Friday, 3 May 2013
UKIP Shouts "Boo!"
UKIP pushed its way onto the national political stage today, relegating the LibDems to third place, threatening to elbow the Tories to one side and leaving the Labour party staring like a rabbit into the headlights. The Coalition immediately went into panic mode with Nick Clegg insisting that his party's disastrous showing was a springboard to future success and David Cameron suddenly discovering phrases such as "respect for the electorate's verdict" and "lessons must be learned." While the LibDems have had time to contemplate their imminent extinction as a political force in Britain for some time now, for the Tories this is a new and frightening experience. Cameron, in particular, seems to have been taken by complete surprise that lying to the electorate and ignoring how they feel may no longer be enough. All three former major parties might even wake up to the fact that manifestos should include some element of truth and that the electorate expects their pledges to mean something. The signs, however, are not encouraging. The LibDems continue to emulate an ostritch, the Tories are still telling us that complete economic policy failure and growing discontent is no reason to change course, while Labour remains confident that saying nothing at all is the best course. UKIP is not much better in reality. Apart from putting a stop to all immigration and withdrawing from the EU they don't have much else to say. The tragedy is that this has proven to be enough. Immigration is not popular in Britain and the electorate are increasingly disenchanted with the EU while ignoring these realities is now becoming politically impossible. Right-wing politics has been in the ascendency over the last 30 years with disastrous consequencies for us all but it looks as if the country is about to lurch even further to the right as the three "main" parties chase after UKIP. Whatever the eventual results of this are one thing is for sure - Britain is no longer a country at ease with itself.