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Thoughts on UKIP

May 3rd, 2013 Posted in Election, Liberal Democrats, UK Politics by

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 18.48.21

The rapid rise of the UKIP vote and collapse of the LD vote does, I think, put the relative value of narrative and campaign tactics into sharp relief. Does anyone, for example, think UKIP activists out-worked or out-delivered the LDs in the last four years? Or even came close to doing so? I think not…

Similarly some of the big historic Liberal Democrat by-election wins begin to look more about capturing the protest Zeitgeist than out-leafleting opponents.

8 Responses to “Thoughts on UKIP”

  1. Matthew Huntbach Says:

    UKIP has had the great advantage of half the British press campaigning for it. While THE Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Times, Daily Express might not have come out and said “Vote UKIP”, they have continually run stories and comment which back UKIP’s line, grossly exaggerating the role of the European Union in this country, and painting politics here as a political elite class against the people.

    The election results for the Liberal Democrats show the opposite of what you claim. The Liberal Democrats have held their vote where they have had strong local campaigning. Their vote has crashed where it has been more dependent on the national image.

  2. Sara Scarlett Says:

    Believe what you want. Blame it it on the media if you will but even you had to acknowledge there’s a problem with the national image.

  3. Chris Oakley Says:

    And why do you think that the press “campaigned” for UKIP Matthew? Because it is controlled by right wing conspirators or because UKIP appears to address some of the major concerns expressed by its readership?

    I agree to an extent with your point about the EU but I think that the UKIP message focuses a broader resentment towards bloated government and unaccountable bureaucracy felt by many people in the UK. It is this “tea party” element that appeals to some. Personally I view our own recent governments as more irresponsible, more illiberal and more legislation happy than the EU but it is always easier for politicians to gain support by targeting an external “enemy”.

    In my view, parties such as the Liberal Democrats have contributed to the rise of parties such as UKIP by largely rejecting classical liberalism in favour of big government socialism. It is possible to represent socially and classically liberal views but the Liberal Democrats don’t.

  4. Sara Scarlett Says:

    I think Chris has hit the nail on the head. Essentially UKIP appeals to working class right-wingers who think Cameron’s a wet.

    Not only that but Farage is always seen in pubs with a cigarette and a pint in his hand. He’s not a snob. He never appears to be talking down to them whilst Cameron’s tories seems to be the types who preach about organic lettuce. Not so much champagne socialists but upperclass luvvies who have never actually had to get their hands dirty.

  5. Chris Oakley Says:


    I question the value of terms such as right and left wing in the 21st Century. The rise of Labour in the middle of the last century was fuelled by the same people who embraced Thatcherism just a few years later. I don’t believe that there is a right of left wing working class in the UK. People tend to be influenced by issues beyond party politics which is one reason why modern political parties struggle to have impact. I think that both left and right have benefited at different times from one consistent characteristic of the British people which is a sense of fairness and social justice. I believe that the extremes of both left and right have failed to gain any traction in the UK because of a second consistent characteristic which is a dislike of tyranny (petty or otherwise), conformity and excessive government of any hue.

    We live in an era in which many of the battles for social justice are seen to be won. I intend no disrespect but gay marriage doesn’t really compete with free schooling for all or votes for women as a political battle cry for the majority. We also live in an eras in which government is bigger, costlier and more interfering than ever. Outside the political classes, most people resent this and EU bureaucracy is seen to be a part of it.

    I realise that I am being simplistic but it is really not hard to see how UKIP have gained ground by addressing simple common issues that people care about and being seen to oppose “big” government interference as epitomised for many by the Brussels parliament.

    Having a charismatic, plain speaking leader who is clearly comfortable talking to people of all kinds is, as you point out, a big help.

  6. Sara Scarlett Says:

    Chris, I agree with you on a lot of you say. Perhaps, it was I who was being overly simplistic.

    I feel as though David Cameron’s Tories and the wider political class are the individuals who perpetuate a narrative that leads to larger government and UKIP is gaining votes by being perceived as outside of this.

  7. Jack Hughes Says:

    Watching a TV doco about Mrs Thatcher. Apparently she used to nip out during late night cabinet meetings and make cheese toasties for her colleagues. Practical and thrifty and of course the BBC talking heads sneered at this.

    Farage looks like a cheese toastie kind of guy. Neither David nor Samantha Cameron look like they could make a cheese toastie. Nick Clegg thinks cheese toasties are beneath him – too lower-middle-class. Miliband would have to phone his mum and ask her what is a cheese toastie.

  8. Roger Greenfield Says:

    I thought the most interesting comments were made by those who remember the formation of the SDP and the potential impact on the left of British politics. All this did in reality was to bring, in the long term, the Social Democrat element into the Liberal Party. The Labour Party, in a moment of common sense, elected Blair as leader. If I was a dreamer I might envisage UKIP removing the ‘nasty party’ element of the Conservative Party into a new right wing narrow minded conservative political party. There are plenty of examples of this in continental Europe. This would then leave the way open for a new Classical Liberal Party, such as the VVD in the Netherlands, to be formed. The Social Democrats could then re-join the Labour Party which is where they really should be. I can but dream.