According to news reports, Nigel Farage has commissioned focus group support as to why UKIP has limited appeal to women voters.
There could be many reasons for why UKIP appeals much more to men than to women. As Farage says himself, women tend to be naturally more cautious and therefore maybe less inclined to back a new and untried party. Secondly UKIP’s straight-talking, politically incorrect culture is in huge contrast to the rather effete, centrist-driven politics of the other “big three” parties. Women are more likely to be floating voters than men and therefore will be more attracted to centrist politics, whereas men tend to be more tribal in their leanings.
The third reason is that the LibLabCon parties have deliberately engaged in a “market segmentation” approach to politics, tailoring individual policies to appeal to target demographics rather than the nation as a whole (e.g. “Worcester Woman” or “Mondeo Man”). The temptation must be that UKIP will go down this road, and in order to attract the “female demographic” orientate the party’s family policy along feminist-approved lines, with policies such as subsidised child-care tailored specifically for women.
Please don’t do it. This would be a huge mistake.
Policies based on appealing on a target slice of the electorate for the cynical reason of winning their votes cannot fail to be highly divisive in the long term, and there is no moral case for subsidising child-care. Firstly, such a policy discriminates against those women (the majority, although you would never know it due to them being shouted down by the very vocal feminist lobby) who would actually like the option of looking after their children at home. Secondly, and most perniciously, subsidising child-care tends to nationalise masculinity: the state assumes the role of the father. Over time, both men and women tend to see men as superfluous to family life, with ever-more horrendous consequences for family breakdown. Of course, these consequences take years to materialise and therefore are beyond the horizons of professional politicians anxious to win an upcoming election, but they have long term catastrophic implications for society.
It’s time for a different approach to family: politicians have been very slow to notice, but there is an enormous and growing crisis in masculinity: it is men we should worry about, not women. Men increasingly do worse in school, are more likely to be unemployed, more likely to commit suicide and these days increasingly are less economically successful than women. This crisis is only hidden because men tend to regard complaining as unmanly and therefore suffer in silence, but indicators such as the suicide statistics show what is happening beneath the surface. A major reason, in my mind for UKIP’s success with men is because so many men have become alienated from society in recent years and stopped voting altogether. Tailoring feminist-approved family policies such as subsidised child care risk may get some extra votes from women in the short term, but in the long term risk even greater levels of male alienation.
A much better family policy would be to unashamedly back marriage, with significant tax breaks for married couples. This can be both morally and economically justified: the consequences of family breakdown currently cost this country more than £45 billion per year, but that doesn’t even begin to deal with the huge cost in terms of social misery it causes, particularly to children. The statistics unequivocally show that family breakdown is vastly more likely in co-habiting rather than married couples, who have only a 5% chance of being together by the time their children reach fifteen.
A second reason to back marriage is that it is a gender-neutral policy: it doesn’t favour the rights of one sex over the other, and within the framework of a committed relationship allows couples to mould the roles as they see fit: if both need or want to work – great. If one parent wants to look after the children at home – great.
Making marriage at the heart of family policy would be distinctive, as despite it’s obvious advantages all the other parties have become far too cowed by the Metropolitan Liberal agenda and lack the courage to promote it. A pro-marriage family policy is also likely to be electorally popular, especially with female voters, and especially in the working class demographics most likely to be inclined towards UKIP. Although you would never know this from the media, traditionally-minded women are still more numerous from the go-getting, alpha-female careerists we hear so much about today. However, their voices are more or less unheard and drowned out by the exceptionally vocal feminist lobby in the media and complete cultural dominance of metropolitan liberal ideas. Traditionally minded women are also very poorly represented by the senior female politicians in the other major parties, whom, being career –oriented themselves, tend to have sympathies with policies designed to push women out to work. Finally, UKIP could present a pro-marriage policy in terms of being male-friendly, and emphasise that, whilst other political parties are happy to nationalise the role of fatherhood, UKIP believe in respecting the traditional male role in family life. This will help put UKIP in the vanguard of male issues – something that isn’t even a political subject now, but will certainly become one in the years ahead.
For all these reasons, UKIP should beware the siren-song of the feminists when it comes to creating a family policy, and don’t let us go down the sordid road of creating policy just to appeal to specific demographics in the short term. Instead, let us instead create one that is pro-women, pro-men and pro-family. Let’s back marriage.