UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Monday, January 17, 2005 

Another attack on Knapman from an NEC colleague.

We have received yet another attack on the beleagured UKIP leader from the increasingly outspoken, clearly very frustrated NEC member, Tony Scholefield. The topic on this occasion is UKIP policy on the coming referendum on the EU Constitution as put forward by Roger Knapman on the recent radio programme 'This Sceptic Isle' a full trnscript of which is on this blog.

The latest message from Mr Scholefield is quoted below and as can be seen is obviously the most recent demonstration of a fairly longstanding disagreement :-

To: NEC, MEPs, AMs, Martin Cole, etc.
Re: The Referendum


Roger Knapman's radio comments on the Ruth Lea programme are a repeat of what he said, as did Nigel Farage, following UKIP's Press Release of 19th April.

It has been pointed out that saying such a referendum will be ultimately about Britain's membership aligned UKIP with Blair, Prodi, Kennedy, etc. and against the Tories and the NO Campaign. No wonder Trevor Kavannagh and Malcolm Pearson are so critical of UKIP's leadership.

After substantial criticism at that time, I thought the leadership has abandoned this attitude.

It is worth looking at Trefgarne's article in The Daily Telegraph 10/1/05.

Of course the NO Campaign has not developed its thinking very clearly, and there is a case for energizing the voters by putting forward clear cut policies, but AT THIS STAGE, securing the perceived status quo is the key aim. To make the vote an invitation to leave the EU is to abandon the status quo advantage. The importance of retaining the status quo position has
again been emphasized by the result in the NE referendum. What happens after the referendum is another matter and no-one can forecast the future or the personalities and policies of 25 different countries in two years' time.Winning this referendum is vital before anything else.

What concerns me for UKIP once again, is Roger Knapman is speaking off the cuff without having written any analysis or his policy being approved by the NEC. The NEC was urged by me on 5th May to take charge and to have analysis done. It has failed to do so. No analysis, no agreement, just a quick and highly controversial news bite.

Can we continue in this amateurish way?

Anthony Scholefield

Memo of 5th May attached and copied below:-

To : Roger Knapman
cc : NEC
From : Anthony Scholefield
Date : 5 May 2004

UKIP’s Referendum Policy

Blair's decision to call a referendum on the proposed EU Constitution has created a new political situation on EU matters.

UKIP's Press Release of 19th April, together with Roger Knapman's interviews, seem to align UKIP with the Blair, Prodi, Kinnock, Patten, etc. spin, that such a referendum will be ultimately about Britain's membership of the EU (although all these politicians have qualified their comments). On the other hand, the Tories and the forming NO Campaign and other eurosceptics
see the referendum as being about the specific issue of whether or not Britain
accepts the EU Constitution.


The sudden change in Blair's position means a careful analysis of the new situation is required. UKIP needs to do an analysis of the political implications or the way forward for UKIP.

The NEC must take charge of policy, analyse the new situation and consult widely in the Party. Careful thinking, analysis and wide discussion are required.


The danger of what has happened is that the leadership is pushing UKIP into the same camp as Blair, Prodi, Kinnock.

There is a danger that UKIP could become a 'spoiler' to a forming NO movement. It has already been pointed out by europhiles, who wish to widen the argument from the Constitution, that UKIP thinks a NO vote will mean an early exit from the EU.


The forming NO Campaign wishes to keep the subject of the referendum solely to the EU Constitution. Their position will be like in the euro campaign, to keep such a lead that Blair will never have a referendum. According to Richard North, it wants nothing to do with UKIP because it regards the UKIP position as shallow, opportunistic and, ultimately, destructive. To get the referendum based on an 'in or out' vote could backfire badly.


UKIP's Press Release stated that 'it is inconceivable that the UK could reject the Constitution and yet still remain an equal member with 24 other states which had accepted it'. There is no rationale for this statement, nor was such an outcome suggested in the ads and the petitions the Party ran requesting a referendum. It is perfectly conceivable that the UK could reject the
Constitution, which would then fail. Look at what has happened in Cyprus.

The leadership's line is thus the same as the Prodi, Kinnock spin, which asserts that the referendum vote is meaningless as a vote to determine whether or not Britain accepts the EU Constitution. I am very concerned about this line of thinking. The British people should, and will, have the right to reject the Constitution.


1. To turn the referendum into one on EU membership AT THIS STAGE is to invite defeat. In any referendum, securing the perceived status quo is the main advantage (look at Cyprus). To reject the EU Constitution is to maintain the status quo. To make the vote an invitation to leave the EU is to abandon the status quo advantage. The referendum will be about the Constitution
- that will be what is on the ballot paper and is easy to win at present. This could change if all 24 other countries approved the EU Constitution before the UK referendum. The europhiles could then present it as a (nearly) done deal. The YouGov Polls show clearly the different outcomes
likely between a referendum on the Constitution and membership of the EU.

2. The effect, if the Party approved the leadership's proposals, will mean a division of the ways between UKIP and the NO Campaign and wider eurosceptics. UKIP will align itself with the false claims of Blair, Prodi and Kinnock.

What will happen at the next General Election? Should UKIP put up candidates against MP's who state they will vote against a Constitution since the election could return a majority of MP's against a Constitution?

Tony Scholefield

posted by Martin |2:52 PM
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