There are many new ideas in the world, they come and go, some have value and stick around a while and others wither and die.
Really good ideas cost nothing to dream up and can often spread around a group, even a locality or entire nation and occasionally globally within a remarkably short time. However, spreading an idea rapidly, or virally as it’s now rather unfortunately called, is in reality difficult and happens as often as a lottery jackpot. Enter the world of the PR (Public Relations) company. This is a world where money makes ideas happen. Sure, good PR people are hard working and presumably good at what they do but they’re not cheap. So an idea, however great, needs cash. The more cash you’ve got the greater the ‘reach’ of the campaign. Most of us have seen at least an episode or two of Dragon’s Den and have listened to the ‘dragons’ making the point about the cost of launching a new product – even one brilliant enough for them to invest in.Political parties and political ideas are no different than any other idea or product, they need to be sold. It is true that as most political ideas are either incredibly dull or incredibly bad, they present the PR companies with unique challenges – did I mention already that these guys do not come cheap. So you’ve got an incredibly boring, incredibly bad idea but luckily tons of cash sloshing around, so the PR boys get to work and weave their magic.
Ok that’s that sorted. So imagine one day you come up a brilliant plan, one so cunning even Black Adder himself would be proud. A new political party. Wow – genius, although maybe not that interesting to people just trying to pay their bills and get through life. How do you sell it. Initially it’s fair to say slowly. But with a bit of work and some good connections you might be able to get a grassroots following to give you some credibility. There are actually quite a lot of small political parties, many are well meaning but usually single issue protest parties. But that’s not enough for some – oh no.
So we’ve established that to launch a party takes time and money. Money for most parties comes almost entirely from individual members and as the fee for joining a party is not a large sum of money, for a party to have any ‘reach’, requires a substantial membership – such as The Green Party. Over many years they’ve slowly increased their membership and slowly climbed the political ladder so that pretty much everybody has at least heard of them. UKIP are different. Sure, in the beginning they did what any party has to do and slowly acquired membership. But they have an origin that is deep within the establishment and so very soon they were coming to the attention of some very influential people (that’s wealthy individuals and organisations). Little by little the money started to flow in a way that other small parties could not possibly compete with and, for reasons of principle, would not want to compete with.
Now there’s a new word on the block – principle. Political parties need to have ideals and aims and therefore they should have principle. Where a party evolves slowly with a large membership financing and directing the direction over perhaps many years with each member having as much influence as another, principle is strong and important. But, as soon as a party decides to expand rapidly, which it can only do with a massive injection of cash, it is immediately compromising its principles. This is inevitable as those putting in the cash want something in return. British politics though has thought of this and made it difficult and in some cases illegal for this ‘return’ to be direct. This doesn’t change human nature and especially not the nature of those at the top of the financial pile – they always demand a good return on their investment. It’s just that in the world of political finance they can’t be ‘seen’ to be making a return so they call themselves benefactors. Ahhh… doesn’t that sound nice, they love the party and want to see it get on, bless. Most of us with more than 6 brain cells linked together are not going to fall for this and even though we could not prove any wrong doing in a court of law (unless the benefactor gets careless, as sometimes happens) we know that all ‘benefactors’ have an ulterior motive for spending what is often a lot of money. So, wanting something in return takes many forms but it will buy influence – they will know the party leader and will be able to get a meeting with the leader pretty much on demand.
The other ‘return’ for the investor (sorry benefactor) is in the result. What factor of politics or business can be pushed in a direction that will benefit them or their group (a benefactor is rarely a lone wolf even if they give that impression). In the USA where political lobbyists outnumber senators by about 10 to 1 on Capitol Hill the influence of money on politics and politicians has all but destroyed any pretence of actual democracy. The UK seems to be doing it’s level best to catch up, albeit in a very British way of course but replacing brown envelopes with, ‘a quiet word in your shell-like old bean’ in a hushed gentlemen’s club in the heart of London, doesn’t change the end game. It goes without saying that these benefits will be unprovable in a court of law but we have to exercise our intelligence and judgement and decide for ourselves whether an individual or group benefits from a political party or a political decision.
You’ve probably gathered from the title of this piece that we’re heading in the direction of UKIP a party now led by Nigel Farage and now fighting a local by-election in Rochester and Strood as a result of former conservative MP Mark Reckless’s reckless decision to defect to UKIP in the autumn of 2014. This is of particular interest as I’m the Green Party candidate in that constituency.
UKIP are a highly financed organisation, their backers include Stuart Wheeler (investment banker), Arron Banks (insurance) and Paul Sykes (property), Tim Congdon (economist),Stephen Hill (Anglo-Sino Capital) and their treasurer Lord Hesketh (industrialist). They will all, I’m sure claim to be philanthropists and ‘concerned’. Well concerned about the current state of the conservative party, perhaps. Concerned about Britain’s membership of the EU. I don’t get the impression they’re all that concerned about the rest of us. As well as their great wealth they also share an affinity with the City of London, the centre of world finance, banking, insurance and property which are the city institutions. The city is where they do or have done their business, the city is where they have their most important contacts and connections. The city is where they will find more donors and more cash for the UKIP machine. Therefore, regardless of courtroom proof, the intelligent mind (actually pretty much any mind) will deduce that ‘The City’ will exert a considerable influence on UKIP as a political organisation. ‘The City’ will demand a return – even though it’s the eurosceptic large minority of ‘The City’, I’d certainly accept that the majority in the City are Tory through and through.
So what are they up to, these highly financed, highly connected backers of UKIP. First and foremost they’re doing what men in their position always do as their number one priority – self defense. They (the city) have survived the vilification of the British people in 2007/8 when the finance sector brought ruin upon the nation and the world. ‘The City’ has needed a distraction to help the British people ‘forget’ or at least become a little hazy about who caused the financial crash – you know the reason we have ‘austerity’ measures, zero employment confidence, low pay, zero hours contracts and poorly paid part time jobs 7 years later, still biting at the heart of every community up and down the land. They must have thought all of their prayers were answered when UKIP showed up. Here was a political ideology that could find scapegoats galore; immigrants and immigration, poor people and of course Europe. Suddenly the city had a cause that they could hide their crimes behind, not only would the public, now plagued with insecurity, join their cause to find a scapegoat they could point at in the street but they also had a champion to lead them out of Europe. Many in the city believe that leaving the EU will increase their financial power and dominance in the world – the fact that they’d probably become even more closely aligned with the massive financial institutions from across the Atlantic in Wall Street probably only encourages them – suicide is painless it would seem. These giant American institutions have been stripping their people of what little wealth they have left and have, like the city, got away with it and are continuing to get away with it.
And there you have it, the great UKIP deception. If you want to understand what’s really going on, in the words of Agatha Christie (I think) “follow the money”. Look at who benefits by ‘investing’ in UKIP and who benefits from the result of UKIP’s actions. Essentially the answer is the same, it’s the eurosceptic half of ‘The City’, especially the finance and banking sectors (this sector is probably secretly solidly behind UKIP but need to keep quiet – for now). Looking at those who give and those who receive also makes a mockery of the ‘anti-establishment’ claims of UKIP. This claim is sidesplittingly funny, it’s like Prince William and Kate scrumping apples in the Queen’s private orchard and claiming that makes them revolutionaries or public school boys who stay up till midnight, risking certain 1000 line punishments if they’re caught – phew. Yes, you’ve guessed it UKIP, just a bunch of city boys trying to be cool.