British politics must seem very strange to an outside looking in. For example, what can they make of the activities of people like Charlie Whelan, and Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party. Lets take Mr Whelan first. He is Political Director of the 'Unite' trade union, and close advisor to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Despite this, he seems intent on causing serious damage to the Labour Party, by inflicting huge disruption upon the British people - just six weeks before the General Election. 'Unite' as good as own the Labour Party, which could well be bankrupt without the financial support that 'Unite' has pumped in over the last year or so. Charlie Whelan openly boasts that his mission is to help Labour win as many marginal seats as possible, and to keep David Cameron out of office. It has links to 160 Labour Ministers, MPs and candidates. So why on earth is he and the rest of the 'Unite' leadership doing all it can to discomfort the voters, inevitably discouraging them from voting for the party which they virtually own? Must be some hidden agenda.
Just as strange is the determination of UKIP to inflict damage on the Conservative Party - more so than on any other party. Montgomeryshire is quite a good example of what is strange about this phenomenon. Now, this post is no sort of attack on my local UKIP opponent, David Rowlands. He is a longstanding friend of mine. And I feel sure his stance is nothing personal against me. But in all our conversations about politics over the years, and in the many letters he's written to the press, it's only the Conservative Party that he attacks.
This does not make any sense to me. I would never want to misrepresent the opinions of others, but I'm almost certainly the only candidate with any chance of winning in Montgomeryshire who could be described as remotely 'Eurosceptic'. By making a special effort to attract potentially Conservative voters, the effect of what David is doing is to campaign for the incumbent Liberal Democrat MP. Translate this to the national level, and the effect of what UKIP is doing is campaign for the retention of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister. Time to recall that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats reneged on their commitment to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, ensuring that it became a part of EU law before the Election, thus depriving a potential Conservative Government of the capacity to grant the British people the binding referendum they had been promised. I have no problem with UKIP candidates, and am comfortable with much of what they espouse. Its just that I cannot follow the logic of their strategy to target Conservative voters specifically.
Also worth noting that in Montgomeryshire, UKIP have a little problem of their own - in Mr Bruce Lawson, a local accountant who is standing as an 'Independent'. Bruce is another good man (and longstanding friend), who had been the UKIP candidate in Montgomeryshire for several elections, and is seen by many as being the authentic voice of 'anti-Europeanism' in Montgomeryshire. He's had big advertisements in the local newspapers for weeks, and is already very active. I heard that he left UKIP after having a spat with Nigel Farage (though I know this only as a rumour). I have no idea what impact any of this will have on the voting intentions of the Montgomeryshire electorate.