Tuesday 14 May 2013

The Future of UKIP, Part Two

If neither of the two main parties splits, then history has shown that the future for a third party is bleak indeed. However, the lesson of the Liberal party in the 1950s, when with less than three percent of the national vote, it still managed to get six MPs elected, does give some hope to UKIP.

The Liberals managed to do that because their tiny vote was concentrated in specific areas of Scotland and Wales. UKIP, by way of contrast, has a vote that seems to be spread evenly across the country, and on that basis the party will not gain any MPs at all in 2015.

Would it not be a good idea for UKIP to copy the post-war Liberals and concentrate on a particular region? The party gains roughly two percent of its vote in Scotland and about six percent in Wales, with over 23 percent coming from England. Not only that but a massive 27 percent of UKIP voters are from the D and E social classes - the traditional unskilled and semi-skilled working class in other words that has been abandoned by Labour. These people are concentrated on northern council estates, and spend their lives doing McJobs that are interspersed with long spells of unemployment. They used to be Labour's bedrock, but now the party treats them with derision, with the result that many do not vote.

Basing a strategy on people who do not vote is dangerous in the extreme, but following the election of 2015 when UKIP will wake up to find that it has no MPs, it may very well turn out to be the only policy that is worthwhile.

It would mean turning UKIP into something akin to the Labour Party that existed when the Liberals only had their six MPs. The party would be socially conservative and economically radical. It would advocate taxing the middle class to pay for the national investment needed to get British industry working again once the country has left the European Union.

Would that be enough to get a majority in the Commons? Of course not, but that is not the point. It would be enough to gain a sizeable number of MP's for the party and on that basis deals could be cut with either Labour or Conservative, depending on which party was willing to offer UKIP the necessary  number of political goodies.

The alternative is probably political oblivion.

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