UKIP is an anti-establishment party, or at least this is what our beloved media and the party itself tells us. Its leader, the beer-swilling, chain-smoking Nigel Farage, even goes so far as to claim that his party is a “People’s Army”. Laughable. This is a party that is bankrolled by former Tory funders and whose top table is replete with ex-Tories, the latest being Dizzy Doug Carswell, the self-styled libertarian who has decidedly conservative impulses. Confused? Well, so are they. Hell, they don’t even have any policies of note, other than leaving the European Union and “pulling up the drawbridge”. Even when Farage is questioned about his party’s policies, he disavows them. Being a ‘libertarian’, he suggested that the army should be deployed to deal with disorder. He also tells Andrew Neil that the party’s 2015 manifesto will be similar to the 2010 manifesto. Really? He also admits to wanting flat taxes. I wonder how many of his working class supporters realise how much it will cripple them to pay the same rate of tax as a billionaire?
Watching the reports from last week’s by-elections, I couldn’t help thinking that the people who were being interviewed on camera, who told us they were voting UKIP, weren’t in full possession of their faculties. “UKIP represents change” one opined, while another claimed that UKIP would “shake up the establishment”. Yes, of course they will. It’s like the political satire we get on television: it’s so anti-establishment that it’s produced by scions of the establishment who gently mock their own kind and receive OBEs for their “contribution to British comedy”. It reminds me of Henry Ford’s famous dictum: “you can have any car you like as long as it’s black”. For our media, it’s a case of “You can have any anti-establishment party you like, as long as it’s led by a former commodity trading ex-public school boy and former Tory, and his ex-Tory chums and financial backers”.
Yes, people are turned off by the main political parties but voting UKIP won’t change a thing. If anything, successes for UKIP make it more likely that this country will be pushed further to the right as the three main parties compete with each other to out-UKIP UKIP. British politics has traditionally been seen as the province of the aristocracy and the wealthy. To change British politics for the better, we need to abolish the monarchy and the institutions that stem from it (the House of Lords) and create new transparent democratic institutions in their place. This means greater public involvement with politics. The people of Scotland are already engaging in this process. Isn’t it time the rest of HMP United Kingdom did the same?
A better world is possible.