Nigel Farage: The Wythenshawe by-election has been as dirty as they come

The BNP has also been involved in nasty tactics, upset because they believe they have some kind of “ownership” over certain votes

Share

Thursday is polling day for the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election, and for many of our party activists who have been pounding the streets it can’t come soon enough.

Normally we’d hope for a longer stretch between the calling of the by-election and the holding of the vote – particularly given the huge hurdle all contenders have to face with the postal vote essentially stitching up the result barely half way through the campaign. We even ran an advert in the local newspaper telling people not to trust postal votes to party activists offering to “help” them. But during this campaign, the level of abuse that we have been subjected to by BNP and Labour activists has been so high that the police had to be called on four separate occasions.

There have been two cases of criminal damage, with the vitriolic phrases “f**k off scum” and “Leave Sale Nazi c**ts” spray-painted on our premises. The generator, used to provide power in the party shop at the beginning of the campaign, was stolen by opponents. Groups of activists even ran into the Ukip campaign shop to steal bundles of our campaign literature.

But what I find truly horrifying is the extent to which those on the left think that they “own” working-class votes. With two-party politics prevalent for so long in this country, there are great swathes of the political establishment that seem genuinely to believe they don’t need to represent their core constituencies any more, that their success is guaranteed, and that they barely have to lift a finger campaigning. But recent by-elections in the north of England have shown that this is no longer the case.

Only this week, Douglas Alexander has announced that an “anti-Ukip” unit will be established within the Labour Party structure, dedicated to attacking us and to protecting the vote that they are (of course) entitled to from straying to pastures new. The realisation that we are taking votes from their traditional heartlands has finally reached Labour HQ in London.

But I wonder what Mr Alexander would make of the behaviour of the red rosette-wearing activists in Sale screaming into the face of Ukip-supporting pensioners, calling them “Nazi racist scum”? And will he back the view of his fellow party members who warned Ukip supporters who have boards up in their garden that they must be taken down because, “They’re our houses, they’re council houses”.

Does Labour really think that anyone who receives housing assistance from their local authority has to vote for them? That they wouldn’t dream of voting for another party even though Labour now admits that they have let people down with their policy of uncontrolled migration?

The BNP has also been involved in nasty tactics in Wythenshawe, again upset because they believe they have some kind of “ownership” over certain votes. In their opinion, anyone disaffected and on the left should be passing their vote to the BNP. But many people don’t want to support an openly racist party and while they may have reluctantly done so before while “holding their noses”, unaware that there was another party to vote for which was anti-Establishment, they are now relieved to find a palatable and decent party that is truly reflecting their concerns.

Our candidate was surrounded by BNP activists when he was out campaigning and I had to beg to use the fire escape of a coffee shop after a crowd with a megaphone attempted to block me in. This is a situation which political parties should be ashamed of. People fought and died for our liberty and democracy and we must not ever allow politics to be tainted by such poor and in some cases criminal behaviour, where free and fair campaigning is distorted by threats of violence and damage.

It is something that particularly emanates from the left. Far from being the party of the people, the party of the workers, the party of the ordinary men and women of the UK, the left wing risks – particularly at grassroots levels – becoming a movement that uses the sort of bullying it feigns to oppose in big business and among the elite.

When it comes to drugs policy, I agree with Nick

Last week, Nick Clegg returned from a trip to South America. Goodness knows what he smoked out there, because he actually made a couple of smart points. First, the  so-called War on Drugs isn’t working. Second, we should appoint a royal commission to look into the alternatives.

The fact is our current approach to drugs is neither practical nor effective. I strongly believe in promoting individual freedom – but I also strongly believe in reducing the public harm caused by drugs. As a parent as much as a politician, I say we have to accept that current policy has not achieved the reductions in crime or consumption that we’d hoped for. I know he slagged me off in this newspaper yesterday, but on this one I agree with Nick.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, has been dubbed ‘Bibi’s brain’  

Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire

Patrick Cockburn
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz