RAMSGATE – Nigel Farage is not known for turning down media appearances. But right now the UKIP leader is doing everything possible to avoid the press covering his battle to get elected to parliament for South Thanet.
Party officials have told BuzzFeed News this is part of a deliberate strategy to ensure Farage comes first in the three-way race between the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour in the Kent constituency. For now the great media performer is having to learn the art of patient door-to-door campaigning.
“We’re in the middle of an election campaign,” his Ramsgate office angrily told BuzzFeed News when we rang to try and set up a meeting. “We’re far too busy to talk to the press.”
UKIP’s office in Ramsgate.
Emily Ashton / BuzzFeed
Instead Farage spent Sunday quietly knocking on doors in the coastal town of Sandwich, and the usual media circus was nowhere in sight. He was followed by just a couple of photographers as he walked down the streets, handing out leaflets and chatting to passers-by. More than 100 UKIP activists turned out for the second constituency “action day”, according to the party. But the only official announcement of it was one lone tweet from Farage’s account after the event.
These are deliberate tactics. UKIP chiefs have decided that if Farage is constantly surrounded by a huge media scrum, people will simply be put off voting for him. Instead he is being ordered to speak one-on-one to as many voters as possible, in the hope they will tell their friends how wonderful he is.
“Nigel does absolutely no media there whatsoever,” Chris Bruni-Lowe, the party’s head of campaigns, told BuzzFeed News. “That’s a specific effort; the more media comes, the less people he can talk to. He had a camera turn up a few …Find Out More