Forget all this nonsense about UKIP surging in popularity. We've heared it all before. Year after year we are told by Farage and his useful idiots that UKIP is about to make it into the major league. And every year ends in failure and defeat. We were told that UKIP would win seats in Westminster. They didn't. We were told that they were going to win seats in the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament elections. They didn't. We were told that Farage would win in Buckingham. He didn't. We were told UKIP would see members elected as police chiefs. They weren't. We were told that UKIP would win the Corby by-election. They didn't. And the same goes for Rotherham.
Here are some words of wisdom from The Telegraph regarding this false dawn:
Ukip aren't surfing a wave: they're standing in a rockpool, watching the tide go out Ukip aren't surfing a wave.
Sorry, but it isn’t going to happen. In 1983 the SDP were going to break the mould of British politics; they didn’t. In 1989 the Greens were going to transform the British political landscape; they couldn’t. And in 2015 the great Ukip breakthrough will disintegrate upon the unyielding wall of electoral reality.
This morning the Tweed Army are on a roll. They are surging in Rotherham on the back of the fostering scandal. As this paper reports today, no fewer than eight Tory MPs are said to be in discussion with Sir Stewart Wheeler about possible defection. And opinion poll after opinion poll shows Ukip snapping furiously at the heels of the flatlining Liberal Democrats.
It’s a false dawn. However noble their cause, or steely their resolve, Nigel Farage and his irregulars are marching towards defeat.
Ukip are not a political force, but a political curiosity. In years to come many a pub quiz trophy will be won by those who can correctly answer the question: “What was the name of the guy who ran the anti-EU party? Begins with an N."
In life there are rules. What goes up will come down. The Earth rotates around the Sun, not vice versa. And come election time, minor British political parties get squeezed out of existence.
It may not be fair. It may not be healthy. But them’s the facts. And unfortunately, they are immutable.
Of course, come June 2014, when next year's European votes are counted, there’s going to be a whole lot of muting going on. Ukip will be in the process of recording their greatest ever election triumph. The Tories will have been beaten into a humiliating third place. Eurosceptic MPs will be fanning out across the airways demanding action and the summary execution of Ken Clarke.
And then nothing will happen. A year later Ukip will run, they will fight and they will lose. There will be no Ukip MPs. Their impact on sitting Tory MPs will have been negligible. They will have 3 or at a stretch 4 per cent of the vote to show for their efforts.
How can my cold, Leftist eyes penetrate the political crystal ball so clearly? Well, for one thing, I’m not a Ukip supporter, so I’m unencumbered by the hope and expectation attending several of those currently predicting a national outbreak of Farage Mania.
The truth, if you care to look for it, is out there. Firstly, there is the electoral system. Ukip cannot make a breakthrough in 2015 because the system they will be fighting under has been specifically designed to prevent them from making that breakthrough. It was not built to further the political ambitions of free spirits such as Citizen Farage. It was created to crush them underfoot; and so it will.
Then there is the second big problem facing Nigel Farage’s party: he hasn’t got one. In relative terms, Ukip have no money, no infrastructure and no activists. They have no organisational expertise, no strategy expertise and no policy expertise. Yes, they punch above their weight in the media, but that’s because much of the media is instinctively sympathetic to their agenda, not because of any presentational acumen. Not so long ago Ukip’s idea of a communications strategy was to wind up Robert Kilroy-Silk and let him go.
Then there is a third obstacle. Ukip are a single-issue organisation, campaigning on an issue most voters couldn’t care less about. According to Mori’s latest issue tracker, only 5 per cent of voters regard Europe as one of the most important issues facing the country. At the time of the 1997 election that figure stood at 43 per cent. Ukip aren’t surfing a wave, they’re paddling in a rock pool watching the tide go out.
People can spend the next couple of years preparing with mounting excitement for Ukip’s moment. But come the next election, the fix will be in. That tiny percentage of voters who rate Europe as the defining issue will have a clear choice. The EurowaryEurophile – if not fully obsessive – Prime Minister Miliband. Nigel Farage – no debate, no money, no activists, no infrastructure, no hope of a seat, never mind power – won’t get a look-in.
That’s the problem with being a lone warrior. It’s lonely.
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