Dr Sked: a man of magnetism?
Sunday 05 June 1994
It too was a party political broadcast, but there was no Brahms, no cliff-top walk, no Elgar and no Paddy Ashdown. There on the television screen was Dr Alan Sked, leader of the previously obscure UK Independence Party, fielding 24 candidates in the Euro-elections, more than twice the number needed to get the broadcast. Personally he is taking on Edwina Currie in Bedfordshire.
Memories of the event, last Tuesday night, are already blurred. By the week's end some viewers recalled an ordinary- looking man, youthful and vaguely casual in the Clinton mould. Others remembered an extraordinary figure with a haircut that resembled iron filings stuck to a magnet.
Whatever the truth, since that five-minutes' prime-time television, Dr Sked, a lecturer in international history at the LSE, says his telephone lines (increased from two to five) have been blocked with inquiries. A telecommunciations expert in the party claims there have been between 30,000 and 40,000 callers. 'After the broadcast there has been a quantum leap in public consciousness about us,' Dr Sked says. 'One of the television teams came to film me, and all the cameramen said they were going to vote for me.'
Dr Sked, 46, formed his party before the last Euro-elections, as the Anti-Federalist League, and changed its name after Maastricht, when he felt the only way for Britain to avoid a federalist Europe was to leave the EU altogether. He points out that party members are not British nationalists and do not want to bring the empire back.
He says the membership (pre-broadcast) is in thousands, and its only funds the pounds 10-a- head annual membership fee. With more money he would have liked to have fought all 87 European constituencies.
Dr Sked's only previous political activity was unsuccessfully contesting an Oxford City council seat as a Liberal in 1970, while an undergraduate at Merton College. He was a federalist then, but he says he has seen too much of the community's institutions to have remained a supporter.
He has fought two parliamentary by-elections, coming fourth each time out of fields of 14 and 16, and each time within 500 votes of Labour. 'I love Europe,' he insists. He is proud that he was invited on German television to speak in German the day of unification. 'I just don't want to be under some federalist super-state.'
He believes his following will grow to the point where either his party gets a sizeable number of seats in the Commons, or the Conservative Party splits over the issue. 'Our policy does strike a chord. We're not having to convert people. It's just saying you can exist as an independent country making your own laws, without having an office in Brussels running you. You can be a perfectly ordinary state.'
Dr Sked insists senior Conservative officials have been attending his meetings to report back to Central Office. Lord Tebbit said last week that until John Major's two-speed Europe pronouncements, he had been urging Conservatives to vote for the Independence Party.
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...