Everything is on a plate for UKIP at the moment. Actually, from the moment Cameron promised to hold an EU referendum, it always was. If we had voted to Remain, UKIP could have mopped up the disaffected, particularly the ex-Labour voters. As it stands, the prize they could grab could be much, much bigger now that the country has voted to Leave.
The one thing I thought might hold them up (and I’ve said many times before has been UKIP’s biggest problem all along) is if Farage clings egotistically to the leadership. Two reasons why this would have been tricky for the party: one, Farage is marmite. Yes, his message was ultimately the one that won the referendum, but I still maintain it was better for Leave that he was mostly in the background and that others delivered it. Two, he’s a control freak who never allowed the party to flourish through his own need to have the final say on everything. With him gone, liberals of all parties and all stripes best be careful – UKIP could now become massive beyond anything envisioned by its creators.
The reason I say everything is on a plate for UKIP is this: May looks likely to be the next prime minister. Her first priority will be keeping the UK in the single market. UKIP gold dust, that is – how long will it take to turn the “Tory establishment stitch up” into a “betrayal of the Leave vote”? Not very long. Even if Leadsom gets the premiership, it will all be messy and awful (in so many ways), and not quite right enough for the Leavers. UKIP will, either way, get to pose as the people’s champions. The message that somehow Leave would have worked out perfectly if UKIP had been in charge will resonate will a lot of voters, believe it or not.
Again, this is all particularly true if Nuttall is leader post-Farage. Here is a guy that could aim his tanks at those places in the north that voted Leave in large numbers, previously unthinkably safe Labour seats, and turn them into UKIP strongholds. In case you think I’m being hysterical, look at my form on this – I said UKIP would end up with one seat after the general election, and I was right. I don’t have a history of overestimating UKIP’s electoral potential. So from that perspective let me tell you this: a Nuttall led UKIP could even become the most dominant force in UK politics in a few years time, bar no one. The Tories have played themselves into a terrible spot, forced to come up with an answer on Brexit when there isn’t one that won’t piss off most of the country or destroy the economy, at least short term; Labour are close to split or else made into a joke; no one else is in the race. UKIP are being given an opportunity to say they are the only ones who truly speak for the 52% who voted Leave, and I can imagine lots of that 52% lapping this message up. I don’t even want to make a prediction on the number of seats that UKIP might get if there was a general election in the next few years. In fact, I think this is the major reason the Tories are scared of a general election.
UKIP are most likely about to get themselves a leader who matches their ideal seat targets, who can speak to those ex-Labour voters they want to pick up. Who also isn’t an egomaniac like Farage who will allow the party to grow. In Arron Banks, they have a guy who will fund them on a massive scale (unless Banks runs for leader himself and wins – UKIP do have the means of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory here, thankfully). I don’t mean to unduly alarm people, but there could be yet another political tsunami headed our way – and it could be the scariest one yet.
Warren Tarbiat says
I wonder if Paul Nuttall would give cover to say Theresa May as Tory PM not bothering to invoke Article 50 at all. If there would be blacklash (likely be more limited than pundits think) it would be focused in the Labour heartlands where Paul Nuttual would appeal there but repel southern Tory heartlands who voted for Brexit & would still vote Tory due to a fear of Labour + SNP (or fear of the SNP in general).
Edward Wynn says
I think the assumption that there wouldn’t be a material backlash if they dont do Brexit and overtly control immigration is seriously wrong. To not do Brexit on that assumption and be wrong risks major civil unrest. It could also lead to wholesale eradication of both Labour and Tory MPs to UKIP. Also just think having said Brexit is Brexit do you think what credibility May would have not doing it. You cant have a referendum, get a result , say your going to uphold the result and then not do it. Dont underestimate the damage Corbyn has already done to the Labour party by supporting unlimited immigration.
Warren Tarbiat says
The thing is that the blacklash would be limited not that there won’t be many, once people see devalued pound & other economic factors hit their pockets people react very differently. I know people dismiss polling but if you looked at the Eu Referendum when it comes to reducing immigration people actually *don’t want to pay for it*, ComRes poll that showed a 1 point lead for Remain the week before showed that 68% of people don’t want any financial penalty to reduce immigration. Sure the Remain message was crap and felt really abstract to many people & felt that the Economic warnings would in a sense “affect someone else that I don’t know”.
The blacklash would likely be limited mostly to Labour heartlands if Paul Nuttall becomes UKIP leader & I seriously dobut he has much personal or political appeal to Tory heartlands much. If it was Suzzane Evans you would have a point but Paul Nuttall. Theresa May in a year could effectively. Sure UKIP would go up in opinion polls mid-terms due to anti-government/EU backlash but would subside when it comes to the GE, if there isn’t an GE next year then I dobut we’ll invoke ever Article 50. Besides it seems that EU-related Elections in the UK seems to bring out a specific vote who do not bother with other elections.
I mean we *could* see UKIP surge if the EU result is ignored (but the Referendum was advisory & Article 50 was not invoked on the Friday Morning) but I think it is overblown & would subside by the next GE.
Andrew Chadwick says
I share the fear about UKIP resurgence but can see no alternative to fighting them. Being mealy mouthed is no good.
The centrist parties and really anyone who wants a fair and liberal UK need to start and keep communicating just how the benefits of market access benefit the D/E groupings.
Also, explicitly to take on the ridiculous increase in inequalities of reward, and to lobby the EU 27 to start shifting the cash flow that flows from older to newer members, now they are somewhat more politically stable, so that instead it helps to offset the economic and social impact both of internal migration and taking on refugees. A ‘people premium’s, if you like.
I think there are a majority of people in the UK with a fundamental belief on fairness and that hard work and skill deserve reward. Somehow, we need to join up the dots so that this majority is not taken in come the day of the electoral fight-out with UKIP. I suspect UKIP pretend to be socialist, but their people are pretty right-wing.
Andrew Chadwick @chadatom
The one consistent thread since UKIPcame into being in the post Maastricht years is the unnerving ability of the political class to completely misunderstand why it happened, they did and they do to this day underestimate the general mood and the real hate that the population across all political shades have for the current system and it’s ‘what’s in it for me’ players.
The referendum for the first time demonstrated for millions that if they play the game of democracy, they can win, I doubt they will quietly go back into their box. It is clear that the LibDems, Labour and the Conservatives are still unwilling to listen, as their respective blogs are full of how can we defy the referendum result whilst giving the impression we are acting on it.
UKIP are pushing at an open door, with a leader like Nuttall or Woolfe, they have to nothing more than continue the path first trod so effectively by NIgel Farage, because a national message of renewal and confidence in our own abilities is only coming from UKIP. The other parties are so entrenched in their defeated mindset, they are too scared to change, and too scared of what will happen if they don’t change. They are collectively rabbits in the headlights, and all UKIP has to do is run them down.
This assumes that the Conservatives did not take us out of the EU. What would happen if they did and the consequences were disastrous at least in the short term ? We already have the pound at a lower level which must affect those voters going on holiday abroad. There might then be demands for another referendum or for Parliament to restore our membership of the EU. I doubt if there would be much support for UKIP then with or without Nigel Farage.
The present chaos must have made many people regret voting leave and there would probably be a sigh of relief if the whole Brexit thing was called off, except for the “True Believers” such as Mrs Leadsom.
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