UKIP’s party conference in London at the weekend didn’t go quite as planned.
Nigel Farage had not envisaged that one of his MEPs — rather than the party platform — would grab the news headlines.
The Mail‘s Robert Hardman was in Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, for the proceedings. The generally glib Farage looked quite hot under the collar:
Was it the air conditioning? Or did he know that one of his MEPs was about to go round the bend on national television? Or had he just taken the stairs three at a time in his rush to the auditorium after a final, furtive fag in the street?
Whatever it was, UKIP leader Nigel Farage was not merely aglow as he addressed his party conference in London yesterday. He was sweating like a Tory marginal.
Was that before or after MEP Godfrey Bloom’s outbursts about women and towards Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick?
In an elephantine display of political ineptitude, Godfrey Bloom told a fringe meeting that all women were ‘sluts’, then embroiled himself in a row about racism, walloped a television reporter in the street, lost the party whip by teatime and elbowed Mr Farage off the evening news headlines.
By the end of the day, Hardman reports:
… Mr Farage was blunt. Mr Bloom, he thundered from the platform, had ‘destroyed’ his conference.
No sooner had they finally become a ‘serious’ party, than UKIP had become a laughing stock.
On Sunday, September 22, the Mail reported that Alan Sked, who founded the UK Independence Party 20 years ago, called the current party leaders
‘morons’ and ‘fascists’.
Alan Sked, a history professor who launched Ukip in 1991, said the party had lost its way and was now ‘obsessed by race, Islam and immigration’ rather than Europe.
Professor Sked, who split with the party several years ago, also launched a highly personal attack on UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage, accusing him of recruiting former members of the National Front to the party.
Sked has formed a new, left-leaning party called New Deal, the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s recovery programme during the American Depression.
‘There are decent people in the party and decent people who vote for it because up until I founded my new party, New Deal, there has been no other party that has said it’ll take Britain out of the European Union.
‘However, quite clearly UKIP nowadays is led by morons who have no policies and are fascistic and the chickens are coming home to roost.’
Professor Sked said the party was ‘absolutely doomed’ and suggested that media investigations into Mr Farage’s past views would continue to dog the party.
Oh, dear, not a ringing endorsement then.
The comments on another political site included one from someone who attended the UKIP conference out of curiosity. They said that those in attendance were a well-behaved, well-presented cross-section of England, all concerned about the direction in which the nation is going.
Perhaps some of you attended. If so, it would be interesting to read your impressions.
The question remains — what now for UKIP? Is this the sort of conference voters will overlook? Is it damaging to Farage and the party? Has it changed your minds at all?