Long-term visitors to my 'blog might recall that I have mentioned in the past that UKIP Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) take their duties and obligations so lightly that they don't bother to put in the attendance or make any other effort to do the job for which they were elected. I don't think it's universal, but it is reputed to be the norm. Of course, they have plenty of excuses – but what it always boils down to is that they are pursuing their own (generally quite lazy) agenda rather than doing the job of an MEP.
If they prefer to do that other thing, then that's fine – but not as a make-believe MEP. If they can't hack it and do the job they are supposed to do, then they should resign so that someone who will make the effort can take their place. I recall when I was elected that there were some aspects of the work I had to do that didn't sit easily with me – but I always put my duty first and my own preferences or comfort very much in last place...so it can be done by those with competence and an honest approach.
All of this extends right to the top of the party, as pointed out here by Guy Verhofstadt...
John Redwood has recently blogged on the same topic. Yes, this is indeed a genuine case of the British electorate being hoodwinked into paying out nice fat amounts and a comfortable existence to those who are even less worthy of it than a lot of the less good MEPs from all over the EU.
The English Democrats, whose very public writings give a strong impression that they are the most fervent enemies of UKIP, do occasionally have their uses despite the now-endemic monomania that makes them one-dimensional and unsuited ever for office. An example of the benefit in keeping an eye on what they are putting out is today's detailing of the outcome of an Ipsos MORI poll and its predecessors showing how the UKIP leader in particular has seemingly fallen out of favour with the British electorate.
This post is very revealing, although it has to be said that it merely confirms what I have been predicting all along – that UKIP are, in effect, a flash in the pan and their support will fade. Indeed, I know I predicted (in one of my now-deleted posts) that we should see this effect kick-in by or around the end of this calendar year. It is why I have always been so relaxed about them, content to point out a few things from time to time, but not being vehemently 'anti' as the Eng Dems seems always to be.
In particular, it shows that UKIP leader Nigel Farage's personal ratings have turned around during 2013. Now, as the party is essentially a one-man publicity machine, with the public-at-large knowing of no other UKIP elected member or party official, and with it now being fairly wide public knowledge that the leader controls and dictates just about everything within the party, this produces a nexus-style 'big swing' in UKIP's prospects. It all hangs on him.
Although the party is still likely to do well at the EU elections this coming May – near-enough by default, as a protest vote, rather than through earning it – after that (and a few months for the headlines and follow-ups to die down) I can see their support waning quite markedly, as the voting public see where the real battle is to be fought for the vastly more important (to most people) General Election the following year.
It will be Cameron-vs-Miliband, with Clegg as a sideshow, and all others will if anything be consigned even more than usual to the sidelines. This will be too big, and at a crucial time, for more than a few percent of voters – and a minority of commentators – to pay more than merely perfunctory attention to anyone else. What is covered outside of that will comprise mostly tokenism dressed up to look more significant than even a basic analysis would disclose.
UKIP had their short period of fame, threw it away in their Farage mania and embarrassingly poor work record, and their time will pass. The boys will be pushed aside when the men come out to do electoral battle...