The agenda for the Liberal Democrat conference in York has been released, but it is the image of
Nigel Farage that dominates.
Browsing through the agenda for the Lib Dem conference in York, I was surprised to find that amongst a fairly decent set of discussions, it was the image of Nigel Farage that dominated. A full page picture of the UKIP leader greets you very early on in the document.
No Lib Dem politician is granted an image with anywhere near the level of prominence Farage’s has.
As the European elections get closer, the Lib Dems seem to have got a bit obsessed with UKIP. In the recent party political broadcast one of the first things Nick Clegg mentions is UKIP.
Maybe targeting Farage fires up Lib Dem activists in the South West. Maybe there is some polling somewhere that illustrates the value to the Lib Dems of attacking UKIP. Either way, such direct attacks are a rather odd choice. Save for Eastleigh, there are not that many electoral battles that are really between UKIP and the Lib Dems, and it demeans a party of government to be scrapping with a party that does not even have an MP.
UKIPpers will reasonably point out that in voting intention polls UKIP are third and the Lib Dems 4th. It is though Lib Dems who are around the cabinet table, and the Lib Dems with a strong local government base of around 2,700 councillors. We should let the the Conservatives and Labour worry about UKIP, and get on with explaining our case.
The Lib Dems need to simply focus on their message – in Europe, in work, instead of giving so much credit to a smaller party.