Are we reading between the lines, voters? A look at the current state of things here in the UK
Britain is in disarray. Not quite Brixton Riots meets Boys from the Black Stuff disarray, but when it comes to the public vote being in touch with local constituencies, things haven’t really been much worse.
Nigel Farage: The ‘simon Cowell’ of politics is winning votes left, right and centre
There seems to be little anyone in power can do to change the current public perception of ‘no jobs’, ‘too many people’ and ‘lack of money’. Phrases such as ‘progress’ and ‘upturn’ are being fired frivolously at the general public in a kind of last bastion battle cry from the Tories. Today, the general public who voted in 2010 as a generation of hopeful graduates are now a collective of voters who now stand in the UB40 a week after they’ve framed their First Class degree; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For those of you who endured the 70’s and 80’s, it all sounds rather familiar doesn’t it? The difference being, this agenda kept Maggie Thatcher in charge whilst the rest of the UK, or more accurately anybody north of the M25 remained out of reach. The divide couldn’t have been more black and white and yet the difference then was that the Press held the keys to the castle. It was the press who backed on the Conservatives side; how Cameron will wish that were the case for the coalition in 2014.
Today there stands a new threat to votes. Whilst Parliament continues to slog out an embarrassment of lost promises, it would seem there’s one man who holds all the answers; and no I am not talking about question time’s favourite panellist in Joey Barton, I’m talking about Nigel Farage.
If the current state of things were a battle, the troops are showing little signs of progressing towards the target, they’re armed with blunt instruments, no idea of their location and possess little to no ammunition and Nigel Farage is the only one over the top. NigelFarage is the only one smiling, why? Farage has the peoples vote. Labour will remember the people’s vote. They defeated all and any kind of opposition hands down in 97’ with their slogan things can only get better. It would seem hindsight would have helped Mr Blair explore that theory once he decided to enter office.
The problem for Labour today is that as many as 4/10 would be voters, don’t vote Labour because of their leader, Ed Milliband. This unenviable problem could become a slight hiccup in their campaign to regain the reins of power come May 2015. It would seem Ed’s own disastrous PR could do with attending the school of Beckham. And yet a trip down the Amazon filmed by the BBC is unlikely to boost seats in the next general election. From their point of view, change is drastically needed.
Cameron seems to have lost his edge. Even now when public speaking his jaded expressions highlight the strain on the coalition. Many have argued the Tories policy of public spending cuts has driven the nation further into the quagmire. Did they have other any other choice? The recession has seen huge cuts in public spending yes, but more significantly, dramatic changes in our everyday lives, from council structure to the limited choice of schools for our children. It is these every day issues that haven’t won over the wider, general public. The public who have to plough on in their underpaid, over taxed lives, whilst the cabinet state things are improving from their stately homes a million miles away from the crux of the impact.
In theory the car has very much crashed. UKIP’s poster boy, Farage has picked up the keys but has yet to turn the ignition. He’s enjoying holding them aloft in a stance of belligerence towards parliament. Good old Nigel, the un-politicised agitator, the ‘bloke off the street’, ‘the everyday kind of man’; but Farage is yet to really throttle on the accelerator of governing public control.
So what’s the bigger picture? How has this slightly tongue in cheek character managed to whip up a storm and gain such an endemic of popularity? Those who would historically vote Tori are now happy to vote UKIP, even those who saw themselves as a bit of a socialist have cast their red cap asunder and opted for the more direct approach of policy. In essence, Farage has just spoken aloud, about what is really biting Britain right now. He hasn’t used an Oxbridge education to gain entry to his position nor does he spout broken promises from an ivory tower. He’s said what’s being said down the pub, publically and open. It’s worked.
Match point UKIP perhaps. But there are those who see it differently. There are those who believe Farage’s dramatic rise in popularity is a sort of point against the ‘big three’. Those who actually when it comes down to the national election may have looked a little closer into the UKIP manifesto. The question on my mind is ‘are we really listening to Farage?’ or is it more of a case that those who voted UKIP last month in the local elections aren’t listening all that assiduously to what’s being said.
Are we actually just in agreement on his anti-Europe policy, built on placing British values ahead of our foreign neighbours? This is the same man who admittedly, talks like a bit of a lad and enjoys being seen down his local with a pint of bitter, but the front will not hold forever, even if the whimsical approach somehow seems to hold all the answers for now.
Little has illustrated to what extent the landslide of UKIP popularity can convert into a tangible general election decision and with it the outcome of next year’s voting. Those who have dissented from the current block may very well be pressing a case for much needed change. What will be interesting to see by this time next May, despite UKIP’s publically driven vehicle gathering pace right now, will it still be cruising into the final straight or will it be a case of whacky races?