UKIP struggle with party chaos and policy vacuum
A series of emails leaked to The Observer from senior UK Independence Party (UKIP) members have displayed that the party is increasingly disorganised and unable to articulate clear party policy.
The revelations come just days ahead of local elections where 1217 UKIP candidates are standing for election.
The emails from Stuart Wheeler, the party’s treasurer and Godfrey Bloom, a leading UKIP Member in European Parliament, state that UKIP is unable to unite a party whose membership is increasingly eclectic in its members, liking it to “herding cats”.
Bloom wrote of his experience saying as “soon as more than two people get in a room progress completely stops. Even where we have experts of our own they disagree”.
One of the solutions to the policy vacuum was to “buy policy ‘off the shelf’” from right-wing think tanks.
The former financial economist also talks of the fracture between the original founders of the party, and new members who are bringing “main party ‘baggage’, focus groups, quotas, even political correctness’”.
Adding to the pressure, the Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft wrote an open letter to UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the Daily Mail today, dismissing the party as a protest party.
Ashcroft also highlights the increasing tension between UKIP and the Conservative party who are both converging on a similar anti-EU position.
Ashcroft states that the Conservative party is the “only party with a chance” of achieving UKIP’s aims of ushering Britain out of the EU, referring to the Tories’ promise of a referendum on EU membership if they win the next general election.
A number of negative UKIP stories have emerged during the week. Most are focused on the behaviour and political views of candidates. There has been suggestion that they have originated from the Conservative campaign headquarters. This has led a UKIP spokesperson to claim that its candidates have been victim to a “political lynch mob”.