Iain Dale, in an unusual departure from his normally relatively unbiased blogging, has tried to implicate some sort of link between the BNP and UKIP.
Now this is nothing new – even the BNP do it – but the “link” is a non-issue.
Basically, the BNP has listed UKIP candidates who are standing in constituencies the BNP aren’t contesting and are encouraging BNP supporters to vote UKIP in their stead. Iain this morning posted to his blog that he would be revealing “further links” between the BNP and UKIP … and this was it. UKIP aren’t returning the favour and they haven’t made any statement about the BNPs actions.
Rather than guess what the story was behind it I spoke to a senior UKIPer and asked the question directly. “They’ve done what?” he blustered. UKIP do not have any agreement with the BNP, they don’t want the support of the BNP and they don’t want any links with the BNP – express or implied.
Despite my own personal political leaning – I recently joined, and am standing in the election for, UKIP – I don’t want to turn this blog into a UKIP blog. I’m quite proud of the “non-aligned” Iain gave me last year because it means that despite my pro-English, anti-EU, “small c” conservative inclinations I have obviously managed to keep my writings objective. However, I see this as nothing more than part of the bigger Tory smear campaign against UKIP.
For those that have any doubt that the Tories are scared of UKIP consider the Conservative Party communication that I saw recently that had been sent out to party candidates with a whole section devoted to fighting an election campaign against UKIP. No other party was mentioned – not even their main rival, the Labour Party, with its well-oiled and ruthless propaganda machine.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Iain asks why would the BNP promote UKIP candidates? The answer, to me, is a simple one. The BNP have been trying to infiltrate UKIP for years – a former BNP supporter might end up inside UKIP where they might be able to be “turned”. The main threat to the BNP is the Conservatives who are, politically, the mainstream party that is closest to them. Encouraging BNP voters to vote UKIP weakens the Conservatives and strengthens UKIP. Instead of having a strong Conservative threat they end up with a weakened Conservative opposition and a strengthened UKIP opposition, neither of which are in a strong enough position but who are concentrating their efforts on each other.
You’ve got to admit, it’s a classic strategy and I’m surprised that anyone within the BNP has the gumption to come up with something like this. Iain and his fellow Conservatives might think that they’re doing damage to UKIP by continuing to try and associate UKIP with the BNP but they obviously don’t realise that ultimately they’re giving the BNP a leg up while handicapping themselves.
One of the Conservative candidates standing against me in May is an ex-National Front youth leader and now a Tory candidate (not an ex-BNP candidate as I was previously told). Does this mean there is a link between the National Front and the Conservatives?