Michael Dugher, Labour Shadow Minister and Vice Chairman, has launched a foul mouthed tirade against UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the Daily Express. The Barnsley East MP said Farage was a “bulls*** artist” and that it is “bollocks” to suggest he represents the working class.
The tone of the interview might be explained by the realisation that UKIP are starting to become a threat to Labour as well as the Conservatives. Traditionally, in Northern heartlands like Barnsley, Labour has been able to do whatever it wants in the knowledge they will still be elected.
This is because the party’s voters would never switch to the Conservatives, and equally have no tradition of voting Liberal Democrat. The problem Labour faces is that these voters are no fans of the metropolitan liberals who have run Westminster politics for a number of years.
Michael Dugher said: “The idea Nigel Farage is some sort of the voice of the working class frankly is bollocks.”
He went on to complain that Farage “masquerades as the anti-politics candidate” despite having been a professional politician for 15 years. Dugher was also critical of Farage’s former career in the City of London, saying: “Look at his policies – taking away workers’ rights, charging people to see their GP and tax cuts for millionaires.
“Farage comes across as a kind of man in the pub, the voice of the working man, but he is a bull**** artist. He’s an actor, he’s phoney, he pretends he’s something he’s not.
“Just look at his policies: they are diametrically opposed the interests of working class people like the people I grew up with and the people I represent now.”
Both Dugher and Miliband are under increasing pressure having failed to stop UKIP cutting into their core vote. Analysts, and Farage himself, have suggested that while Conservatives may return to their natural party after the European Elections, former Labour supporters are much more likely to remain with UKIP.
The Shadow Minister was not about to blame himself for Farage’s profile. Instead he hit out at the media saying: “The BBC are happy to have Nigel Farage, he’s in the studio more times than [BBC presenters] Huw Edwards, Andrew Neil and the Dimblebys put together. Whenever I switch the tele on, Nigel Farage is on my TV.
“Fine, but in the same way he has a platform now, we are also going to say with that comes some scrutiny and we are going to tell the people we represent exactly what your policies are because you can’t pretend to be the anti-politician when you are basically a professional politician who stood for election on ten occasions.
“He’s is always standing for election except when he thinks he’s going to get his backside kicked like in Newark then he bottles it.”
“Ukip want to take away people’s protections at work that would make it easier for unscrupulous employers to just go and hire cheaper migrant labour. Ed Miliband has been addressing this issue responsibly and absolutely robustly.
“It’s a big issue for people out there – rightly so – and for Ed Miliband it is a defining feature of his leadership.
“He is the first Labour leader ever to face up to this and actually want to do something about it.”
The tirade is the latest sign that Labour is rattled by recent opinion polls showing the Conservatives pulling ahead of them. Couple that with the other polls that show UKIP will almost certainly win the European elections and it all makes for grim reading for Labour.
They will hope that former Obama staffer, David Axelrod, will turn their fortunes around. But with a weak leader and limited time this seems unlikely.
The Daily Express referred to Dugher as a “no-nonsense Northerner”, which is newspaper-speak for ‘brainless thug’.