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Preening?

Posted by Richard Friday, April 23, 2004

Predictably, UKIP campaign organisers are preening themselves on “enjoying great success in the media”. Roger Knapman, according to the proud authors of the UKIP Campaign Information Bulletin (23 April 2004), “acquitted himself well against the ‘dreaded’ John Humphrys on Today prime-time”.

Was that the same Roger Knapman who told Humphrys that if the UK did not ratify the Constitutional Treaty, it would automatically lead her to being expelled from the EU – a comment that is without basis in fact and has had the gathering “no” campaign to vow to have nothing to do with UKIP? I think we should be told.

Nevertheless, party organisers concede that the Tories “have endeavoured to wrong-foot Blair and maximise his discomfort in the debate over the referendum on the off/on Constitution issue”. They do not venture to suggest, however, that this might be better than aligning with Blair and doing the work for the “yes” campaign.

In what is likely to be a hallmark of the early campaign, it seems UKIP is more content – when it has time to break off from supporting Blair – to attack the Tories for a position which is “far from comfortable or logical”.

It enjoins its members to apply their own 'spin' in letters to the media, “highlighting the incongruousness of a major opposition party wanting to stay in the EU, whilst rejecting both the Constitution and the euro and then expecting to negotiate with 24 others on the repatriation of our fishing and farming policy”.

As one prominent Eurosceptic observed, “they seem to have forgotten who the enemy is”.