Baroness Warsi caused a minor row when she suggested that UKIP was trying to attract the same kind of voter as the racist British National Party:
Lady Warsi, on the BBC last night, pointed out that Ukip are fielding 14 per cent more candidates at this election than at the last one, while the BNP are fielding the same percentage fewer. She called this “interesting” and asked if there was a “link or an overlap” between the two. Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, asked if she meant that there has been some sort of deal between the two. Here’s her quote in full:
What’s interesting about Ukip this year is that they are actually fielding something like 14 per cent more candidates this year than they did last time. But interestingly the British National Party are fielding exactly 14 per cent less candidates this time than they did last time. So whether there is some sort of link, an overlap, there.
This produced an unworthy, but thankfully quickly retracted and apologized for, tweet from a UKIP official (he called her a name the rhymed with “rich”).
This blog says that Lady Warsi’s statistical conclusions are not accurate!
• UPDATE and embarrassing climbdown: I’ve spoken to the Conservative Party press office, and it sounds like the worst that Baroness Warsi can be accused of is not knowing the difference between percentages and percentage points. In 2008, the BNP ran in 19.3 per cent of seats; in 2012, they ran in only 5.3, a drop of 14.0 percentage points (but 73 per cent). By contrast, Ukip ran in 14.4 per cent of seats in 2008, and in 28.7 per cent of seats in 2012, an increase of 14.3 percentage points (but 99 per cent). Obviously that doesn’t mean there is a link between the two parties, but the correlation she described is there.
But my observations are this: UKIP has done the British nation a great service by running the BNP out of politics. Now British voters have a libertarian, euroskeptic and non-racist alternative to the BNP. Lady Warsi was trying the guilt by association tactic; that was not classy. (Nor was it classy to tweet her that name that rhymes with “which” either!) So, UKIP leaders, keep it classy! But keep fighting!
But the very first comment at this blog I saw was this one by soysauce:
I actually find it rather endearing that a party spokesman just blurted out the truth, it’s not anything that the majority of us wouldn’t want to say to our politicians anyway, we all swear from time to time. in my opinion it’s exactly what we need, independent minded people telling it how it is, time to take all the focus groups, spin doctors and pr people outside and mow them down, start with a clean slate and build a parliament of decent, honest people with no party affiliations, just the common good at the centre of their hearts.
Right, I’m off to sign up to UKIP.
If I were a British citizen, I’d “sign up to UKIP”, too and be ready to go for every General Election, bag packed, purple ribbon and laptop in place, ready to go to wherever UKIP called me to run for MP. I hope my efforts small as they are are helpful to the cause. This is a fight for liberty and it’s throughout the world. Ron Paul is one important part of it. The Pirate Parties are also, slowly, hesitatingly but firmly heading toward liberty. Wait until there’s a liberty party in Red China! Men are created by God to be free, under His authority! “…where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” [II Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)]