Much political time as passed since the Local Elections which saw UKIP’s power and following truly illuminated. The response Farage has culminated over such a short period highlights a number of concerns within British society. However, the way in which the three main parties have chosen to combat the rise of Farage is, in my opinion, completely misguided.
Farage has inspired a debate regarding the future of Britain’s position in the European Union; however, this is more a cultural debate, rather than a policy-based debate. That meaning, the three main parties, or perhaps primarily Labour and Conservatives, are choosing to address this through the typical political way: a debate leading to a decision on a referendum. However, what UKIP highlights is a major anxiety which undercuts British society; Farage is looking at culture, rather than politics – to which most people are seemingly apathetic. Of course, the irony of this is that as a political party, UKIP would most likely be completely disastrous – one only has to observe the £120bn black-hole within their budget policies.
There is a fear within society that jobs are being threatened by mass immigration. Not only jobs, but general freedom: of speech, of appearance, etc. Indeed, much of these fears may be myth, and jobs are threatened by bleak economic outlook rather than mass immigration. Nonetheless it seems innate human nature that the individual has to quantify the unquantifiable: this inexpressible and misguided hate has to be directed and attributed to something or someone, and usually that is the minority. As a consequence, parties like UKIP and BNP see a rise in votes because they offer short-term solutions, or speak for the “common man” when, in fact, the short-term is just papers over the cracks.
Digression aside, Farage and his party have the right idea. They address the core and the centre of the issue; they do, in fact, voice the concerns of the common man, whereas the major parties voice the concerns of the actual economic and political outlook. As horrible and shallow as this may seem, government has diplomatic relationships to maintain whilst also public confidence and support. Yet, the diplomatic relations is what keeps the high streets booming and the job market sufficient. That is the harsh reality. UKIP, however, ignore the diplomatic aspect and say what people want to hear.
I personally see Farage as a opportunist, feeding on the fears of modernity and change, rather than offering any remedy to the political, social and cultural ills. Whether they will continue to rise into 2015 will be interesting the track. Much alike the 2010 election, they will replace the Liberal Democrats: the wild-card party who really think they will offer a new change only soon to disillusion the voters.