Seems that none of the ‘mainstream’ politicians have been particularly surprised by UKIP’s performance in our newest round of local elections. Can that be because they recognise that Nigel Farage can pull off ‘normal’ where the Eaton set struggles?
I’m not convinced by UKIP’s politics, but I do think that its leader’s communications attributes – even when what he’s said comes back and bites him on the arse – are to be admired.
Remember when Gordon Brown had been coached, presumably by increasingly frustrated wife and PR practitioner Sarah, to remember to smile. We need to draw a veil over the results of that little training exercise. But Farage is a natural. He does plausible really well, he manages to convey a common touch and talks convincingly in easy to understand parlance, plus he has a steady hand on the exuberance of the soundbite. While Cameron is going to ‘make assiduous efforts,’ Farage is going to ‘throw the kitchen sink at it.’
These are small things, but their resonance in the ears of the listener, especially the majority of the voting public – those who didn’t go through a public school education – is strong.
To UKIP’s advantage (?) it’s never yet been in power – or even had an MP take a seat – so there’s a clean slate. A bit like when Tony Blair launched New Labour – only actually ‘new’. And the other main contenders seem incapable of delivering ‘genuine’ (even if it’s fake-genuine) so they’re reduced to claiming that UKIP is just Farage. But judging from last night’s performance that was all it took to set tremors rolling.
My advice, for what it’s worth, would be to choose leaders with charisma who feel real and connect with people, not just the people you went to school with.