The man who served as Ukip’s Press Secretary for 13 years says his party never prevaricated like thisby Gawain Towler / February 9, 2018 / Leave a comment
On 23rd June 2016, the masses of the UK chose not to listen to their betters. They voted to Leave the European Union. Politicians, academics, and journalists took to the newspapers, television studios and social media in panic. For once, it was they who had been ignored. A vision championed by Ukip, that rag-tag bunch of fruitcakes, had triumphed.
I was Ukip’s press secretary for 13 years, and know how instrumental Nigel Farage was in the result. The mainstream media branded him “deeply xenophobic and misogynistic.” His views were “unacceptable.”
Yet as many people from across the political spectrum will attest, the simple fact is that he is very personable. I’ve forgotten how many profile pieces over the years would start with a paragraph saying how ghastly he is, but by the end of the piece there would normally be a grudging acceptance. “You know, he’s rather a fun and engaging chap,” they would say. “Not that I agree with him.”
There was a moment before the 2015 general election that the Tory Party believed his impact would be devastating. They were terrified that were he to win in Thanet and take up a seat on the green benches, he would be a far more attractive figure than anyone in the then Tory leadership.
It is accepted that Ukip was in discussion with at least another seven Tory MPs following the tactical defections of Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless. A party with a fist of members in the Commons and a greater presence in the Lords would have provided, what is it, a “strong and stable” base from which to conduct operations in the upcoming referendum.
This was not to be. But we all know what happened. Momentum nonetheless gathered behind the…