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That’s not a tough contest

The seat has switched from red to blue for the first time since the constituency was created. Jill Mortimer, the Tory candidate, was elected with 15,529 votes to Labour’s 8,589 votes.

Ms Mortimer said it was “a tough contest, but one that has been fought with dignity and respect”.

For a government in office at a byelection that is not a tough contest. Actually, at a GE that wouldn’t be considered tough although we’d probably expect turnout to be higher then.

It’s also a startling commentary on Ukip’s election strategy. The aim was, as you might recall, not to gain office but to leave the EU. Hartlepool was one of the most Ukip constituencies in the country. Rock solid Labour and yet very Ukip. The dual point being made was that sure, Brexit might make some Tories split away and damage Conservative hopes in the south. But oop north it was possible to damage Labour hopes the same way. That is, either major party – and who, really, cared which? – could gain electorally by picking up the Ukip policy of Brexit.

Which is exactly what has happened. Those who didn’t want it but accepted it once it happened have and are gaining seats as opposed to those still grumbling and hoping to reverse it. Ukip got what it wanted, Brexit. And as it sank in that this is what was happening that’s why the referendum took place.

Sure, it would have been much more fun to have won at Westminster and herded Mandelson, Hutton and MacShane into the auto da fe but the Ukip brand of politics was about the result, not the exercise of power.

Really, no, he wasn’t

At times of national crisis, it pays to listen to the great playwrights. Writing in the New Statesman, David Hare makes the point that the real culprits in the Brexit fiasco are not the “red wall” victims of an austerity-induced discontent wrongly attributed to our membership of the EU. No: they are comfortably off members of an influential elite. Hare writes: “The people who were desperate to pull Britain away from its geographical moorings were as likely to be found in Knightsbridge as in Hartlepool. The leader of the UK Independence party, Nigel Farage, who put the fear of God into the Conservative party, was a stockbroker. His principal cheerleaders were press owners, paid-up members of an elite who all lived abroad: Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere and the Barclay brothers.”

Not a stockbroker. He was in the metals market, not stocks.

And as to being backed by Murdoch – I still recall the day that the chief political report of The Times insisted – and wouldn’t retract – that Ukip wasn’t going to fight the next election. Something which was, of course, rather damaging to the cause at the time….backed by press owners my arse.

The Establishment

The decision by social media companies to ban Trump while continuing to host the profiles of other leaders who regularly make inflammatory statements on social media, such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and officials from India’s BJP Party, could result in inconsistent moderation, it has been claimed.

Because, you see, populist means people from outside the political establishment getting into political power. And that can’t be allowed, can it? Otherwise, what’s a PPE degree for?

“I think there’s a double standard at work here,” said Bob Seely, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight.

That establishment still rather smarting from the irruption of Ukip and Brexit.

Can’t have apple carts being upset now, can we?

Ahhh, yes

Bridget Rowe obituary
Fast, clever and ruthless tabloid newspaper editor who published the first intimate pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed
She took up several public relations opportunities, including working for Arron Banks, the Ukip donor.

That’s when I met her. Actually, probably before Banks, she had something to do with the 08/09 campaign as I recall…..

Ooooh, that’s good then

A surge in Ukip membership is shifting the party decisively towards the far right, as long-standing moderates are replaced by entrants attracted by an anti-Islam agenda based on street protest, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

So despite what everyone said for two decades we weren’t far right then?

This doesn’t work

But fast forward only 20 years, and each of those countries has now experienced a major populist rebellion. Pim Fortuyn and then Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. The Sweden Democrats, who recently reached a new record share of the vote. Alternative for Germany, which has more than 90 seats in the Bundestag and seats in 15 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. And in the UK, Nigel Farage and the UK Independence party forced a referendum on Britain’s EU membership which voted for Brexit. Sometimes we forget how quickly radical change in politics can occur.

Ukip’s the odd one out there. One policy, one issue, victory achieved and look at the support for the party now.

It’s different.

I wouldn’t say I was surprised by this

Gerard Batten, the Ukip leader, said he would approve of membership for English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson as a row with Nigel Farage worsened over the direction of the party.

Mr Batten said Robinson would not be admitted to Ukip “in the near future” because it would require changes to the party’s rules but he insisted the controversial figure was not “far Right” and had his backing.

Mr Farage said he was “really upset” over the suggestion Robinson could be allowed to join Ukip as he accused Mr Batten of marginalising the party.

Not surprised, no. Civil war’s going a little far, obviously, but disagreement, yes.

This isn’t new

Senior Ukip figures including Nigel Farage have expressed disquiet at the hard-right direction chosen for the party by its leader, Gerard Batten, and his open support for the jailed anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson.

To my certain knowledge that gap in desired direction has been going on for at least a decade.

But then why wouldn’t there be differences within a political party as well as between them? A political party that contains both Sarah Wollaston and Jacob Rees Mogg has a wider gap, no?

We can see how this will go, can’t we?

Leave.EU has been fined £70,000 and its chief officer has been referred to the Metropolitan police after the Electoral Commission found it had breached multiple counts of electoral law during the referendum to leave the European Union.

Therefore Brexit shouldn’t happen.

And I’m really not sure that the Remoaners realise quite the rage that such an action would bring about.


Henry Bolton has been ousted as Ukip leader after members voted overwhelmingly to back a vote of no confidence in him.

The motion, which was issued against him by the party’s national executive last month, was backed by activists 867 votes to 500 at an extraordinary general meeting.

But in an act of defiance, Mr Bolton suggested that he could pursue legal action against individuals in the party over his treatment, having made similar threats to senior party figures on Friday evening.

Quite why an unemployed man would sue over an unpaid job is a little beyond me.

As to the party itself, my party. No, think it’s over. Sad, but there it is. Having won the cats in a sack tendency is just too strong.

I recognise this policy

When I first joined Ukip, I was attracted to the anti-establishment nature of the party. I don’t fit well with Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat bland establishment mediocrity – as I was reminded at a polling station with only those options on the ballot paper on Thursday. The Ukip of old loved to breathe new life into policy – whether it was no tax on minimum wage (raising the tax threshold to help the poorest earners, later part-copied by the Conservatives)

Oh well done Google, well done!

Diane James says leading Ukip was like banging head against brick wall
The Guardian – ‎57 minutes ago‎
Diane James now sits in the European parliament as an independent MEP. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA. Rowena Mason Deputy political editor.

Diane James: Why I quit as UKIP leader after 18 daysBBC News

Former Ukip leader Diane James reveals story behind awkward kiss with Nigel Farage Evening Standard

That’s from the entertainment section mind you.


Have we gone back to the 1930s? Could we see the return of fascism? After all, hatred and prejudice, which many people thought had been marginalised in western democracies by the defeat of fascism in 1945, decolonisation and the American civil rights movement now seem to be part of the mainstream.

Furthermore, democratic institutions appear threatened. The rightwing UK press depicts judges as enemies of the people, while Nigel Farage warns of riots if Brexit is not implemented.

Asking, insisting, that the result of a referendum be enacted is fascism these days?