UKIP now have their first elected MP. Clearly for the party, this is a momentus moment, but what does it really mean. Based on last nights results, UKIP would have an outright majority in the House of Commons. The Tories would have been totally wiped out and Labour would be reduced to its very safest seats. This would mean that Westminster would have a government where only one of their number had actually served previously in Parliament. The Home secretary, the Foreign Secretary and the NHS would all be put in the hands of people with absolutely no experience and no exposure to the protools of Parliament. Wheras Cameron went into No 10 with some idea of who his team were and what their strengths were, Nigel Farage wouldn't have a clue how good or bad any of his team were and how they would perform.
Perhaps the most interesting thing would be to see how the Sir Humphreys of the Civil Service would deal with this new lot. The first thing one presumes UKIP would do is organise a referendum on UK membership of Europe. This would grab the headlines, but the things that really matter to people are how the NHS is run, how schools are run, how the railways are run and how the police and prison service are run. One can just see how this new team, who have no experience of dealing with Civil servants would fare. This morning I've heard commentator after commentator saying Nigel Farage is a one off. I disagree. To me he is simply a middle class John Prescott. Most people remember Prescott as a bumbling stooge of a deputy Prime Minister, the buffoon to who acted as a merkin whilst Tony Blair did the real dirty business of government. If Blair wanted to see how a policy would be received, he'd get Prescott to announce it. The press would go bonkers and rip it to shreds. Blair would then analyse the criticism, fine tune it and say "Well thats John, what we are really doing is this". He did this time and time again and won three elections as a result.
What is less well remembered is what a fantastic job Prescott did as shadow Transport secretary before the 1997 election. Prescott in opposition was a star performer. It is easy in opposition, you simply have to say what a rotten job the government is doing and everyone agrees with you. Being a plain speaking northerner, he was seen as a man of the people. Prescott would make a point of being pictured with a pint. When someone thumped him, he didn't cry, he just turned around and decked him. Whilst the politcal classes reeled in shock, Prescotts ratings went through the roof.
To me Farage is just the same, except he's middle class and I suspect lacks the street brawler heart of Prescott. In opposition, it is easy. He can say he'll ban HIV carrying immigrants and convicted murderers. He can say what he likes, but it doesn't matter. It is when it actually comes to having to go through Parliament that it all goes wrong. Take the issue of convicted murderers. Sounds great doesn't it? I can see the appeal. I do why he didn't choose peadophiles instead. You may think this is a strange comment, but anyone who knows about crime knows most murderers are not repeat offenders. I have a friend who is a convicted murderer. He is now in his 50's. When he was eight, his mother remarried. His stepfather abused him for years. When he was 23, his then ageing stepfather attacked him. My friend, for the first time, fought back and killed him. Under a Farage law, he'd be banned from living in the UK, even though his crime was a completely understandable one off. Anyone who is familiar with the statistics knows that the majority of murderers serve their time and don't offend again.
You see it's typical of Farage. He makes policy up on the hoof. I believe that like Prescott this is fine in opposition, where it really doesn't matter. In government, it is different. Take his announcement on HIV positive immigrants. HIV is a virus that is treatable. Most people in the UK with HIV are on medication and live normal lives. I for one cannot see why HIV is different from any other chronic condition. It his highly discriminatory. In terms of cost to the NHS, would Farage ban people with Multiple Sclerosis or motor nerone disease? Both are incurable, debilitating and expensive to treat? If the answer is no, then why choose HIV. I daresay that Farage will say because the disease is contracted by lifestyle. Again this is highly ignorant. How can you ban someone who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion or who is monogamous and infected by a promiscuous partner. Farage may say that it is because HIV is infectious and he's acting to protect the public. In this case, surely the ban should be on anyone with a life threatening transmittable disease. This means that you'd have to include Hepatitis, HP, influenza, mumps, measles etc.
What stuns me is the hypocisy. Farage makes a big deal of being seen drinking alcohol and smoking. These cost the NHS far more than HIV, but to Nige they are part of the image. Don't get me wrong, I drink too much but I don't go around pontificating about HIV. Why not ban smokers? Passive smoke kills people. Drinking tea in a room full of HIV carriers is perfectly safe, if you did the same for 30 years with a bunch of smokers, you'd significantly raise your chances of lung disease and cancer.
In short I think Farage is an ignorant buffoon. My only worry is that whilst Prescott had Blair to protect us from his buffonary, Farage is the top man. Who is his team? Well at the moment he has one MP. That man was a Tory MP who clearly wasn't up to higher office and quit his party in a fit of pique. I play football. I run a business. If I want to do well, I want team players. To me UKIP is filled with disaffected malcontents. What wasn't reported in Clacton is that there was also a Council election. The man originally selected to be the candidate in Clacton was a UKIP councillor. He quit in digust at his treatment. Farage didn't bother to tell him that he'd been replaced by Carswell. What does that tell you about Farage? To me it says that the man is not a leader and has no loyalty for his team. He dumps on his most loyal players if it suits him and hasn't even got the guts to do it face to face. I've had to give people difficult messages. You do it face to face and in a case like this the way is simple. You meet the man being replaced, you explain why it is vital for the party for Carswell to come in and you promise him the best seat you can get him elsewhere. You also praise him to the hilt for his contribution. Farage is not a leader so he clearly doesn't get it.