Why Ukip Isn’t Going Anywhere!
Many questions have been asked of the UK Independence Party following the result of the 23rd of June and the decision by the British people to withdraw from the European Union. The most important question that has been asked and that I believe deserves an answer is: What is the purpose of Ukip?
While it is no doubt true that membership of the European Union put the ‘I’ in Ukip, it would be naive to think that the result signals an end for this radical and influential political party. On the contrary, leaving the European Union is just the beginning.
While I am sure there are many voters, both leave and remain, that buy into the idea that Theresa May understands the result of the referendum and intends to deliver on the wishes of the British people, namely that of controlling our borders, returning law-making powers over whole swathes of the country back to Westminster and allowing us to strike free-trade deals with whomever we wish, I am not so sure.
I am sceptical, not least because Theresa May was, let’s not forget, a remain campaigner. Despite her claim that membership of the European Union makes it more difficult to control immigration, (just a quick reminder that net migration from the European Union alone stood at 196,000 in the year to June 2016, almost twice as high as the overall net migration target set by the last Conservative Government), she still believed that we should remain members and by extension that we should continue to allow the 284,000 people who came from the EU last year in, without having any right to stop them.
This either means that Theresa May, while Home Secretary, either knowingly made a promise which she and the Conservative-Liberal Government knew they could not and did not wish to deliver, or she has the mathematical prowess of a dyslexic monkey. I say dyslexic monkey because I am sure even monkeys have the capacity to count and I wouldn’t wish to insult them. We could blame this on the Illiberal Undemocrats, who are of course the masters of making undeliverable promises and rowing back on them at lightening speed, but that would be far too easy an explanation. Personally, I always believed that David Cameron was relieved to find himself in coalition with his ideological friends, giving him an ample excuse to bash his own side while not appearing to be.
It will require a strong Ukip over the next few years to hold the feet to the fire of the Conservative Government and ensure that the more than 17,000,000 voters who opted to leave the EU aren’t betrayed by bitter remainers, eager to undermine the legitimacy of the result.
One fine example of what I speak would be the Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who quite despicably accused the Russian Government of “probably” hacking the EU referendum, while admitting he had no evidence. These are the murky depths to which many on the Labour benches have resorted when discussing the EU referendum. It’s why the working class traditional Labour voters are leaving the party in droves. I sincerely wish Labour would read the arguments put forward by Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator and accept, in his words, that “You are now a painfully middle-class party”.
But even this is just the beginning for Ukip. I have already accepted, as should Ukip and all those who voted leave, that we aren’t going to be able to sever all ties with the European Union in one magnificent swoop. The arithmetic of Parliament would indicate that the ‘great repeal bill’ as proposed by leavers such as Dan Hannan is probably an unrealistic aim. A more realistic approach would be to withdraw from the political structures and merely adopt all current EU law into UK law, something which I am sure will disappoint many leavers, including myself, but would at least move us closer to our destination, independence.
Should this be the case, based on the fact that the vast majority of our elected representatives voted a different way to us, I certainly don’t see many of these destructive laws being repealed. This is really where the key for Ukip lies. If the party can project strength and unity, which seems very possible under the leadership of Paul Nuttall, then the message is there: We may have detached ourselves from the European Union, but those nasty EU laws are now nasty British laws and we must repeal them! This message I am sure is one that could provide Ukip with a long-lasting platform with which to continue to be relevant and fight parliamentary elections.
The vote to leave the EU also provided us with an insight into the divisions within this country on central issues such as immigration, culture, identity and direction. For too long the voice of British nationalism has been heralded as the cause of racists. For too long the voices of globalisation have dangerously told the ‘little people’ that there’s nothing they can do about it. For too long, those who understand and believe in British identity, not multiculturalism have been ignored. Ukip can stand up for all of these things, because nobody else is, not Labour, not the Conservatives, nobody.
This is less about particular policies and more a state of mind. These voices of conservatism have been marginalised. The working class in the UK, black or white, Christian or Atheist, have both respectively been sidelined as the political class increasingly holds its nose at us. Ukip should champion these people. Ukip has a place by rejecting these assertions, rejecting the fragmentation of society along racial and religious lines, rejecting that we merely have to sit back and accept that because those in the upper echelons of society want cheap labour to do the jobs they are apparently too good to do, that we must have open borders. Without Ukip, we will see a return to the New Labour days where these issues were taboo.
There is an election winning alliance out there for Ukip, provided it plays its cards well. Farage may be gone, but the issues which his heroic legacy have identified remain, and if Ukip stands up on these issues, far from going the way of the dodo, it will soar like an eagle.