Sunday, October 12, 2014

Troubled political times. The solution? I've no idea!

With the latest opinion poll having UKIP on 26% to Labour and the Tories at 31% each Britain is in danger of descending into ungovernable political chaos. UKIP's simple and single appeal - leave the EU to stop immigration - now strikes a chord with a quarter of the electorate. It is, of course, bolstered by a strong anti-establishment imperative. The LibDems, so "establishment" they are actually in Government, are vanquished as the (respectable) party of protest. Nobody agrees with Nick any more. Some thoughtful people are favouring the Greens who are doing well. But the Conservatives and Labour? Floundering.

The Tories lost Clacton and will lose Rochester. Labour came very close indeed to losing Heywood. Both have leaders who hold on to the real party faithful but don't retain the waverers nor attract previous non supporters. Labour is losing more support (to UKIP) than it is gaining from the LibDems. The Conservatives are just losing. The LibDems are a music hall joke. 

There is a void of leadership. Nigel Farage is a preposterous character straight out of an improbable SitCom. His nearest rival, in public esteem, Boris Johnson, has a little more gravitas but is equally, to many, inconceivable as Prime Minister. Neither has the "common touch" - but that doesn't seem to matter. The socially superior David Cameron and the distant and uncomfortable Ed Miliband don't relate to the public at large either.

Matthew Parris, the Tory commentator that the Tories love to hate, blames voter ignorance. It's an elitist position, but has more than a kernel of truth in it. A UKIP supporter who phoned into LBC yesterday hadn't a clue about what UKIP's policies were - although he knew that they were against immigration. That was, for him, enough. Ignorance doesn't matter if it doesn't affect outcomes. The repulsive BNP, whose supporters have all now run to UKIP, was an uncomfortable irrelevance. Their supporters were ignorant racists but electorally they didn't do much damage. UKIP is different.

So what should Labour and the Conservatives do. To be honest I've no idea! They could try and steal UKIP's anti immigration clothes but they won't be believed. The Tories EU referendum promise has gained them nothing. If you don't like immigration or the EU you'll vote UKIP whatever the main parties say. 

Troubled times. 


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