1/15/2007

Reports of UKIP demise have been greatly exaggerated


Just ten days after writing, in my opinion, that the writing was on the wall for a slow demise of UKIP, they have gone and surprised me (and hopefully a few others) by showing that they still have some purpose in the politics of the UK.

I wrote before about the loss of party members in different parts of the country, but since then they've gained two previously Tory Lords, gained a notable Tory advisor and now two major Tory donors have said they may vote UKIP because of David Cameron's policies towards Europe.

In my view, this does not show that UKIP are set for any great revival, but highlights that they still have a role to play in being a major thorn in the side of the Tory Party. Should UKIP get some major backers, they could, I stress could, deny the Tories a handful of seats and cost the Tories an overall majority or allow Labour back in.

Personally, and everyone knows I am no fan of "Dave", but I think he needs to have the nerve and bottle to ignore the right wing Euros sceptics. Europe is an issue that bother some people, but affects few votes in real elections. Indeed, in my experience, it turns people off voting and politicians. It is surely no mistake that UKIP have slipped in the polls and the Tories been on a steady rise since Europe was not being talked about. UKIP remain a fringe party, with a single issue (I know they have a full policy agenda, but can UKIP members name more than one of their policies ?), and whilst people don't talk about that issue, they do not have the oxygen of publicity, their membership dwindles, the money runs dry, and they become less relevant.

Perhaps they Tories may miss out on some money from their donors, but they have potentially much more to gain from keeping quiet on Europe.

5 comments:

Jens Winton said...

`Europe' is not an issue. The EU is. How much of British law is truly decided by British Parliamentarians? How much of this is TRULY debated soberly? Is `Europe' what really cost the Conservatives in the past or their vacillation on whether they are pro or anti?

I am chairman of UKIP Lewisham. And you ask about other policies.

How about flat tax, abolition of inheritance tax, supporting school selection, zero net immigration, pro-Nuclear policy etc? And visit our Lewisham website for the local policies at www.ukiplewisham.com where the EU is not even mentioned.

Funny how the world looks when you stop seeing things in one dimension and in caricature, eh?

UKIP@HOME said...

More from new UKIP Lord Pearson, helping to reinforce the image that he merely joined UKIP to use it to influence the Conservative Party:

"I know quite a lot of people who give quite a lot of money to the Conservative Party. I think if you are a Conservative donor and you are worried about the direction Cameron is taking the party then the only thing you can do now is to give to Ukip. You may want to give money to both, but I'm convinced that Ukip is the instrument to use to influence the Conservative Party."

Statements from defecting Tories like this highlight the simple truth they aren't joining because UKIP has a strong ideology, they are joining in the hope of changing the Tory party from the outside. UKIP Leader Nigel Farage is allowing his new tory friends to use UKIP as nothing more than a political pressure group to influence Conservative policy on the European issue.

No wonder UKIP has been described being like a bath with no plug. With Nigel Farage lurching UKIP to the hard right and as right wing ex-conservatives join, UKIP members are leaving and branches are closing.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I wonder how many ordinary members or supporters can name more than one policy ?

Who is the caricature ? I posted about UKIP in general and I got a lecture on the EU. That was not my point, but it could be seen as a caricature of UKIP that at every opportunity it is "Europe".

Also, don't judge a book by its cover. I have spoken at Lib Dem conferences about Europe and I have attracted criticism because of my critical tones. But I am a Lib Dem, because Europe does not obsess me.

As for flat tax, I can't see why my tax should go up 10% to allow tax cuts for the rich !

Tristan said...

Flat tax is a move in the right direction - your taxes needn't go up, spending should be reduced instead.
Of course, the flat tax should be supplemented by land taxation.

Pro-nuclear (I assume power). I support nuclear power, but would prefer a nuclear neutral policy - if businesses are willing to build, operate and decommission nuclear power stations according to safety standards then why not, but subsidy should not be considered.

Inheritance tax - I don't much like it, would prefer it to be abolished, but not vital - would accept raising the threshold and a reduction in the rate.

School selection - all good, so long as we have a flexible education system - on its own it will not help an iota.

Net-zero immigration - now we see UKIP's colours- trying to convince us they're liberal at least economically but then put this limit on our economy and deny people the chance to better themselves. No thanks, too close to xenophobia and utterly stupid.

And their central aim is still to get us out of the EU...

Jens Winton said...

We don't obsess about the EU. It is true that the EU is our USP but the context is one where we want full democracy returned to this country. For years British people have been told that `Europe' is an isolated area of national life where on the continent it is generally accepted that it is integrated - perhaps reflecting the geographical reality of the area at large - within domestic policy.

The three main parties have consistently told the British public that they and they alone will call the shots where British law and policy is concerned. That is one of the biggest lies this country has been fed. And it stands to get worse as the creeping tide of supranationalism seeps ever more into our lives.

So we in UKIP have a simple choice: Point this out and incur the brickbats (and bouquets) or go with the flow and blend with the big three. If we did the latter, then what would be the point of existing if others could do the same but bigger and possibly better?

As for tax, we also recommend increasing the tax threshold as well so as to make life easier for those on low incomes. Inheritance tax is an abomination. Without it, it would make it easier for the elderly to be looked after by their children thereby relieve pressure on the welfare state.

What I fear about not having a strong nuclear policy is Russia. I increasingly fear about how our energy sources will be tied into Mr. Putin's views and our best defence is as much self-reliance as we can possibly muster. Yield on this point and we may as well become a member of his new Warsaw Pact.

Zero net immigration is not racist nor xenophobic. Economic liberalisation is not organically linked to population liberalisation (look at NAFTA). People can better themselves in many ways not just through emigration? And what about the cost of unlimited immigration? Fewer school places? Higher Council Tax bills? More expensive and less homes? Declining health clinic spaces? I would like to live in a world where we could be all things to all people but that is fantasy. Until then, we have to make choices and I suspect the British people are more sensitive to this than is revealed in the media at large.

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