UKIP "SPOILER" PARTIES?
UKIP are currently grumbling furiously about “An Independence from Europe - UK Independence Now” Party (“AIP”), which was formed and set up by Mike Nattrass MEP, the former Deputy Leader of UKIP, who it was reported in The Times on the 27th May spent over £300,000 of his own money on the creation of the Party and standing it across England.
UKIP has claimed that all the votes for AIP were really meant for UKIP and that this confusion is all the Electoral Commission’s fault. (See here for the report on this claim >>>
In fact Mike Nattrass has simply and intelligently used the rules in creating a Party, that is “An Independence from Europe” Party “UK Independence Now” slogan, to put the name at the top of the ballot paper and a slogan that would attract the maximum number of potential UKIP voters. There is nothing that a registration body like the Electoral Commission could be legally expected to do about that.
We are therefore thrown back on why such a party would be created. The answer is at least in part as a result of Nigel Farage’s own behaviour.
Nigel Farage is a man with great personal charm, who is highly entertaining company and who is very sociable, but he is also not somebody who is willing to allow himself to work within systems and, as is often the case with charismatic people, “he doesn’t suffer fools gladly”. He works on the basis of favourites, rather in the same manner as a medieval style royal court, where you are either in favour or you out.
The consequence of this pattern of behaviour is that there have now been to my knowledge at least five splinter parties since Nigel Farage became the effective leader of UKIP.
Back in the days when Nigel Farage took over effective control, although not then with the formal title of Leader, there was the Reform UK Party set up by those who opposed Nigel Farage’s coup against Roger Holmes.
In the last EU elections there was the UK First Party set up in response to Nigel Farage subverting the candidate selection process that had been created by a party and parachuting into the Eastern Region his preferred candidate of David Campbell-Bannerman as No. 1 on the list, contrary to the Eastern Region’s choice of Robin Page. In the South East he parachuted in Marta Andreasen as No. 2 on the list. This not unnaturally created a splinter group of people who were furious with Nigel Farage’s behaviour, including the former Chairman of the Party, the Barrister, Petrina Holdsworth. She and Robin Page and many others then proceeded to form the UK First Party.
In the Eastern Region the UK First Party was more successful in taking votes off UKIP than An Independence Party has been this time, as the UK First Party took 38,185 votes whereas An Independence Party only took 26,564 votes. In the South East and in the East Midlands UK First also took UKIP votes in 2009.
In these 2014 elections there was also Nikki Sinclair's “We Want an EU Referendum Party” which took some votes, presumably also almost all off potential UKIP supporters.
In addition to those splits there was also the major split in UKIP after Robert Kilroy-Silk had first given UKIP the publicity to surge in 2004. Then following Nigel Farage’s falling out with Robert Kilroy-Silk after which his new Party ‘Veritas’ was formed.
Coupled with that, out of the last lot of MEPs, half have either defected to other parties, like Nigel Farage’s former favourites, David Campbell-Bannerman and Marta Andreasen to the Conservatives, or set up alternative parties like Mike Natrass and Nikki Sinclaire, or more quietly dropped out of the picture. Such is the trouble with a too abrasive management style when dealing with people who regard themselves as colleagues not just as subordinates.
In addition it is worth considering UKIP’s own willingness to be involved in dirty tricks which certainly might have contributed to people thinking about creating a party with a similar name. Consider this item from the 'bloggers4UKIP' website :-
“LIBERTAS HAS hit an unexpected hurdle in Britain because a close associate of a rival political party has already registered Libertas UK with the electoral commission.
Bridget Rowe, a friend of UK Independence Party chief Nigel Farage, is listed as the leader of Libertas UK on the electoral commission’s website. The party was registered on December 19th, 2008 and is expected to field candidates in England, says the commission.
An electoral commission spokesman said yesterday one of the criteria for successfully registering a political party in Britain was that no party with the same name already existed on the commission’s list.
It is now unclear whether Declan Ganley’s Libertas, which wants to field candidates in Britain in the upcoming European elections, will be able to compete under its Libertas brand.
A Libertas spokesman refused to comment on the registration issue yesterday....
I don't know how much involvement Farage had in registering Libertas UK but it was a stroke of genius.”
Click here for the original story >>> Bloggers4UKIP: Irish Times: Libertas faces UK electoral hurdle over party name