Today I am at UKIP’s annual conference here in London. Earlier this week I attened my first local branch meeting. Yet I am very much a Johnny-come-lately because, although for several years I have sympathised with much that UKIP stands for, I regarded the party as a fringe group which could never win enough votes outside EU elections to even gain a sniff of power – because power is the essence of any political movement, the ability to influence governance either by involvement or pressure.
UKIP also appeared to me to be all about campaigning rather than doing – playing in the haystack rather than trying to find the needle.
Then, as well, I perceived it as a one trick pony, the logical extension of the Referendum Party, using all its energies to advocate an in/out EU plebiscite – then dissolving into dust once one had been held, whatever the result.
This year’s elections changed my mind as well, I suspect, the minds of many others. Diane James achievement in Eastleigh, in particular, initiated a seismic shift in attitude in the minds of those sympathetic to UKIP – and its enemies.
UKIP, its ,members and supporters, is now taken seriously by the political class and their media followers – and that must be a tough call because our political/media establishment is as tightly knit in its symbiotic relationship as any feudal aristocracy or mafia brotherhood. About a thousand families, centred mainly in North London/Notting Hill/Richmond, dominate this nexus, absorbing individual newcomers and spitting out the has-beens
But now they are faced with a whole group of “outsiders”, most of whom have either never fitted in to the nexus or have existed outside its metropolitan, international worldview.
We lack “connections”. We don’t know anyone from the Guardian or the Telegraph. We know little of Quangos, lobbyists or PR consultants. Our views are not fashionable or politically correct. Most of us probably don’t take exotic holidays or mix with millionaires or celebrities or lobbyists.
But we are not donkeys. We work in a whole variety of jobs. We come from a wide range of educational backgrounds – but we don’t have the contacts or the relatives inside the nexus.
Until now we could be safely ignored, even during elections, for, like sheep we could be herded through certain gates because we bought the myth that the mainstream parties were in competition with each other.
But they are not. They make up a cartel of shifty shadowy figures who, despite their labels, believe in Big Government, high taxes and rule by special interest groups. They are ashamed of our traditional British values and desire to force us into alternative patterns of behaviour for what they perceive to be “our own good”.
However we of the silent majority can challenge the ruling political cartel because, with the emergence of UKIP, we have a political party which has demonstrated the ability to tune with the feelings, convictions and concerns of ordinary folk outside the special interest groups that dominate the cartel……and also, crucially, gain the votes….no wonder they are nervous.
Notice how in the course of this post the pronoun shift from I to us. It marks my own pride in now being just a minor cog in the wheel of a political party that has a golden opportunity to transform our country.
Full credit to those stalwarts who, unlike me, nailed their colours to UKIP’s mast while other fainthearts, like myself, were unwilling to step forward.
You were right – I was wrong.
So remember…never, ever, underestimate the little guy…because one day he could give you a painful surprise…