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The voters looked from Kipper to clown, and from clown to Kipper.
As Ukip has sought to professionalise itself by dulling the, er, sharper edges of the party, many of the crankier pronouncements of the party faithful have been toned down or silenced entirely.
Many other commentators have noticed that this is something of a double-edged sword for the Kippers, with their peculiar brand of “common sense” being the reason people were attracted to them in the first place.
What a relief for all concerned then when Ukip leader Nigel Farage called for the abolition of the Electoral Commission at the party’s south west spring conference in Torquay, claiming that it was failing “in all its key duties”.
Among these errors was a shrinking of the electoral register (a drop of two percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics), fraud in the postal system (perhaps true, though unlikely to be sapping purple support), and some haggling over electoral donations (the commission having been rebuked for failing to scrutinise a Lib Dem donation worth £2.4m).
Yet most interesting was the following passage:
“[The Electoral Commission] has sanctioned joke and spoiler parties, which only last year had a material impact on the outcome of the European Elections, costing Ukip at least two seats.”
This has been taken by some as a reference to one Al Murray, a comedian who is standing in South Thanet against Mr Farage as part of the Freedom United Kingdom Party (FUKP). Following the Kippers comments the party issued the following statement:
— FUKP (@FUKPnews) March 8, 2015
Perhaps Mr Farage has a point that the electorate may find it hard to tell Kipper from Murrayite. But it hardly says much for the calibre of his supporters…
Picture – Euro Realist