The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has surged in support, most recently in the 28 February Eastleigh by-election where it won 11,571 votes — 27.8%, an increase of 24%, and enough to beat the Tories into third place.
Last year, in the Croydon North by-election, UKIP polled 1,400 votes, an increase of 4%. In Rotherham, it won 4,648 votes (21.67%), coming second. In Middlesbrough, it also finished second with 1,990 votes (11.8%).
Some polls now put UKIP as high as 17%. Many predict that UKIP will win 500 plus seats at the County Council elections on May 2.
If this trend continues UKIP stands a good chance of gaining the most votes of any party at next year’s European Parliament elections. But will it?
For a Party gaining so much support it is very odd that few people seem to know much (beyond opposition to the EU) about what they actually stand for. Many people I have spoken with were shocked by the Third Way article on UKIP and Zionism (which drew press coverage).
They simply did not know how slavishly pro-Israel they are or how keen they are on a conflict with Iran involving the risky use of UK armed forces which doesn’t serve our national interests.
Similarly, when the Trade Union Solidarity published a leaflet attacking UKIP for their employment policies and support for stealth priviatisation of our NHS the reaction of most was: “I didn’t know they stood for that”. People simply had no idea that they wanted to turn the clock back to the days before people had employment rights. When people are informed that UKIP want to victimise workers by scrapping legislation protecting working hours, holidays, overtime, redundancy and sick pay the reaction is often one of shock.
Women in particular are horrified when it is pointed out that UKIP want to scrap their discrimination protection and plunge women back to facing sexual harassment and discrimination on jobs and pay.
Following the death of Margaret Thatcher more people have become aware that UKIP are essentially right-wing Tories – selfish, callous Thatcherites who don’t give a damn about ordinary folk. That’s why it is so sad that UKIP’s “core supporters” are “a poorer, more working-class, and more deeply discontented group who closely resemble supporters of the BNP and European radical right parties”.
UKIP have nothing in common with the BNP which has spoken out against cuts in public services, the austerity agenda and privititisation. Ukip wants compulsory “workfare” schemes for anyone on benefits, greater privatisation in education, and a part-privatised “national health insurance” model to replace the NHS.Nick Griffin, attacks Labour for betraying the British worker whillst, in contrast, Nigel Farage attacks the Conservatives for not being Conservative enough. The Tories failed in Eastleigh, Farage said, because “traditional Tory voters look at Cameron and ask themselves: is he a Conservative? And they conclude, no, he is not.” The Daily Mail‘s Peter Hitchens described UKIP as “the Thatcherite Tory Party in exile”.
Small wonder then that Farage, writing in the Times, said that the need for UKIP would have “never arisen” if Baroness Thatcher had remained in power. He revealed his true leanings and strategy further in an exclusive interview with the Sun:
He said: “Coverage of her death has reminded people what a real Conservative leader used to be like, and they contrast it with this current lot.I believe it is likely to drive more people towards UKIP, I really do.Mrs Thatcher was able to get working-class people voting Conservative — the C2s, as they are famously called. That is UKIP’s key target support area.”
On one level this attempt to cash in politically on the death of Margaret Thatcher might seem like the smart move for Farage and UKIP. But will this opportunism ultimately win or lose support?
The problem for Farage is that, as the debate surrounding her funeral indicated, Thatcher was a deeply divisive figure.
Do UKIP supporters really believe in his and her selfish, callous views on welfare and public spending? Figures in the Independent show that more than 40% of UKIP supporters oppose the Tories’ cap on tax credits and benefits, 43% want increased spending on public services, and more UKIP supporters than Lib Dem supporters believe that “the government is cutting too deeply”.
As the Spectator pointed out many UKIP supporters don’t even see themselves as “right wing“:
“Ukip voters are not as right-wing as you might expect (or at least they don’t see themselves that way). Just 46 per cent describe themselves as right-wing or right-of-centre, compared to 60 per cent of Tory voters. 23 per cent place themselves in the centre and 13 per cent on the left.”
There is a contradiction between UKIP’s extreme Tory policies and the instincts of a lot of its working-class supporters.
The more the ultra-Tory policies of UKIP are promoted by that Party, debated in the media and publicised by political opponents the greater the number of UKIP supporters will be who question if they are backing the right horse.
Even some officials and candidates might worry about the extreme Tory agenda being promoted by UKIP. Ken Bell was due to be standing for Pendle Central in A row has broken out over the reasons why a UKIP candidate has decided to step down from next month’s county council elections. He had to withdraw his nomination due to the lack of support he would receive if he were to continue to run. Earlier in the month he was suspended by UKIP’s North-West organiser Dr Fred McGlade. Mr Bell said: “I went into UKIP thinking it was a party about the EU. I didn’t realise it was a Margaret Thatcher fan club. I tweeted my sympathies to the devil on the day that Margaret Thatcher died, and all hell broke loose.” Ken Bell learned the hard way that UKIP are Thatcherite Tories.
Like Thatcher UKIP are playing the immigration card to draw working class people (rightly concerned about the impact on services and jobs) to vote for them. It is a sham. Thatcher spoke of her understanding people who feared that we were being “swamped”, once elected she let in the Boat people! UKIP speak of EU migrants (the ones you can criticise because they are white!) but say little of immigrants from elsewhere. When their candidates step out of line on immigration they are quickly de-selected. Just look at the case of Phil Collins who said the wrong things to VICE magazine about Islam and immigration. In the Bristol Evening Post a UKIP’s spokesman said: “Phil Collins is no longer chairman of our Bristol branch, and following the comments reported in the press about immigration will not be standing for UKIP in the forthcoming council elections”.
It’s up to us to get people asking that question. UKIP should not be ignored by Nationalists and they certainly should not be given any support. UKIP should be confronted.
The fact that the EDL Leader Tommy Robinson urged support for UKIP at the polls indicates only his lack of political understanding and maturity. The UKIP constitution forbids membership to supporters who have ever belonged to the BNP, the National Front, the EDL or other nationalist organisations.. They are not interested in being “polluted” or “infected” by Nationalists or Nationalist ideas! A UKIP spokesman told the Independent: “We find the EDL not just abhorrent, but stupid because it looks at people as groups rather than individuals. We don’t share their aims or ambitions. I think (EDL leader) Tommy Robinson has a rather inflated view of his importance.” A very one-sided love affair!
Real nationalists care about the people and have a sense of pride in the mutual obligations we feel to one another and assistance we offer in time of need. We don’t want to wreck the NHS or take benefits away from those that need them. Real Nationalists want radical change to spread direct ownership and give a real stake in the economy to individuals and families up and down this land.
Sure, we want to improve the way our public services and systems function but we don’t want to undermine them or lose them.
We must hammer home the message that UKIP are not an alternative, they are an establishment safety-valve. They are dangerous because they aim to fool working people into voting for Thatcherite policies which are against their interests. People should be made aware of the true reactionary nature of UKIP. We must burst the media bubble that is the UKIP vote by patiently pointing out their true policies. Policies which worship the market above all other values. If there is no genuine Nationalist candidate in an election then the only true protest is to abstain or spoil the ballot paper. A vote for UKIP is not a protest but a vote for more of the same – only worse!
I am assuming this was a contributed opinion article? It is very true that the UKIP leadership and officials are very different socially and economically than a significant proportion of their voters i.e. the poor working class. Whilst those people might like to support an anti-immigration/EU (psycologically anti-foreign?) message via UKIP, due to a compliant media and the dubious sentiments of their rivals for their vote, UKIP clearly threaten their ‘economic’ interests. That said they shouldn’t be criticised for banning ‘extremists’ from joining. They do not regard such extremists as ‘nationalists’ (genuine or otherwise) but racists, islamophobes etc. The two perspectives are not the same and the majority of these C2 voters would not regard themselves as the latter either. Whilst Farrage said (no doubt to recruit more Tories) ‘UKIP wouldn’t exist if the Tories were still Thatcherite’, I would suggest that they (or their extermist rivals) wouldn’t exist if political correctness hadn’t suppressed discussion on immigration, the EU etc. At present, given what is generally on offer, the only true protest vote is to spoil the ballot paper ‘None of the Above’ (which one day should be available officially on all ballot papers).
UKIP is and always has been the Tory spare wheel party. They ride along on the crest of an anti-EU wave of which Farage pretends to be anti-EU. By continuing to live this lie he gains for the Tories an even bigger foothold in the EU and at the same time deflects votes away from the BNP. Thatcher, whom Farage so much admires, along with her government, supported free market forces and the international bankers as do the present Tory government. For these sort of policies it is important to be a supporter of the EU. This Farage denies which can only make him a liar.
Both the Mail and the Telegraph, both of which are strongly Tory, allow UKIP almost unlimited free plugs in their comments section. This alone speaks volumes about UKIP and how they are out to fool the voter.
Don’t think Farage is a liar but perhaps deluded? However, as soon as the Tory party realise that UKIP might just threaten the election of Tory government, pressure will be brought to bear upon the media to turn upon UKIP, see this article from a Conservative ‘think-tank’ http://conservativecompanion.co.uk/2013/04/14/the-right-wing-revolution-how-and-why-ukip-could-kill-the-conservative-party-part-2/. Apart from the paranoia I think it highlights what is going on i.e. There is a struggle between Thatcherite and One Nation Tories for the party’s heat n’soul and the former is using UKIP to frighten the fence-sitters to come over to their way of thinking. A dangerous game as the article suggests
Spoken like a true UKIP supporter.
I think the Tories will survive the UKIP challenge in the same way Labour survived the BNP challenge. However it is not inconceivable that the Tories may suffer a GE election defeat due to UKIP intervention in marginal seats. This is why some Tories have talked about pacts with UKIP. UKIP have become more and more Tory after moving away from their anti-EU pressure group roots in the hope of expanding their relevance. I don’t expect it to last but they could do lasting damage the Tories in the meantime.
The nub of UKIP’s current scaremongering – anti-Muslim sentiment having faded a little – is an apparent influx of Romanians and Bulgarians from January 2014 when the EU relaxes restrictions on their travel. But a Channel 4 News report followed Farage to Bulgaria where he was repeatedly told – even by his far-right Bulgarian ally – that no one had any wish to come to Britain. Still he and his growing number of supporters remain myopic and happy to continue their fever-pitch anti-foreigner propaganda.
Suzie, to paraphrase an old slogan ‘the UKIP voter is a BNP one in blazers’. The former is regarded as more respectable and/or more gentle, than the latter and clearly many BNP voters (on immigration) as well as Conservative ones (Thatcherite and anti-EU) are choosing UKIP for their protest but the message is very similar. Most however will be unaware of really how right-wing (socially) their officers are!