I’ve been ploughing through a book about UKIP and its history: Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain, by R. Ford and M. Goodwin (published by Routledge 2014). Ford and Goodwin are university politics lecturers who have written an academic book that seeks to explain the rise of UKIP, drawing on a wealth of new data. Their position on the party is neutral, exploring its strengths and weaknesses impartially.
It’s not an easy read, but as a UKIP member of three years’ standing I have found it worth the effort. My first reaction was admiration for the way that UKIP has survived many setbacks since it was founded in 1993. This survival is due to the belief and determination of various leaders over the years, the best and most successful of whom to date is Nigel Farage. We would not now be looking forward to having our say on EU membership if it were not for the sheer persistence of UKIP in applying pressure for a Referendum.
Then I came to a chapter titled “The Social Roots of the Revolt” and grew rather indignant at what I perceived as the rather snobby generalisations the authors were making about UKIP’s “average voter”. What it boils down to is this: the vast majority of UKIP’s supporters and voters are working- class, “poorly educated” (few or no exam qualifications), aged 35 – 55 plus, and white. Well, I fit into some of those categories and others I don’t, so I was sceptical at first.
But one set of surveys followed another, from a variety of sources, all backing up this social profile of voters who feel ignored by the mainstream parties. The white working-class are the “left-behind” voters, deserted by Labour, Tory and Liberal politicians in their single-minded pursuit of targeted segments of the electorate: the young, university-educated, professional middle classes; and ethnic minorities.
The mainstream parties set out to appeal to those who favour socially liberal policies, which include boosting the number of women and ethnic minorities MPs, and tackling climate change. These voters are more likely to be pro-EU because they have never experienced Britain as a self-governing nation. Their sense of British identity and history is much weaker than that of previous generations. For them, patriotism is an outdated concept.
It didn’t matter which LibLabCon party won an election: anyone who wanted to get out of the EU, was alarmed by uncontrolled mass immigration, and felt concern about the social cohesion of our nation was ignored by the established political class in Westminster. They were left unrepresented, without a voice in mainstream politics. So they turned to UKIP, a rebel party. Yes, it was making sense now – and then the irony of this state of affairs struck me.
If we accept Ford and Goodwin’s arguments based on extensive data gathered over twenty years up to 2013, the amazing irony of the situation emerges. Who has always been, and still is, RIGHT about the bossy, undemocratic EU? And RIGHT about harmful levels of immigration? And RIGHT about the incompetence of the public school and university-educated Westminster elite?
Why, the poor, “uneducated” working-class, that’s who. The people who started work at 16 or younger, worked hard and paid their taxes but often found themselves redundant in economic downturns, saw a trickle of immigrants grow to an uncontrollable flood, had to compete for jobs, housing, benefits, hospital and school places with newcomers who had never paid into the system, watched the EU making the laws instead of their elected representatives, wanted desperately to keep the British pound while highly educated fools insisted we should join the euro ….
I could go on, but anyone who watches or reads the news knows about the migration crisis and knows that Germany rules the EU. Frau Merkel has already told Cameron that the free movement of people across our borders is “non-negotiable”. He has no meaningful reforms to offer, yet continues his “renegotiations” charade.
As the Referendum approaches, remember the wisdom of the “uneducated” who know better than to trust our country to the pro-EU politicians who have betrayed it for 40 years. Be wise for yourself, for your children, grandchildren and all future generations of British people. Turn out to vote, and vote LEAVE. You will not only be voting for freedom and democracy, but also reminding those in government that real power belongs to working-class people with the wisdom to see through the lies and self-interest of political careerists.