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Like them or not UKIP have been preventing Labour Governments for almost a decade

This photo first appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 5 February 2013: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9850603/Nigel-Farage-Why-I-will-not-fight-the-Eastleigh-by-election.html

If you haven’t been hearing about the latest in UKIP’s wing then you’re about to. It would seem they can’t catch a break ever since the referendum.

The party’s fifth leader in the past 18 months, Henry Bolton, has just received a ‘no confidence’ vote from the UKIP NEC and but he’s remained determined to carry out his Leadership. I actually quite liked the guy, former military and police with sound ideas regarding immigration, Single Market, and the Customs Union. Certainly the better alternative to Anne-Marie Waters. But I don’t wish to comment on the specifics, I want to talk about UKIP as a whole.

One thing I’ve noticed is that so many Conservatives I know are so quick to laugh at the party’s collapse lately, yet each one fails to recognise that this original single issue party created a Populist movement that both the Conservative party and the Nation needed.

Most of the Conservatives I know who say this are either London-centric or from rather well to do areas in the country, areas where no political movement can really put a dent in a Conservative MP’s majority. But I’m from Greater Manchester, a Labour stronghold, most of my family are or have been Labour supporters because people typically vote with their feet.

After the era of Blair and Brown and the open border policies from the EU which failed to be prevented by both the Conservatives and Labour in their manifestos since, many people from demographics similar to those in my neck of the woods seek an alternative: the outspoken candidates who have the policies and personalities that don’t conform to the politically correct Liberal attitudes in Westminster. A protest vote if you will.

Back in 2014 when my rather popular Labour MP, Jim Dobbin suddenly passed away a by-election was triggered in Heywood and Middleton. Labour stood a new candidate, Liz McInnes who did go on to win.  But the race became so tight that UKIP swung into second place with a 36 point increase from fifth place in 2010 and nearly sent John Bickley to Parliament- who would have been the first UKIP MP who wasn’t a Conservative defector.

UKIP was a party set up in 1993 by former Conservatives, but picked up votes from working class communities who were unimpressed by Labour’s messages over recent years. It was for this reason Conservatives shook the exit pollsters in 2015 and ended up winning that small majority.  UKIP Leader at the time, Mr Farage, had turned this protest movement into a party which claimed 12.6% of the vote share from predominantly working class, Labour, communities and pushed them into third place- superseding recently Knighted Sir Clegg’s Liberal Democrats- even if the broken electoral system only gave them one MP to show for it.

Party Leader MPs Votes
Of total Of total
Conservative Party David Cameron 330 50.8%

330 / 650

11,299,609 36.8%
Labour Party Ed Miliband 232 35.7%

232 / 650

9,347,273 30.4%
Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon 56 8.6%

56 / 650

1,454,436 4.7%
Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg 8 1.2%

8 / 650

2,415,916 7.9%
Democratic Unionist Party Peter Robinson 8 1.2%

8 / 650

184,260 0.6%
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 4 0.6%

4 / 650

176,232 0.6%
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 3 0.5%

3 / 650

181,704 0.6%
Social Democratic & Labour Party Alasdair McDonnell 3 0.5%

3 / 650

99,809 0.3%
Ulster Unionist Party Mike Nesbitt 2 0.3%

2 / 650

114,935 0.4%
UK Independence Party Nigel Farage 1 0.2%

1 / 650

3,881,099 12.6%
Green Party Natalie Bennett 1 0.2%

1 / 650

1,111,603 3.6%
Speaker John Bercow 1 0.2%

1 / 650

34,617 0.1%[176]
Independent Unionist Sylvia Hermon 1 0.2%

1 / 650

17,689 0.06%[177]

After the referendum and the loss of Nigel from frontline politics those party supporters either gave up or thought it was a happy ending, separation from the United States of Europe. This was proven in the 2017 General election. Many at the top of the Conservative party probably expected to tap into those voter demographics without actually working for it, simply assuming the delivery of a referendum and a soft Brexit would be enough. I bet when the exit poll came out that little London bubble popped and reality kicked in for Mrs. May.

All those Kippers returned to Labour and began voting with their feet again or resonated with the new ‘Momentum’ protest that Corbyn offered- even if it did promise bankruptcy.

This is why as a Conservative and adamant Brexiteer it does disappoint me that fellow Conservatives haven’t recognised the achievements of UKIP even for our own party- at the moment we’re still at a crossroads. The alternative to the incompetent PM that is Theresa May is a Marxist trainwreck that is Corbyn’s frontbench, and unless May pulls her finger out and offers something to reignite Conservatism again or preferably, steps down, then the party has to rely on every single one of those UKIP voters not to return to the their Labour bases.

The best thing we can do as Conservatives for once is pop that London bubble that clouds out the rest of the UK’s voice. We should get tough on immigration after freedom of movement ends, cut our foreign spending when we have plenty of issues to tackle here at home like creating more jobs, and preside over more house building. Then perhaps we don’t need the UKIP vote to take away from Labour’s camp because we’ll be offering the better alternative.

About Adam Cornett

Profile photo of Adam Cornett
Adam is a proud Libertarian advocate in the Conservative party. Born in Oldham, he is currently studying for his LLB at Manchester Law School, was an English Literature student when at Bury College, and has ambitions for a leading Military career in the Army, perhaps combining the Legal aspect. He is Pro-Brexit, small government and individual liberty.

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One comment

  1. Profile photo of Isaac Anderson

    Hear, hear Adam. UKIP was the working people’s ‘conservative’ party, where they could express their eurosceptic positions without being sneered at by Labour, or joining the perceived Tory ‘toffs’.

    The Tories need to again become the party for the old Thatcherian “Essex” or “Mondeo Man”, and not to fall into the same old London-Centric Trap. Otherwise they risk attracting voters not because they’re liked, but because they’re the least worst option.

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