate, one of the questions asked is probably ‘are you a terrible racist who is going to cause embarrassment to UKIP and bring their name into disrepute?’

The thing is, despite a massive increase in membership this year (around 40% when most parties are haemorrhaging numbers) the numbers who run the party admin are quite low. With the best will in the world we cannot conduct in depth investigations into the histories of each candidate we are putting forward. Thankfully, the Tories have spent a good deal of money doing that for us. And as soon as we find someone who says stupid and racist things like John Cherry, they can be kicked out in short order.

Oh, dammit. Would you look at that? John Cherry is a Tory. We’ll colour me surprised. There was me thinking the Conservative’s poo-poo didn’t stink.

Anyhow, cheers for that Tories, you’ve saved us a huge amount of cash and effort there. That’s bloody decent of you.

Now, there’s one more thing you could do for us. Would you be so good to ensure that your dead tree press shock troop hacks keep writing about us until Thursday? Today in the Wail it’s the turn of former Tory dep-chairman, non-dom billionaire Tory funder Michael Ashcroft.

He’s again trotting out the line vote UKIP, get Labour. Apparently, if you vote UKIP you won’t get the Tories, and there goes all hope of an in/out referendum.

Point one: I am absolutely convinced that either a) the ‘negotiations’ that Cameron wants to conduct will come to nowt, and as a result he’ll say, ‘well I did say a referendum was dependent upon having a package to refer’ and it won’t happen, or b) it will be a consultative referendum which is not binding, or c) it will be binding and we’ll have to just keep on voting until we vote to stay in. Either way, I don’t believe Cameron, not even as far as I can spit, and given his track record, only a fool would take him at his word. Jam tomorrow? How about sod off today?

Point two: Because you lot are so dim, you still believe that UKIP supporters are Tories who are a little bit upset. You think that if you keep making the hollow promise of a referendum, perhaps, if the conditions are right, at some point in the future, we’ll all come crawling back.

Now, the UKIP line on the EU is hugely attractive to me, it’s one of the reasons I joined, but it isn’t the whole story. For many who support UKIP the EU thing is nice, but it isn’t the main thing.

You see Mike, the reason we’re picking up support is that we’re not you. We’re not Labour, we’re not the LibDems. We haven’t made a career of insulting the electorate, offering positions that differ from the others by fractions of a fraction. We are different. I don’t doubt that if we were ever to take a parliamentary majority we’d find the occasional shyster, feather-bedder and general arse-clown. But you lot, you make them ministers, you keep them as ministers, or you make them spend a few months on the naughty step before letting them back into class. You stole from us. You lied to us. You patronised us.

Yet you still bang on about the one issue. Jeez, move on, can’t you? We have. You realise you look like the person who has only just discovered the MP3 player and spends all the time telling everyone about what it does?

Yeah mate, we know. Get with the times, Grandad.

This ceased to be only about Europe some time ago. People are realising, at long long last, it doesn’t matter which of the big three they vote for, because the result is always going to be the same no matter who wins.

Do I think UKIP is some sort of panacea? Of course not, I’m not that naive. But why the hell should they not have a crack? Is it because the track record of your three mobs, with your cosy little club rules, your understandings, your nods and winks, studiously ensuring the horses remain unscared and that the pachyderm in the chamber remains steadfastly unidentified, is so Earth shatteringly awe-inspiringly golden and successful?

You can’t scare us anymore, because given the last Labour government, and the current coalition, nothing (beyond a Green or a BNP government) could possibly be any worse that what we’ve lived under for the last ten years.

You keep writing about how awful it would be if UKIP ‘stole’ votes from ‘your’ voters. You keep making out that people have a duty to vote for your miserable, incompetent mob. You keep making out that you own people. You keep telling people how we’re dangerous, a bit dodgy, suspect, something not right about us.

Every time you do it, people are looking at you. And damn, are you ugly.

So keep it up. Please.

I am not a Tory.

The Tories are wrong. On a number of levels they are wrong. They are wrong on so many things it would be quicker to write a list of what it is they are right about. That list would be short.

One of the things they are wrong about is that people who vote UKIP are Tory disaffectees.

I will be voting UKIP, I am not a Tory. I never have been a Tory.

One of the things they are wrong about is that UKIP are stealing or splitting Tory votes.

I will be voting UKIP. I am not a Tory. My vote does not belong to you. It belongs to me. In an article over at the Torygraph, Vicki Woods launches an attack against UKIP and Farage that is so personal it made me cringe. Vicki, love, when you use the phrase ‘the sort who you know would or should be voting Tory because they always have’ you represent the exact problem your party has. Who the hell do you think you are to demand, suppose, believe, expect that because someone voted Tory at some point in the past that they are now duty bound to do so for the rest of their lives?

This is the attitude from all the big 3 parties; ‘you belong to us’. Uh-huh, this is why UKIP are spiking at present, you treat people like chattels, like vassals, you insult them, you dictate to them, and then you expect them to support you. It is like an abusive relationship, perhaps now the abused are starting to hit back.

I suspect that Vicki Woods has been got at, because it appears that the Tories have been spending a good deal of money on trying to dig up dirt on UKIP candidates in next week’s council elections. It’s pretty strong stuff, one candidate owns a bar where adults can go and see another adult take their clothes off. The leader once went into a place that was similar.

I don’t much care. I suspect most other people won’t. Those that do care will say something along the lines of ‘I knew that bloke Farage was no good.’ It is intelligence that will reinforce, not change, opinion.

Over in the comments on the Telegraph someone has listed the convictions and arrests regarding Tories. Lots of them. Lots of kiddie fiddling stuff. I have no comment to make on that.

The thing is this, the Conservatives must be running scared to do this. By doing it, and by being so slapdash as to be caught out doing it, they’ve just reinforced the line that they are a bunch of unscrupulous arses who would do anything to anyone to hold onto power. Nice.

The other thing is that they still believe that UKIP voters belong to them. I don’t. We don’t. We belong to ourselves. Why is this concept so difficult for you to grasp? Why do you think I owe your party any loyalty? I owe them nothing. I’m loyal to UKIP, I’m a member. If the party’s views change and I end up disagreeing with more than I agree, then I’ll leave. My loyalty is to my views. There is talk of no pact whilst Cameron is leader of the Tories. This is good. There is talk of a pact if Gove became Tory leader. This is bad. If such a merger or pact came about, I’d be off. Why? Because I’m not a Tory. I’m not using UKIP as some kind of regent until the Tories come to their senses. I don’t view UKIP as a safe harbour as a storm blows on the Tory seas. I’m not a Tory.

The Tories seem to think all UKIP could, would, should and did vote Tory. I don’t. This is not some Tory second XI.

I had an interesting discussion with the Tory candidate for my county council ward the other day as he called round doing the doorstep thing. I actually quite like him, he’s a good bloke, and he’s done a lot of good work. He was the driving force in the county council to get the city council’s support of the aforementioned and disastrous Westgate Towers traffic scheme overturned. He is hoping to get the aforementioned Kingsmead field designated as a village green to scupper the city council’s plans to develop it for housing; a plan that is widely hated in the community, and widely supported in the city council.

The city council has 49 councillors, only 15 of them are not Tories. They are detested, in Canterbury. You couldn’t hope to find a place more blue. The county councillor for this ward is hated by the city Tories as he keeps frustrating them at county hall.

My appreciation for his work aside, a couple of the things he said to me in trying to get me to vote for him really pissed me off. When I pointed out the lunacy of a Tory councillor constantly trying to undo the work of the other Tory councillors, when I pointed out that they hate him, when I pointed out to him that he was in the wrong party, he laughed. ‘But if I joined UKIP, I wouldn’t get elected.’

BAM! There we have it. He’d rather be in office than address the obvious issues within his party. Big black mark from Wolfers there.

Second, he trotted out the line than really gets my goat; if you vote UKIP you’ll get Labour.

Even now that makes me bristle. I will always, always vote FOR what I want, and never against that which I do not. If there is nothing I want, I will spoil my paper. If what I want doesn’t get in, it doesn’t matter to me what does. Don’t threaten me with the Labour bogeyman, they are the minority on the city council, perhaps if they’d been the majority, the traffic trial and field sale wouldn’t have been on the agenda. Maybe if they returned a county councillor he would also oppose what the Tories had done on the city council, I mean, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that a Labour person would try to generate capital for their party by opposing the other side, is it? And, just in case I haven’t expressed this enough, because I am not a Tory, the thought of Labour does not give me an attack of the vapours.

Then today we receive a letter where he states, quite incorrectly, that he is the only candidate who lives in the ward. I know this is not true as I know the UKIP candidate and he most definitely lives in the ward.

So, I will not be voting Tory. I will not be voting Tory because:

  1. I do not trust or believe their leader.
  2. I do not trust or support their policies.
  3. I do not like their negative campaigning techniques.
  4. I do not support, in the slightest, their local policies.
  5. I do not like their obvious in-fighting locally.
  6. I do not like their candidate’s attempt to scare me into voting for him.
  7. I do not like their inaccurate and misleading communications.

Most importantly, I will not be voting Conservative mainly because I am not a Tory.

What independence?

I really am starting to worry about what the future holds for Scotland. Seriously. I can’t get a handle on what it is Salmond and his pals want to achieve. My position is fairly clear, one of extreme ambivalence; I have no desire to see the Union break up, but at the same time have no objection to seeing Scotland going it alone.

I find the whole thing fascinating from a constitutional point of view, and my opinion is that it isn’t a question of Scotland the plucky underdog casting off the chains of bonded servitude – let us not forget that the formation of the Union came about at the behest and under the reign of a man who was king of Scotland way before he became king of England – we are talking of a divorce. England’s status in this union is not one of master, as I see it  England and Scotland are as equal as Kent and Surrey are in their relationship within the configuration of state. Scotland is not dependent on England, it is not a vassal state. Scotland does not have to ask England’s permission to do things, England cannot dictate to Scotland what she will do. Beyond cultural definitions there is no England and there is no Scotland, there is the United Kingdom only. This is why I find the whole thing so utterly fascinating.

After 300 years of union I can’t see how any division can be effected to the satisfaction of both parties. The cross-fertilisation between the two constituent parts is so far developed that it makes an equitable division almost impossible. Land is easy, sea less so. The division of people is almost impossible. Anybody who claims some racial purity along English or Scottish lines is deluded. We are the most mongrel of people, that is why we are so strong. Our ability and natural disposition to absorbing newcomers has given us qualities that has allowed us to achieve way beyond our means. Our openness to new ideas and methods has allowed us to steal a march on other more insular societies. Our language’s readiness to adopt new words and the resultant subtlety has aided its rise to the global language. In terms of governance, democracy, finance, engineering, sport, science, medicine. commerce, diplomacy, all of it, it is down to our (and God forgive me for trotting out such a cliche) strength through diversity.

When I talk about that diversity, it isn’t about the easily recognisable differences between the English and Scots, it is the fact that there is no difference between the English and Scots. That’ll have some English raging on St. George’s Day and some Scots furious that I would say such a thing. But I’m sorry, after 300 years there is no difference between the two. I’ve bad news for you; if you claim to be ‘pure’ Scottish, there’s an Englishman’s dick at play somewhere in there. If you claim to be ‘pure’ English, there’s a Scotsman’s dick involved too. Before that there will be Celtic, Roman, Norman, Viking, Angle, Saxon and other genetic material swimming round. After that there will be Flemish, German, Russian, Polish, West African, East African, Southern African, West Indian, Jewish, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and countless other genomes in effect. Our diversity is seamless.

Before the Union there was no prohibition of movement, the idea of the closed border, the passport and rights or exclusions of settlement and movement is a very recent one. We live on one island, if there is a base building block for these islands, we all share it. From an anthropological perspective it is also a fascinating study.

These high blown concepts are all very well, but the real meat of the matter comes down to the every day things, that is what quite rightly exercises people. This is where my thoughts turn from academic interest to real concern. On the face of it, it is a simple question with a simple answer. What does Salmond want for Scotland? Independence.

But what independence? Salmond’s ranting seems to become more childish and petulant every day. If you are a pro-independence person, you will no doubt believe that your country is governed from London. You’re right, it is. But you send people to argue for your little corner of Scotland, of the UK. As I do for my little corner of England, of the UK. More than that, you also have a Scottish parliament that has powers not available to England, a set up whereby MP’s representing constituents in Scotland file through and vote on legislation that has no impact on them. However, if you’re pro-independence, how do you square that with a system where your supposed leader is convinced that they will morph seamlessly into an independent nation state within the EU? You think London is dictatorial? Wait until you report directly to Brussels. You don’t have to wait, you do so already. London doesn’t act as a filter, occupying some middle ground between Brussels and Edinburgh. That is not independence.

More than that, Salmond is convinced that having been banging on about this for so long, the absolute best thing to do is to jump right aboard the sinking Euro tanker. He shouts down those from the Euro-machinery who state Scotland would have to re-apply, and the terms are not attractive. You’d have to accept the Euro, the Schengen treaty, all the social chapters. No opt out, no rebate, no influence, you’d be like Slovenia. Your economy would be hostage to the fortunes and ideas of the big boys in the single currency.

All Salmond does is shout that they are wrong. Well mate, I’ve news for you. Their club, their membership rules. You can’t turn up to someone else’s party and dictate music and buffet policy. If they say you ain’t in when you emerge from the divorce, then you ain’t in.

Independence?

Today we see that having split from the UK (not from England) that the plan is to keep the Pound Sterling.

Are you mental? If Scotland splits, its economy will be moving a much different pace to that of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will be subject to different stresses and strains, different requirements. You want to tie yourself to a currency that you will have no influence over, you will be utterly at the mercy of what the BoE decide to do, and the BoE will not be considering Scotland when they implement policy.

Salmond wants Scotland in the EU on current terms – it simply won’t happen. Salmond doesn’t want Scotland in the Euro – because not even he is that mad. Yet, he will happily usher in a circumstance where Scotland will be just as vulnerable as Greece or Cyprus.

The remainder of the UK will not give Scotland any say in the governance of the Pound. Why should they? We get no say over the currencies of Denmark or Sweden. Why? Because it isn’t ours. The Pound Sterling would not be yours.

Salmond merely stamps his feet and says the rump-UK would have to let them use it. Well, no they wouldn’t. Oh sure, you can use the currency, it happens elsewhere, especially with the US Dollar (East-Timor, Panama, El Salvador for example), but they’ve no say in its governance. It’s utter chaos.

Post ‘Yes’ vote, membership of the EU and adoption of the Pound Sterling is no independence.

What does Salmond want? My mind goes to a line spoken by Varys, the spymaster in the dramatisation of George R R Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series of novels on TV last night. He was talking of Peter Baelish, ‘Littlefinger’, a man described as one of the most dangerous men in Westeros. ‘He would let the country burn just so he could be king of the ashes.’ Salmond would be bending the knee left, right and centre as soon as he got his way, telling himself he was the head of an independent state.

I have no problem with Scottish sovereignty, but please Scotland, I beg of you, make sure it IS sovereignty.

What a critic.

A few bloggers have written on the subject of spammers recently. I get a few, about three or four a day. Most of the time it is gibberish, a lot of the time it is along the lines of ‘I found this really helpful and will share it with my friends’, often it is no more than a list of hyperlinks for some moody handbags and the like.

Occasionally, one pops up which is just simply fantastic. I have happened upon one this evening, one that made me roar with laughter.

Thing is, he’s not too far off. . . (click to embiggen)

Call me an old cynic, but. . .

The thing is, I have no respect for politicians. I am convinced that there is no depth to which they will not stoop to further their agenda or their career.

Politics is now little more than a fusion of the entertainment and marketing industries. Every shirt, jacket and tie is agonised over before a TV appearance. ‘What does this pair of socks say?’ is a question that must surely be asked before the wearer reveals them by crossing their legs on the sofa of the breakfast or mid-morning chat show.

No part of a politician’s appearance, image or general facade is left to chance. So, I ask the question, what do you see here?

Do you see a man, profoundly moved by the death of a woman he looked up to as a role model, a woman whose ideology and politics he feels so connected to that her passing has brought about such a reaction?

Or, do you see a man, sat behind a dead man walking, a man who would love to hold the post his old chum occupies, a man who would love to persuade the membership of his party that he is the man who best reflects her legacy, the man who can bring about a resurrection of her policies and drive? A man that wants himself in the forefront of the minds and hearts of his party’s membership?

I wonder. . .