"British politicians are easily seduced by American money and power"
July 6, 2015 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Ukip seemed to be waging an American-style culture war — but the British didn’t appear to be interested. From October to election day, the party’s standing in the polls fell from 18 to 13 per cent. The dip can’t all be pinned on Ukip’s drift towards Tea Party politics, but a number of Kippers feel that Farage’s infatuation with America distracted him from his mission at a crucial moment, and unbalanced the delicate ecosystem that had allowed the party to flourish.
The transatlantic flirtation behind Ukip’s sudden meltdown.
posted by MartinWisse (25 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Farage is said to have developed a ‘shock and awe’ strategy, which involved making deliberately outrageous statements to arouse the ire of the despised political and media class.

It's called being a loud-mouthed racist yob. There's nothing inherently "American" about such tendencies.

But meh. I think it's a classic case of a party, roundly defeated at the polls, looking for heads to roll from within.

At the same time, they didn't realize that the country has changed so fundamentally that the racism they're peddling doesn't square with the reality of immigration for the country and people see them for the idiots they are.

I mean, yeah, blame distasteful American retail politics all you want, but that's not really the source of their electoral failures, is it?

In an interview with Trevor Phillips, Farage also referred to a ‘fifth column’ of Muslims in this country — which led to rumours that, rather than running an election campaign, he was aiming for a well-paid gig on Fox News.

Nigel, I have a question!

The hijab-wearing UK Border Agency officer who screened us (pleasantly but quite thoroughly) when we landed in Edinburgh about a month ago. Can you clarify if she is a member of this "fifth column" or if she's an integral part of a force keeping dangerous foreigners out? I'm confused.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:44 AM on July 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I didn't notice any change in Farage, his views, or the fortunes of his party beyond what could have been expected in the run-up to an election. if you think he suddenly became strident and provocative during the election, well, you can't have been paying attention earlier.
posted by Segundus at 9:06 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


UKIP was roundly defeated only through the bizarre prism of the first-past-the-post electoral system.

Their post-election meltdown has made hilarious viewing, but it's a sideshow from the 4 million Britons who voted for them this year (vs 919,000 in 2010) who actually believed their horseshit. That's a big problem, UKIP imploding or not.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 9:24 AM on July 6, 2015 [22 favorites]


As an American, it was odd to me to witness Farage attempting to lead a right-wing party while loudly proclaiming his fondness for various politics and other aspects of the U.S. I've always assumed it was a universal truth that extreme political/social conservatives tend to be extreme nationalists.

I know the U.K. is not the U.S. -- and there are many reasons to give thanks for that -- but it makes me curious how Farage's own partisans considered him when he made junkets to the States rather than attend to party responsibilities.
posted by ardgedee at 9:42 AM on July 6, 2015


Their post-election meltdown has made hilarious viewing, but it's a sideshow from the 4 million Britons who voted for them this year (vs 919,000 in 2010) who actually believed their horseshit. That's a big problem, UKIP imploding or not.

It's particularly disturbing if you look at what kind of numbers the BNP was able to hit pre-UKIP. Failure to carry actual seats aside, an ill wind blows.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:45 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Look, you can blame the US for many of the world's problems, but UKIP is not our fault. Which just had a whole holiday weekend about how you Brits can keep your politics to yourselves.
posted by maryr at 10:23 AM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not to distract from the schadenfreude of the article, but WTF is going on with that cover photo? Why is Jesus in it?
posted by Panjandrum at 10:35 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




So, Jesus wears Nike?
Good to know.
posted by bouvin at 10:47 AM on July 6, 2015


That's how he helps sports teams win.
posted by maryr at 10:59 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


UKIP did extraordinarily well in the last general election. Keeping the party together and finding the right line may be hard, but I expect they're appealing to a substantial (though rather cranky, at best) part of the population. If anything dents their popularity permanently it will be the EU referendum by taking away one of their main props.

I also laugh at the idea that the "no foreign AIDS on NHS" or "Muslim fifth column" statements were unpopular in the country at large just because a few media and political commentators were shocked by them. For sure a majority would not agree with the statements, but they're well within the political discourse of normal people.
posted by Thing at 11:01 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Jesus of Hollywood has been flown over by PR agency Mother to harass Farage for no immediately discernible reason."

I've been wondering about that all day.

Thank Christ someone cleared that up.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, Howling Laud of the Monster Raving Loony Party has said that the door is always open for Farage to come run the Loonies if he decides to leave UKIP.
posted by delfin at 11:26 AM on July 6, 2015


It's worth pointing out that, by vote share, UKIP was the third-largest party. If we had a proportional voting system, they would have received 82 seats (out of 650) if the votes had stayed the same. Of course, if we had a proportional system and not First Past the Post, UKIP and other small parties might also have increased their vote share significantly, since we'd no longer have to contend with the complexity of tactical voting.

I'm diametrically opposed to UKIP's policies and would never vote for them, but they got hugely shafted in this last election, and I certainly don't think you can blame their lack of success on the party's election strategy. (I'm also not surprised that the Spectator, with its thoroughly Tory stance, pretty much brushes over the anti-democratic nature of the FPTP system.)
posted by littlegreen at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The bigger mistake was that Farage ditched a lot of his grass-roots candidates who'd been with the party from the early days, to make room for defectors from the Conservative Party. The people ditched were the nodes that held everything together, and when they left they took their friends with them. Fewer people wanted to vote for the turncoat Tories anyway, so it was a giant blunder all around. (That's not even mentioning the Roger Bird sex scandal around selection.)

Good news for all us UKIP haters, let's hope Farage doesn't learn from his mistakes.
posted by w0mbat at 12:28 PM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is horseshit. What did for UKIP was the lack of proportional representation and a series of high profile gaffes highlighting their unpleasantness which drove borderline and protest voters away.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:48 PM on July 6, 2015


"the lack of proportional representation"
It's what has killed every American Third Party for the last 150 years (not even Teddy R.'s Bull Moose Party could gain a foothold). So yes, Farage and the KIPpers were idiots to try to "think like Americans".
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:15 PM on July 6, 2015


Which just had a whole holiday weekend about how you Brits can keep your politics to yourselves.

Got that exactly arse about, didn't you? The revolution was based on a failure of Britain to share its politics.
posted by wilful at 5:34 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really it was about ethics in gaming journalism.
posted by maryr at 7:57 PM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Arse about" looks to mean what our "ass backwards" does ("bass ackwards" in polite company). It is aces, and I'm adding it to my rotation.
posted by notyou at 9:43 PM on July 6, 2015


Just to bring this full circle, you might say an American commenter impressed with the power of an English commenter's command of the language, and borrowing therefrom, is about to make a fool of himself in front of his compatriots.
posted by notyou at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Language digression: "arse about" is short for "arse about face", which is indeed an excellent phrase, but which is not to be confused with "arse over tit". Also a useful phrase, but entirely different meaning.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 9:57 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I blame Stewart Lee for UKIPs poor showing.
posted by sneebler at 10:11 AM on July 7, 2015


I would have assumed that "arse about" was what I do on Metafilter instead of working.
posted by maryr at 9:39 PM on July 7, 2015


I would have assumed that "arse about" was what I do on Metafilter instead of working.

No, that's arseing about. Completely different.
posted by wilful at 3:18 AM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


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