21 Sep 2012

Nigel Farage: a one-man band?

Suddenly broadcasters have started to cover their annual conference. The BBC had at least two national correspondents at their gathering in Birmingham today, while ITV and Channel 4 had at least three between us. UKIP is on the up. And when the party is competing with the Liberal Democrats for third place in the national polls, on 9, 10 or even 12 per cent of people’s voting intention, it’s hard to justify ignoring them.

I’ve never been to a UKIP conference before. It was an eyeopener – rather disorganised, but also very colourful – full of people sporting Union Jack ties, bow-ties or cravats, in bright waistcoats and with incredible moustaches. Around the conference hall were stalls for each of UKIP’s MEPs – a clever way, the party freely admits, to channel EU money into UKIP’s coffers. Each MEP pays for their stall from the promotonal budget they each get from the European Parliament. I bet the stalls don’t come cheap.

Dear leader
Nigel Farage’s stall, manned by his wife (and neither will mind me using the non-PC word “manned”) was full of pictures of the dear leader, copies of his books, Nigel Farage mugs, and and a tea-towel commemorating the time he called Herman Van Rumpoy a wet rag. Also on the stall, for some strange reason, were two goldfish in a bowl and a competition to find the best names for the fish. So I suggested Fillet and Finger.

In his speech Nigel Farage welcomed the latest recruits, including Lord Stevens of Ludgate and Stephen West, a Conservative councillor from Basingstoke, who will now be UKIP candidate for Hampshire police commissioner.

Mr Farage declared that UKIP’s goal was now to top the poll, UK-wide, in the 2014 European elections. He was speaking in Birmingham’s old Victorian Town Hall building, which has provided a platform for many great orators in its time. I recall hearing Roy Jenkins there 30 years ago, at a huge SDP rally, and a photo in the basement shows the fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley speaking in the building.

One man band?
But some in UKIP are coming to fear the party is becoming a one-man band, and accuse Nigel Farage of developing into a dictator. In particular they resent his command of the money the party gets from having MEPs, and a recent UKIP rule-change which effectively gives Farage a veto over candidates. The UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen, who once asked Mr Farage to resign, told me in an interview which we will broadcast on C4 News tonight that Mr Farage and his party we’re “undemocratic”.

Andreasen fears Mr Farage will use his new power to relegate her down the UKIP party list for the south-east area for the 2014 Euro-elections. Mr Farage promised me that he wouldn’t veto her, which isn’t quite the same thing.

Tweets by @MichaelLCrick

8 reader comments

  1. william yates says:

    nigel it is about time that we got shut of camereon good luck for the future i am 87 and disabled or i would be doing more about it .bill yates

  2. Mark Vallance says:

    Interesting what Marta Andreasen is quoted as saying about Nogel Farage,I’ve heard others mutter similar comments that UKIP is Mr Farage and Farage is UKIP, in other words its almost a one man political Party with just a one pony trick for a show!
    I have had arguments with fellow UKIP supporters on this issue on twitter, Nigel Farage under the new constitutional rules has become a dicator or as the Americans would call a “Showboatman’. His selection of people into UKIP has back fired in the past, Robert Kilroy Silk springs to mind and I have doubts over Chairman Steve Crowther among other members of the UKIP NEC. What I find worrying is that many UKIPers slap down with glee the likes of Herman Van Rompey and Barroso, but won’t have a word said against the antics of Mr Farage.!! Seem’s an irony that what many see that Farage as UKIP’s best asset could also be why UKIP can’t break the old Political estabilshed mold!

  3. Dean says:

    Did he really finish to the music of Rage Against The Machine? Utterly misguided if he did

  4. HantsWatch says:

    Fascinating and a most illuminating insight Mr Crick.

    However, what Mr Farage needs to learn is that a really good manager doesn’t sack his best talent in case he thinks they might upstage him. A really good manager keeps his best talent happy and on board because they make him even better in the eyes of his superiors – which in politics, whether they like it or not, are the voters.

    That’s why we don’t have any party WINning elections nowadays – it’s the incumbents who LOSE it!

    And once they’ve got in – it’s time they learned that they cannot then ignore their grass roots (as Cameron has let CCHQ do) for four and a half years – they need to KEEP IN TOUCH all the time. In Hampshire we haven’t see one of them for ages – but neither have we seen a FOCUS from the Lib Demms who claim to work for us all the year round too!

    Farage stands a good chance of success – by default! It’s a crying shame.

  5. Robert Taggart says:

    Democracy has never been a comfortable concept for parties of the right.

    In the case of UKIP – even their own elected members had difficulty on this count. Remember Robert Kilroy-Silk ? He wanted to bring about changes, but the incumbent leadership – more than just Farage – blocked him. Result ? Tantrums. tears and ‘tear-away’ !

    That said, UKIP remain the only credible anti EU party out there. They are now more than a single issue party – they want the Police to be a ‘force’ again rather than a service, they want to burn coal again to provide our power supply… they have our vote – but, not our full support !

  6. Lizzie Smythe says:

    Nigel Farage has fallen out with five of the seven leader predecessors. He has fallen out with nine of the eighteen MEPs UKIP have had elected since1999. He has fallen out with more than 73 former members of the NEC. Both London Assembley members elected in 2004 left the party after disagreements with Farage.

    Anyone who challenges him is dispatched in a Stalinesk way! Just ask Nikki Sinclaire MEP

  7. Theo Hopkins says:

    What happened to the deputy leader, Christopher Monkton?

  8. Greg_L-W. says:


    as a long term supporter of the basic aim to Leave-The-EU I note Michael Crick’s damning of UKIP with faint praise and lampoon verging on ridicule – he is sadly right to do so.

    UKIP was our best hope but the insecurity of their leader has led to an ever increasing power grab on his part and the eviceration of all intellectual rigor or any shining star of gravitas.

    The nihilism of not polishing but polishing off stars has rendered the party unfit for purpose and led to a series of low grade nere do wells at the helm with a track record of criminality and even prison that places them beyon the pale.

    That UKIP’s officers are all appointed on the grounds that they support Farage has made the party like a pyramid balanced on its head with Farage at its tip and garbage piled high on top of his undeniable talents as an entertainer.

    It is easy for highly paid exploiters of the public purse to buils a small army of funded secret police funded by their ambitions and also pockets! UKIP has done this with a host of cowardly and anonymous defenders attacking anyone who dares speak out (as the duplicitous Marta Andreasen has shown and as Nikki Sinclaire has proved).

    There is no doubt that UKIP is on the rise as from 3 or 4%, which is their average in domestic elec tions there is nowhere else to go but up! let us not forget with Roger Knappman as leader UKIP had its greatest breakthrough & almost 30,000 members.

    UKIP with Farage is indeed striving to rise to those heady days yet his Junta has only managed, a claimed, 17,000 members and out of 19,500 seats in British politics has still not managed to get more than 30 by election and are no closer to having an MP elected than 15 years ago!

    The main rise seen is the rise in income of those willing to back Farage and association with racists, criminals, anti Jewish, anti homosexual Holocaust deniers in the gutters of EU politics in the ‘gang’ Farage controls as a pan EU politician in the EFD Group where notably support for Anders Breivik was not heard but published and no action taken.

    Sadly in being elected to The EU these small men have it seems been overwhelmed with greed and sold out on any ethics or principles rallying behind Farage’s foolish posturings and unparliamentary neme calling so reminiscent of the class failures who rallied behind the boy who made rude noises when teachers back was turned.

    UKIP does indeed have HOPE of a future but as Marta Andreasen makes clear not as a dictatorship run by a one man band and those he has bought and paid for.


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