Sunday, March 28, 2010
'Fighting Bull' Hits The Spot But Leaves Many Questions Unanswered
PICTURE - captioned 'getting our message across'.
Nigel Farage's autobiography, Fighting Bull (nice double entendre) just released, gives a good insight into where his passionate speaking comes from - and that, not surprisingly is his passionate way of seeing the world. From the moment his parents divorced while he was still at a very early age, he developed a a powerful rebellious and argumentative side to his character, a rich seam of emotion on which he has been able to draw throughout his political career.
I'm not quite sure I understand how consuming such large quantities of alcohol assists nearly every venture he attempts in life, but let's not quibble. He's a bloody good speaker, and a highly effective politician, and is one of the few who talks straight to people. We need more of those, especially those willing to stand square on and tell the EU that they are not acceptable in Britain.
To any dedicated eurosceptic, this book is inspirational, and keeps you on the edge of your seat, in the sense of not quite comfortable. Farage lives life close to the edge, and his journey includes many car crashes (literally as well as metaphorically). If he hadn't found a political career to channel his energies, you feel that in any other walk of life, he would have been too rough a diamond. But in politics, his edginess, combined with an instinctive rather than academic intelligence, becomes an asset.
In internal party conflict, he keeps himself in check, while directing all fire outwards onto the enemy. The internal UKIP story is a continual battle of egos, and Farage has managed to survive them all, though not entirely unscathed.
Some notable characters are missing from the script, which is most curious. There is clearly an ongoing rift between Midlands and The South. Since the Midlands took control of the Party by forcing a break-in of the Regent Street office some years ago, the South was ever since left stranded from control of the Party.
My own opinion about Tebbit's view that MI6 had penetrated UKIP's head office, is to agree with Tebbit. Dealing with the people there at the time was all a bit cloak and dagger, with strange instructions as to how to get the information I needed to organise national distribution of leaflets and posters, and afterwards to deny that I had it, and not to let on who had helped me.
If MI6 were involved, their role was to help the Party break out, not to hold it back.
UKIP was seen and is still seen as a way to hold back the Conservatives, by the BBC, the EU and even by Irish nationalists - who to my knowledge tried to place money with UKIP - I know this as they tried briefly but purposefully to use me as the contact point after the 2001 General Election while I was on holiday in Italy. I was sufficiently alarmed by this stage that I decided to resign and return to the Conservatives to back IDS.
I felt at the time, that IDS had been elected to the leadership partly on the back of UKIP's growing threat to Conservative support. Owen Paterson, IDS' Campaign Manager, was certainly aware of the threat from UKIP and spoke to me about it in no uncertain terms. But the progress of UKIP, although getting there now, has been glacial due to all the rifts, which are still unresolved ten years later.
I don't think anyone will ever work out who was pulling what strings, finally within UKIP. But whatever the failings and question marks over UKIP as a Party, Farage himself is a star, with much to offer. I hope he defeats Bercow and gets to Westminster, where a UKIP badge will be of far less importance than what he has to say.
UKIP as a Party will be compromised until control by the shadowy key figure not mentioned by Farage in this book at all, who effectively runs everything that moves within UKIP, is ended. He has nothing to do with MI6, and a lot to do with keeping control of the appointment of all those in key positions in the Party, suppression of any competition, and a lot of cosy financial arrangements sufficient to alarm Marta Andreasen, the Party Treasurer into resignation last year. UKIP has fallen into the hands of unprincipled people, and it is something Farage prefers not to mention.
The pity is that this ensures a progression of nonentities. As with Gordon Brown, the Party cannot progress and is limited to the promotion only of people with less talent who cannot become a threat. The Kilroy Silk story in the book suggests that Kilroy was made good use of, but was incapable of teamwork. Let's see what happens to Lord Monckton, another great talent. Maybe he can finally sort out the rifts that hold UKIP back. Pearson doesn't look likely to do much.
PICTURE - Here is Farage standing next to my 2001 poster, which was sent all over Britain pre-General Election, on this occasion posted up on the wall outside the EU Commission's London Office, (where I had placed it).
It's nice to see it again after so many years, but in Farage's book, I get no credit for its authorship and printing, which I naturally enough feel is an oversight on Nigel's part. Am I always to be one of the Party's unmentionables? He had called and asked me to write and produce publicity material after all, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing, and would not have done without his instructions. Am I being unreasonable in feeling a bit miffed at not being credited by him now all these years later?
Such is life! Millions saw the poster on TV and on thousands of walls throughout the land. The campaign cost me £50,000, and no reimbursement was ever offered. Sykes turned up two weeks before the 2001 election offering megabucks, but he was far too late. I saw that there was nothing being planned for the 2001 election, and, prompted by Farage decided to fill the gap months earlier and in time. The shadowy figures felt very threatened by all this, and allegations were levelled against me that I was a Conservative plant, or worse!!!
I'll have a word with Iain Dale, the publisher, about my lack of a mention in the book. He's normally a stickler for Hattips etc...
Buy the book, is my advice. Fighting Bull published by 'Biteback'. Farage is still a key figure and if he wins Buckingham, could be hugely influential on future events. In the last section, Farage indicates why he thinks John Bercow deserves to be thrown out. As you would expect, there are no pulled punches...