In the light of Inmate’s comments in a post below, I’d like to venture a scenario in Britain at this time. Hell, why not? Thousands, from BBCQT to bloggers to pub philosophers are doing it and methinks all have a piece of the puzzle.
From what I’ve been reading [MSM, blogs, Twitter, speaking to people in the street] it seems like this:
1. The Big 2 have a large tribal vote , as we know, currently 38% and 30%, which is only going to diminish a bit – one of those told me she causes a rumpus at constituency meetings but still votes Tory anyway. UKIP have dented that to the tune of about 8-9%. That figure comes from yougov saying that over half who voted UKIP in the EU2014 would vote that way again. Welsh valleys, despite UKIP inroads in the EUs, are still tribal Labour.
2. Yet it’s uneven and seems it’s above the national average in UKIP’s targetted seats – Rotherham etc. However, 17% is probably an accurate figure for support across the UK at this time – a very vocal 17%. Seems to me it’s a fair figure and includes some of us who were in the NofTA category but thought oh well, we know it will get nowhere but let’s ride this UKIP thing.
3. Actually having an alternative might provoke people in that polling booth on that day in May 2015 to say “stuff that lot up there – I’m going to give UKIP a shot”. The jaunty cheekiness of Farage appeals to many, even if they would not naturally vote for him. And it turns off others of course. He himself said he’d give up on those determined to detest UKIP and the degree of their hatred really doesn’t matter.
4. UKIP rightly say they’re taking from all parties, plus the new vote. There really was a feeling out there last weekend and before – people would speak of these things in shops and taxis etc. and the issues were immigration and the arrogance of Westminster, esp. Cameron. There’s also a feeling, summed up by a Labour voter near here who told me he thought UKIP would “probably pick up a couple of seats next year”. He also perceived Farage, though a bit of a loon, to be honest and that he’d deliver on what he promised.
5. The very nature of UKIP means it is not like the LibDems in the early 90s – then it was a message of peace and love, fairness and equality etc., which sucked people in to the PC Narrative which has so blighted the country. UKIP’s message is sterner and one can maintain rage only so long. One can maintain desire for equality [meaning more benefits for us] much longer. It’s a hip pocket, rather than an abstract concept.
6. People do have this “tradition” stuck in their heads that the EU elections are protest votes, like by-elections. In UKIP’s favour is Inmate’s large percentage of F*** ’em all and NofTA who might feel justified in actually going to a polling station and wanting to rid the land of Cameron and/or Miliband. This is the enormous X Factor. The Big 2 will probably get the unpolitical back onside again through subterfuge and big money but they won’t get the NofTA – many of whom read blogs such as this, plus those who don’t give a toss about politics and wouldn’t read anything anyway.
7. UKIP is probably not going to take Newark – the Tory machine is deeply embedded over decades and have people on the ground. Many I’ve spoken with think UKIP will certainly give it a good shot but might come up some thousand votes short or so. Even Roger Helmer is conceding it’s an uphill task. 1000 UKIP activists on the ground became 50 which is still very good for a new party. But it really is Tory territory.
8. The Big 2 and the media will seize on the Newark result but that’s just silly, as we know. Silly or not, people are swayed by the Beeb. Nigel needs to keep saying enough outrageous things to keep the publicity going during the doldrums following Newark. Plus his MEPs and others must keep foot out of mouth and they do need to get that policy thrashed out.
9. On that point, my mate has said for a long time that when the issues are few and simple, e.g. EU Out, Direct Democracy as a concept, not in fine detail – then there’s a better chance of having people onside. When one lays down a complete policy, then there are myriad points that people who did agree till now start falling out over. That’s what kills parties and movements – when they become too complex in fine detail.
10. Lastly, to rehash a point above, it’s going to be largely the formerly uncommitted who will decide GE2015 and the catalyst is some new arrogance of the Big 2 or the lie of an improving economy being believed by the people. So the bottom line, the unknown factor, is the formerly uncommitted. By then, those in the F*** ’em camp may well have a new movement to get behind, e.g. the Harrogate Agenda or some new charismatic.