Tag Archives: ukip

Opinion: Is the centre ground disappearing from British politics?

Ballot boxIs it just me, or has something recently changed in British politics? In fact, this apparent move towards what some might see as extremism may also be a characteristic of the political scene in Europe and further afield, too. It is almost akin to the frenzy that seems to hit societies at the end of each century, but manifesting itself a decade and a half late.

What the opinion polls appear to show is that the centre ground, represented primarily by the Liberal Democrats, has lost ground in favour of a …

photo by: FutUndBeidl
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 96 Comments

Desperately seeking Nigel

Nigel Farage seems to be everywhere these days (except for turning up to propose his own motion). But, curiously, there is one fairly crucial place he isn’t.

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Opinion: US analysis of how to beat “far right” UKIP – be consistent

Washington DC based think tank, The Marshall Fund, which promotes understanding between North America and Europe, has produced a new research paper: “The Unstoppable Far Right?” that looks at UKIP in Britain and similar parties in Germany (Afd) and the Netherlands (PVV).

The paper compares “euro-sceptical right-populist” parties in these countries and concludes that what mainstream political parties say and do has a big impact on whether people vote for these parties. The “rise” of these parties is by no means inevitable: the PVV went significantly backwards at the 2014 European elections.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Nigel, was there something you forgot to do?

Nigel farage photo by norbert1As the net migration figures come out today, Nigel Farage has never been far from a tv camera. He’s been on the BBC News Channel. on the Daily Politics, spreading his ill-informed nonsense that we have an open door to half a billion people as if the entirety of Europe was going to pack up and come here to live.

It must have slipped his mind that he was supposed to be in Strasbourg this morning, voting down the European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. He must have also forgotten to take part in the debate on the motion on Monday. The funny thing is, he’s been in Strasbourg this week, lining up to meet the Pope.  UKIP MEPs don’t often trouble the Parliament with their presence, but you would think that Farage would have bothered to turn up to support his own motion! He and others including France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen had wasted Parliament’s time with the motion which was roundly defeated this morning.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt spoke against it in the debate and he didn’t mince his words:

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The Independent View: The political culture in Britain seems to have been infected by a form of madness

With each electoral gain made by Ukip, politicians and the media respond with ever more apocalyptic descriptions of the insidious effect of mass immigration on this small overcrowded island.

A vivid picture is painted daily of a nation overrun by swarms of migrants who are taking our jobs, lowering our wages, scrounging our benefits, crowding our schools, clogging up our hospital wards, destroying our culture and boiling our children before eating them for breakfast.

Well, maybe not the last bit, but some of the scaremongering rhetoric comes close to such levels of hysteria. It would be laughably surreal were it not so inflammatory and potentially damaging, particularly when it is stirred up by people in positions of power and influence who really should know better.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Opinion: UKIP fails to win in London because it fails to understand its communities

nigel farageIn this week’s New Statesman, when confronted with the fact that most in London do not share his “uneasy” feelings towards immigrants speaking in their mother tongue, Nigel Farage launches another attack on the capital’s so-called “commentariat” who are “caught in the whirlpool of London thinking”. It’s his typical accusatory anti-liberal, anti-elitist, anti-London rhetoric, and so you’d think it would register just as a minor tremor on the UKIP-irritation seismometer. But it wasn’t. This was a good 7, at least, on the personal Richter Scale.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Half of current Green supporters voted Lib Dem in 2010

“As Ukip is to the Tories, so can the Green party be to the Lib Dems.” That’s a sentence I wrote 7 years ago, November 2007. So I was interested to see this post by YouGov’s Peter Kellner – ‘Ukip, the Greens and the new politics of protest’ – which looks at his firm’s polling data to find out more about the current spike in support for the Greens.

In it, he aggregates three weeks’ polling data to create a sample size large enough to find out who these new Green voters are. One finding probably won’t surprise many of us: half current Green supporters voted Lib Dem in May 2010:

yougov - green vote

Here’s how Peter Kellner analyses it:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 77 Comments

Sal Brinton writes… Ukip’s hypocrisy on tackling serious child abuse issue is breath-taking

UKIP logoToday in the House of Lords, Baroness Joan Walmsley and the Lib Dems secured an agreement from the Government on the Serious Crime Bill, for a major consultation on introducing rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse.

At our recent Federal Conference in Glasgow, Liberal Democrats passed new Party policy in support of requiring those who work with children and vulnerable adults to be required by law to report to the authorities if they have any suspicion that abuse is taking place. However, despite debates on this and other amendments concerning child abuse being debates, Ukip members of the House of Lords failed again to participate in this work.

Ukip’s hypocrisy is breath-taking. They issue a photograph of a girl with the headline ‘There are 1400 reasons why you should not trust Labour again’ in Rotherham, but their record on tackling serious child abuse issue is disgraceful.

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Opinion: In for a cent, in for a Euro?

Euro by Alf MelinThis is probably a stupid idea.

I thought I’d get that in before you do, because it probably is, and even it’s not you’re probably still going to think that it is. Nevertheless I’m going to say it anyway because frankly right now British politics is somewhere up a creek and Nigel Farage is running off with the paddle.

How about we hold an in-out referendum on European Union membership on the first Thursday in February?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 50 Comments

Liblink: Catherine Bearder MEP on UKIP’s collapse in the European Parliament

As we reported yesterday, the loss of a Latvian MEP, Iveta Grigule from UKIP’s “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy” group mean that is no longer eligible for group status, losing substantial budgets and (unwanted, unused) influence.

Catherine Bearder writes in the New Statesman

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 14 Comments

A setback for UKIP in the European Parliament, courtesy of one Latvian MEP…

After the European Parliament elections in May, there was a scramble amongst the political groupings in Brussels to gather enough MEPs (twenty-five) from enough countries (seven) to achieve recognition as a political group, with two groups in particular, the European Conservatives and Reformist Group – ECR (which includes the Conservative Party) and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group – EFDD (which includes UKIP) competing to attract individual MEPS to reach the required number of countries. At one point, it looked as though the EFDD would fall just short, but the recruitment of the Latvian Farmers Union MEP, Iveta Grigule, was enough to satisfy the eligibility clause.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

The Independent View: Baking the UKIP Cookbook

UKIP-cookbookWe live in baffling times. Who, for example, can explain why Boris Johnson is still a thing? And why has no one told Ed Miliband that continually addressing a large number of strangers in a room as “friends” is just the sort of weirdness that someone whose weirdometer needle is already hovering over the danger zone should really avoid doing.

And then there’s Michael Gove.​ Just baffling.

But nothing is quite as baffling as the appeal of UKIP. That a bunch of fear-peddling, isolationist, blame-everyone merchants seem attractive to a large minority of the British public is not just confusing: it’s embarrassing.

So we’re doing what any sane, politically-aware progressives would do: we’re writing a spoof cookbook about it. Obviously.

Posted in The Independent View | 6 Comments

Opinion: Our seaside towns and the challenge of UKIP

Clacton beach huts photo by Nick PageIt now looks set that Duncan Carswell will win the forthcoming by-election in Clacton and become the first UKIP MP. Whilst enjoying the Tory discomfort, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we need to do to counter UKIP and their simplistic appeal.

In a poll last weekend, immigration was identified as the top concern by 57% of people who intend to vote for UKIP in Clacton. As with many of UKIP’s other target seats the number of immigrants living in Clacton is actually very low – just 4%. What there is in Clacton though is a struggling local economy, high unemployment, low pay, former B & Bs being used by the Council for temporary accommodation and poor educational achievement.

Posted in Op-eds | 28 Comments

The Independent View: What are the most ‘Ukip-friendly’ Liberal Democrat seats?

revolt on the right ukipIn our recent book, Revolt on the Right, we compiled a list of the most demographically receptive seats in the country for Ukip. This allowed us to rank all seats in the country according to how favourable their populations are for Ukip, using the most recent census data.

The ideal seats for Ukip share key characteristics: they have lots of ‘left behind’ voters who we also know from our research are the most receptive to Ukip and its policies. These ideal seats also have very low numbers of voters who have, instead, tended to remain resistant to Ukip, including university graduates, ethnic minorities and people in professional and economically secure occupations. This is a useful first exercise in filtering through all seats to find those where -if Ukip stood a strong candidate and knocked on plenty of doors – they would probably find the most voters receptive to their message.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 42 Comments

Former Clacton UKIP candidate ousted by Douglas Carswell resigns and backs local Liberal Democrat Councillor

This time last week, Roger Lord was looking forward to facing Conservative MP Douglas Carswell in the General Election next May. He might not have expected to trouble his majority too much but he was secure in his position.

That didn’t turn out so well for him when he heard that he was being ousted as candidate in the same way that we all did.

He’s not very happy about it and has quit his Council seat. He has given his rather unexpected backing for the ensuing by-election to Liberal Democrat District Councillor Gary Scott whom he described as a “genuine person”. Gary is not putting himself forward for the by-election.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Opinion: Kippers’ squeals show we are a more liberal country

UKIP logoPoor judgment: that’s the reason UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson has given for referring to a Thai-born supporter as “ting tong from somewhere”. I was “completely tired out”: that’s how Farage explained his statement during the European election campaign that he’d be concerned if Romanians moved in next door. Excuses, excuses.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever consider whether or not to use a racial epithet. I don’t think to myself, on balance I judge it right to refer to that person as …

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Lib Dem donations in 2014, 2nd Quarter: £1.23m raised (but that’s less than Ukip)

Today saw the publication by the Electoral Commission, the independent party funding watchdog, of the donations received by the UK’s political parties in the second quarter of 2014 (1 April to 30 June). Here are the figures:

lib dems donations - Q2 2014

And here’s how the BBC reported it:

UKIP have reported more in political donations than the Lib Dems in a quarter for the first time, according to the Electoral Commission. UKIP reported donations of £1.4m from April to June this year – £170,000 more than reported by the Lib

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Opinion: UKIP are a blessing in disguise for pro-Europeans

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder works harder than nine UKIP MEPs put together. She speaks more sense than their entire delegation, of course, but in terms of turning up to vote, it’s official: the number of European Parliament divisions she’s taken part in since the election is more than the combined total of nine of their lot.

Since the new Parliament started at the beginning of July, MEPs have faced 39 roll-call votes in the plenary. This is where all MEPs come together to speak and vote, usually in Strasbourg. Catherine, our sole representative in the European Parliament, has voted on …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 43 Comments

Ukip may well win a seat in May 2015. But the least likely person to get elected is Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (UKIP)This week saw the latest in Lord Ashcroft’s polls of the marginal battleground seats that will decide the result of the next general election. This crop focused on 14 marginal Conservative-held seats where Labour are in second place.

The overall news was half-encouraging for Labour. As it stands, Ed Miliband’s party is poised to win 11 of these 14 seats next May. The average swing from Tory to Labour of 4.5% would be enough to win 53 Tory seats, which, as as Ashcroft notes, “combined with the 17 seats my recent polling suggested they could gain from the Lib Dems, would be enough for a small overall majority”.

Of course, this poll is a snapshot, not a prediction (as Ashcroft repeatedly stresses). A similar exercise conducted by Ashcroft for PoliticsHome in 2009 pointed to a Tory majority of 70 seats and we all know how that turned out a few months later. Usually the governing party picks up support as the election nears, while the opposition party loses support. We’ll see how that historical pattern bears out in Coalition conditions and as voting becomes yet more fragmented between five national parties, as well as the nationalists in Scotland and Wales.

But the most newsworthy finding from Ashcroft’s poll was that Ukip would win two Conservative-held seats, Thanet South and Thurrock.

Posted in News and Polls | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: What do we get from the EU for £33 million a day?

eu_flagUKIP claim that we pay £55 million per day to be a member of the EU. My UKIP neighbours ask what we get back for that money. What should I tell them?

First off, it seems we get about £22 million a day back in cash, in the form of grants and subsidies. But even UKIP neighbours can do simple arithmetic. That leaves a net cost of about £33 million per day, or about 50p per day on average for every man, woman, and child in the UK. What do …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 117 Comments

Brian Paddick writes…We must challenge UKIP on the facts

Turning point in politics?So where are we?  The UK and the rest of Europe have lurched to the right.  People and countries are becoming more insular and less internationalist, less tolerant of difference and are looking for “others” to blame.  Almost inevitably during times of austerity, people do not like those inflicting the pain, however necessary.  Of course, some will argue that the cuts in public spending are not necessary, are not fair, are not reasonable, do not need to be so severe or all of the above.  The fact is, for years the UK has been spending more than it earns in taxation

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 57 Comments

Opinion: We won in 2010 with compassion, is it the key to victory in  2015?

imageAccording to the media Liberal Democrats are behaving like rats in a sack with each member trying to eat (and in some cases spit out the other). Of course the media are less accommodating when it comes to highlighting the review that Nick commissioned with James Gurling, Cllr Abi Bell, Cllr Ruth Dombey and George Lyon.

While a review is welcome it is not the whole answer. What will help us in 2015 is engaging with some of those traditional Liberal Democrat liabilities, namely our compassion.

Take Lord Oakeshott. While I can’t comment …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Opinion: Defining ourselves will heal the fractions

preambleUnderstanding the European and local elections is important to how we heal as a party. It has been the hardest election defeat to take for various reasons. Firstly that the Liberal Democrat MEP team were truly incredible; hard working and respected across Europe for delivering the most they can for their regions. Secondly because of how the grass roots reacted to the results. Finally, and most lamentably, we lost our MEPs to the politics of fear, hatred and blame.

I am unapologetically pro-coalition and a strong supporter of Clegg’s leadership. He has …

Posted in Op-eds | 48 Comments

Before learning lessons from Ukip’s success, we first have to put that success in perspective

UKIP logoMy LDV colleague Joe Otten yesterday kicked off what we hope will be a little mini series reflecting on the success of Ukip (and other extreme right parties across Europe) in last week’s European elections.

I agree with Joe that is something we should discuss with some seriousness – and I look forward to reading your contributions in the comments and in posts on the site.

But I think before we start to “learn lessons” we have to put the vote in some context.

It is difficult to think of conditions that could …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 80 Comments

Appeasement or Opposition?

clegg farage lbcNothing is more annoying, said one voter on the radio, than mainstream politicians telling us why we voted UKIP.

But at risk of causing further annoyance, it is important to try to understand the UKIP vote, what it represents, and to what extent it is right to respond with appeasement, like Labour’s Sadiq Khan, and many others of left and right, or opposition. To be fair to Khan, despite the apology, he largely makes the same arguments Labour have been making for years.

Uniting the issues of immigration, Europe, and …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

Opinion: we lead when we’re brave

UKIP logoLike many others I was a sub-agent for the European Elections. My ‘chosen’ borough was Tameside where we stood precisely zero candidates at the local elections. A bizarre contrast compared to Lib Dem led Stockport just down the road where I live.

It will come as no surprise from the North West results that one of my samples was devoid of any Lib Dem votes at all – a first after 30 years in politics. (Luckily there were samples that were a bit rosier!)

Once proceedings were complete something troubled me: there were Labour, Green and Conservative sub-agents and little old me. What was missing: ah yes, good old UKIP. I wonder if this is a sign of how they’ll be acting in the European Parliament? For a party who came second to absent themselves at a count so as not to represent the democratic process let alone their own voters is baffling and perhaps a little alarming.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

LibLink: Giles Goodall: UKIP’s disgraceful record on gay rights

Gay Pride New York 2008 / 20080629.10D.49816 / SMLSouth east Euro Candidate Giles Goodall has compared and contrasted the voting records of the Liberal Democrats and UKIP on LGBT rights in an article for Pink News.

It will come as no surprise to anybody that the Liberal Democrats have supported LGBT at every single stage:

In contrast, Liberal Democrat MEPs have systematically supported LGBT rights, with the European liberal group coming out with the best record in the European Parliament, alongside socialists and greens.

Let’s look at some of the things UKIP …

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Not everything you read on the internet about UKIP and Nigel Farage is true

nigel farageThis morning, Facebook timelines were bombarded with an image of Nigel Farage next to a quote in which he is supposed to have said that UKIP wanted to ban beards of more than 2 inches. “The beard goes or you go” he is supposed to have said on Anglia Radio on Saturday. After a quick (and horrible) mental image of Prime Minister Farage banning Z Z Top from entering the country, I quickly realised that it didn’t sound right. And if it had been true, such a juicy quote as …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Huppert on Astra Zeneca takeover’s threat to jobs, the European elections and the living wage

Medical Drugs for Pharmacy Health Shop of MedicineJulian Huppert has been talking to Cambridge student magazine Varsity.

Not surprisingly, the subject of Pfizer’s proposed takeover of Astra Zeneca came up. Why should students be bothered?

It will have a direct impact on the prospects for people in particular disciplines, and will be a longer term issue about the future of Britain”, he replies. “This matters for students who work in STEM subjects, natscis, chem-eng, all of those subjects, because this could be their employment – even if you don’t work directly

photo by: epSos.de
Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Nick Clegg: UKIP would rather turn the clock back on LGBT rights

rainbow flag on white background  : harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012)In an article to mark today’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Nick Clegg has told readers of Pink News what the Liberal Democrat MEPs have done for LGBT rights both within Europe and globally:

Your Liberal Democrat MEPs have already been fighting for the rights of the LGBT community in Europe. For example, they have supported a European Parliament campaign for the recognition of equal marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation in EU countries, as well as for

photo by: torbakhopper
Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 12 Comments
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