Monday, October 09, 2006

Is Farage going to damage UKIP's appeal?

I don't usually comment on UKIp but the recent election of ex Tory Nigel Farage as leader has interested me because he is clearly intent on taking the party in a sharply right wing political direction.

This is relevant because in my experience - and perhaps uniquely in this neck of the woods - a great deal of UKIP support comes from voters who probably would otherwise not vote Conservative.

In and around Brixham the EU is deeply unpopular because of the problems with fishing issues and the resulting resentment has underpinned the strong UKIP support there; but many of those voters used to vote Labour.

In the Torbay constituency
the backbone of UKIP are ex Tories, we lost many supporters to UKIP (then the Referendum Party) mostly during John Majors time. In my experience on the doorstep these people will never forgive the Conservatives for signing up to Europe in the first place and are a lost cause politically. The evidence of the last election, however, suggests that the increase in UKIP support came from disaffected Lib Dem voters, the vast majority of whom are politically to the left of centre.

Will that support stay for a party that is clearly aiming for the farthest reaches of the right by supporting policies such as flat tax, massive tax cuts (paid for by borrowing money), re-introducing school selection, a massive increase in defence spending and repatriating people?

And just as relevant, by seeming to morph into a very right-wing political party, will UKIP dissipate it's appeal on the one issue that has so far bound activists across the political spectrum together - being anti Europe?

Nigel Farage found himself 'out of love' with a Conservative party that was too middle of the road for him, yet was seen by most people to be too reactionary and right wing even in those days. Is he in danger of finding many of his own supporters don't share his elitist vision of Britain?


Barrie Wood said...

Absolutely right Marcus !

Farage is seeking to fit UKIP somewhere between the right of the Tories and the BNP. Tactically this makes no sense. The policy positions you rightly mention aim at disillusioned RW Tories and surely precludes moderate Conservatives, centrist and left-leaning anti EU types from engaging with their party. They are starting to live up to their 'BNP in blazers' tag. Cameron got UKIP exactly right[not something I say often] in deriding UKIP as 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly " ! Still, they are hugely supportive of your Tory mayor and Tory council ! What does that say ?!

Anonymous said...

UKIP supporters that I know are mostly middle class little Englanders living in a rose-tinted past that never existed.

Oddly enough, in the time warp fantasy that they occupy (the 1950's) the political consensus was way to the left of todays selfish and materially obsessed society.

Much as I dispise the Eu I hate the hard-faced and cold hearted way UKIP are going even more.

Anonymous said...

UKIP deserve to sink without trace, they hove done NOTHING but take as much from the EU gravy traina s everiyone else since getting elected its a SCANDAL and their own supporters are just blind to how their MEPs are just as bad as all of them.

Shame on them all.

Anonymous said...

UKIP is loud and ridiculous and shouts up for the disaffected who don't want to listen or take part in any debate. Their black and white world is mired with contradiction (a nice and obvious example is that they bleat about European waste but still pick up their expenses). That doesn't make them any less dangerous. In my experience they represent those at the end of their political journey who feel let down and threatened. What's interesting is the amount of support this single-issue group has in the south west and how the stength in the European elections wasn't really carried forward in the general elections. Let's hope they fade away muttering in politcal corners while the rest of us deal with grown up issues, problems and their solutions.

Marcus Wood said...

I am genuinely surprised that this thread has not attracted any UKIP people to leap to their defence.

In the past the slightest mention of Europe has sparked off columns of UKIP posts, some interesting and others just rants.

This means that either the UKIp people who used to read this blog have given up, or......

Anonymous said...

We are all here , and growing , but busy gearing up for the elections besides reading Barry Wood slop is enough to make anyone give up voting , people are so sick of those kind of rantings.

Marcus Wood said...

Not sure about the 'growing' - aren't you losing people?

I thought Plymouth branch had disbanded and locally your three candidates for Tormohun have decided they will do better on their own account than under a UKIP banner.

My information (and our canvassing returns) suggest that your party is losing support very rapidly.

Mind you, the latest shameful attempt by the Germans to re-heat the discredited EU constitution may help win some of them back I suppose.