UKIP are the party of straight-talking and free-thinking, so much so that this morning Patrick O’Flynn sent a stinging missive to the party’s candidates warning them not to step out of line. “Unity is Strength” says Paddy, lifting the charming slogan from the totalitarian regime in 1984:
“Just to stress that during this campaign most media organisations are of a generally anti-UKIP disposition. The Express group of newspapers (Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday) is the only national newspaper group that is generally sympathetic in its coverage. Many broadcasters are also drawn from social backgrounds in which UKIP supporters are to say the least thin on the ground.
Therefore if you as a candidate get approached by a national media representative you should realise that they may well be seeking to create division or otherwise damage our efforts to maximise support. So don’t get bounced into saying things that will give them ammunition to use against our party.
There was, for instance, a big media effort to divide us over Nigel’s comments on health tourism and HIV. The party generally held together extremely well and then, lo and behold, a YouGov poll found that half the country agreed with what Nigel had said (including 89% of UKIP-minded voters).
The moral of the story is that during election campaigns unity is strength. Those who freelance with their own lines that contradict overall party policy or what the leader has said are of more use to our opponents than they are to us. I know that none of you will want to find yourself in that position.”
You have been warned…