BOOK REVIEW: JAY BEECHER – UKIP EXPOSED: The Only Thing Beecher ‘Exposes’ Is The Large Chip On His Shoulder
As a relative outsider to the inner machinations of UKIP I thought that this book might be a revealing expose of some of the ‘behind the scenes’ struggles that beset the party last year following the referendum result and the departure of Nigel Farage.
Instead I got a party political broadcast on behalf of Jay Beecher, followed by an exercise in character assassination worthy of the Kremlin at the height of its powers. Indeed one assumes that Mr. Beecher must have access to an excellent legal team, as scarcely a page goes by without at least one member of UKIP being potentially libelled.
The book starts with the early days of Beecher’s membership of UKIP. We learn that he almost resigned from the party within days of joining, a portent of what was to come. Following some internal branch infighting he ended up as Deputy Chair of the Peterborough Branch, which we learn was the ‘one job that I really wanted’. He then goes on to present himself as the new ‘branch supremo’ with his more senior branch officers conveniently airbrushed out of most of the remainder of the story.
We learn that Beecher is an incredible local campaigner and organiser. Clearly he is at the top of his game and would be an asset to any political party or movement. There is a minor inconvenience in that the local election campaign that he is masterminding results in an awful set of results for UKIP, including in his own ward despite his brilliant campaign. It is, of course, nothing to do with Beecher himself, but the result of a lack of support from HQ and due to the mentality of the local branch ‘foot soldiers’ and the poor quality of printed materials.
Never mind, there will soon be a new opportunity to shine for Beecher as the Vote Leave co-ordinator for Peterborough. Fighting an inspired campaign, with what seems like minor input from his local Tory MP and from Patrick O’Flynn, we learn that Beecher beats the odds to deliver a stunning Leave win in Peterborough. We also get some grudging praise for Nigel Farage, whom it seems must take some small part of the credit for the UK’s departure from the EU, but we are left wondering if Beecher shouldn’t really be getting a 50% share of the credit.
So, with Brexit safely secured we move on to the internal party leadership contest that followed Nigel’s departure. Beecher found himself installed as the campaign manager for contender Lisa Duffy. So we now get an insightful critique of the debate, no? Well, no, actually. We get instead to find out that virtually every leading member of UKIP is either a racist or incompetent, with the exception of course of his own leadership candidate, but only when she follows his advice to the letter. We learn that when she follows Beecher’s script she wins every debate ‘hands down’, but on the occasions she departs from it she is hopelessly cut adrift and flounders completely. If only she’d listened to the great man!!
Party Chairman Paul Oakden, of course, is an incompetent who never responds to e-mails, and Douglas Carswell is more of a hero than a villain. Steven Woolf is painted as little more than a petty criminal, whilst Diane James is an establishment ‘puppet’ being controlled by her ‘handlers’ Nigel Farage and Arron Banks, whose first name Beecher is unable to spell.
Of course we then have the second inconvenience of his candidate losing the leadership election. But of course that wasn’t Beecher’s fault either, as the election had been ‘stitched up’ by Farage and Banks. And then, just to make sure that there isn’t anyone left in UKIP that ends up looking like being of good character, we learn that his own candidate, Lisa Duffy, made unwelcome sexual advances to Mr. Beecher after he had comforted her on a plane trip to Belfast to help her overcome her fear of flying.
Beecher then goes on to be suspended from the party after firing off some of his observations to the press, but wouldn’t you know it UKIP’s loss is the Tories gain as Beecher signs on with his local Conservative group. Well, with Beecher at the helm I’m sure the only thing that could possibly happen would be that they would go on to secure a stunning general election victory? Oh, hang on, wait a minute…..
Amongst all of the bluster there are a few worrying reports of things that may or may not have been said by certain individuals during the campaign in person or on social media, particularly by members of Young Independence. However, with such an unreliable narrator it is impossible to differentiate between what may actually have happened and what is in fact fiction. In this regard the book is an opportunity missed. The one question the book does raise is that a more forensic look at certain individuals is probably required by a far more objective commentator than Beecher will ever be.
Beecher unsurprisingly concludes by saying that UKIP has ‘run its course’ and that the remaining well meaning activists should jump ship now that he has exposed what is really going on inside the party. As for what is going on with Beecher’s own ego, well that is a question for a medical mind well above my pay grade.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com. UKIP Exposed is available at amazon.co.uk. Alt-Politics.com was not sent a review copy of this book.