“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Monday, 13 October 2014

The curse of the Kippers?

Have UKIP really broken the mold of British politics or will it all come to nothing after some initial success? The history of fringe parties in UK politics should not inspire confidence among the Kippers   but nothing is quite as optimistic as the party activist on a roll and every time that Farage's troops get a media mention party morale is given a boost.
Remember the Social Democrat Party. The Gang of Four? Remember the election pact between the SDP and the Liberals? The two Davids? There was Liberal leader David Steele and the other one. The SDP leader. Used to be a doctor. Child Foreign Secretary. Departed Labour due to a surfeit of socialism. What was his name? That's it! David Owen. The Two Davids were supposed to be breaking the mold but in the end the merging of the two parties and the re-branding of the Liberals as Liberal Democrats was just the Liberals hoovering up a small (but vocal) fringe party. Owen and a handful of diehards rejected the merger and soldiered on as a rump (real?) SDP until the final indignity of the Bootle by-election when they secured fewer votes than the Monster Raving Loonies. In all probability such will be the fate of UKIP. There will be much slinking off back to the Tories. Much disillusioned licking of wounds and many tears before bedtime.
What should be of concern is what UKIP are able to achieve between now and their probable peak at next years General Election. I don't just mean how well they do in electoral terms but how the party is able to reaffirm and give legitimacy to the long held belief of many people that everything would be OK if only there were fewer foreigners; in the world in general and in this country in particular.
UKIP will not break the grip that the major parties have on the levers of power. They may however, before they depart the stage of history, leave us a more xenophobic and mean spirited nation than we were before. That may prove to be the curse of the Kippers.

1 comment:

Dr Llareggub said...

You are probably correct. Against the combined might of the political machines and the media Ukip will go the way of other game changers. Or simply implode. Anti immigration feeling is strong but not necessary xenophobic, as people might oppose rapid immigration for other reasons, cultural threats, perception of job insecurity etc. I don't believe that working class people who turn from Labour to Ukip are xenophobic or of low educational backgrounds as we are told by the experts. I am skeptical of university brats who constantly accuse working people of racism. So I would not buy the UAF, Left Unity, Stand up to Ukip argument. Other attractions of Ukip is the promised EU referendum. Whatever one's views on the EU it is certainly not xenophobic to object to the power structure in Brussels. Include cancellation of the high speed train - popular with property owners (Nimbys?) along its proposed route. Include reaction to Labour and the left's cover up over the child rapes in Rotherham and many other locations. Also include reaction to the sameness of the ruling parties, a political class with the same education, distant from ordinary people. People are voting for the bogey man who is upsetting the main parties, although Ukip is unlikely to provide much of an alternative. I would advise more concentration on the appeal to the anger and frustration with the politicians, loss of control, rather than go along with the Cameron, Clegg, Miliband, UAF, LU, Class War accusation of xenophobia. Very interesting that Class War and BBC Panorama sing from the same sheet. It is possible to applaud working people who switch fom voting Labour to voting Ukip without actually supporting Ukip. There is talk of a new libertarianism. We need to get this right; libertarianism should not be a bosses and bankers charter, it's about freedom of working people from bosses bureaucrats and priests through that long strand of anarchist thought before university trots took over class politics. You won't see a Ukip of the left, people will not vote for TUSC or anything with socialism in the title.
Here is a link to focus on in any debate on immigration. Very academic but worth arguing with. They tell me the author is a Marxist. http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/LargescaleImmigration.pdf