Britons see Jeremy Corbyn as more politically extreme than Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn, via Gage Skidmore and Global Justice Now

Whilst the commentariat debates among itself just how unelectable the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is likely to be come 2020, YouGov is keeping up its research into what the plebs think of the Islington North MP.

The data, at least for those who buy the idea that Labour lost the last election because Ed Miliband was seen as too leftwing, does not make for a pretty graph, with Corbyn far to the left of even Green leader Natalie Bennett and Scottish Nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon.

British leaders political spectrum by YouGov

On the plus side, David Cameron has been mostly tracking to the right since he ended up as prime minister in 2010, and now stands only a little to the left of Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Tim Farron, leader of the embattled Liberal Democrats, sits close the centre ground it appears he is coveting these days, though the public see him as quite similar to Charles Kennedy – who presided over the Lib Dems’ greatest electoral success in 2005, and sat on the social democratic wing of the party that Farron also calls home.

The extent to which the left-right distinction matters is less clear than the survey results, and it’s worth pointing out in the full data around 30 percent claimed ignorance on where most of the leaders stood, and even more for Farron and Bennett.

At a Hansard Society event earlier this month analysing May’s general election none of the political scientists on the panel mentioned left and right in great detail, with Jonathan Tongue suggesting that the Tories cleared up on the old tropes of leadership and economic competence.

More information on the data above can be found on YouGov’s website.

Image Credit – Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn, via Gage Skidmore and Global Justice Now

Peter Whittle picked as Ukip London mayoral candidate, snubbing Suzanne Evans

Peter Whittle outside National Gallery via Twitter

Ukip selected Peter Whittle as its candidate for next year’s London mayoral election, fulfilling previous reports that deputy chair Suzanne Evans would not be chosen for the role despite her public stature.

A journalist before entering politics, Whittle has been the party’s culture spokesman for two years, and stood in Eltham in South East London during the general election.

In the past he has been a critic of multiculturalism, a potentially controversial view for a London mayor to hold given the diversity of the capital, a British city where white Britons do not constitute a majority.

Speaking to Ukip Daily in March 2014, Whittle said:

“I think it is a priority now to look at how we best achieve integration, as opposed to the failed policy of multiculturalism which had been entrenched for years. Voices from both the left and right have admitted that a doctrinaire multicultural approach has led to social segregation, and a fragmenting of the kind of communal values which are crucial to the survival of any society.”

Whittle also topped the list of Greater London Authority candidates that Ukip is putting forward, with Evans placed third behind David Kurten, a chemistry teacher who stood for the seat of Camberwell and Peckham in May against Labour MP Harriet Harman.

Challenged by the BBC over whether Evans, who was interim leader during Nigel Farage’s temporary retirement after the general election, would have made a better candidate, Whittle said this was not the case.

In August party members briefed the press that the central committee used to select the London mayoral candidate was being harnessed to block Evans, a potential rival for Farage.

In the general election Ukip underperformed in London compared to the rest of the country, with the party picking up 8.1 percent of votes in the capital to put it at third place, below the 12.7 percent it scored nationally.

A poll by Survation earlier this summer also put Ukip ahead of both the Lib Dems and the Greens in the contest for first preferences in the London mayoral election.

Sian Berry, the Green candidate for London mayor, previously told the Right Dishonourable that the interest in Ukip would not last until the election in May, the implication being that its poll ratings would soon shrink.

Image Credit – Peter Whittle outside National Gallery via Twitter

Katie Hopkins suggests we seal up House of Lords and ‘gas the lot of them’

House of Lords during Queen Caroline trial, via Ashley Van Haeften

Rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins, formerly of the Sun and now of the MailOnline, has an original approach to constitutional reform, albeit one with some rather questionable overtones.

Speaking at an Electoral Reform Society event on the fringes of the Kipper conference, Hopkins was asked what she would do to fix the House of Lords.

She said:

“As for the House of Lords, sir, people like me, the people I represent, the things I articulate for the nation, actually, we don’t really give a shit about the House of Lords because we think they’re all a bunch of plonkers.

“They’ve just put [bra tycoon] Michelle Mone in there – frankly, once you’ve got Michelle Mone in anywhere you really don’t really care about it. Frankly, I don’t really mind if you seal up the room and gas the lot of them.”

Later in the day Hopkins told ITV’s political correspondent Paul Brand that she thought the widely spread photo of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi had been “staged”, a comment even the Farage himself thought went a bit far.

Image Credit – House of Lords during Queen Caroline trial, via Ashley Van Haeften

Ukip enters contest to lead UK exit from EU

Ukip Bus, May 2009 by Euro Realist Newsletter

Ukip will launch its own campaign to convince Britons to vote to quit the EU instead of joining with the two existing efforts, following concerns that its leader Nigel Farage is too divisive to head the movement.

The yet unnamed campaign, details of which will be released this week, will compete with the other two to become the official “No” effort, a designation giving it access to a grant, greater spending limits and more time on television.

The move, first revealed by the BBC, appears to be the latest power play by Farage, a former City commodities trader who led Ukip to pick up almost 4m votes (12.7 percent) in the general election in May through a beer-guzzling, chain-smoking, “tell it like it is” persona.

While Farage has been a boon for Ukip his rise has also led to hardening views from those wanting to stay in the EU, with data from the pollster Ipsos Mori showing support for leaving tumble in the last six months to a mere 27 percent.

There is also evidence of tension within the party over Farage’s reversal of a decision to step down in the event he did not lose his seat in the general election, reports having emerged last week that he is blocking Suzanne Evans from contesting next year’s London mayoral election.

Ukip’s campaign to leave the EU will compete with The Know and an unnamed group led by Business for Britain, a lobbying outfit.

Whilst some expect the various factions to coalesce once the Electoral Commission makes its choice, fissures are already emerging between the groups.

Last Friday The Know backer and Ukip donor Arron Banks told the eurosceptic blogger Peter North that he was tempted to tell him “I hope you die in a freak yachting accident”.

Attempts to unite the two existing campaigns also seem to have hit trouble because of disagreement over who would lead the united group.

Update: Earlier on Tuesday Farage said he would be willing to work with anyone to secure an exit from the EU. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:

“Let’s be clear. I am not refusing to work with anybody. I will work with absolutely anyone for us to get a No vote in this referendum.

 

“There are two competing groups who want to get the nomination for the No campaign. All I am saying is I am not choosing one side or the other. We will work with whichever of them gets the nomination.”

Image Credit – Ukip Bus, May 2009 by Euro Realist Newsletter

Ukip civil war looms on London mayoral election

Nigel Farage in May 2008, by Euro Realist Newsletter

Trouble appears to be brewing within Ukip as a squabble threatens to break out over who will stand for the party in the upcoming London mayoral election due to take place next year.

Insiders within the party are briefing the press that Kipper leader Nigel Farage is hoping to block deputy chair Suzanne Evans in favour of a more pliable candidate and culture spokesman Peter Whittle, in the latest evidence Nige is unwilling to relinquish control of the party.

Central to this scheme, first reported by the Spectator, is the use of a central committee for vetting candidates which replaced a one-member-one-vote system, with the panellists Chris Bruni-Lowe, Paul Oakden and Mick McGough said to be loyal to Farage.

As one “senior Ukip insider” put it: “It looks like a stitch-up, and smells like a stitch up. I just hope it isn’t one.”

In response an anonymous party source claimed that the previous voting system was a “disaster”, leading to a “shambolic” 2012 London mayoral campaign that ended with Ukip failing to get its name on the ballot paper.

This oversight occurred after the clown doing the admin for Ukip candidate Lawrence Webb signed him up under “Fresh Choice for London”. Ukip ended up second-last in a field of seven, with a mere 2 percent of the vote.

The Farage defender added that it would be be strange if Farage did not have loyalists on the panel, given he is the leader.

Suzanne Evans is the bookies’ favourite to take over from Farage in the event he resigns without immediately rejoining the party, as he did in the wake of the general election despite promising to quit if he failed to win a seat in the Commons.

She said it was a “shame” that the one-member-one-vote system had been dropped, but optimistically added she had “trust” that the panel had the party’s interests at heart rather than Nige’s.

Quelle différence?

Update: Contacted by the Right Dishonourable to comment on the story, Kipper head office staffer David Challice said:This is a nonsense story invented by political journalists who are fed up writing about Jeremy Corbyn. Please ignore it. We are.”

Image Credit – Nigel Farage in May 2008, by Euro Realist Newsletter