I am sure that most of us have been following all the twists and turns of the Labour Leadership race. From the early days of people like Chuka Umunna and David Miliband staying out of the race and the four lack-lustre candidates sitting with the Blair-Miliband range of political mediocrity to the relative last minute nomination of the Hard Left candidate Jeremy Corbyn by those intent on creating a “real debate” on policies, and boy have they got that! Then there have been the machinations of the eligibility to vote in the leadership contest.
Meanwhile, Tories across the country have been rubbing their hands with glee, some even “joining” Labour to have a vote. It has been calculated that Corbyn’s policies would cost each British family £2,400 a year and there is talk in the right wing rags of this Tory government lasting not just for five years, but for 10, 15 or 20.
However, where do we sit in UKIP? How does all this affect us? At the bottom end of an article in Breitbart mostly about immigration across the Mediterranean and absorption of a share of immigrants by Northern Europe, Nigel gives passing mention to Mr Corbyn:
…whilst I have absolutely no faith in the wisdom of his economics, his victory is seriously good news for the ‘No’ campaign in the forthcoming EU referendum.
I have to say I hope he wins. The best news of all? A Corbyn win will be the death of the Green Party. Hooray.
So, our leader sees those as the main benefits to us of a Corbyn win – I cannot argue with the first, there is a very good chance that Corbyn (with his strings yanked by his Trade Union masters) may well move Labour in a Eurosceptic direction. On the second, I cannot see that the destruction of the Green Party will do much for UKIP: there must only be a handful of voters who see Green and UKIP as their main voting choices.
But I see a great opportunity for UKIP with Corbyn leading Labour. There are some who fear that his policies will appeal to the more feckless and more tribal Labour voters, those who will either not even be aware of what is going on in the world and vote Labour because their Dad did, and those who can coldly calculate the benefit to their unproductive lifestyle of a Corbyn administration. There is also the “fear” that he may win a lot of Scottish voters back from the SNP, getting into a bidding war with them to see who can come up with the most socialist set of policies. However, while that may have some effect in Scotland, and allow Corbyn to win back some Labour seats, I do not think that will play well in Northern England as the SNP appeal is a combination of socialism and nationalism.
I know of a great many hard-working, decent, tax-paying Labour voters who would find Corbyn’s further smash and grab raid on their often meagre earnings unacceptable, who would find further advancement of the state into their lives abhorrent, and who would perhaps, for the first time, consider an alternative.
What are those alternatives? The Liberal Democrats, frankly, are a busted flush for a good many years now. The idea of voting Tory would be repellent to many lifelong Labour voters, notably those in the north of England, and the Green effect has been rightly dismissed by Nigel already.
That leaves UKIP. We all know that we have a raft of policies which would appeal to traditional voters, if only they would sit up and notice: saving the country money by leaving the EU, running our own country for the benefit of ordinary Brits, making more jobs available for British people, cutting their energy bills, providing more opportunities for their children with a resurgence of Grammar schools, and many more.
The challenge is communicating that to the voters, and HQ should be thinking, NOW, how that message is delivered to disillusioned Labour voters once Corbyn starts thumping the dispatch box in the House of Commons.
And, in the meantime, we have the EU Referendum battle to fight, and I am sure that Nigel would soon invite Mr Corbyn to have a chat as soon as he has his legs under the Leader of the Opposition’s desk.
Photograph courtesy of The Weekly Bull. Published under a Creative Commons license.