10 October 2014

UKIP

All my adult life I have voted Labour. It's as if my hand is controlled by unseen forces whenever I enter a polling booth. Even if the Labour candidate was called Mickey Mouse or Atilla the Hun, they would still get my vote. Well it had to be that way didn't it? Historically, Labour is the only party that ever did anything of note for ordinary working people and going back two generations I come from a family of coal miners and rabbit catchers, railway men and farm labourers. How could I forsake them by voting anything but Labour?

Last night there was a bit of a sea change in British politics when UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) gained their first ever seat in parliament by winning the Clacton by-election and at Heywood and Middleton in deepest Lancashire, Labour's victory over UKIP was by a worryingly slender margin. That constituency has always been staunchly Labour and the victory should have been a thumping good one as Labour are currently the main opposition party in our island nation.

What should we make of UKIP? Well to me they are a party with hardly any policies. They have a novelty value and their leader, Nigel Farage, has charisma and common appeal. He wants better immigration controls and he wants us out of the European Union so he's appealing to nostalgic and rather basic instincts. Frankly, it appals me that so many of my compatriots are being hoodwinked by this UKIP charabanc, embracing their newness instead of scrutinising their unwritten manifesto which has an insubstantial chameleon-like quality about it.

In my view, UKIP would have far less appeal for ordinary voters if Labour's leader was not called Ed Miliband. This awkward, nasally fellow has about as much charisma as a lump of lard. He is intelligent and he is caring but he simply doesn't have what it takes to lead the Labour Party effectively and demonstrate to disillusioned voters that it's time to return to Labour. He's like a rabbit caught in the headlights. 

I wish the trade unions and Labour Party grandees had had the sense to see this reality before now. Miliband should have never been given  the nod and I fear that the party is sleepwalking into disaster in next year's General Election. Only when that happens will they ditch "Red Ed". Harriet Harman would have been better or Yvette Cooper, maybe even Andy Burnham or Chuka Umunna. We will be waiting a long time before Labour sweeps back into office with a clear mandate from the British people and that makes me sad for in the meantime we will have to suffer division and the crowing of media-inflated UKIP as it consolidates its undeserved and often offensive foothold in British politics.

16 comments:

  1. It saddens me that the ordinary worker has lost sight of the hard battles fought by our forefathers to get better working conditions. If work conditions in the UK is anything like Australia, we have growing numbers of workers in less permanent and therefore less secure work. Perhaps that basic insecurity breeds other worries like immigration, border control, national identity and the like. Just a thought.

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    1. Just a thought yes - but true nevertheless.

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  2. I have a horrible feeling that Milliband is going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I would normally vote Labour but hard as I try I can't see Ed as a statesman.

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    1. Can you see him as a gasman? If he was a vicar, everybody would be snoozing during his sermons.. Even you would make a more charismatic leader of the Labour Party Adrian!

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    2. I don't think that is a complement. A Rice Crispy has more snap, crackle and pop than poor old Ed.

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  3. All my life I've voted Labour. Like so many people I am completely and utterly disenchanted with the whole blooming lot of them. If UKIP does nothing more than shake up the three main parties then they've done their job in my book. How can we say we live in a democracy when we vote for our man, who on taking office then does exactly what the whips tell him to do. They then hang on to their seats grimly determined, eyes focused on the perks and the handsome pension that awaits. Along the way they forget our worries and fears; the promises freely given to we who voted for them. Was it always thus, or does my memory deceive me?

    LLX

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    1. If you were standing I would vote for you Libby! You'd be the modern day Bessie Braddock!

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    2. Mr YP, you know me so well!

      LLX

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    3. I knew Bessie Braddock. That's quite a compliment you were paid LL.

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  4. The rise of UKIP is a sad reflection on all the traditional and serious parties, as these new kids on the block are just a joke - albeit a dangerous one, in my opinion. I'd like to say I respect this option etc, but everything I've seen and read about them from afar (about 1000 km away) leads me to believe they are a gimmick party playing to the lowest possible denominator. Maybe I'm wrong.
    The media also has a lot to blame as I am amazed at how much they can move/push the political agenda in England - and that goes for the lot of them, from The Sun to the BBC.

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    1. Without the media pumping them up they'd be nothing.

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  5. A similar phenomenon can be observed throughout Europe (geographically speaking, not EU-wise, therefore I am including the UK). In Germany, for instance, the "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD) are very similar in their views to UKIP, and like them, they have made it into regional parliaments and managed to shake up the political landscape.
    It does worry me to an extent, but I still hope there is enough brains left in enough people to avoid the worst. Maybe I am being too optimistic here.

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    1. Well thanks for that Meike. I had never heard of AfD. Perhaps we should send them all - along with UKIP to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq or to West Africa to tackle the Ebola crisis.

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  6. Having worked will politicians all my working life I have a very healthy disrespect for most of them. A shake-up of the system could be good but reality is that at the end of the day many of those who go into politics are exactly the sort who shouldn't be in politics. That's the nature of the beast. Even people like the Braddocks (whom I respected very much) had their moments but they were of an era which disappeared many decades ago.

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    1. I should have added that I certainly don't feel that UKIP is a good way to shake up politics but who knows what the scare of that might achieve.

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    2. With politicians it seems that a good number of them start off with genuine ideals but it isn't long before these are flushed away in favour of prestige and reward - carving out lucrative careers instead of speaking up for the people and for what is right. Most of them are very big-headed. I prefer humble, unassuming people like Adrian.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.