Tim Stanley writes in the Telegraph, advising UKIP supporters to cool the invective, lighten up a bit and "take a chill pill".
He has half a point.
Some of the obsessive commenting by UKIP supporters on blogs can be a bit over the top and occasionally comments can be downright nasty. Dr. Stanley rightly points out that some of the comments left on the UKIP Facebook page after Nigel Farage's suggestion that the UK take Syrian asylum seekers are not the kind we would want to be associated with. It is also true, as I blogged yesterday, that some of the more paranoid assertions made about a political/media conspiracy against UKIP can be better explained as purely commercially driven.
Stanley also complains, not without justification, about many of the personalised attacks made about him after he posted a light-hearted video mocking UKIP and suggesting how it should conduct itself in 2014. However, his complaints would have considerably more validity if he hadn't included in the video a remark about the UKIP council candidate Alex Wood, who was cleared of allegations of racism by both the police and UKIP last year. For Stanley to use his position on national newspaper to insinuate, however obliquely, that this unfortunate young man could indeed have Nazi sympathies is unworthy of him and more than a little hypocritical given how touchy he is about attacks upon himself. He should also remember that the invective too readily dished out by some UKIP supporters is an understandable, if regrettable, reaction to the considerably amount of bigoted insults thrown at those with UKIP or even traditional conservative sympathies by fashionable MetroLibs during the last few years.
Here in case you needed reminding, is a selection:-
"Swivel Eyed Loons"
"The Turnip Taliban"
Finally, Stanley declares somewhat haughtily that he "won't vote for a party that attracts bigots". Here he is just being plain silly. Any party that has strong convictions will attract bigots and fanatics to its fringes, who distil it's core beliefs to an extreme degree. In the 1980s, for example, both the Labour and Conservative parties had problems with bigots who took the parties core convictions too far: Labour with trotskyite entryists of Revolutionary Socialist League (aka Militant); the Tories with the "Blue Trots" within the Federation of Conservative Students.
The fact that the LibLabCon parties are not occasionally embarrassed in the way that UKIP is not a sign of strength but a testament to how bland, directionless and anaemic those parties have become. The trick, of course, is not to let the bigots or extremists take power within the party so that bigotry becomes institutionalised. In the 1980s, for example, what really did for Labour was not that members of the Revolutionary Socialist League existed within the party but that they held real power as sitting councillors in Liverpool.
UKIP will continue to attract occasional oddballs, eccentrics, aggrieved hotheads and sometimes people who are downright nasty. Occasionally the party will be embarrassed by them. However as long as such people are filtered out from achieving real power then little harm is done, apart, perhaps, to the egos of Metropolitan journalists who find the ferocity of their attacks too hot to handle.
Perhaps Tim should follow his own advice. Take a chill pill, Dr. Stanley.
Monday, 20 January 2014
Take A Chill Pill, Dr. Stanley. @timothy_stanley