I read with interest the recent article on “how does UKIP appeal to left wing voters” and I believe the answer is a lot simpler than some might believe.
The “Protect your jobs and benefits” message used in Wythenshawe I personally believe is a mistake of a campaign slogan. We are here to stand up for the hard working man or woman, who do their best to get by without the state’s aid and use it as a safety net, not as a cradle to grave way of living.
We must accept there is a certain type of Labour voter no party will ever be able to drag across to them. We will not appeal to those who see the benefits system as a way of life or an overgenerous welfare state as the way forward. However, there is quite a sizeable number of Labour voters who would and should be open to us, and many of whom now vote UKIP.
The Nelson, Southtown and Cobholm Division of Norfolk CC (in Great Yarmouth) is one of the poorest county wards in the whole of England, yet it has elected a UKIP Councillor at the last two county elections, in 2010 and in 2014, with 42% of the vote. Why? Because many of these voters feel let down by Labour. They have seen uncontrolled immigration in the unskilled sector curtail their chances for work and drive down their wages as many employers prefer to use employment agencies abroad to undercut the British minimum wage, or use EU directives to get extra cash for employing foreign workers, not British.
This is not just a problem for native British people in the ward, but for second and third generation immigrants who came to this country when work was plentiful. These people also see an increased demand on Council and Association housing because of the migrant influx and of course resent that they must wait so long when their parents and their grandparents have paid into the state.
The other type of Labour voter is the aspirational “white van man”, the kind of voter who Margaret Thatcher had voting for her in their droves: these are exactly the kind of people who UKIP will and do appeal to. UKIP need to show that Labour is not the Party of the working class, but of the shirking class and we must not slip into making statements like the one in Wythenshawe.
There are of course those people that vote Labour immediately after a Conservative Government and vice-versa who we must do more to show that if you always do what you always did, you always get what you have always had. As the Parliamentary Candidate for Great Yarmouth I often cite my own constituency as an example, but I believe our success over both Labour and the Conservatives in recent times is firmly down to this line of thinking and hope with continued success we can be an example to the Party as whole of how to campaign across the country.