A commentator on ConservativeHome who is also an author on politics, elections and constituencies, Lewis Baston, has written an article on ConservativeHome that tries to draw parallels between the various breakaway parties and groups of the 1920s and 1930s to UKIP.
The article is long, dry and not very convincing, and it falls into the usual trap of assuming that UKIP is a breakaway from the Tories, a right-wing party, fully missing that UKIP is a mixed church of left and right, united in their belief in libertarianism and self-determination.
So, why are we drawing attention to it? Well, for a start, he almost hits the nail on the head with his closing statement:
“In the past, non-fascist right wing parties have come into being as aspects of power plays within the Conservative Party, and been discarded when no longer useful. UKIP is in a very different category.”
Here we go again, “right-wing”, but at least the acknowledgement that UKIP is different to the oddball parties of the 20s and 30s: ‘Anti-Waste’, ‘Empire Crusade’ and others. What’s really interesting with his article is the debate it has generated in the comments section.
Highest rated comment is from djalskdnc:
“UKIP are completely different to the other historical parties challenging the Tories. The Tories are no longer the Tories, everything they stood for and what Brits stand for has been abandoned. We have been sold out to the EU and immigrants.”
“We want out of the EU, immigration stopped and Britain to be British and it is very clear the Tories have no intention of doing any of that. I have every confidence UKIP will crush the Tories in the 2014 EU election and rightly so you have abandoned your voters for the EU and we have had enough”
Just remember this is ConservativeHome, not UKIP Daily! OK, the commenter may be neutral, or even a UKIP member, but the net up-votes (132) must represent the frustrated feelings of Conservative supporters. GunnerBear then challenges this comment with:
“So why did the public vote for the Conservatives even after the signing of the Single Market Act and before the signing of the Maastricht Treaty when the Conservative version of HMG made it clear it would follow pro-EU policy? “
“Why did the UK electorate also vote from ’97 until the last election for a Labour Party led by a man who made it totally clear that the UK would get ever closer to the EU? Why hasn’t UKIP managed to win a single seat – even in Eastleigh, they couldn’t defeat the pro-EU LDs.”
Good questions indeed, although the readers aren’t too convinced with 3 down-votes, and he is answered by a more popular (+17) Stephen_Wilders (who is clearly a UKIP supporter):
“Because the implications of those decisions is only beginning to bear fruit in the last 6 months of so… Now, they are finding out that every tiny little facet of their life is being ruled, and influenced by the EU. They are starting to realise than an 8 hour wait at the local A&E is a direct result of an open immigration policy… Politics, is a long game, people take a long time to make up their minds”
Next most popular top-level comment is from Fausty with 115 upvotes:
“Three things changed all that:
1) The implementation (as opposed to the ratification) of the Lisbon Treaty;
2) Cameron’s slipperiness (saying one thing while simultaneously doing exactly the opposite);
3) The Eurozone meltdown.
UKIP had been warning about the dangers to democracy and sovereignty inherent in the Lisbon Treaty, but the public couldn’t bring itself to accept that the entire political machinery could be involved in a lie of such magnitude – a global conspiracy, if you like.”
JohnCStevens is the highest rated respondent to this, who is also convinced that UKIP is a phenomenon of the right:
“The true roots of UKIP’s recent rise was the Western financial crisis of 2008 which revealed the dark side of globalisation… That is why UKIP is formidable. So formidable it could break Conservatism completely. But understanding this is also to recognise that UKIP’s principal policy, getting out of the EU, will not really address any of these grievances. What is needed is a more radical re-assessment of what the Right stands for in the modern world”
Dennis_Cooper hits the nail on the head with his response to this:
“But getting out of the EU is an indispensable prerequisite for being able to address those grievances.”
UKIPpers would agree with that, to allow our own government to determine this nation’s path in the world, for us to control our borders, get the British unemployed back to work, resolve the country’s financial difficulties and develop world trading relationships. That’s quite a tall order for a start before thinking about whether UKIP is left or right wing.
Start the debate – have your say in the comments section below