Wednesday, 28 February 2007

UKIP in ICU?

One story which I have not commented on, but which has been rumbling on since the weekend, is UKIP's latest bout of woe. Or three bouts of woe, in fact.

The first came when UKIP was ordered to return £363,697 to the Electoral Commission, relating to illegal donations.
Then there was a bit of trouble over one of their MEPs, Tom Wise. Now there's a lot of trouble over Mr Wise, and he has been suspended from the party. All the links above go to the EU Referendum blog, which provides detailed coverage of recent events. The latest report from Dr Richard North at EU Referendum links to a Guardian article, indicating that three more of UKIP's MEPs may soon split from the party.
Plus there's the story about UKIP's apparent belief that a disabled man (a disabled army veteran, in fact) was unfit to be a candidate for them.

3 million people - including myself - voted UKIP in 2004. We voted under the delusion that UKIP was, or had the potential to be, a genuine voice for ordinary people who agreed with its stated policies. Instead, it has been a total embarrassment almost from day one. The party's greatest achievement was to take 16% of the vote, which did have the effect of scaring the major parties a little bit. Other than that, it's been completely useless. Outside of EU elections, it has shown itself to be incapable of gaining any real support, as was recently shown yet again by the humiliating 8 votes it received in a recent council by-election in Nuneaton.

Even in the European Parliament UKIP seems to be falling back. Not by virtue of any action of the public, or of any other political movement, but simply by virtue of its total inability to hold onto its own MEPs. Within a year of being elected they'd lost Ashley Mote due to financial dodginess (a common UKIP theme, it seems), and Robert Kilroy-Silk due to his own insufferable arrogance, as well as their two London assembly members, who ran off with Kilroy. Now Tom Wise has gone, and it looks like three more may be going. So of the starting line-up of twelve UKIP MEPs, only six will be left. What would Lady Bracknell say?

The Tories may expect this to benefit them, but I somehow doubt that. People who vote UKIP tend to be deeply disgruntled ex-Tories. They really don't like the way the country and the Conservative Party is going. Many would rather vote Labour than go back to the Tories. The rise of soft, fluffy Cameronism only exacerbates the loathing that many of us feel for his party. We might - might - have been prepared to go back to the Tories when they were led by Michael Howard, for all that he wasn't an ideal PM. But Cameron? Never!

So, I suspect that two groups will benefit from UKIP's increasingly inevitable collapse (which I think rather resembles the slow downfall of the protagonist in a Greek tragedy - first hubris, then nemesis). The first, as one might expect, is the BNP. I certainly expect that the BNP will take at least one seat in the London assembly, and possibly more. I also believe the BNP will take many more votes than UKIP in the next European elections (assuming UKIP survives that long), despite that being UKIP's strong area.
However, many people simply won't vote. In many areas, we can expect to see still more people turn away from the democratic process. In this instance, this will be the fault of UKIP, which has betrayed those who voted for it, with its never-ending incompetence.

1 comment:

Bernard said...

Fulham man:
The British have not given up on the main political parties, it is much more serious than that.
They have given up on the Democratic process in this country, and that will be monumentally bad for the UK because the Brussels' boys are just rubbing their hands in anticipation.