Monday, 26 March 2012
Is English Nationalism for Unionists?
In the last few months we have seen increasing evidence of a rising tide of awareness within political media, academic and official circles that English Nationalism is, in the words of John Redwood, the Conservative MP for Wokingham, "the new force in UK politics".
In tune with this rising awareness, the very able Deputy Leader of UKIP, the North West MEP, Paul Nuttall, launched a proposal for a version of an English Parliament to be adopted as UKIP’s manifesto policy. A flavour of the viscerally anti-English reaction in some parts of UKIP to this quite modest proposal appears here on the UKIP Wales website.(If the link is not active click here or copy and paste to your tool bar >>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmYiD6M1G0g)
Perhaps even more graphic was the incident reported to the English Democrats’ Spring National Conference, of a UKIP member who twice deliberately kicked one of the Campaign for an English Parliament’s volunteers. A volunteer who had given up his weekend to come to the UKIP conference in Skegness to support their Chairman, Eddie Bone. Eddie who ably argued for the English to be at least offered constitutional fairness, within the UK.
I have previously indicated in this blog here (http://robintilbrook.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/if-ukip-adopt-proper-english-parliament.html) that I would welcome the conversion of UKIP but we certainly don’t want the type of aggressive vitriol shown by UKIP’s supporters to the mere idea of any expression of Englishness or the visceral hatred which was no doubt at the root of that double assault!
In the past I have always tended to give UKIP the benefit of the doubt, although several of our UKIP defectors have warned me against them. One well known Yorkshire man assuring me that they are all as “mad as a box of frogs”!
While I am not quite sure of the origin of that expression, I think this level of grossly inappropriate behaviour indicates that, if UKIP’s leadership were to push through the adoption of, what I gather Nigel Farage is now referring to as, “Paul’s Proposal” (as he distances himself from it), it seems clear that it would split that, already fractious, Party wide open!
I think the results that UKIP have recently obtained in two hard fought local elections in Nottinghamshire demonstrates that in the end, whatever stunts UKIP pulls, its name and profile forever brands it as a single issue Party. Indeed a Party that would vanish if ever the Conservative Party were to genuinely become Eurosceptic.
Here are those local election results.
I quote from Giles Farrand's (the UKIP election agent) comments on Facebook:-
“(Chilwell & Toton By Elections. 22500 leaflets posted by hand. Good Look to Lee Waters and Keith Marriott tomorrow
the arrogance of the liberals. UKIP are a non-event. The Tories are worried but I think it is too close to call.. Well david watts i think you will find it is the liberals who are now a none event in UK
Chilwell & Toton By Election Results. Borough: Keith Marriott UKIP 228 con 860 lib 300 lab 285 13.6% of the vote County: Lee Walters UKIP 682 con 1958 lib 1375 17% of the vote
Well done to all the team inc Rushcliffe, mid derbys and Broxtowe branches for all there support in helping keith and lee. Lee its been a honour to be your campaign manager”
The greatest hope of success in those all important Westminster parliamentary elections that UKIP’s leadership could have is that the Conservative Party splits under the stresses of coalition. In that case UKIP would be able to join forces with the Eurosceptic Conservative “provos”!
Despite my respect for Dr Matthew Goodwin, who invited me to speak to his students at Nottingham University, and despite this violence at UKIP’s conference, I am still inclined to be sceptical about how similar the UKIP membership is to BNP members. Nevertheless his report is an interesting read!
What do you think?