We have already mentioned in a previous post how UKIPPERS in London were forced to stand as Fresh Choice for London candidates. LINK
Many UKIPPERS are now demanding answers as to why Farage and the NEC allowed this to happen. They blame the poor election results in London - LINK - on the confusion caused by dropping the UKIP name from ballot papers. Some have even suggested that it was deliberate attempt by Farage to weaken Lawrence Webb's position in the party.
1) Far from being a Rioja soaked nutter. Nigel Farage is a very shrewd operator, although one who has personality issues.
2) The real problem for him, remaining in his cosy position of leader that is, is membership. If UKIP kept hemorrhaging members at the rate it had done he would have been out on his ear. But if UKIP was too successful, very talented people would switch from the Tories, and the inadequacies of the existing team would be exposed. So what he needs to do is gently bleed the Tory party, but not so much where he and UKIP are considered a viable alternative.
It seems clear to me, that it would not have helped Nigel strategically if UKIP had done too well in London. The result came down to the wire, and there was barely a few percent that could easily have lost Boris the mayoralty and installed Ken back in.
If UKIP had been seen as the people who denied Boris the position of mayor, and if UKIP had polled even HALF of what they were predicted to have done in London this is EXACTLY what would have happened, Nigel would have been as popular within the conservative movement as Nick Clegg.
Boris is considered to be one of the few "big beast" real conservatives left. I don't buy this personally, but it is undoubtedly how he is seen.
The end result was UKIP staying nationally at less than ten councilors. Pitiful really.
If you pause and reflect on the fact that the election for London mayor also allowed Nigel et al to permanently sideline Webb, who as Batten's former right-hand man, was a bit of a thorn in his side; you see that how things worked out for UKIP in London actually worked out rather well for Nigel Farage.
It didn't work out well for all the activists who put days and days of work in, neither could it have worked out well for the finances of the party. But sure, what does he care, they don't pay his salary anyway.
If I put this result together with certain other facts. Such as that people like Steven Woolfe were being dragged all the way to places like Hull by Farage for local election related events, on the weekend before the London Assembly elections (!), and this seemingly irrational and positively mad behaviour (he was the lead GLA candidate and should have been able to canvas his own area every hour right up until the polls - naturally), and what I end up at is a scenario where I find myself simply unable to think that Nigel didn't deliberately spike London. Ends.
From the British Democracy Forum. LINK
Farage is certainly no friend of Lawrence and wouldn't lose any sleep if the former mayoral candidate fell under a London bus. And Lawrence is under no illusion what the leadership think about him:
For some time now I have been aware of a campaign of denigration levelled at London Region and in particular my role as RO. Although much of the rhetoric is extremely vague in nature “London is rubbish” etc. and despite the fact much of the data (such as we collect it) shows that London Region is performing slightly above the average, it has continued unabated.
This denigration was self-evident last Thursday, when the top six candidates were interviewed to justify their position on the list. One of the interviewers tried to make the point that I had not contributed or helped in the recent F&H by-election, this continued even after I had given a full account (backed-up by Lisa Duffy) of all that I had done to help.
I believe that my role as Party RO is now untenable as it is clear that I do not have the support of the Party Leadership and so I give you notice of my intention to stand down, from that role, effective immediately. I would stress that my decision was in no way influenced by the NEC’s decision to adjust the results of the members’ ballot.
From an email dated 23rd Jan 2012. LINK
Mr Lawrence Webb: Betrayed by Nigel Farage and the NEC
Lawrence Webb's campaign certainly did suffer from Farage's failure to support him. He also made it known that he totally opposed the idea of UKIP candidates standing as 'Fresh Choice'. However, Farage and the NEC refused to listen. We wish to stress this point as some UKIPPERS have been led to believe that Lawrence backed the idea of the 'Fresh Choice' tag.
As Richard Allen - UKIP candidate and activists - has confirmed:
"it was not Lawrence that made the decision, his agent was ordered to use the "Fresh choice for London" description by very senior figures within the party".
To read the original: LINK
It was the decision of Nigel Farage and the NEC to list candidates on the ballot paper as 'Fresh Choice for London'.
Lawrence Webb spoke out against this decision - as did others - but was overruled by Farage and the NEC. They refused to listen.
The blame for this fiasco must be laid squarely at the door of Farage and his sycophants on the NEC. It was their decision. It's just another example of why they unfit for purpose.
Farage may - sometimes - be a good performing monkey on Question Time. But as a leader he has ZERO LEADERSHIP QUALITIES. And the NEC does whatever Farage tells them to do.
It comes as no surprise that Farage is now trying to lay the blame for the Fresh Choice fiasco on others in the party. It won't work Nigel! It was your decision - a decision backed by your worshippers on the NEC!