Wednesday, 8 May 2013

UKIP if you want to................and many did.

What should we make of the success of UKIP in the recent local elections? What do I make of it? Well, I'm certainly not getting as excited as the political commentators and I'm trying to keep a reasonable perspective. I can't but help remember the rise and fall of the SDP so I'm of the view that the real consequences will not be clear for a long time. Possibly not until after the next General Election.

I know that indulging in schadenfreude is unbecoming but I must say that a joy for me so far has been the fall out from the remarks made about UKIP before the poll.
Some things just cannot be unsaid and the dismissal of UKIP voters as ‘fruitcakes’, ‘closet racists’ and ‘clowns’ by several senior Tories is one of them. It was wonderful to watch it all blow up in their faces: the Kenneth Clarke outburst followed by the visible gulp, and the cold sweat, as they wondered suddenly ‘what if they actually do take votes from us?’ And then to cap it all, Posh Dave bleating that he was sorry for his comments: “We need to show respect for people who have taken the choice to support this party and we are going to work really hard to win them back.”

To me UKIP policies are fundamentally arch-Thatcherite with a visceral dislike of foreigners and homosexuals thrown in for good measure. Nigel Farage – if he were not in UKIP – would be the perfect embodiment of what I dislike about the Tory Party. Farage is a man motivated by ego, power and greed. Farage is UKIP and UKIP is Farage. I'm sure that this will cause serious problems for the party in the future as any scandal involving Farage could seriously damage UKIP - perhaps fatally. It's time for UKIPPERS to ensure that other talent is encouraged and developed within the party. However, it is so centralised under Farage that this will never happen. UKIP's undoubted success in the polls will further strengthen Farage's control and ensure that his sycophants will remain firmly in place, enjoying, for the moment, the privilege of minor parties in the UK: making promises which are easy to like and impossible to keep – in the sure and certain knowledge you'll never be in power and have to deliver them.

The really big surprise down here in Cornwall, as elsewhere, was the size of the UKIP vote. I'm sure that there were some UKIP candidates who worked hard to get elected but that does not seem to be the case in many electoral wards in our county. I'll quote one example that I'm aware of, Illogan, further west from us. The UKIP candidate, as far as anyone seems to know, had never had anything to do with Illogan, did not deliver a single leaflet and did not knock a single door and yet he ended up with 23% of the vote. I watched a television interview where the newly elected UKIP person was asked what they stood for on local government issues. Basically he didn't have a clue. He said that UKIP councillors were going to ask what their constituents wanted and then represent that. Sounds good but the problem is that when it comes to voting for a UKIP candidate you don't know what they stand for because they don't know themselves until after they have been elected! It doesn't say much for the sophistication of the British voter that they've voted so many of them in.

As well as the tremors shaking the Tories, UKIP's success has made made me rethink my basic political philosophy. I first coined this when I was around 8: Labour good, Tory bad, Liberal funny. Thanks to Farage and his cronies, I've had to change it: Labour good, Tory bad, UKIP worse, Liberal funny.

No comments: