Thursday, January 20, 2005

Who is using whom?

We watched with interest the brave attempts of the BBC to put Robert Kilroy-Silk's resignation from UKIP on a par with the US presidential inauguration, in terms of coverage, and noted their throbbing anticipation at the prospect of RK-S forming a new party.

For those who wish to follow the intricate twist and turns of this sad little episode, the Ukipuncovered Blog provides all the material you could ever want to read.

What is interesting from the longer perspective, though, is how two rival "outer" groups will affect not so much the general election – where it is rumoured that UKIP will be hard put to it to raise of fraction of the candidates that it did in the last general – but how it will play out in the EU referendum.

Clearly, the "Yes-no" campaign has some difficulty with UKIP, being opposed to its strident "outer" position, and is doing its best to ignore it. That difficulty may increase with rival groups slugging it out, as the "outer" campaign will have two voices rather than one, increasing the profile of the "out" argument.

This, perhaps, is why the BBC is so keen to cover the rift, as it is very much in the interests of the "yes" campaign – for which the BBC will be the principal cheerleader – to have the prospect of leaving the EU very much to the fore.

Kilroy-Silk, therefore, may think that he is using the media – at which he is highly skilled – but one seriously wonders just who is using whom.

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