I am just starting to catch up with jobs like blogging, after the storm, a death, and a number of other things. I hope to write a (3-week!) political digest later today. We shall see...
Meanwhile, the subject of exposure to the public eye is worth revisiting. Old hands here will no doubt be well aware of what UI have written before, especially regarding the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) – and specifically the Kent PCC – once any that had been accustomed to working out of the public view were plunged into the spotlight of open scrutiny.
In the case of the Kent PCC, no amount of political maneuvering is going to be able to hide the deep and permanent flaws for ever. Now, the Kent PCC ran far and away the most political campaign of the six candidates here, with only Labour coming anywhere near, despite the public stance of supposedly being 'non-political'.
Some interesting historical information has come to light that emphasises this, and the PCC's ongoing style continues to reinforce that unavoidable perception, that more and more of the voting public in the county are waking up to, all too late for this term. The PCC's established standard approach – 'If it's a success, then it's my success; but if it's not so good I'll say it's 'an operational matter' and 'I'll take it up with the Chief Constable' – has now been realised by a fair number of separate, independent observers, and the lady ain't fooling any of them any longer.
The ongoing style that shows it is (and always has been) about her, with everything else coming second or third at best, has also been spotted quite widely now. When your newsletters are plastered non-stop with images of yourself, you do rather give away the actual nature of your approach, along with all the other clues.
This is what I have been talking about here, in other media, and in private conversations, for some time now. Exposure to the public gaze reveals more than the less-than-straight participants in these lines of work find comfortable. It is why Left-wing (and any other dodgy) régimes operate largely or (if they can) entirely in secret , from the former USSR to Gordon Brown plotting and planning in his 'bunker'.
So it is with UKIP too. Now that they are garnering a lot more media and public attention, their true nature is coming into the public arena much more and their members' own characters are becoming more widely known. Now, there are certainly elements of the media and elsewhere looking for anything they can exploit – as is done to all parties, and grown-ups just have to deal with this.
Nevertheless, there is some genuinely nasty stuff in the mix – and, of course, an outfit such as UKIP tends to attract such types. Not only those sorts, of course; but they do have a tendency to drift in that direction. Thus it becomes relatively easy to see who might switch to UKIP, especially among elected members in one or another place and hopeful candidates. I have ticked-off a few on my mental 'scoreboard' in recent years.
The latest controversy, over a fairly high-up UKIPper (Victoria Ayling) who, it is suggested, has said that her wish is for all Britain's immigrants to be sent back, is a case in point, and the story is worth watching as it unfolds during the next day or two. In fact, her 'rant' turns out to have been about illegal immigrants and others not entitled to be or remain in our country, as is coming out just as I write this (and made clearer later, so I have since edited this bit a little, for the sake of accuracy).
This is just the latest in what is in fact quite a long series of UKIP truths and half-truths coming out – most of which have not been denied, but attempted to be defended, including this one although with some justification this time.
Thus the already-disillusioned British electorate will have yet another reason to wish 'a plague on all your houses' to our political parties; but they will come out of that uniformly negative phase in due course, as they always do. Eventually, every thinking person realises that someone needs to run the nation, especially in the increasingly global nature of human society.
There is no point throwing out the baby with the bathwater, which – experience tells us (especially with Trades Union elections, as many reading this will probably already realise) – lets in the extremists whose activists will all dutifully go to the polls and cast their vote for the Unite candidate or whoever it happens to be in their own local case.
The rest of us need to be pro-active, and that includes at election times; and what we are now learning about what we might have mistakenly thought were rising stars is valuable in our need to re-calibrate our own thinking sometimes. All parties have faults, and some have lots – but what is, in all truth, the best way for the country to go?
My advice is to heed the lessons of these public revelations, and don't make the mistake that the people of Kent made when (just a few of them) elected the wrong PCC!