Ukip conference: Farage and Carswell in battle over rival anti-EU campaigns – We Need a Less Divisive Leader
by NE Whistle-blower.
All articles submitted under this logo are written by current members of Ukip or, in some instances, by ex members. To prevent their detection and expulsion or blacklisting, they have had to keep their identities confidential.
NE Whistle-blower is a serving Ukip Branch Chairman. He became disillusioned with UKIP after discovering that within days of Lee Rigby's horrific killing, Ukip Party Leader, Nigel Farage had hurried to a mosque in Leeds to ingratiate himself to local Muslims.
Once again, in what might be the most important Conference Ukip has held, Nigel Farage has demonstrated his unique characteristics: an enduring inability to lead and a particular talent to divide his party.
Will he ever learn?
Not for the first time, he has picked a fight with his sole MP, Douglas Carswell.
Douglas might have some minor faults - as all of us do - but let us recall that he demonstrated both courage and principle when he deserted the Tory Party and joined Ukip. Such a manoeuvre was always a risk but he placed his country first and risked his seat and, therefore, his Parliamentary salary and career. He stood for Ukip in a by-election and then again in the General Election, shortly afterwards; his close colleague, Mark Reckless, did likewise but unfortunately he lost his seat.
Farage has suggested that Douglas has residual loyalties to the Conservative Party. This is rich coming from Farage, who has actively courted Tory members for years, attempting to convert them. Is Douglas expected to sever his links with EU secessionists in his former party, on the eve of a possible Brexit?
Does Farage think that he, Farage, is the sole embodiment of the anti-EU cause and that those from elsewhere in society, in politics, business, research and academia do not count unless they pledge their allegiance solely to him?
The question above is pertinent when it is recalled that the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU only arises because a former Ukip MEP, Nikki Sinclare (who also fell out with Farage), raised a massive petition demanding an in/out poll, which was then debated in the Commons. I do not remember Farage assisting Sinclare but then this petition was not his idea and it was not his campaign; he did not control it and therefore he did not offer to assist it until it became so apparent that he could not ignore it.
We now have the same problem, all over again. As many of us predicted, Farage wants to run the 'out' campaign. Playing second fiddle to a more competent leader is something Farage, by instinct, cannot abide. Farage is a man whose character is formed principally by his outsized ego and therein lies his weakness.
Farage lost his bid to be elected to Parliament. Carswell won his and now receives publicity and prestige that rivals that of Farage. This
grates because Farage finds himself with a competitor and one who sits in the Commons, despite the former's own numerous failed attempts to be elected to that chamber.
Indeed, in a by-election in 2006 in Bromley, following the death of Tory MP Eric Forth, Farage spent a new UK record for a by-election - wasting over £100k of supporters' funds. The cost per vote, won by Farage, was approximately £30, for a derisory and humiliating vote. Candidates elsewhere secured higher votes in Parliamentary elections on a fraction of the expenses.
In South Thanet this year, Farage found himself up against an ex Chairman of Ukip, Craig Mackinlay. Mackinlay, like so many others, left Ukip - disenchanted with Farage. But for Mackinlay, Farage might have found himself elected to the Commons.
In fact, since I joined Ukip in the 1990s, Farage has been in a permanent and moving war against others in his party. In the 2009-14 intake, he lost nearly 50% of his MEPs, who could no longer work with him - a remarkable and unique accomplishment. Over a year ago, he lost the outspoken and nationally popular ex MEP, Godfrey Bloom, who vied with him as the darling at the annual Party Conference.
When I look back, I see a vast line of men and women of ability, ex MEPs and NEC members, many of considerable ability and character, who left Ukip. Richard Suchorzewski, the Chairman of UKIP Wales and a contender for Ukip's leadership, was another who complained bitterly of Farage's activities behind the scenes.
Rodney Atkinson, brother of Rowan, was another who complained of Farage's machinations. Dozens of ordinary NEC members, such as Dr David Abbott, Anthony Butcher, Linda Guest, Dr Eric Edmond, Delroy Young and others were alienated or marginalised by Farage's boorish activities. Eric Edmond was marginalised for daring, as an elected NEC member, to draw attention to irregularities within Ukip.
Douglas Carswell has discovered over the past year how poisonous and toxic is the atmosphere at the top of Ukip for anyone who demonstrates talent and ability and who does not abide, 100%, to the requirements of the 'dear leader'.
Douglas will find the going no easier and for the simple reason that Farage and his sycophants and minions, for the most part, control the internal media within Ukip, the party apparatus, its party propaganda outlets and its leading spokesmen, who can brief against him.
Herein lies the problem: Ukip is a vehicle for Farage to micromanage; it is a fan club and a facility to massage the ego of its leader. The EU is, within this light, something of a sideshow and merely another means by which Farage can remain in the public limelight.
This has not been lost on the media, of course. There is a view amongst members that Farage is deliberately talked up by the media because, so long as he runs Ukip, Ukip will never unleash its full potential. Instead, the party will remain a one-man band, subjected to the whims and weaknesses of its divisive leader.
Ukip urgently needs a new leader. It requires someone who can work with others; someone who can subordinate his role to that of the national interest; someone with leadership qualities who can unite rather than divide; someone who will work with those who are more competent than he; someone who will work in a cross-party alliance to remove the UK from the EU.
Farage is not that person. He is divisive, driven by ego, incapable of maintaining unity, lacking in leadership ability, lacking in judgement but who has taken care to ensure the party is made in his image, with his hired hands and favourites in position. As we all know, however, Farage just cannot help alienating even his closest allies.
Now is the time to rally behind Douglas Carswell and get behind whatever campaign group is chosen by the Electoral Commission to get the UK out of the EU. Farage's position is irrelevant in this; the national interest is paramount. Farage should be ignored: the forthcoming referendum is about the UK not about Farage.
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