I believe that Sunday 5th January 2014 will go down in history as the day that public perception of UKIP turned from being that of a bunch of ex-Tory “fruitcakes” that got a bit nerdy about the EU, to a party for the working man and woman. Why?
The day started normally enough with the morning papers. We had an Ashcroft Poll showing us where our supporters are coming from. While a half of Tory defectors were found to now vote UKIP, 60% of UKIP voters came from other sources, including people who had never or who had stopped voting, but also a lot from Labour too.
Then, Nigel Farage appeared on Sky’s Murnaghan Show. In it, the presenter quoted some of Enoch Powell’s infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech and asked Nigel if he recognized it. Nigel did not, but when told, Nigel said:
“Well what he was warning about was the large influx of people into an area, that change an area beyond recognition, there is tension – the basic principle is right.”
What we must bear in mind was that while Enoch Powell was a Tory, he represented what was effectively the working class district of Wolverhampton South West, and in his speech he was presenting the problems related to him by his constituents caused by a local hotspot of “mass immigration” from the Caribbean in 1968. It was those at the bottom of society who suffered, not the better-off.
Also, in the same programme, Nigel went on to talk about the massive over-supply of unskilled labour which is pushing the wages of British people down, while enabling big business to profit. Again, it is the “little man” who suffers. Nigel said:
“There is no question that it’s pushed wage inflation down; it’s helped big companies and big corporations and big landowners to make bigger profits – no argument about that.”
As the day progressed, the Mirror Online referenced the Ashcroft Poll, and put up a self-selecting voting intention poll. The results must have shocked the left-leaning Mirror journalists, which showed UKIP with a landslide of Mirror readers for UKIP. Here’s just one representative snapshot of the vote:
What really did it for me, indeed it quite choked me up to see it, were the responses to the UKIP Facebook page post on the Ashcroft Poll. Take a look at these responses from ordinary working people.
Daniel describes himself as “Sainsbury’s Mess Cleaner” to which he gained other not very well worded replies, but heartfelt ones. There’s one more now: “first time I voted was when blair got in. never voted before or since. now i will vote nothing but ukip, every time.” These are all ordinary working people who 20-30 years ago would have voted Labour or not at all, and today they are going to get out there and vote UKIP.
It also made me think of two of Tony Hooke’s articles which advocated UKIP forging links with the Trade Unions: the “What is the Point of Labour” and “UKIP and the NHS” articles. I know that in some quarters these two articles have predicated sharp intakes of breath. Of course we don’t want a return to the old days of Union barons who held the country to ransom, nor do we want Unions who are part of a Political Correctness Industry, but Unions who want to responsibly represent the needs of the working population would sit well with a Party that wants to represent the mass of the people of this country rather than the elite.
While I am sure that much of the Mainstream Media will still babble on about us splitting the Tory vote, it is the splitting of the Labour and “None of the Above” votes that the establishment needs to worry about. If we can build solid bridges to the working men and women of this country, victory is certain.
Isn’t it ironic that a party started by some intellectual right-wingers who could see the fallacies of the European Union ends up as the party of the working man!