UKIP’s Magnus: ‘People who fought to extend the vote were probably doing the wrong thing’


MAGNUS Nielsen has been the guy from UKIP in the north of Camden for what must be going on for at least ten years, maybe for as long as UKIP has been a thing. I’m not offended, but every election he introduces himself to me like we’ve never met before and tonight he insisted his party really were the ‘new kids on the block’ for next week’s council elections. No longer alone, a row of UKIP supporters were among those in the Emmanuel School hall for well-attended hustings organised by the West Hampstead Life website. For those who hadn’t seen Magnus at work, this was a vintage performance to start off with. His answers were so unlike all the other voices that his answers were capable of unifying the candidates from the other parties in a shared level of bemusement.

The strange thing is, that despite the fact he now has colleagues to talk to at these events, he is liable to sort of freestyle his own thoughts. He starts predicating answers with a reminder that these are his ideas, not necessarily Nigel Farage’s. This tendency led to a curious reply to a question about what local politicians were doing to improve election turnout, the question couched with a reminder that figures are unlikely to push to much beyond 30 percent in ward ballots next week. Magnus’s suggestion was that the voting franchise could be restricted on the grounds that people often craved what they couldn’t have and that threatening to take away the right to vote would make people value it more.

Here’s his wisdom: “I have reflected on this over a period of time and I have drawn I wouldn’t say conclusions, but ideas. I wanted to emphasise they are my ideas, not the ideas of Nigel Farage, or the party or anyone else standing for UKIP. I sometimes think the people who fought for the vote in 1832 and 1888 and so forth, trying to extend the franchise were probably doing the wrong thing. Generally speaking when you start taking things away, or threatening to take things away, people start clamouring and say they really want it.”

It goes on, you can listen to it all:

Well, it’s different, and, give him his dues, to his credit he does not shy away from saying what he thinks, regardless of the tittering you can hear on the tape.

The members from the main parties answered that question by insisting they had been door to door to every house on their patch, had made themselves ever available to residents and had been active on Twitter. I don’t mean to ruin that last suggestion, but here’s a health warning: follow local politicians on Twitter and adopt the brace position when doing so for a tornado of group pictures of themselves holding banners and leaflets and insisting they’ve just been on a fantastic ‘doorstep’. Whether this stream of grinning increases turnout, who knows? In its favour, the audience tonight seemed to see it as preferable to increasing the turnout percentages by cutting the numbers actually eligible to vote. Our host for the evening, Jonathan Turton, who set up the West Hampstead Life site, asked whether anyone in the room agreed that the franchise should be restricted. ‘Somebody should restrict Magnus,’ came a heckled reply, but no easily noticeable raised hands.

It was all just so classic Magnus. Earlier in the evening, the panellists had been asked whether there should be new primary and secondary schools opened in the West Hampstead and Fortune Green area. He said he could ‘see the importance’ of it all, but we didn’t get to what his precise thoughts on the new schools were, such was the time taken on a recount of his tutoring the children of a ‘very rich Russian oligarch’. “People say why don’t you teach the disadvantaged and the poor too,” he said, “and I would love to do that – but I’m not the sort of person who fits into the conventional education system.”

10 Comments on UKIP’s Magnus: ‘People who fought to extend the vote were probably doing the wrong thing’

  1. was Magnus the only candidate there . I was hoping to hear what they all said

    • Richard Osley // May 13, 2014 at 10:29 am //

      I’m sure you read the Camden New Journal as well, Lewis, full reports heading there as was very lively hustings. Also, of course it would be rude not to mention our hosts, West Hampstead Life.

  2. UKIP candidates seem to be lining up to out-crank each other – which obviously makes great copy when journalists get bored of people standing for election on by-and-large mainstream platforms – but I wonder how they’d run the adult social care budget? Has anyone asked?

    • Richard Osley // May 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm //

      Answered questions on all sorts of subjects, there’s the education one in this post

  3. I wish I could have attended this – I live in West Hampstead, and am seriously concerned about candidates like this. Unfortunately, I had a prior commitment.

  4. don’t worry operacat I have heard that Jonathan is trying to get an audio clip up on youtube. Just have to be patient. I hear the Libs/Labs/Cons/Greens had an interesting debate either sides of Magnus’ comments

  5. At the couple of UKIP meetings I’ve been to, where I was reporting for Eastleigh News rather than attending as a rabid UKIP supporter, I’ve heard UKIPpers say (and I’m paraphrasing a bit) that they basically allow their members to say what they think. When they say something really stupid, they’re thrown out…

    I think of it as a ‘give them enough rope and let them hang themselves policy’.
    And I rather like that way of doing things.

    Its a pity the other main parties don’t do likewise, as we rarely get to hear what their candidates actually think. They’re all very careful, paranoid even, about staying ‘on message’ and being Tory, Labour, Lib Dem clones….

    • So why exactly are people ‘clones’ and ‘on message’ if they don’t hold extreme views on immigration, gays or who should vote? You are suggesting that candidates in mainstream parties are somehow suppressing their inner bigot – as opposed to not holding crank views in the first place. Don’t disrespect free thinking by pretending this is what dog-whistle Ukip-ers are doing.

  6. Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    Libertarians do not like democracy.

  7. Reblogged this on Senex Sines.

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