As you may know, I am a supporter of the UK Independence Party (a right-winged party that would like to see the UK leave the European Union). All over Europe we’re about to hold elections to the European Parliament between the 22nd and the 25th. The UK votes today the 22nd, while Sweden and most other countries wait until the 25th.

The European Parliament is the European Union’s parliament – it doesn’t have much in terms of real power, but the elections still give people a chance to express which way they want Europe to go. The parties running in the EP elections are different for each country, and they are (for the most part) the same parties that run in the national elections in the different countries.

The UK Independence Party – UKIP for short – has long been predicted to win the EP election in the UK. This is remarkable as the party holds no seats in the House of Commons – the UK equivalent of the US Congress – and received only 3.5 % of the vote in the last national election. The next election is scheduled for May 2015, and a victory in these elections could give UKIP more credibility and finally allow them – us – to win seats in the UK parliament, which would be a breakthrough.

However, UKIP has had a very bad finish to the campaign. After leading most of the polls for two months, UKIP has made a number of mistakes in the past couple of weeks that could prove absolutely fatal. To recap:

1) UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage claimed that he would feel uncomfortable if a bunch of Romanians moved in next door, while he wouldn’t feel that way if they were german. Of course, he explained himself later saying that the reason had to do with the high crime rate among Romanians (a factually correct statement) – but the damage was done. Farage is usually extremely disciplined – he’s one of few UKIPpers who usually manage to get through a press conference without embarrassing himself – we’ll get to that later – but he’s clearly tired after a long  campaign.

2) A UKIP local council candidate (there are local elections held as well today) wrote in a letter to voters that he wanted to hang the leaders of the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties (the UK establishment parties) and try their voters for treason! The media, needless to say, had a field day with that statement.

3) Another local council candidate suggested that shooting one homosexual would turn the rest of them straight.

4) And yet another candidate said it was a mistake to extend the right to vote to women and members of the middle class.

5) There is a by-election to be held in the Newark constituency on June 5 (this is for the UK’s own parliament), and UKIP of course sees a golden opportunity to finally get its first MP now instead of having to wait until next year’s national election. However, the candidate they have chosen to nominate is so bad I wish they had just stayed out of it – he is mostly known for saying that rape victims have to share the blame with the rapist and similar outrageous statements. UKIP claims it’s the best candidate they got from that area of the country, but if that really is the case, then they should have just given it a pass and waited for the next opportunity.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, here’s my point: UKIP needs better candidates.

Or, rather: UKIP needs to stop contesting every single darn election! If we can’t find a competetent candidate to run in a district, then we shouldn’t run in that district! A nutjob candidate, even if he’s running in a local election, can cause damage that will hurt them on a national scale.

UKIP is currently planning to run candidates in every single constituency (think; congressional district). That’s 650 seats candidates from all over the country – and if one of them says something incredibly stupid, their chances could go down in flames. It is one thing to win the EP election – most voters don’t take it very seriously and so often use the opportunity to cast a “protest vote”. The polls have been tightening in the past week or two because of these mistakes, but UKIP is still ahead and I believe they will pull it off in the end. The problem is that this may fool the party into believing that running these kinds of candidates won’t hurt them in a general election. While I support UKIP, I almost hope they’ll finish second today just because it may provide the necessary wake-up all to the party leadership.

Otherwise, they’ll end up in what I like to call the Tea Party trap.

This is when a political movement decides to allow anyone who agrees with its goals to represent them in elections. It is more important for the movement that it can appear to be a nationwide, “huge” movement – which it gives the appearance of being when it runs candidates everywhere – than that its candidates are actually qualified to do the job they are running for and able to win the election necessary to get it.

This can also stem from a desire not to appear “elitist” like the loathed establishment. After all, who’s to say that a guy with no political experience with a history of heavy drug use who believes that aliens destroyed World Trade Centre isn’t fit for elected office? The voters, that’s who.

What UKIP ought to do is to first of all skip the local elections altogether – it’s a eurosceptic party and it cannot achieve an exit from the EU or stop any pro-EU legislation in a local council. They’re an unnecessary risk and a huge waste of money.

Secondly, UKIP must refrain from the temptation to run candidates in every constituency in next year’s national election. Listen up guys, I’m trying to help you: There isn’t a qualified UKIPper in every constituency, and there may not be 650 qualified UKIPpers in the entire party. By qualified, I mean able to perform the job and win the election.

So which constituencies should UKIP run in? First of all, let’s cross Scotland off the list. Northern Ireland is off too. Really, UKIP should run in England only and focus on the industrial areas in the northeast.

And, UKIP needs to swallow its pride and make a deal with the Tories (the main established party that UKIP is stealing votes from) – UKIP won’t run candidates in any constituencies except 10-20, and in those constituencies the Tories won’t run a candidate. If elected, the Tories will then deliver on their promise of an In/out referendum by 2017.

I know many UKIPpers are asking, “How do we know we can trust the Tories?” – maybe you can’t know for certain. But under no circumstances will you get more seats than you can get by co-operating with them, and so how trustworthy they are is only of academic interest really.

Otherwise you’ll end your days like the Tea Party in the US: Great goals, but poor representatives which ensures you won’t win anything in the long run. You may still win when people need a party to that they can “protest vote” for, but that’s it – and that sums up the Tea Party perfectly: They got millions of protest votes in the 2010 midterms, and so they continued to ignore the qualifications and electability of the candidates they supported, and now they are more or less wiped out. All their unserious candidates – Christine O’Donnell, Ted Cruz etc – came back to haunt them even if it took a few years.

I and many others warned about this for years before it happened. And now that it has, I don’t think anything can save the Tea Party to be honest. Therefore, the next Republican presidential nominee is likely to be Jeb Bush or another establishment-approved candidate.

UKIP must not end that way. If it wants to be a national party, it must first stop running candidates all over the nation as absurd as that seems. UKIP has great potential, even greater than the Tea Party had. I pray that they won’t waste it the way the Tea Party did. That would truly be a tragedy, not just for UKIP or the UK, but for the entire continent of Europe.

Thank you for reading.

14 comments
  1. First of all, the Tea Party does not run candidates. In order to be an official party in the US, you have to meet certain requirements. We have the two main parties the Republicans and the Democrats. In certain areas we also have enough people in the Libertarian and the Green Party for them to exist as parties. Once in a while some other party will show up on the political scene. The Tea Party groups are comprised mostly of conservative Republicans and Libertarians who believe the country is going too far to the left, and that we are getting away from the ideals on which the country is founded. Also, Ted Cruz is an elected official. Christine O’Donnell ran for office in a Democratic area where she was smeared by them. Our media in this country, just as in Europe, is run by leftists. Something like 7% of the entire media is Republican. The Socialist H. G. Wells in his book “The New World Order,” circa 1940, which you can read free online, wrote that they could take over America by controlling Hollywood and the media. The socialists were going into Hollywood and the media in a big way when he wrote that and have been active in these areas ever since. The news you get from America is slanted, just as it is in Europe.

    1. O’donnell pretty much smeared herself. Practically no one had heard about the “witch” claims until SHE enshrined it in an ad. I really hope that you’re right about the “leftist” media helping progressives take over the country. If we leave it to the Conservatives, it’s a toss-up as to whether they’ll destroy the country or the planet first.

      1. Hi Stan, You are following me around on the net. Don’t you have something better to do than disagree with me?

      2. So, in YOUR world, O’Donnell DIDN’T publish a campaign ad proclaiming that she wasn’t a witch? PLEASE explain how THAT was part of a Democratic smear campaign. I’m sure that the explanation will be fascinating.

  2. John please tell me why you consider Ted Cruz to be an “unserious” candidate? He did win his election to the U.S. Senate, as did Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and numerous candidates favored by the Tea Party (which is not a political party, it’s a movement). You’ve bought into this narrative that the Tea Party is somehow dead. There were three candidates in the last cycle who misspoke – Murdoch in Indiana and Akin in Missouri. In 2010 we had Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada Delaware is a difficult place for any conservative to run. O’Donnell trounced the incumbent Mike Castle. She had her own party working against her. By and large she wasn’t a bad candidate. Her mistake was one ad. Murdoch and Akin one statement, one! Otherwise both would have probably been elected. Angle had a tough race, and frankly it’s difficult to beat an incumbent Senator, especially one who is the Senate Majority Leader. Anyway, Tea Party-affiliated candidates in the last two cycles have seen success both at the Federal and State levels. Anyway, unlike UKIP, there is no “Tea Party establishment” out recruiting candidates to run. Individuals decide to run, typically in the Republican Party and if they win their primary then they move on to the general election.

    1. He wasn’t an unserious candidate, but he’s a very unserious senator. The shutdown was doomed to fail and made Republicans look incompetent. We already had this discussion over facebook so no need to have a repeat.

      He’s basically Sarah Palin: Small enthusiastic base that is big enough to embarrass his own party, but not big enough to make him president, and no interest in reaching out (unlike Paul – whom I agree has been a successful candidate & senator) and broadening his base.

    2. I think that you’re partially right. Ted Cruz THINKS that he’s a serious candidate. Fortunately, reality doesn’t support that opinion. He lost a good portion of what little credibility he possessed, by spearheading the government shutdown. Less than a quarter of the American public supported his views prior to that. I see him as having less than a 10% chance of getting the Republican nomination, much less than having a fighting chance in a general election.

  3. I agree with 90% of this article, and am a fellow UKIP supporter (in fact I’m eagerly watching the local election returns as I write this.) However, I would like to disagree with the characterization of Ted Cruz as an “unserious” candidate. While O’Donnell, Akin, Angle and others were certainly unserious, untested or both; Cruz is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School (where famous leftist professor Alan Dershowitz called him “off-the charts brilliant”). He also was the sitting Solicitor General of Texas and won several cases before the US Supreme Court. Also, unlike the big Tea Party failures, Cruz won his election, and won it quite handily. Overall the Tea Party has had a mixed record, with some big mistakes and some big successes. While many in the media are characterizing current primary election results as the “death of the tea party”, I would actually contend that it can be better viewed as a the TP finally taking the advice you give UKIP above. The more “Tea Party Activist” types are finally learning to pick their battles and merge into the mainstream GOP in a way that can actually make a difference. Viable candidates like Ben Sasse, won their primaries, while more loose cannon types like Greg Brennon did not. I suspect this will ultimately be the result in Britain. UKIP will calm down a bit, win some concessions from the tories and finally set into at least a semi-formal alliance. (This very thing happened on the right in Canada, and led to their current dominance).

    Anyway, I’m glad I stumbled on to this site b/c I really do enjoy your point of view,

    1. Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. I’ve been watching the results as well and it’s looking very well so far I have to say. My dream result, for the EP election, would be UKIP first and LibDems 5th, after the Greens – this may sound mean but after all their europhile scaremongering they really deserve it.

      As for Cruz, you’re right in one sense – he isn’t nearly as much of a failure as Christine O’Donnell was. He did win, and you’re right that he’s probably at the end of the day pretty smart. However, his actions ever since he was elected have been absolutely outrageous – the government shutdown in particular. He has turned division into an art form. He began running for president the second he was elected senator – does that sound like someone else you’ve heard of? He’s not alone of course – Rand Paul did pretty much the same thing, but Rand Paul has overall been a better senator.

      Ted Cruz does the same thing Palin does: He says things and does things that will appeal to a small minority of the population, he gets them riled up, he demonizes his opponents, he seems to think that everyone agrees with him “deep down” – how else did he think he could pull his shutdown off? Would democrats ever repeal Obamacare? Ted Cruz must have thought that Obamacare really was as unpopular as it was portrayed in Republican rhetoric. It isn’t popular, no, but it’s not like there’s an overwheming majority disapproving of it either – and, what Republicans fail to remember is that many of those who DO disapprove of Obamacare do so because they want a single-payer system.

      Cruz, despite his intelligence, must have figured that he would be admired for shutting down the government, that people would “wake up” or something and turn against Obama. Or what was the strategy? What was he thinking? He must have known that Obama wouldn’t overturn his health care law with anything less than 90 % of the US population disapproving of it, and he must have known that disapproval was around 50-55 % – not good, but not bad enough to create some sort of crisis for the White House that would force them to repeal it.

      No matter how much you dislike the President, the President is still the President, elected by the People of The United States of America. Cruz doesn’t understand that – he thinks that him disliking the president and Senate majority gives him the right to pretend that the president isn’t the president, and that the senate majority isn’t actually in majority.

      1. Fair points; but Senators running for President from Day 1 is not new with Paul and Cruz. Our current President did the same thing, as is current Senator Warren. Furthermore, despite fervent media assertions Cruz did not cause the shutdown. Reid still got his bill passed. The House of Representatives and Reid wouldn’t pass each others bills, and despite the Presidents assertion to the contrary, the popularly elected House has just as much claim to the will of the people. I could go on, but getting bogged down in the minutiae of Congressional procedures is a tiresome task.

        I just think there are fundamental differences between Cruz and O’Donnell. For one Cruz represents Texas, his constituency is as out of the mainstream as Sen Warren’s or Sen Sanders’; and all three of them take positions consistent with their states. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on Cruz’s seriousness, but I fully agree with your assessment from a strategic point of view, especially in comparison with Paul.

        One last question more on topic: do you see UKIP making a serious move in Westminster next year? Sky news last night predicted a hung parliament based on the local results, which could make things very interesting. (I’m with you on the Lib Dems BTW, I never really understood the purpose of their existence except as a generalized protest vote, Europhile agitation, and push for PR voting.)

        Also its nice to know there are folks in Europe who follow our politics as close as I follow theirs.

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