After the election… The UKIP…

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For all its detractors (and I don’t count myself as the greatest fan of its ‘Brixit’ policy) UKIP does something most mainstream parties in Britain are struggling with.

They connect with the ordinary man (and I suspect it is mostly men, to be honest) in the street, and they speak in a language they understand.

They may get dismissed as saloon bar politicians, but in England they know how to put on a show with a sense of drama that has long since disappeared from the mainstream game.

Ian Parsley noted in a blogpost recently that UKIP thrived on speaking for the British/English nationalist wing of the Conservative Party.

It has brought them serious rewards. If they can bag as little as 6% of the national vote next year, they can seriously skew the outcome of the next Westminster election.

However in Northern Ireland (and Scotland and Wales) penetrating an already saturated market has been tricky. Our local nationalisms are already very well catered for.

In England Farage’s iconic pint of beer signals ‘ordinary bloke, good company, decent listener’. In small ‘c’ conservative Northern Ireland it has a more ambiguous status.

Nevertheless, they picked off sitting MLA David McNarry Strangford, having already recruited up a locally popular councillor Henry Reilly from Kilkeel.

This was his second time out having run in the 2011 Assembly elections, when he picked up 2,332 votes. The party has moved up to a total of 9,311, with three councillors elected.

In the Assembly they’ve taken a maverick and given him backing, purpose and a little polish. I dare say the change suits both himself and his former party, the UUP.

The increased profile (he actually got it into a BBC studio last night over the Pastor McConnell row) will stand him in good stead for a run at the South Down Assembly election.

The acrimonious implosion of NI21 also significantly weakens the prospects of sitting MLA John McCallister. Politically they are poles apart, but geographically close.

They would be well advised to look for UKIP hotspots elsewhere in the constituency, before anyone else gets their act together and comes looking for it.

The step up from membership of the new super council to the Legislative Assembly is a lot less daunting than it was under the old 26 council model.

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  • Politico68

    Farage come across as reasonable when he gets to speak uninterrupted, its only when he is put on the spot by an interviewer and challenged over his party views and associations does he come a bit unstuck. UKIP seem to stand for just two things, No Europe and No immigration, I doubt that will be enough to get them many seats in London. I am assuming their 29% in the Euro elections will be a one – off. The arrival of UKIP as a serious force could give Scottish nationalists the Ace card they have been looking for to push the referendum vote over the line.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “locally popular councillor Henry Reilly”

    He did an excellent analysis of the Anna low issue on TV last night:

    I may have got the jist of it wrong so someone may need to correct me but I thought it sounded like:

    Why did she call me a colonial?

    Why did she call me a colonial?

    Why did she call me a colonial?

    Why did she call me a colonial?

    Why did she call me a colonial?

    some general platitude that UKip was not …”Whatever”….

  • Mc Slaggart

    Sorry I forgot to add “The book Thief” is a very very good read.

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    I agree with Ian Parsley. UKIP is a UK nationalist party. It has filled a gap in the political market which has been open since Mrs. Thatcher’s administration in the 1980s.

    During the last Labour administration, the Conservatives were riding high in the polls on course for an overall majority until the Lisbon treaty came into operation. At that point, the Conservatives were forced to ditch their policy upon a referendum on the treaty. In consequence, their poll rating dipped a few points and they failed to gain an overall majority.

    The Conservatives have responded to the UKIP threat by promising a referendum on remaining in the EU after the
    next election. That promise might just save the Conservative Party from electoral meltdown on the scale of what happened to their counterparts in Canada but they wont hang on to power. UKIP will progress in the general election with a significantly bigger vote share than 2010 and possibly their first seats in the UK Parliament.

  • megatron

    It is interesting that lots of the analysis focuses on communication or connection issues. Broadly speaking both establishments in UK and ROI are saying that UKIP (UK) and Independents and SF (ROI) are getting elected because they have a communication / connection issue with the electorate.

    Indeed this seems to be the message across Europe. I am far from a fan of UKIP but the arrogance of the mainstream parties in saying that if they had just listened / communicated better with voters they wouldnt have voted for UKIP is astounding. Same story in ROI.

    ITS THE F**KING POLICIES!

    The fact that everyone pretends the policies are basically ok (with some small tweaks to Europe / Medical cards / Whatever) is only going to make this problem worse.

  • UKTaig

    Mick- UKIP connect with ordinary bigots in the street. No one else.

    There have been countless clowns interviewed on TV over here, blandly gushing tripe like, “I voted UKIP for a change.” People who couldn’t quote you one other aspect of UKIP policy, beyond the joyful notion that “They’ll get rid of the immigrants.”

    UKIP are now trying to organise a backlash against their critics. They refer to their opponents as “the chattering metropolitan political elite.”

    Most of us are no such thing. We can just see them for the spiteful racists they really are.

  • iluvni

    ^^^ total bollocks.^^^

  • http://www.e-consultation.org/ davenewman

    It is interesting that in the parts of England where the Conservative Party is well organised and dominant in local politics they have seen off UKIP (e.g. in Oxfordshire).

    But there are lots of complacent Conservatives who got a shock.

  • dodrade

    Is it mere coincidence that UKIP’s rise came after the Tories cut links with the Monday Club?

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    sorry ukT bit UKIP policy is for managed immigration not no immigration or indeed repatriation which you refer to (BNP policy) – mainly I might add applicable to open borders with the EU – we currently have a two tier system with border checks for the test of the world and non for the EU. Nothing remotely racist about it. Amjad Bashir is newly elected UKIP MEP, Jamaican Winston McKenzie & Polish candidate stood in Croydon (9 black UKIP candidates stood in London in fact). Ukip were the only party to stand a black candidate & a Spanish candidate at the last NI Assembly elections. On BBC Question Time last night they’re was a ukip voter who was erm yes black. Ukip had Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic candidates and many others during the elections.

  • http://www.ulster-scots.co.uk Kilsally

    UKIP policy isn’t any different to what both the Tories and indeed Labour are now proposing (Scottish Labour speaker on BBC QT last night used ‘We need a managed immigration policy’)

  • Framer

    NI media and chatterati haven’t even begun to recognise the huge shift in electoral politics that the near 30% vote for UKIP in GB represents.
    They are many stages to go through. In London they are into the second.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    @Kilsally

    The steel band booked by UKIP in Croydon walked out when they found out it was UKIP, Farage was a no-show because a crowd of Romanians turned up to protest at his “wouldn’t want to live next door to a crowd of Romanians” comment on radio and poor Winston bombed in South Norwood, probably not helped by his “Croydon is a dump and unsafe” comment (which in true DUP fashion he claimed was a reference to the fly-tipping problem)

    Overall in Croydon as in most of London UKIP didn’t do great but then again most British foreigners live in London and Lunar House in Croydon is the Home Office immigration centre so in a Tory dominated Council ex-Tory white people voted Labour and ex-Tory “Others” voted Labour

  • iluvni

    “a crowd of Romanians”

    You sure about that?

  • terence patrick hewett

    UKIP make no bones about what they wish to achieve: a complete re-alignment of British politics and a new more equitable constitutional settlement. They certainly wish to destroy the Tory party whom they loathe and regard as the worst of turncoats. I hope they achieve their aim.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think Dave Newman is on to something there about complacency. On the Labour side Jon Cruddas has been saying for years this Labours underlying problem.

    Meg, communication is an issue. Not the only one I grant you, but a serious one. It was until recently that Labour used the unions and the mass media to communicate with their voter base.

    The Conservatives benefitted from a very large and locally active membership. The slow destruction of local democratic power structures (and local political journalism) has broken off their communication lines with the proverbial ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’.

    Farage does away with a need for all that, by keeping it all simple, stoopid. The importance of policy with UKIP is the ideas it signals: “your money is yours first, the governments second and European Union’s no at all.”

    All the rest is detail, because dear people they are a campaign group, not a political party. The immigration policy is a recent acquisition, in its bid to gain seats at council level (which is part of a shift towards pressurising the Tories at Westminster).

  • Harry Flashman

    There was a massive amount of racism, and sexism and ageism, expressed during the Euros and 98% of it came from the mainstream media and supporters of the centrist-consensus parties who continually harped on about how the Ukip voters could be safely ignored because they only amounted to under-educated white males over the age of 40.

    Can you imagine the shrieks of outrage if a columnist in the Daily Telegraph or Tory MP said that the votes and opinions of Bangladeshi women (for example) were irrelevant and not something that needed be taken into account by sophisticated politicians or political analysts?

    And yet the casual arrogance of the chatterati as they sneeringly dismissed Ukip voters came back and bit them on the arse big time when the votes were counted and it turned out that 30% of the British electorate were bigoted, old, racist, stupid, white male, nut cases and fruit cases.

    Bit hard to ignore them now I would have thought.

  • UKTaig

    Mick- No argument with your comments on Labour complacency. For months they dreamt that UKIP would only eat into Tory votes.

    Kilsally – I know personally a few of your voters who are ex-BNP. To them, you are the next best thing. The BNP haven’t had the millionaire backers that UKIP have, and have thus been brushed aside. It doesn’t matter what your immigration policy is. People have been voting for you according to what they think it is; “We’ll take back our country,” “Too many of them,” “Kick them out.” They’ve been on TV. Have a look.

    It’s bitter and spiteful and it blames the poorest for Britain’s problems, not the rich who caused them.

    Harry- Did you miss it the first time? Ordinary people hate them as well.

  • Mick Fealty

    And I know some would be BNP voters who didn’t go for UKIP because of their anti welfare stance..

  • terence patrick hewett

    @ Harry Flashman
    In Britain we are never far from class and a lot of the contempt displayed is simply old fashioned intellectual snobbery and social snobbery of both the regular and inverted variety. Much of the castigation is simple rage at the ignorant and provincial upstarts of UKIP having the temerity to compete with the great and the good. Not only to compete but to run rings around them; for the amateurs of UKIP are simply better at the game than they are themselves. The great and the good of both major parties have a very high opinion of themselves which is seldom justified. Out of the 650 Westminster MP’s there is one scientist and one engineer: just 2 out of 650: and this in a world driven by science, engineering and technology. They are sclerotic and failed elite which needs to be evacuated.

  • Harry Flashman

    UKTaig

    Did you miss the bit where they got 30% of the vote?

    That’s an awful lot of ordinary people who seem to like them just fine.

    Ordinary people would appear to hate LibDems and the other centrist-consensus parties a lot more.

  • UKTaig

    Hey Harry, you’re a bright lad, you work it out.

    Thirty per cent of the vote translates as what, 9 per cent of the electorate? Which, at the school I went to, does not a political earthquake make.

    Still, they’re one whole councillor in front of those horrible Greens.

  • Charles_Gould

    Terence Hewitt

    I think there is indeed a “class” and “region” aspect to this. Interesting that UKIP picked up 10% of of votes in Scotland without denting the Conservatives at all. Within GB the UKIP vote is low where incomes are highest. I think there is a “working class” Tory vote and a “working class” Labour vote outside of London that is fed up with the type of leaders in London and who have stopped voting for the parties that their parents voted for. This is i think something the SNP have picked up votes on – the SNP are not run by elite people who are far from the people.

    So people who feel unhappy with the distant leaderships of Labour and Tories are using UKIP as a way of showing that,

    If you look at the top candidates for the Labour leadership last time, a lot of them are Oxbridge types who seem to live in a different world – Balls and the two Milibands, but even Diane Abbott and Burnham are all Oxbridge types.

    UKIP seem to be aware recently that their messsage is one that appeals to people on lower incomes and old Labour and working class tory voters. Nigel Farage on Andrew Marr today distanced themselves from Thatcher, saying she was bad for half of the country, and complaining about the lack of social mobility and the problems of economic inequality – he is changing his tune rather suddenly. He wants people on the minimum wage taken out of tax altogether, and he wants a grammar school in every town – and on the health service he is complaining about the excessive numbers of bureaucrats and the lack of nurses and doctors.

    He seems to be looking to tap into the sense of economic inequality and sense of hurt pride that exists in many of the regional towns and cities.

    I still think they will be lucky to get any seats but the fact that this is a very working class vote may encourage the traditional parties to re-engage with voters they have taken for granted or written off.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Thirty per cent of the vote translates as what, 9 per cent of the electorate?”

    Good one UKT, I was wondering when you would reach for the last hope of desperate people who don’t like election results; including the electoral opinions of people who can’t actually be bothered to express those electoral opinions and assume that they all agree with you.

    Here’s a wee clue for ya big lad, elections ain’t decided by people who don’t vote.

    Suck it up.

  • UKTaig

    Elections aren’t decided by people who don’t vote?

    Very good H. Very good indeed. In other news…ursine noted defecating in wooded area.

    Have a day off old lad, eh?

  • terence patrick hewett

    @Charles Gould

    Agree with what you say but the trouble with the traditional parties is that they are run by a self-selecting priesthood who look alike; went to the same institutions; came off the same production line into Westminster and are all educated solely in the humanities with little understanding of how the world functions. As a Scottish Dr of Mathematics once said to me with a grin “the highest common denominator does not go into politics.” And these people are so appallingly bad at it. Nature abhors a vacuum and I believe that both the SNP and UKIP are a reflection of the weakness of the current political dispensation. I think between them they will bust the whole lot open and lead to a new constitutional settlement.

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    Proposition 1 (from UKTaig, 1 June 2014 @ 7:00 pm):<blockquote.Thirty per cent of the vote translates as what, 9 per cent of the electorate? Which, at the school I went to, does not a political earthquake make.Or, as Anna Soubry, MP, put it: “almost 90% of people with a vote rejected UKIP” — and that was in an area where the Kippers did well.

    Proposition 2 (from Harry Flashman @ 2:48 am): “elections ain’t decided by people who don’t vote”.

    Both, superficially have a grain of truth.

    Except (and you’ll pardon 50 years trudging in the electoral mill):

    First I’d look more carefully at the “don’t vote” lot. because I’ve never been wholly convinced by the “floating voter” assumption. I’d suggest folk drift in and out of the voting contingent as they feel engaged or not. That’s why “getting the vote out” is still the most potent weapon.

    Second because, taken year on year, the winners in local-council seats, where things matter, were Labour, +324 on a +2% swing. UKIP had a -5% swing, year-on-year. Oddly enough, on swing the Conservatives took it (+4%, but losing 236 seats).

    Third any shift towards the Kippers was certainly not national, not even English national. Nor do I accept the “Oh, but London (pop: 9M) is an island, and different” rhetoric. Of the 1845 London Borough seats contested, UKIP won 12. And no seats in Birmingham. Just two in Greater Manchester … etc., etc.

    Fourth, “ah … but those EU elections!” Remind me, please do, just how relevant the EU parliament is. It’s as relevant as the election of the county dog-catcher. Indeed, David Marquand’s “democratic deficit” (which Maastricht and Lisbon were both supposed to address, but didn’t) is the beginning and end of the whole EU problem.

    Fifth, there are something over 46 million electors across the UK. Just 4 million voted UKIP last week. Hardly a massive vote of confidence, and certainly not Mr Farage’s “people’s army”. Turn-out was down (albeit only a whisker), and UKIP’s “great advance” amounted — across the whole nation — to a whole 215,000 more than Labour added.

    Sixth, and last: what was the Magnificent Achievement of NI Kipperdom? Why, yes! That third seat switched from UCUNF (remember that inspired effort?) to UUP. Err … what?

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    Aaarh! Insert left flèche+b+right flèche.

  • http://www.wordpress.ianjamesparsley.com IJP

    Mick

    Annoyingly I still haven’t found the detailed piece I wrote on that – it may have been some time ago!

    To repeat, my argument is essentially that the Conservatives in 1992 were a coalition of two parties – an internationalist, liberal economically centre-right faction (Clarke, Heseltine, the Wets etc) and a British-English nationalist faction (the Eurosceptics, essentially).

    The reason they lost ground so sharply in Wales and Scotland was that the latter had no appeal at all. In Scotland, in fact, the reverse happened – the SNP took not only the Nationalist voters but even some of the internationalist centre-right ones (hence its social-liberalism and its appeal, in the forthcoming referendum, to “standing on our own two feet”).

    In England outside London, the Nationalist voters veer towards UKIP when it suits (although not in General Elections where fear of Labour coming to power essentially re-forms the old Conservative coalition). Of course, in London except on the fringes that Nationalist vote doesn’t really exist at all, hence UKIP has only limited success there at any level.

    These are all generalisms of course. UKIP did, after all, even nick an MEP in Scotland despite incredible internal chaos.

    In Northern Ireland, in many ways UKIP was primed for success, given its media presence across the UK and its ability to take active politicians from elsewhere. It also has an obvious and fairly broad appeal, looked at objectively – in fact more so, in the long run, than TUV. The likes of David McNarry may appear odious to some, but they are able politicians capable of identifying and appealing to a reasonable share of the electorate – much more so, evidently, than NI21 or the NI Conservatives who simply don’t have the political experience to achieve this.

    I don’t expect UKIP to do much next year in the UK General Election, but I do expect them to hang around on the NI political scene for some time.