Ukip examined: who they are, what they stand for, and what it all means for British politics

revolt on the right ukipI’ve just finished reading Revolt on the Right, Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin’s fascinating book analysing the rise of Ukip and what makes the party and its voters tick. Mark Pack has already written a very good review for LibDemVoice here. Here’s my take on some of its key insights.

Who votes for Ukip? The ‘left behind’

For a start, it debunks the myth that Ukip is a party of disaffected, well-to-do, shire-Tories obsessed by Europe and upset by David Cameron’s mild social liberalism on same-sex marriage. Yes, there are some Ukip voters like that, but they tend to be its peripheral voters, the ones most likely to give the Tories a kick in the Euros next month then return to their traditional True Blue ways in time for the general election. Ukip’s core vote in reality is made up of what the authors define as ‘left behind’ voters, overwhelmingly comprising older white working class males with no formal educational qualifications.

Here’s a table which illustrates this showing the social profile of voters among the main parties, including Ukip. (A figure of 1.25 means that group of voters is 25% more likely to support the party than the reference group; A figure of 0.25 would mean the named group is a quarter as likely to support the party as the reference group.)

ukip demography

As you can see, Ukip and the Lib Dems draw their voters from very different demographics: they are at opposite ends of the social spectrum, with Lib Dems more likely to be younger, non-white, female, middle-class and educated post-16.

Why do they vote for Ukip? Anti-Europe, anti-immigration, anti-Westminster and anti-globalisation

Secondly, the book looks at what issues motivate Ukip voters. There are two common assumptions of what defines a Ukip voter. Some say they’re obsessed by Europe, others say Europe is more or less an irrelevance and that Ukippers far more motivated by, for instance, immigration.

Ford and Goodwin’s assessment, based on extensive data-crunching, is more nuanced than either of those black-and-white conclusions. Deep Euroscepticism is, they say, a necessary condition of being a Ukip voter; but it is not sufficient in itself to win over converts (at least outside of Euro elections). Ukip persuadables are almost always Eurosceptics, but what turns them into active Ukip voters is when it combines with three other key concerns: being anti-immigration, discontented with the state of modern politics, and being economically pessimistic.

Here’s a chart from the book showing the proportion of each party’s support base expressing intense support (9/10 or 10/10) for their motive in supporting their chosen party.

ukip issues

It will come as no surprise to those people who read online comment threads or see Ukippers active on Twitter/Facebook to know quite how motivated they are: “angry, fed up and ready for a radical alternative,” as Ford and Goodwin put it. And that perhaps is the key to understanding why the Lib Dems have lost so many supporters to Ukip since the 2010 election – around 500,000 according to YouGov’s research. After all, the Lib Dems’ message has often focused on economic and political dissatisfaction with the established two parties, reaching its apogee (or nadir) with the party’s now-infamous ‘broken promises’ party election broadcast four years ago.

The moment the Lib Dems became part of the new Coalition Government, especially one implementing austerity economics, those voters attracted by its ‘none-of-the-above’ status quickly deserted it. In any case, a liberal party would always have had problems holding on to voters so strongly motivated both by anti-Europeanism and hostility to immigration.

What’s Ukip’s potential voter base? At least 30% of the public.

So Revolt on the Right explains who Ukip’s voters are (the ‘left behind’) and what motivates them (negativity about the current condition of the UK). What’s the potential for such a political party and which of the established parties is most likely to suffer from Ukip’s insurgency? Ford and Goodwin argue that Ukip’s recent rise is the result not of broadening their appeal, but of deepening it. Certainly that chimes with their current electoral strategy of targeting economically depressed areas with high numbers of pessimistic and disadvantaged voters – you won’t see Nigel Farage standing in a Conservative heartland like Buckingham next year, as he did in 2010 – and a resolutely negative platform of saying no to Europe, no to immigration, and no to anything that smacks of the liberal elite.

There is little here to appeal to moderate, progressive, centrist voters – but Ukip doesn’t care much about them and doesn’t necessarily need to. As the graph below shows, some 30 per cent of the electorate are both Eurosceptic and also opposed to immigration, or Eurosceptic and also politically dissatisfied, with around 20% combining all three: a Ukip triple whammy. That’s a substantial minority of voters who identify closely with core Ukip attitudes – and a growing minority, too.

ukip potential

Here, then, is the dilemma for both the Conservatives and Labour… A chunk of each of their core support among the Ukip-inclined demographic of ‘left behind’ voters is also highly sympathetic to these core Ukip attitudes. These voters are drifting towards Ukip as it establishes electoral credibility. Yet if either the Conservatives or Labour attempt to accommodate such views to hold onto those voters they risk falling between two stools, being seen as inauthentic by Ukip’s fervent fanbase while simultaneously antagonising the rest of their more mainstream voters. As a result, both parties are paralysed by how to respond to Ukip: should they denounce them (as David Cameron once did as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”) or should they ignore them (as Ed Miliband has)? Only Nick Clegg has taken up a decisive position of taking Ukip on, assisted by the knowledge he’s not cutting himself off from his own voters.

Where is Ukip most likely to win? In Labour-held seats.

None of which means Ukip are assured success at the 2015 general election. Ukip suffers a problem quite familiar to third parties: their support is evenly distributed, not concentrated in enough constituencies to enable them to make a break through in the UK’s first-past-the-post system. Ford and Goodwin have drawn up a list of Ukip’s top 10
prospects based on seats with the most Ukip-friendly demographics where the current incumbent won last time with less than 45% of the vote (together with the five by-elections this parliament where Ukip has finished runners-up):

ukip targets

What’s striking about this list is how Labour-dominated it is: 12 of these 15 seats are currently Labour-held, two are Conservative and the Lib Dems hold Eastleigh, where Ukip came closest to winning its first MP 15 months ago. Yet to look at the list is to realise quite how formidable is the challenge facing the Faragistas in 2015; while it would be foolish to rule out the chance of Ukip snatching one of these seats it still remains more likely they will end up empty-handed.

If that happens, what then of Ukip’s disaffected voters? Would such an injustice fire them up for a bigger and better challenge at the 2020 election; or would a crushing disappointment trigger the kind of internal civil war that has previously so damaged Ukip inbetween their blazing Euro election eruptions? Who knows.

Can Ukip be an SDP of the radical right? Lose the battle but win the war…

There is one off-note in Revolt on the Right. Ford and Goodwin dismiss the 1980s’ insurgence of the ‘radical centre’ when the SDP, albeit briefly, looked poised to win the popular vote: “in the end the SDP fell flat, barely denting the mould on the party system they had set out to break”. Except, of course, that the SDP lost the battle but won the war: Tony Blair’s victory under the New Labour banner in 1997 was, in reality, the SDP’s triumph. Socialism had been abandoned, and it was social democracy that propelled Labour to its biggest ever election victory.

Ukip may yet fail as an electoral force: it is, after all, hard to imagine a party reliant on the votes of a declining demographic of older, white, working-class, non-graduate men surging to victory. But that doesn’t mean they can’t win, just as the SDP did a generation before. It’s not so hard to imagine the Tories fighting an election in 2020 with a leader championing Better Off Out anti-Europeanism and decrying immigration. That’s the real danger Ukip poses.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 28th Apr '14 - 8:53am

    ” or should they ignore them (as Ed Miliband has)?

    He hasn’t. He has taken them on and told the electorate that Labour will not be offering a referendum. That is not ignoring UKIP, it is offering the public a choice. This coming European election will now therefore itself be a de facto vote on membership of the E.U. That is not ignoring UKIP.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Apr '14 - 9:00am

    I think this is good, but it misses a key demographic: ethnic minority conservatives. The younger left seems to think they have a monopoly on the ethnic minority vote. I would like to see a clearer and more detailed breakdown of UKIP’s voting base.

  • @ Mack (not a Lib Dem)
    “He has taken them on and told the electorate that Labour will not be offering a referendum. ”

    How courageous of Ed Miliband: simply repeating what Nick Clegg has already said.

    If this counts as “taking on” UKIP, he was rather late in doing it, wasn’t he?

  • Eddie Sammon
    I challenge you to produce a link to any reputable polling organisation’s data to indicate that there is a group large enough to justify the title “key demographic” under the label “ethnic minority conservative”.

    As far as I am aware the percentage of ethnic minority voters who regularly vote Conservative is tiny.
    I will be happy to be proved wrong if there is any evidence to the contrary.
    This is not to say that there are not plenty of people from an ethnic minority with extraordinarily right wing views – but it appears to me that most of those right wing people still tend to vote Labour.

  • I think you need to be careful about stereotyping what the Revolt of the Right calls the ‘Left Behind’. and assuming leaving school at 16 is somehow only a character trait of the poor and disposessed and suggestive of lack of intelligence. Nearly everybody left school at 16 or earlier until a couple of decades ago, when it became fashionable to lower the bar in educational standards, with the aim that 50% would achieve a worthless paper degree.

    The average degree qualified person these days is not some middle class high achiever, but probably works in exactly the same sort of jobs that those leaving school at 16 worked in decades ago and work in today. In fact it is worse than that because today you are likely to see a graduate working in Costa Coffee, whilst somebody leaving school at 16 may well be a an apprentice at Rolls Royce.

    I left school at the earliest opportunity, and completed a highly technical apprenticeship. I run a successful business employing people as do several of my peers who followed a similiar path, and along with people like Alan Sugar could be considered the Left Behind. I own two properties , have a comfortable lifestyle and now have Level 5 qualifications in Archaeology and Business Management. Yet here I am an ardent UKIP supporter, who doesn’t feel left behind at all.
    I don’t feel pessimistic about my personal life, but I am bl**dy angry at the way your party, and Labour, and the Conservatives have conspired to disadvantage the children and grandchildren of all my fellow citizens by allowing unlimited immigration, creating a race to the bottom on wages and social provision. I am bl**dy annoyed that your party in particular but the other two are equally as culpable seemingly place no value whatsoever on our culture and traditions. Your party with Labour and the Conservatives have either willfully set out to destroy our democratic independence , culture and social integrity, or you have done do through sheer bl**dy incompetence.

    We can forgive incompetence, who amongst us is faultless, but I fancy that your party and others on the left like Labour, thrive on the self flagellation you impose on the country and its people to assauge some bizarre sense guilt you seem to feel about our past.

    Labour have had an easy ride whilst we have concentrated on the Conservatives, but many of us working in the North have been saying for a long time that there is huge potential support for UKIP there, but 2020 is our target for taking Labour down, we are just building up steam at the moment.

    If you want to survive as a relevant party you are going to have to decide whether you want to represent our will, or try and impose your will on us. Representative democracy has never sounded so hollow as it does today, you don’t represent us, you represent yourselves,. You should however choose very carefully whose side you are on, because the battles to come will take no prisoners, and you are down to your last battalion of cooks, drivers and wounded men in wheelchairs.

    UKIP is a living breathing response to your duplicity, that is the reality.

  • The economic pessimism is interesting. It’s also a little interesting how Tories are more pessimistic than Labour or Lib Dem. Maybe this is the key divide between Tory and Ukip voters, both generally seen as right wing. They agree about social decline, but Ukip clearly see economic decline too.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Apr '14 - 11:52am

    Hi John, I only have anecdotal evidence of some first generation ethnic minority immigrants sounding very enthusiastic about Nigel Farage. I think it is more Nigel Farage they support, rather than UKIP. One was so enthusiastic he was practically waving his polling card saying he can’t wait to vote for him on May the 22nd – he watched the debates and loved Farage. I think it is the social and economic conservatism.

    Now, of course, all this is anecdotal, which is why I said I would like to see a more in-depth study, but such was the enthusiasm it made me wonder whether there was something more to it. I think the key for the Liberal Democrats is to respect religious freedom, without budging on equal rights.

    I think pointing out the racist remarks from UKIP members is important, but some aren’t buying it and like I said: they seem to be more Nigel Farage supporters, rather than UKIP.

  • Unquestionably there is a worrying degree of alienation from politics and politicians in general and this is one of the main factors which will propel UKIP to a high vote in the European election. Farage has been remarkably successful in managing to portray UKIP as non-political or even anti-political and to be insulated from extensive evidence of the aptness of Cameron’s erstwhile description of their representatives. However one of the great conveniences of the European election from UKIP’s point of view is that many people think it does not matter. Aided by the appalling failure of the British media to give any serious cover to the functions and purposes of the European Parliament, hardly anyone gives a fig as to who their MEPs are. However, despite public alienation applying also at Westminster level, people in general do care who their representatives there are and they are not entirely stupid. They see the fruitcake etc. factor clearly displayed by UKIP and know perfectly well that these people would not be what they want in the House of Commons. So the UKIP vote in 2015 will be much closer to their core (UKIP for ever no matter what) vote than the protest vote which will be harvested by them on May 22.

    Or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Apr '14 - 12:28pm

    I’ve done some research: in 2010 the Conservatives won 16% of the ethnic minority vote. Now, it may not be big, but some of them are going to UKIP and is it really healthy to use crude generalisations such as “older, white, left behind” voters.

  • @ Denis

    What is their core vote.?

    We got 3% in 2010, and commentators on every blog and every newspaper practically to a man and woman even by 2012 were still talking that 1-3% was probably the best they would do in 2015,
    6%,9%, 12%,15%, 18% came and went in the polls, and now very few commentators suggest UKIP will get less then 10% and in real elections UKIP are consistently getting between 18% and 30% , so who is right,

    As a betting man I would be happy to put money on the simple premise that 10% will be at the bottom end of our range for 2015, and by 2020 10% will be as relevant as the 3% of 2010 seems today, and more importantly our core vote has been consistenly shown in the polls in recent months as being the most committed and certain to vote.

  • I wish I could add to, and improve on what Raddiy said :
    But I find it impossible to get the core points across any better. You really need to print off the Raddiy comment, and stick it to your fridge door, so that you get to read it every day. Seriously.

  • Raddiy:
    “I am bl**dy annoyed that your party in particular but the other two are equally as culpable seemingly place no value whatsoever on our culture and traditions.”

    Would you mind expanding on this point? Specifics would be helpful; you’ve taken a fair amount of time to express your anger so it would be good to have something meaty to latch onto in response.

    Apologies for only choosing to respond to this particular comment. The rest I’ve done to death at drunken Xmas dinner discussions with my family, who are all potential Ukip voters, with backgrounds not dissimilar to yours (though in most cases they’ve put in considerably less effort).

  • paul barker 28th Apr '14 - 2:54pm

    A fair analysis but most of those who feel they can take a risk with a Protest in 3 weeks wont feel the same about the General Election. UKIP will make big gains next year, doubling or even tripling their 2010 result but they will still be a fringe Party with no MPs & 2014 will be seen as their peak.

    On a vaguely related theme has anyone else heard rumours about exciting things planned for May Day. If I was still a Communist I would be wanting to get back on the Front Pages right now.

  • @Raddiy

    One, your assertion about educational quality is bunk – your generation had fewer people educated to post-16 level because you lacked opportunity, not because you are uniformly stupid. My generation has had the opportunity and is better educated because of that, not because its standards are lowered to the point of uselessness. This is what is known as progress. Well done, your generation achieved something. To undermine that by telling us that my generation only benefits from lowered standards is annoying and conterproductive for society as a whole. You should also have a care when taking potshots in a generational conflict, since we are in the aftermath of yet another budget where the interests of the older generations yet again ran rough over any hopes the younger ones might have had.

    Two, could you please just tell me exactly what elements of British culture have been suppressed by the Liberal Democrats, or by liberal politics more broadly? Which British traditions have been got rid of? When? By whom? And ‘our democratic independence’? Where were you when Britain decided to surrender its independence to United States interests? And let’s have an answer to why its a bad thing to join and take part as an equal in deciding democratically what Europe is going to do about the issues that we’re all too small individually to affect – Or is it precisely that ability to stand up to the moneyed special interests that offends you?

    And finally, if you are indeed a betting man, placing any serious money on a UKIP win sometime around 2025 would seem unwise. You need to look at your party’s demographics and the country’s life expectancy figures. If you can’t break through into mainstream success (double figures of MPs and a serious local government base that doesn’t blame its policy failings on divine intervention due to gay marriage) in 2015 (2020 at the very latest) then you’ll have missed your chance.

    Oh, that’s not to say that a populist party labelled ‘UKIP’ might not do well in the 30s, but the ideals espoused by Nigel Farage will have been dumped to accommodate generational shifts in opinion away from homophobic, xenophobic, remember the empire style jingoism.

  • The freedom to offend and be offended might be a case in point.

    I remember in my youth many happy hours listening to numpties and barmpots talking about all sorts of rubbish at Speakers Corner in London, yet a numpty campaigning in Winchester a couple of days ago for the euro elections quoting Winston Churchill was arrested for Islamaphobia, for using Churchills words because somebody complained.

    Liberals by name, but certainly not be nature, you are large state, interfering busybodies who want to find offence with everything, and ban whatever you can. You have been complicit in turning the country into a fearful place which was perfectly exampled recently by a national newspaper, when they placed a lost child into a city scene, only to find that nobody came forward to help for fear of being accused of something.

    You have turned us from a community focused country, into a series of individuals frightened of their own shadows, because causing offence has been criminalised to such an extent, that we effectively cause it with every breath we breathe out.

    I could go on, but if you can’t see there is a problem out there, then I doubt you will ever really understand it. The problem is visceral not something tangible that can be legislated away or mollified with vacuous statements. The mood is that we are being deliberately stripped of who we are , in some ideological desire to create a brave new one world identity.

  • @ T-J

    Oh dear! Did my having a pop at my ‘better educated’ and ‘intellectual superiors’ hit the spot.

    Rubbish you are making the usual predictable assumption that having a 2:2 degree in the History of Morris Dancing or PPE or some other of the multitude of useless qualifications is actually an opportunity, when in reality the vast majority of those graduates end up in mundane roles in job centres and other admin type roles. On the contrary I would consider those who train to be aerospace engineers through an apprenticeship from 16 to have had the real opportunity.

    Gaining marketable skills that you can sell to the highest bidder is what opportunity is about in a capitalist system, not spending 3 years getting a degree with two years spent in the student union, followed by a £50, 000 debt that you will never be able to service because a degree these days is the equivalent as far as most employers are concerned to a couple of GCE’s 30 years ago, and is simply a method of thinning out the applicants.

    I have answered one of your other questions to Stewart, and the rest of your rant simply highlights perfectly the reason why your party is a dead man walking in the polls.

  • Raddiy, you are free to offend me and I am free to find your opinions annoying. You are not free to abuse members of the public in a sectarian way, and religious intolerance is not a British tradition or a fundamental part of our culture. Indeed, it can be argued that ours is the cradle of religious tolerance and pluralism, where the state first refused to ‘make windows into mens’ souls’ for political gain.

    The man in question is free to hate muslims and find precedent for his hate in Churchill’s writings. But he is not free to stand in the entrance to Winchester Guildhall and harass other members of the public with his hate.

    I’ll also address your point about that newspaper and its lost child publicity stunt – you are blaming liberal politics for the perception that everyone is afraid of dealing with children for fear of being labelled as paedophiles. You miss the point utterly – the gutter press has for decades been more interested in publishing witchhunts against random members of the general public than in exposing those of the social elites who actually get away with that. The Sun publishing the address of a paediatrician as part of its name and shame campaign while utterly failing to act on the knowledge that men like Savile were operating an organised structure of abuse, for example.

    And back to your education comments. Your assumption that anyone younger and better educated than you is a moron with a made up degree is insulting and annoying. You’re free to make it, I’m free to challenge it and everyone else is free to decide which of us has the problem with generational prejudice and envy.

    Its Geology, actually, and if you consider that a useless degree then I hope you walk everywhere and live in a wooden shack in the forest somewhere. Then again, whinging about a thing while shamelessly pocketing the benefits from it is pretty much what UKIP does, isn’t it?

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 28th Apr '14 - 4:54pm

    @ Raddiy

    There are many achievements to be derived from an education in the school of hard knocks and the university of life but objective, rational reflection and cognitive perspective do not feature amongst them. These are possessed by those who have proceeded through a course of higher education and have learnt how to engage in objective reflection and to think for themselves. The purpose of education is not just to get a job, it is to become a rational thinker who has a keen regard for evidence in order to avoid making prejudiced, unsubstantiated assertions. There are many reasons why people with degrees are working in call centres or supermarkets, and it is not because they have “Degrees in Morris Dancing” as you so insultingly put it. It is because the objectives of right wing, free market capitalism are to maximise profits by bearing down on labour costs through the exploitation of workers and to eschew all activities which have no profit motive or financial return. The obverse of Socialism. With investment and imagination all the well educated minds we have created could be put to work in socially useful but not necessarily profitable activities. It just needs the intellectual will which the Right and the Far Right simply do not possess. Only the state can create real jobs and real worth.

    Frankly, to me the absurd generalisations, stereotyping and unsubstantiated assertions of UKIP make them indistinguishable from the BNP and just as odious.

    As MEPs are elected under a system of proportional representation UKIP will probably do well, but not as well, I suspect, as their right wing friends in the media who promote them so enthusiastically assume they will. Fortunately, the British people have had the good sense to reject the Liberal Democrats’ attempts to impose proportional representation at parliamentary elections.

  • @ T-J

    You really shouldn’t put words in my mouth, I never called anyone a moron.

    I made the point, and it is still valid that most graduates in this country do not work in graduate level jobs, if they did the student loan book would not be on the verge of collapse without further increases in student loan rates, simply because the majority of graduates are not earning enough to make repayments. That is a market in operation, supply and demand which is is how it works unless you live in a command economy. . They are not in graduate level jobs because there is no requirement for several hundred geologists or archaeologists or any other ist fior that matter every year.

    As a matter of interest do you work as a geologist?

    Leaving school at 16 or whatever and the ability to analyse and debate with intellectual rigour are not mutually exclusive, and neither are ‘ better education’ and intellectual vacuity.

    In recent years there has been a level of arrogance coming from the 20 and 30 something generations with their paper qualifications, namely that they are somehow intellectually superior to the rest of the plebs in understanding the issues of the the day. You are not, you just happen to be plebs with paper qualifications who usually work in call centres or coffee shops when you are not looking for work as geologists.
    I am glad you have been annoyed with my comments about your paper qualifications, perhaps you will bear that in mind when you discuss issues in future and consider that perhaps the plumber might just be intellectually capable of making a reasoned argument about issues such as the EU and the benefits or disadvantages of our membership as ‘better educated’ stars that inhabit the leftie blogs.

  • “The freedom to offend and be offended might be a case in point.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure…

    “I remember in my youth many happy hours listening to numpties and barmpots talking about all sorts of rubbish at Speakers Corner in London, yet a numpty campaigning in Winchester a couple of days ago for the euro elections quoting Winston Churchill was arrested for Islamaphobia, for using Churchills words because somebody complained.”

    Did the Lib Dems cause this? Actual ‘liberals’? If so, then they are not worthy of the label.

    “Liberals by name, but certainly not be nature, you are large state, interfering busybodies who want to find offence with everything, and ban whatever you can. You have been complicit in turning the country into a fearful place which was perfectly exampled recently by a national newspaper, when they placed a lost child into a city scene, only to find that nobody came forward to help for fear of being accused of something. ”

    What does this have to do with the Lib Dems?

    “You have turned us from a community focused country, into a series of individuals frightened of their own shadows, because causing offence has been criminalised to such an extent, that we effectively cause it with every breath we breathe out.”

    What has this got to do with the Lib Dems?

    “I could go on, but if you can’t see there is a problem out there, then I doubt you will ever really understand it. The problem is visceral not something tangible that can be legislated away or mollified with vacuous statements. The mood is that we are being deliberately stripped of who we are , in some ideological desire to create a brave new one world identity.”

    I agree almost entirely with most of your sentiments. I’m a liberal (well, almost a libertarian by some definitions). So are you, by the sounds of things. I don’t see that any of the above has been caused by real liberals or even Lib Dems, though I’m sure the illiberal left have played their part.

    That said, I think you’re harking back to a very idealised view of the world that I don’t recognise. I don’t like to speak ill of generations past but I don’t see that they were half as civic as you portray (which is not to say the Britain of today is better).

    Thank you for the response, must admit it wasn’t what I was expecting. I think your ire is being directed at the wrong folk, I’m afraid. Either that or I’m lining up on the wrong side!

  • As a very disillusioned Lib Dem member in Greenwich, this report does not spell out what UKIP actually stands for and whether these policies would appeal to their voters eg bringing back fox hunting, dismantling the welfare state, privatising the NHS, enabling gun ownership, bringing back an elitist education system with grammar schools, removing workers rights such as maternity pay and paying women less for the same work, opposing gay marriage. The other parties including labour should be spelling out how these policies would disadvantage their core support and why anti immigration and EU rhetoric will not improve the living conditions of so many people. In fact if Nick Clegg is not prepared to do this or carries on doing so half heartedly we need a new radical Social Liberal party which wil take them on and offer a positive alternative.

  • On immigration, I think it’s possible to oppose unlimited immigration but also not to rabble rouse on the same subject as UKIP does, recognising that all countries with limited resources and space need controls and management. For instance Canada has limited or controlled immigration but is a highly multicultural society. In fact when I stayed there for one summer I noticed how diverse the population of Montreal in Quebec is. Other countries in the EU have managed immigration far better than we have here that’s for sure.

  • jedibeeftrix 28th Apr '14 - 7:09pm

    this perhaps sums up why i have never found ukip an attractive home for my vote, for while i am a euroskeptic i am not dissatisfied with politics, bothered by immigration in principle, or overly pessimistic on my economic prospects.

    i am sympathetic to the specifics of raddiy’s compliant on the compromises that the consensus politics have wrought. a good example being the numerous incitement to ‘x’ hatred laws that i detest, but consensus politics has deemed necessary to accommodate a less homogenous polity.

  • John Barrett 28th Apr '14 - 8:07pm

    The prospects for UKIP in Scotland at the European elections may well be as poor, as Caron Lindsay predicts (with them coming nowhere), However, our own prospects are not that much better. We will not see the Liberal Democrats in a contest with Labour, the Conservatives and the SNP for seats in the European Parliament, we will more likely be challenging the Greens and UKIP for that final seat when votes are counted. If UKIP does appeal to the working man, there are many Labour voters in Scotland to make that appeal to, and if they are perceived as anti-establishment, the SNP are a good target in Scotland for them as well. Mr Farage’s challenge to Alex Salmond to a TV debate on Europe shows just how good he is at developing populist tactics. They do not appeal to Liberal Democrat voters, but sadly they do appeal to many others. I hope I am wrong.

  • OK, here’s my two penny worth as a first time UKIP voter in May.

    I think the political elite and the media, especially the lobby, are still in total denial as to what is going on. It it quite simply the most exciting political movement and awakening of my life, and I am in my fifties.

    Think about it, a grass roots movement with hardly any finance (compared to the big two), no serious heavy hitters as staffers (cf Crosby or Axelrod) no organisation, no MP’s, hardly any councillors and an unremittingly hostile broadcast and print media is on track to come first in a national poll. Can you think of anything like it since the rise of Labour itself? You can compare it to the SDP, but that was led by four cabinet ministers including Roy Jenkins, one of the most able and influential politicians of the twentieth century. Farage is an intellectual lightweight by comparison and there is no-one else in the party but him. And still they are going to come first??? It is extraordinary.

    Unprecedented, exciting.

    As political nerds even you must be astounded and impressed, surely? I understand the ideology is anathema to you obviously, and it isn’t going to be nice to be wiped out in these elections, but in bald political terms can you salute the achievement? Farage has turned a sow’s ear of a party into a silk purse. He (along with Alex Salmond) is the outstanding politician of the post Blair era. Forget Gordon Brown and the three current party leaders. He has achieved more, with less, than any of them.

    For the first time for years politics is exciting again. And (although you aren’t going to thank me for this) your boy will be seen, when this story is told, as having played a part in his rise. And UKIP’s. What was he thinking taking him on in those debates and then putting in a performance like that? It catapulted Farage onto the national stage and I don’t think you are going to get him off it any time soon. He is setting the agenda. As Joe Chamberlain (a hero of mine as it goes ) was said to do, he is “setting the weather.”

    Don’t over analyse it, but watch, it is going to be a wild ride. The “people’s army” are on the march. And the fact that they are working class and uneducated makes it all the better and more delicious. We are the modern sans culottes! 🙂

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Apr '14 - 9:58pm

    @ T-J,
    Your responses absolutely bowled me over. It was not simply the content but also the cool and composed way that you responded.

  • I just wanted to pick up a point on the thread I hadn’t noticed before.

    TJ wrote: “You are not free to abuse members of the public in a sectarian way, and religious intolerance is not a British tradition or a fundamental part of our culture. Indeed, it can be argued that ours is the cradle of religious tolerance and pluralism, where the state first refused to ‘make windows into mens’ souls’ for political gain.

    The man in question is free to hate muslims and find precedent for his hate in Churchill’s writings. But he is not free to stand in the entrance to Winchester Guildhall and harass other members of the public with his hate.”

    This goes to the essential difference between Establishment Liberals (not just Lib Dems) and we Kippers.

    These ridiculous race hate laws, and how they are selectively applied creates discord and division and promotes the very lack of social cohesion they attempt to address, whilst not dealing with the really serious problems we face. They are utterly ineffective, profoundly illiberal in the true sense, and counter productive.

    Have you any idea how disproportionate it is to arrest someone for quoting a nondescript book by Churchill, when the Koran itself contains passages which are ten times more violent and sectarian, and of course can be quoted with impunity? Take a look at Churchill’s words again then compare them to the below:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

    REAL “hate” preachers are quoting passages like that to promote terrorism in mosques and University Islamic societies, and prisons up and down the country. How many of those lectures and preachings lead to prosecutions? They aren’t harmless mind. A British soldier was hacked to death in a London street, you may recall. Lee Rigby was an unbeliever, and the two Islamists used meat cleavers to strike him about the neck and finger tips whilst he was still alive. Just like the Koran told them to do in this passage. Well I am not an Islamic scholar but it kinda looks like it doesn’t it? It certainly did to those two maniacs.

    Proesecute the crazy guy in Winchester and feel all liberal and virtuous. Leave the real sectarianism and hatred to fester and grow, for fear of antagonising the “Muslim Community.” That’s you Establishment Liberals.

    It is evil nonsense like this that is causing UKIP’s rise. You won’t find a UKIP voter who disagrees with me. We have had enough of your wishy washy Establishment Liberalism that is too scared to stand up for its own values and has betrayed the country.

    It is because you don’t stand for anything that no-one want to vote for you.

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Apr '14 - 10:04pm

    @ Simon,
    ‘A grassroots movement with hardly any finance’. Do you mean apart from multi- millionaires like Paul Sykes who financed your billboards?

  • “Ukip’s core vote in reality is made up of what the authors define as ‘left behind’ voters, overwhelmingly comprising older white working class males with no formal educational qualifications.”

    Since the last poll I saw gave UKIP around 30% of the vote – even if you half that – how can the above be true? If it is then the majority of the male population must fall into that category. I think it’s far to simplistic to assume UKIP only appeal to a certain type of voter. Baroness Thatcher was one of the most right wing PM’s this country has ever had, but she won massive majorities attracting both male and female voters from all walks of life. If UKIP do well in the euro and local elections it is possible that their success could continue into the GE. Lets face facts we are not seeing anything from the main parties to make us leave our television sets to vote are we.

  • @ Jayne

    Ha ha! He was a find, although my main point still stands, UKIP hasn’t got any money compared to Labour and the Tories.

    The best thing about those billboards was the coverage. You have to admit the campaign was a master stroke. Provoke the Liberal Establishment media and a couple of off message politicians to play the race card and solidify your core support whilst getting the anti immigration USP across to potential new voters through the wall to wall coverage.

    Remember, we weren’t targeting you guys! We don’t care what you think, although obviously annoying you is a delight. And you played right into our hands. When are your friends in the BBC and Fleet Street going to twig that calling people racist and feigning outrage doesn’t make them want to vote for you? It all plays into the bullied underdog fighting the big bad establishment which is what our strategy is all about.

  • Simon

    The billboard ads may or may not have worked for UKIP – I’m not really sure about that – but UKIP candidates saying someone like Lenny Henry should move to a “black” country wasn’t exactly a good idea. People may worry about immigration, but don’t make the mistake of thinking the UK is a racist country. If UKIP come across as a racist party, who won’t tolerate people because of the colour of their skin their vote will soon disappear.

  • @ Helen

    You wrote: “However, the UKIP phenomenon is a real wake up call to Labour’s front bench of Oxbridge-educated former interns and political advisers. They’re not connecting with their core vote, because they don’t know how to.”

    True. Labour is still pretty much the default party of BME voters presently and that is a growing demographic which they can’t afford to lose. It is a huge asset for them. UKIP voters are disproportionately white, obviously, and obsessed with immigration. The difficulty in devising policy options to attract and hold both constituencies will be a hard circle for them to square,

  • @ Malc

    The Lenny Henry comment won’t have any traction for you I am afraid. Sorry to disappoint!

    Anyway fun talking to you all but I am going to love you and leave you all now. See you after the 22nd, and that IS a promise…

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Apr '14 - 11:12pm

    Simon, but making EU immigrants feel unwelcome is not a game, it hurts people. Vote UKIP all you like, but I wouldn’t make out it is a bit of a laugh and just annoying the “establishment”.

  • Peter Watson 28th Apr '14 - 11:22pm

    It surprises me that it surprises anybody that those who feel their jobs threatened by mass immigration would be attracted by UKIP’s anti-immigration message.

  • @Raddiy

    You perhaps shouldn’t get too enthusiastic with the ‘don’t put words in my mouth’ stuff, that blade cuts both ways. I haven’t asserted anywhere that people with fewer formal qualifications can’t debate a political issue. UKIPpers fail at analysing issues because you come at them from flawed basic assumptions, not because you lack education.

    Your point about arrogance undermines itself, since while telling me how arrogant we twentysomethings are, you dismiss the whole generation as ‘plebs with paper qualifications who usually work in call centres or coffee shops’. Its quite telling that this Roman class distinction has become one of today’s big political words. A term of contempt for the working, aimed by the moneyed class at those they felt to be beneath them.

    And on debating the EU with the plumber, well, I haven’t had any issues with plumbing lately, but the electrician who came to sort out the lighting after the water damage from a leaky roof this winter wouldn’t be particularly interested in UKIP’s free marketeering jingoistic platform. Another Yes voter for Scotland, I’m afraid, but one who sees the benefits for us all in being part of the European Union and its single market, and who values the ability of that union to collectively bargain for his interests against those of the capitalist elite. I can respect that, although I’m still not going to join him in the Yes camp.

    Oh, and one last point – you ask me about my job. Its not really relevant and as others have pointed out, the idea that someone’s job and role in the labour market defines their very being is one that holds us back. But, for your information, I now study peat bogs and the impacts of traditional agriculture. Its a bit messier than the geology and probably doesn’t sound connected, but a lot of what I was looking at while being a geologist was ancient peat bog recording the evolution of the Earth’s geochemical systems over deep time. It is important to get data on the more immediate impacts of changes that we can and perhaps should make today.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 29th Apr '14 - 2:06am

    @Simon “If UKIP come across as a racist party, who won’t tolerate people because of the colour of their skin their vote will soon disappear”

    I only wish that I could share your belief in this, but sadly the media over the past few years has unchecked been promoting a particular intolerant viewpoint about immigration and BME communities which some politicians have managed to exploit.

    Ukip will sadly do even better before it eventually collapses, but I fear for the harm that will result from the increased intolerance that is being espoused by not only Ukip, but others from the Right.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 29th Apr '14 - 8:46am

    “and consider that perhaps the plumber might just be intellectually capable of making a reasoned argument about issues such as the EU and the benefits or disadvantages of our membership as ‘better educated’ stars that inhabit the leftie blogs.”

    Not if that plumber simply accepts unthinkingly UKIP’s propaganda that 26 million Europeans are after his job without asking to see UKIP’s evidence for that assertion; or reflecting that many plumbers went to work in Germany in the 1980s when the Right destroyed their jobs over here. Or ask, why the 26 million haven’t already arrived. (cf UKIP’s propaganda concerning Romanians) . The essence of of an educated mind is that it can distinguish between truth and propaganda, ( i.e., between verifiable and unverifiable beliefs) and the fact that there are so many uneducated minds to infect with its propaganda is what UKIP thrives on. The most sinister aspect of UKIP is it’s anti intellectualism. Right wing, totalitarian organisations are historically anti-intellectual and irrationally blame intellectuals for everything that is perceived to be negative about society. The burning of books by the Nazis in Bebelplatz, comes immediately to mind.

  • @simon

    Why don’t you try engaging with the EU. The opportunity to move and work freely across the EU has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. And when you try to move and work outside it the bureaucracy of work permits and visa is soul destroying.

    Try this:
    1. Getting a business visa for Russia, just to go and do some training
    2. Starting and implementing a whole project in Italy

    Then tell me the EU isn’t a great thing!

    The EU has expanded my horizons. I’d like to think our children’s horizons will expand even further.

  • @Mack +1

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Apr '14 - 9:28am

    If leaving school at sixteen offers such great opportunities, ( and I am sure it does for some), I wonder why some of the UKIP posters on here who left school at sixteen seem so intent on insulting those who stay on in education. Why not be grateful that it worked out well for you.

    I have always believed that education is about learning higher order thinking skills and about gaining transferable skills rather than just about getting a job, important as getting a job might be. In the past it was the preserve of a wealthy elite, now thank goodness the opportunities have widened.

    I assume that those posters who make insulting comments about graduates will be advising their own children to leave school at sixteen given the wonderful opportunities and life-enhancing benefits of choosing that route, although in my experience, those who left school at sixteen have been those who wanted ‘something more’ for their own children. Many of them have themselves taken the opportunity to have a second ‘bite of the cherry’ by taking degrees through the Open University or other institutions.

    To demean the value of higher education and the efforts put in by students seems to me like the ranting of people with a massive chip on their shoulder.

  • @Raddiy

    “Most graduates do not work in graduate-level jobs” has a very specific meaning. It is also eminently testable as we have some of the best data on graduate outcomes in the world.

    Unfortunately, this assertion turns out to be entirely and completely wrong, and you can see it either from our early destination data, or from ONS data available through a range of public data tools.

    It is easy to be gulled by sensationalist reporting about the university system and the outcomes of graduates. All political parties, the Lib Dems far from excluded, are fond of misrepresenting higher education for political purposes – and have done for decades (arguably, even centuries).

    The result is that the British seem to be the only people in the world who think that the UK does not have an exceptionally good higher education system, that spending on HE is a luxury and that the UK seems to be the only developed nation where the idea that part of the nation’s issues is that there are too many young people getting an education is an ostensibly serious political stance rather than the idiotic fringe argument that is ought to be.

    In reality, contrary to the guff of the usual pontificators, a degree has never been a passport to a career, we have always had unemployed graduates, and the very large majority of degree holders go on to good careers for which a degree is necessary. I am surprised that someone who claims to be the age that you are appears to have entirely forgotten the 70s and 80s, when the UK went through a lengthy, protracted and painful process of de-industrialisation, but one of the consequences of that change was the loss of a lot of skilled manual roles and their replacement with jobs for which a degree is a requirement. Oh, and at no point has 50% of even a single age group been to university (except in Scotland). Most people in this country – and most 18 year olds now – will never go to university.

    The OECD remarked this year that the UK has a rather odd labour market now with, in global terms, a much larger chunk of the economy requiring degree-level skills than comparable economies, a much larger chunk of the economy than comparable economies requiring few, if any, qualifications and very little in the middle. This means that there is a widening chasm between those with higher education qualifications in terms of experiences, earnings and prospects, and those without. We see this in a myriad of ways, from your comments about younger degree holders, to the dissociation of a degree-holding political and professional class from the population who have not been to university, and who now have far less chance of bridging the gap – the slow exclusion of everyone who is not in a well-paid professional job from many parts of the country is another sympton. That’s part of the reason your party is gathering momentum.

    Unfortunately, it seems you have been taking in by a load of claptrap about graduates. It’s hardly surprising, as this drivel is pervasive, and it would be easy to end with a sting like ‘if you’d been to university, you wouldn’t have fallen for it’ but plenty of graduates have swallowed this bull themselves. Someone is trying to manipulate you into slating young people trying to make the best of themselves. Don’t let them.

  • I’m not sure people are trying to demean the value of higher education or slating young who are trying to make the best of themselves . It’s just that in these days of students leaving university saddled with £50k debts and in many cases no more qualified for a job than someone who left education after taking their A – Levels – is it a wise choice? I know it’s a life experience, but a very expensive one. I didn’t have the advantage of higher education and wish that I had, but that was in a time of free tuition and student grants. However, and this may be my working class background fear of debt talking, if I was 18 today the prospect of a £50k debt would be enough to keep me out of university.

  • @ Chris Riley.

    I wasn’t having a pop at our young people, I was playing devils advocate, simply attempting to prick the inflated bubble that you see across all the blogs BTL that somehow this brave new world of highly educated 20-30 somethings have all the answers to all questions, and that the views of the earlier generations are of less value because of some perceived educational deficit. The responses on here, all the wounded indignation, that I have sullied and degraded their ‘better education ‘ has proved my point

    We will have to disagree on what is defined as a graduate level job. Just because an employer asks for a degree from applicants for a job that previously only required a decent set of GCSE’s does not make it a graduate level job in any other sense than the application of job grade inflation.

    Of course studying for a degree gives you a certain set of skills in analysis and formulating an argument etc, but are they really only skills you can get by having a ‘better education’. If they are how did so many politicians and leaders in the past manage so well. Winston Churchill joined the army at 19, and he didn;t do to badly, and a whole raft of early Labour polticians came straight out of the pit, shipyard or steelworks after probably leaving school at 14, and didn’t do badly without a ‘ better education’.

    A few weeks ago we had a man, a leader of the LibDems with a ‘better education’ debating with a man without one, This fine specimen of a higher educatio, had to rely on spurious and discredited data, such as 3 million jobs will be lost if we leave the EU, data which had been discredited by its original author. Why did Nick Clegg use it, I would suggest simply because he couldn’t formulate an argument to articulate his case, so he resorted to lies and half truths, allowing the man, what’s his name, Farage or something, with his lack of higher education to eviscerate Mr Clegg.

    Anyway don’t underestimate the Kippers, we may according to the ‘better educated’ be on the verge of dying out, but we have been very active between the sheets, and there are shoals of fry growing rapidly all over the place. even some with a ‘better education’.

    Anyway have enjoyed the banter, and if you smell something funny in the air in around your parliamentary seats, it is probably a shoal of kippers gathering…:-)

  • @Raddiy

    I am afraid that the only point you’ve proven is that you don’t really understand the way the industrial needs of the country have changed over the last 30 years.

    You can ‘disagree’ all you like about what constitutes a graduate level job, but unfortunately it isn’t really a matter of debate in the broad sense. We have a definition (actually, strictly speaking, we have a few but they are not broadly dissimilar) and, amusingly your re-definition appears to parrot those espoused by the 60s elitists who were appalled by the idea that working class kids might get to go to university and, worse still, then possibly become architects or lawyers, instead of their children who were supposed to be born and bred to this kind of trade. They lost the argument, of course, but that hasn’t stopped them trying to continue it for 50 years in the hope that a bad argument might get better through incessant repetition.

  • Perhaps ‘Raddiy’ won’t mind me pointing out that The Dear Leader of UKIP attended one of Britain’s ‘Top Twenty’ price-fixing group of public schools. The man with a fag and a pint is not a poor boy from the slums who has ‘made good’.

    It is also worth observing that an early Labour politician who did not come ‘out of the pit…’ was Clement Attlee, another public schoolboy and, a few years ago, chosen as Britain’s finest peacetime PM of the 20th century. An even earlier socialist politician was the eccentric founder of the Social Democratic Federation; he was educated at Eton and played county cricket for Sussex

  • Perhaps I might ask Raddiy if he believes that Jaguar/Land Rover, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, plus many other exporting companies would remain in Britain were we to leave the EU. Raddiy may accept that such employers are valuable immigrants from overseas.

  • @Raddiy

    The two politicians debating were both public schoolboys, one of whom went to university and the other who followed the family trade in the City. The idea that Farage is some uneducated salt-of-the-earth type is laughable. He went to Dulwich, founded in 1619, and one of the poshest private schols in the country and he went to Dulwich because his family were wealthy, and he has as much idea what life is like for the less affluent in this country as David Cameron.

  • David White 29th Apr '14 - 1:25pm

    Well said, Chris Riley. I suspect that you and I were typing feverishly (with two fingers? – To Farij?) at the same times as one another. However, I must disagree about one thing: Dulwich is not ‘one of the poshest public schools’. My alma mater (and Nige’s) does not ‘do’ social poshness. Very few Old Alleynians are posh, and those who try to be are just pretentious so-and-sos!

    Nick Easter, posh? Nor were Forester or Wodehouse. Neither Swift nor Ondaatje are posh. Ejiofor is not posh – although Penry-Jones seems a bit posh! Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan are not posh. Et al (ad infinitum).

  • Was going to leave you to it till after the election but have just heard David Steel’s WATO i/v and just had to come back to this thread.

    Someone (Malc?) took the moral high ground and accused UKIP of fostering “racists” because some insignificant candidate made a comment about Lenny Henry. Obviously UKIP should take a firm line, root out this evil cancer, ya de ya. As you will have noticed the notorious comment was all over the media. Wall to wall coverage.

    Well if the electorate is supposed to take UKIP to task for the failings of an individual candidate who said something rude, what is it to make of a party which had as a long standing MP someone who was part of a paedophile ring? Who made a vulnerable boy take down his clothes so he could “spank your bare bottom”? Who put his hand in the same boys crotch in the Commons? Who forced another boy (or was it the same one??) to give him oral sex? What is it to make of a leader who made light of it, saying it goes on “in public schools”? Who got this evil Liberal MP a knighthood?

    I put it to you that this story, exploding now, is an utter catastrophe for the Lib Dems. And that if you ever had a chance of avoiding a wipe out in May’s elections that has now gone. The question the electorate are going to ask, of this party which takes the moral high ground and accuses others of racism surely is this:

    Can a decent person now vote for the Liberal Democrats?

  • @simon actually you’re doing a better job of persuading me to vote LibDem again than anyone else has done over the last few years.

  • @Raddiy actually if we could make education and training a continuous lifelong thing rather than something that you do once that would be the best way to keep people employable and active throughout their working lives.

    And the degree you do doesn’t define the career you pursue. I know people who are excellent programmers with maths degrees and music degrees (its all symbolic logic).

  • I have to say that if Smith had been a UKIP MP, the UKIP leader from 1979 had handled the situation like “it was only slapping a few bare bottoms” David Steele and then the current leader had handled the situation like “my party didn’t exist then” Clegg, there would have been outrage on this board. Why can’t Lib Dems ever just be straight forward about things – admit Smith was by all accounts a sick so and so and that the party have handled it badly. They should apologise to the victims about the lack of a proper investigation and stop trying to share the blame with others.

  • Peter Watson 29th Apr '14 - 5:31pm

    @simon “Someone took the moral high ground and accused UKIP of fostering “racists” because some insignificant candidate made a comment about Lenny Henry.”
    Your comment reminded me of something Farage mentioned in a radio interview about this, referring to a Lib Dem councillor being convicted for racially aggravated assault. I assume it was this story (
    It does seem somewhat hypocritical that we choose to extrapolate the offensive views of some UKIP members to paint the whole of that party as racist but we would not do so in the case of this Lib Dem.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Apr '14 - 8:19am

    I would not call UKIP racist but I think that Nigel Farage should be asking himself why it seems to attract people with such views.

  • Interesting decision by Nige not to contest Newark!

    Personally I think it is an opportunity missed. True it is a difficult three way marginal and not natural UKIP territory. So it would have been a tough fight, and not clear at all that he would have won. I think he would have walked it though, even though he clearly doesn’t think so! Plus even coming second with a strong showing like Roy Jenkins did to a young George Galloway in Glasgow Hillhead could have kept the momentum going.

    But Nige is playing it safe and will contest a seat at the time and place of his choosing. You can see the thinking, the expectation now is so high that anything other than a victory would be portrayed as a crippling defeat, the wheels coming off, ya de ya. Safe, but rather disappointing in my view. There is a tide in the affairs of men and all that.

    The more interesting question now though is will this damage UKIP in the Euros? It might, you have to say it might. I don’t think so though, for this reason. UKIP is tapping into a huge popular discontent, and it is so threatening that the other parties, through their cheerleaders in the media are indulging in ad hominem attacks on individual candidates, and the whole UKIP are “racist” agenda. This offers a new flank of attack and expect a barrage of “Nigel is frit” not the man he claims to be, weak, cowardly and so on and on. I think the media will blow it, as they have done so far. Attack him too much and it will backfire. Will the media be sufficiently circumspect not to go way over the top with these attacks too? I don’t think so, they have screwed it up so far, so why will they get it right this time?

    When you have captured the public mood, all attacks don’t just bounce off, they arouse more attention and sympathy and even increase support. That seems to be the sweet spot UKIP are in. But I could be wrong and this could be a terrible mistake.

    We’ll see!


  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 30th Apr '14 - 9:24am

    Simon, Jenkins won the Hillhead by-election in 1982 – and held it in 1983 against the odds. Galloway won it in 1987.

  • Simon

    I think it’s a smart move by Farage , he says himself he has little or no ties with Newark and it could distract him from the May elections. Much better to find a candidate from the area and avoid being seen as the type of politician who would go anywhere just to get elected. Voters may find it a pleasent change to have a MP who actually has an interest in the area they represent – they seem to be a dying breed.

  • @ Caron

    You are right! My memory is not what it was, I was thinking of the Warrington by election, where Jenkins missed it by a whisker.

    I remember the candidate, I thought was Galloway, but research has reminded me was the now unknown Doug Hoyle giving a ridiculous, graceless winning speech, and Jenkins ripping it apart. And I remember that because I had a tutorial the next day, and my tutor, a guy called Ross McKibbon who was a bit of an expert on the Labour Party and I joked about how absurd Hoyle’s speech had been…

    Sad how the memory fades… 🙁

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Apr '14 - 11:55am

    @ malc,
    What ties did he have with Buckingham?

  • Have you guys checked out the latest polls???

    You guys are +1 in Com Res and NC in the other. So a small step in the right direction I suppose.

    UKIP are +8 in Com Res and +7 in the other. Now I an no psephologist but I think that is QUITE. In fact it isn’t an exaggeration to describe what looks like coming (obviously not in the bag yet) as a political earthquake. Just as Nige said.

    This after days of racism, and Lenny Henry and Expenses and ,well
    you have been following how negative this campaign has been and know as well as I.

    My sweet Lord, that is incredible. Have we reached our limit or is there still space to grow???

    Gotta love the BBC btw. Martha K on WATO slipped in the 8 point UKIP increase as though it were a run of the mill, ya de ya kind of poll. They don’t like it up em do they? 🙂

  • simon, just one small raincloud I’d like to place over your parade – remember 2010. Nick Clegg in April was getting better personal approval ratings in the polls than Churchill used to at the height of his powers, and the Liberal Democrats were leading the popular vote predictions. Other members here can tell you about when the SDP was leading the field in the early 80s and I’m sure everyone knows of plenty of examples where the best laid plans of mice and politicians did go astray. These sorts of mass upwellings of support are a mile wide and an inch deep, jubilate at your peril.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Apr '14 - 4:33pm

    @ simon,
    I think any interest in any poll lead you may have has been overtaken by the news that Nigel Farage will not put himself forward as a candidate in Newark.

  • Jane Mansfield

    “What ties did he have with Buckingham?”

    Fair point as I don’t think he has any, but it is closer to London where I think he is based. I know Newark fairly well and it’s hard to see someone as high profile as Farage as there MP. That said Grantham is fairly close by and I seem to remember them having a well known MP!

    Got my first political leaflet for the May election in the post today and guess what it’s UKIP. They have 6 candidates, 4 men – one an asian chap – and 2 women. I only mention that one of the men is asian because it’s UKIP and they have been attacked as racists. So from their point of view it’s a good mix. The leaflet is easy to read, makes all the normal points that Farage made in the debate and then turns into a nice size window poster. We are now heading into May, UKIP have 38% in the polls and still no sign in Lincolnshire of the other parties. So far a very low key campaign by the major parties, have they just given up?

  • @TJ

    True, you could even go back to the Orpington By Election for you guys under Macmillan. There is a long long history of protest votes, particularly under Tory Govt’s.

    And it won’t translate to much for UKIP in the General Election because this benefits Labour most of all, obviously. In fact you could argue that the biggest risk to them is a collapse in UKIP support. The thing that most rains on my parade is the knowledge that FPTP means that this will lead to a weak Labour Gov’t. But what can you do? That is our system, you can only work within till you have the power to change it.

    BUT I do think this is a historic seismic shift. We have seen a slow, remorseless decline in support for the two main parties, since, what, 1951? Combine this with the loss of Scottish Labour seats if it goes independent (I think it will, but who knows) and the shock that will cause to the body politic of rUK, and all the crystals in the kaleidoscope have been shaken up by this.

    So I don’t agree that this is just a flash in the pan. It is going to have huge (but unforeseeable) consequences I think. Will what emerges be better? That is the question, and I can’t be confident that it will unfortunately. But something needed to shake things up because it couldn’t carry on as it was.

    The country is too fractured, divided, ill at ease, and in denial about its problems. Our polity, and constitution, which lets face it has been a thing of praise and wonder for centuries just no longer seems up to the task of managing our decline as a country.

    I think anyway. 🙂

  • Our constitution and polity was the best in the world. In 1750. It hasn’t changed in any meaningful way since, with modern governments simply overlooking the more problematic parts of it, or gluing some new Act onto the side in an endless cycle of sticking plaster solutions that manage to just barely keep the show on the road.

    The next few years will be unstable and difficult. If Scotland becomes independent, it will be more difficult. England will need to deal with the overnight transition from being a top-ten great power to being a middle thirty regional one. All sides of politics are just trying not to look at the problem right now, but it isn’t going away.

    The problem with UKIP is that having decided things are bad, their prescription is for more of what caused the problem in the first place. Setting England up as a kind of European Mexico, undercutting European workers with wage cuts, regulation rollbacks and the suspension of worker’s rights. Because that’s how you compete with foreign labour in their world of unregulated free markets.

    Although, let’s not be unfair to Mexico – it has spent decades clawing its way up from being that country towards being if not equal then at least a partner with its main neighbour. On GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity, it comes 10th – ahead of the remaining UK post Scotland. UKIP would have England head in the opposite direction, justifying itself with gdp figures boosted by a City free to act like a Caribbean tax haven at the cost of everyone else’s wellbeing.

  • A simple, albeit loaded, question, because I know people on here are laudably fair minded.

    What do you think the media reaction would have been if Ajit Atwal was standing as a councillor in Derby for UKIP rather than you guys?

    Is anyone on here prepared to defend the double standards displayed by the print and broadcast media day after day after day? ? Yes it is counter productive so I ought to welcome it, but I would still prefer a campaign conducted on the issues, not just constant personal attacks on individual UKIP candidates and donors. Naive I know, sigh.

    The shameless, blatant, egregious media onslaught against UKIP (ironically grounded in a nauseatingly self righteous assumption of self appointed moral and intellectual superiority) will make our landslide victory taste all the sweeter.

    We deserve this victory. I can’t remember a more hostile media treatment since Labour’s campaign in 1983 under Foot. But this is even worse, nastier and more personal. The difference is Labour lost and we will win.

  • Malc
    The Yorkshire Post did an article on Amjad Bashir who was voted as the number 2 candidate for Yorkshire and the Humber by UKIP members. If anyone’s interested here’s the link
    I have read that he is interested in standing in Newark but not sure how reliable that is.

  • Matt Wardman 2nd May '14 - 12:28am

    Noting that the thread is still going – interesting piece.

    > placing any serious money on a UKIP win sometime around 2025 would seem unwise. You need to look at your party’s demographics and the country’s life expectancy figures

    Currently 16% of the population are over 65. By 2025 it will be 20%.

    I’d hate to predict the interaction between people becoming more conservative as they get older vs the possible rising ‘liberals’ in a growing demographic that vote reliably.MMM

  • The thread is still going because UKIP is the biggest political phenomenon in a generation. What else would you expect on the website of a bunch of political nerds? And I mean no offence by that being one myself.

    A small point, (I hope!) but Farage’s egging, although inconsequential in itself, made me wonder about his security. It took several minutes for the police to arrive. As a major political figure representing about a third of the electorate he ought to be afforded the same protection as the other main party leaders. And even someone as inconsequential, politically (though not emotionally) as Prince Harry.

    A Dutch friend of mine says that Britain now reminds him of Holland in 2002 at the time of Pim Fortuyn’s murder. Just before the killing he was attacked with a custard pie laced with vomit and urine. He complained at the lack of police protection in the interview he gave just before he was murdered.

    It is all very well for the “Establishment” to whip up this campaign against Farage, but they ought to at least provide him with some decent protection. It is not as though, post Woolwich, we don’t realise we have some very dangerous and deranged people walking our streets….

  • @simon

    Since this thread still seems to be live, perhaps you’d care to answer the question I posed a few days ago: have you ever tried taking advantage of the freedom to work across Europe without having to worry about visas or work permits?

    This is a good thing.

    Oh and by the way – Norway is often cited by Nigel Farrage as an example of how you can be a success outside of the EU, but to get access to EU markets they have had to give all EU citizens have the right to go and work there.

    This is a good thing for citizens of EU member countries like the UK. Norway is a really nice place and you can go snowboarding after work.

  • @ JUF

    Sorry I didn’t see your question. No, I haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity to live and work in Poland or Rumania. Judging by the numbers of their nationals who have come here however, l suspect the prospects of success in their depressed post communist economies are somewhat lower than the UK.

    Just a guess: could be wrong obviously.

    Have you seen the latest UKIP posters on this subject? They show an escalator up the white cliffs of Dover. Very powerful image to exemplify the concern the voters have on this issue.

  • @simon:

    Funny, the company I work for has got a lot more work out of Eastern Europe in the last 5 years than the UK.

    And Poland is a great place to do business. Same goes for Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic . Romania I haven’t been to, but again we’re doing good business there.

    I’ve met plenty of other Brits out there doing the same, and wouldn’t want to be restricted to doing business in the UK.

  • @JUF

    That is great, and I am pleased for your company.

    The question for our country, though, is whether we want to accept immigration from the post communist EU states with numbers limited only by the decisions of those deciding to come, not whether it is practicable for the the UK as the host country. Based not on whether our schools and NHS can cope, and where they can all live, but simply their economic wish to migrate.

    UKIP”s position is that the UK electorate should be given the right to make a decision on this. The Lib Dems, assert that we do not have that right.

    There in a nutshell is why the Lib Dems are going to be decimated in the upcoming poll and UKIP will gain a landslide.

  • Richard Dean 4th May '14 - 12:06am

    The question, for our country, can be answered by counting the number of Romanian immigrants. Farage predicted 26 million. Was he right?

  • @ Richard Dean

    Asserting that Farage “predicted” that 26 million Romanians would immigrate is beneath you, or ought to be. It is nothing less than intellectual dishonesty of the highest order. In fact it is worse than that it is a bare faced lie.

    Let me ask you a simple question which I ask that you reply to truthfully this time. How many people do you think have immigrated into our country from the new accession states since controls were lifted? Just a few dozen?

    The fact that you are representative (or voter) of a party which is actually in government, in charge of immigration policy is the reason the country is in the mess it is. You aren’t fit to govern.

  • @simon

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander – if we are able to live and work anywhere in the EU, then it follows that people from other EU countries can come to live and work here.

    The point about Norway is that to gain access to the EU market, Norway has to comply with many EU laws, including free movement (you could go and live there if you wanted), but as it is a non – member state has no say in framing those laws.

    So leaving the EU would be a massive exercise in “cutting off nose to spite face”, since we’d be in the same position as Norway.

  • The right to vote in the UK, is the right of every person over the age of eighteen holding a British Passport. Every one of these people is assumed to have the ability to draw their own conclusions as to whoever is likely to be the best leader of the country to suit their individual needs.
    It is claimed that the core voters for UKIP are elderly disenchanted men?
    Elderly? what do we call elderly? 80 years old, 90 or more? and how many of those make up the population? The greater majority of people in the UK are between the ages of 40 – 50 that make up about 14%. while those classed as elderly make up around 2%. I would therefore disregard the claim about the core voters for UKIP! I know for a fact that there are a huge number of professionals who show favour to UKIP, as well as a huge number of highly educated students and businessmen.
    True. The British are also free to live in other EU countries. First let us take into consideration that there are stated that 64 million people live in the UK, though the figure is thought to be a low estimate. But based on this there are 256 people in every sq. kilometre in the UK providing the UK with one of the highest population densities in the World.
    Germany,Italy,Spain,Poland are all twice the area of the UK, France is three times larger while Romania is about the same size. The population of Romania is 21.4 million people while in the UK it is 64 million people at least. Don’t forget also – that in each of the EU countries there are certain restrictions placed on immigrants, these restrictions are not teh same in each country – it is far easier in the UK for immigrants to obtain work or set up in business than it is for the British to find work/business in other EU countries.
    Same position as Norway? Wouldn’t that be nice. Norway is the second richest country in Europe, beaten only by Luxembourg. In Norway, UKIP’s sister party is leading the electorate.

  • @ JUF

    No we would be in the same position as Switzerland, who have just voted to restrict free movement of people into their country, you will recall.

    You are the most Europhile party and yet are now fifth in the polls for the EURO elections behind UKIP, Labour, the Tories, and the Greens. Do you think that maybe the voters don’t agree with you on this??

    The country agrees with me, not you on this. You are on the wrong side of the debate, of history even.

    Free movement of labour has been a disaster for the EU. So has the single currency, so has its “foreign policy” in Ukraine. It needs to reform, back to an informal trade bloc with no pretensions to political union (unlikely to say the least) or it will implode.

    UKIP isn’t a UK phenomenon the whole of Europe is rising up against its undemocratic masters. How long will Greece stay in the Union?

  • Trevor Troth 8th Oct '14 - 2:58am

    Typical woolly headed liberal assessment and way off base as far as I can see! The conclusion may not be far from the truth though the arguments within are debatable….the only sentiment I would disagree with is whether it’s a ‘danger’. Personally as a disaffected sometimes lib-dem voter in the past, I’d say it it’s progress not a danger.

  • The problem with the Liberals is that they do not appear to ‘open their eyes, and look around’ as it were. They listen to and follow Labour and Conservatives are are more concerned with maintaining a middle path between those than they are of branching out and facing reality. It would appear to most of the electorate that Liberals are frightened of causing a political upset. In contrast to Nigel Farage, a man never feared of speaking his mind, and who does so very strongly – listens to and involves himself with the general public. Nigel Farage has identified the problems that the UK is facing now and is intelligent enough to be able to discern the source of those problems. Where other members of Parliament whispered their concerns among themselves – Nigel Farage echoed these same concerns openly and loudly! Nigel Farage has always acted for the people throughout his whole career – he is not just speaking for one election. The people who are able to discern for themselves as to who is correct and who is not, what are lies and what are not, are those who are backing UKIP. The people backing UKIP are from all ages and from all backgrounds, no matter what educational status they hold – education you learn, intelligence is what you are born with. This division will show in the forthcoming elections – intelligent people know that there will be no way forward until we come out of the EU.
    For those who still doubt – Imagine being a teacher and teaching at one time, 28 groups of pupils. Each of those groups have their own laws, their own expenses, their own belongings and their own character. Every day, you face the same situation that you are attempting to manage and control this large number of people with one set of your rules and regulations. You find that there is no ‘one set’ of rules that can apply because each of the groups are physically unable to comply due to their own expenses and what they own. It is an impossible situation! Now magnify those 28 groups into the number of countries involved in the EU, with the additional complexities of huge numbers of people. Call in colleagues to help you out – it still cannot be done! That is what the EU has been attempting to do for the past fifty years.

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