Over the last fortnight or so those bastions of the right wing press, the Telegraph and Mail, have been feeding us the narrative that David Cameron has shot the UKIP fox by sounding tough on the EU and immigration, chatting to Tory backbenchers over a Downing Street BBQ and listening to elections guru Lynton Crosby – all on the basis of one poll (several others give a different picture)
Doubtless the bright young things at Tory HQ have been schmoozing the lobby correspondents and political hacks at the DT/DM who have responded accordingly. After all they inhabit the same Westminster political/media village and, let’s face it, that village is far away from Norfolk, South Shields, Somerset or even the London suburbs, not so much geographically as temperamentally.
This is why they find the rise of UKIP as incomprehensible – it simply does not fit within the confines of the political box that constrains their view. They can only interpret events in terms of Con/Lab/Lib because….well…that’s the way it’s always been, ennit….
What they have failed to grasp is the possibility that a bunch of outsiders, with little or no contact with media hacks, lobbyists, academics, civil servants and other members of the establishment elite should begin to insert themselves into the body politic by making inroads into the electorate.
UKIP might well dip in certain polling reports as the media files the party under B for Blip – but there are certain key points that the “experts” need to remember
UKIP now have a substantial presence on quite a few local councils, controlling one and either holding the balance of power or forming the opposition in several others – party members are getting the experience of local government.
Over the last few months tens of thousands of people have joined UKIP, getting the party closer to the first goal of overtaking the Lib Dems 42,000
The party is busily consolidating and professionalising itself, using the next few months to prepare for the EU and local elections next May.
Unlike Con/Lab/Lib these new members display a degree of energy and enthusiasm that has long since drained away from the established parties
Issues such as EU membership and Immigration have only begun to be part of public debate because for many years UKIP was the only party that consistently attempted to confront them.
Above all this, however, it is not just through “policies” that political parties begin to gain traction. It is when the rest of the electorate realise that a substantial number of their fellow voters are willing to nail their colours to the party’s mast.
There has long been a disconnect between ordinary folk and the political class, evidenced by lower voter turnouts and declining party memberships. Voters began politicians and the press and broadcast “journalists” who supposedly “hold them to account” as performers in a carefully choreographed shadow play that demanded a submissive and silent audience which could only cheer or boo on cue….a bit like the BBC’s HIGNFY
But now UKIP has given the audience the opportunity not only to get up onto the stage but also the chance to send the old established “star performers” out of the stage door and onto the pavement…
….and, believe me, the old guard don’t like it – and they will play every dirty trick in the book to keep UKIP out of the loop and break it.
Fellow UKIP members – you have been warned!!!!!