As publicity for Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP continues to develop not necessarily to their advantage, panic has taken hold, and Kippers are being encouraged not to take to social media at all, lest they tell the rest of the world that they are just as bigoted, racist and intolerant as most of us already knew. This is supposed to help the party.
Squeaky foot-in-mouth finger up the bum time
Party chairman Steve Crowther has told “The NEC has adopted a new set of rules for online communication to fill a notable hole in our code of discipline … My advice: just don’t. Remember life before you could delight the whole world with your every passing thought? It wasn’t so bad, was it? I have no Facebook page, Twitter account or Instagram thingy. It’s lovely”.
Yes, being shut off from the real world in which all other political parties have no problem existing is “lovely”. So what are the new rules? Well, for instance, “party members shall refrain from using the Ukip logo in terms of their online postings, including avatars, unless they have express written consent to do so from the party leader, the party chairman, the party secretary, the general secretary, the party director, the regional chairman or regional organiser for their region”.
The excuse is that it’s all about the brand: “It is well known that some agents provocateurs set up fake accounts and go to the press to tell them how terrible Ukip is. We need to enforce our right as the copyright holder of our own brand. The idea that this is somehow not entirely normal practice is absurd” said a spokesman.
The brand restriction ain't working, either
And to that I call bullshit. Whether it’s branding, or just encouraging members to keep schtum, it has already been shown to be utterly ineffective. This is due to one inconvenient fact: there are plenty of other ways for Kippers to make idiots of themselves, and plenty of media practitioners all too ready to help them move foot in general direction of mouth.
This was illustrated in no style at all by former PPC Kerry Smith, who whined to LBC host Iain Dale that there should be no problem using expressions such as “disgusting old pooftahs” and “Chinky bird”, “maintaining that they were the words that many people use”. That he had been the victim not of some kind of attack on the working class, but UKIP internal bickering, did not occur to him.
It’s no better with Mr Thirsty himself, who was also invited to make a prat of himself on LBC, where he obliged Nick Ferrari splendidly, suggesting that groups of folks going for a Chinese meal might call it something other than, er, going for a Chinese meal. No amount of centrally-dictated message discipline and brand awareness is going to paper over those gaping credibility cracks.
UKIP are, as Terry-Thomas put it, an Absolute Shower. And it’s their own fault.