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Ukip Can Do Dave a Huge Favour - By Winning!

23/04/2014 13:56 BST | Updated 23/06/2014 10:59 BST

The Ukip poster campaign, in all its crudity, shows that however much Nigel Farage tries to differentiate himself from conventional, professional politicians, he really is one of us after all.

But there's no point in the political establishment getting sanctimonious about Nigel and his posters. All the main parties have been responsible for even rougher stuff at election time than these.

There's also no point in Nigel pretending he isn't just playing the party political game in the way all the other practitioners do, because that's exactly what he's doing. And who could seriously expect him to do other?

As for the allegations of racism that followed Tuesday's launch, I deplore them. There is an increasing attempt in this country to suppress free speech, by bandying around suggestions there is something morally wrong, or even illegal, about raising concerns on immigration, a matter that touches all of us.

One of Blair's worst legacies - I will come to another in a moment - is the four million people who arrived here during his time, many of them making a useful contribution to our society, but quite a lot, not.

And it's a perfectly legitimate political point to make, that unlimited immigration on this scale is unsustainable, and cannot be allowed to continue. This is Ukip's trump card, so why shouldn't they play it?

A more legitimate, and arguably more interesting, line of criticism, is that these posters are the work, not of Nigel Farage, but of Paul Sykes. There was a period when I knew Sykes well. A self-made north country businessman, proud of his maker, he ploughed a lonely furrow on the right of the Conservative Party, making even Mrs Thatcher look a bit wet, before decamping elsewhere.

It was interesting to see him, a somewhat reclusive figure these days, standing alongside Farage at the Sheffield launch, and also to learn that he paid directly for these posters. For whatever reason, he apparently didn't want the money to go through Ukip's accounts! Wonder why?

But did he also draft the ideas? Did Farage merely subcontract the posters to Sykes, to put out his own views not Farage's, not that I imagine there's much difference between them?

All this fits in with the clear evidence that Ukip support may be a mile wide, but as a party organisation, it's only an inch deep. Beyond Farage, who is there, except an oddball like Sykes popping up now and again to spend some of his money?

But will any of this stop people voting Ukip at the upcoming European elections? Of course not. And you know what, they may be right. God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform, something for our newly evangelical Prime Minister to think about. Dave's bacon could actually be saved by a very substantial Ukip vote at the Euro elections.

If Ukip do well, they will do well at the expense of Labour, as well as the Tories. So there will be no embarrassment to Cameron, if Miliband is equally discomfited. Where there is advantage for Dave is that a victory for Ukip will allow him to start, with a conviction previously lacking, his renegotiation efforts with our EU partners. He can build on European elections that prove anti-EU sentiment isn't an invention of the Conservatives, but a deeply held belief amongst British voters far and wide. A resentment of the EU that cannot be denied, and which Brussels will have to appease, or we may be on our way out.

By the way, about Tony Blair. Today he is saying that we should mend our fences with Russia and China, in the interests of uniting to defeat Islamic terrorism. Probably true, but surely we shouldn't have to listen to it from him. It was his uncritical support for George W Bush in Iraq etc that provoked so much of this.

As Clem Attlee said to Professor Harold Laski, "a period of silence from you would be welcome".

Dave of course may say the same about Farage. But he'd be wrong. Farage may be making himself responsible for losing Dave a battle, but could end up helping him win the war.