ConservativeHome has this article posted today (1 January). Clearly, Mark Wallace’s blue-tinted spectacles give him a different view of the world to my purple-tinted spectacles, which of course one would expect. So, let’s try and cast a UKIP view on his five trends, battles and dilemmas to watch in 2014:
1 – Labour’s battle between miserablism and reality: Mark Wallace says:
“Having predicted the worst time and again, and repeatedly been proved wrong, the Opposition are struggling to swallow the growing economic good news…”
Of course an opposition party will counter the prevailing view of the governing party. The Tories are trying to spread a message of economic hope to try and convince us to vote solely on the traditional criteria for electing a party – the thickness of our wallets. However, any supposed gains are slim, and while the UK economy is growing, it is on the back of a massive increase in population, caused by mass immigration, and GDP per capita was down 16.5% in 2012 from 2007 according to World Bank figures. (Admittedly USD figures, and difference in exchange rates means GDP per capita in GBP is about the same, but with the effects of inflation, the figure of 16.5% poorer in real terms is not far wrong)
Government debt continues to march upwards too, at £2Bn a week. UKIP agrees with Labour here: the reality is a miserable one, however the solutions are radically different. Labour want more EU, more taxes, more immigrants, UKIP wants the opposite, which would seem to accord with most voters desires.
2 – The backbench amenders: Mark Wallace claims that:
“The parliamentary trend in recent years has been towards more independence of mind among backbenchers, and away from all-powerful Whips…”
Call me cynical, and I suspect a lot of others would agree with me, but many of these backbench amendments appear to have been stage-managed to give the appearance of the Tories caring about voter’s concerns over immigration and such like, whilst knowing that they would fail the vote, or fail in reality to address any substantial voter concerns. Cameron’s “Referendum” is still on for 2017, and voters are not convinced.
3 – George Osborne’s balancing act:
“The outcome of the next election may rest on the decisions the Chancellor makes this year, particularly in his penultimate Budget…”
…says Mark Wallace, going on to admit it is a tightrope for Osborne. There will doubtless be a shameless attempt to buy votes, but that will involve stacking up the deficit. He certainly (and thankfully) won’t increase any taxes. Any attempt at buying votes will of course be red meat to all the other parties, including UKIP, to make him look foolish and vain. Only UKIP offers a real solution by reducing the size of government, after first divesting ourselves of a foreign government which imposes much of the “big government” on us anyway.
4 – Nigel Farage riding a tiger: Mark introduces this one with:
“Few people in British electoral history have successfully led a new party permanently into the political mainstream – and it’s a testament to Farage’s wiles that he has managed to get this far.”
I am sure Nigel will thank Mark for that compliment. And I will not deny that UKIP is indeed a tiger, we are a broad church of renegades, former Labour, Lib Dem and Tory members and voters, plus those who had been apolitical until awakened by what the political classes are doing to destroy our nation. In the columns of the UKIP Forum one can see that tiger in action – some events in the party, or utterances from Nigel’s articulate mouth, get people threatening not to renew their membership, and shouting the odds about whatever it is, but some healthy democratic discussion soon settles them down, and they retract their threat. The usual “backing down” comment is: “I realise now, that for all it’s faults, UKIP is the only chance this country has.”
5 – Tory moods in May: Mark rightly observes:
“The likely success of UKIP in May’s elections will bring on a crucial test for the Conservatives. Those who use every opportunity to bash David Cameron will undoubtedly do so…”
Indeed, this will be an interesting one to watch. The best outcome for UKIP will be for Cameron to stay, to continue to plough his Europhile furrow, while repeatedly trying to convince voters otherwise and failing. A Tory revolt and another leader would be an interesting one. We must hope and pray that our leadership is not tempted to do a pre-election deal with someone they find more acceptable than Cameron. The trouble is, the seats they will want us to a deal on (the Tory-Labour marginals) are themselves our best chances. We need to win as many Westminster seats as we can, for that to be our bargaining chip on 8 May 2015 when coalition permutation and combination discussions will probably start. Then, and only then, a deal might be possible, but it may not be with the Tories of course: it may well be with Labour.