This evening’s UKIP party political broadcast sought to bolster and capitalise upon the party’s recent relatively healthy showing in national opinion polls, a number of which have shown them enjoying higher support than the Liberal Democrats. However, given the very low level support for the latter, this does not necessarily betoken a golden dawn for UKIP, as after all the party has previously enjoyed a much higher level of support during the parliamentary expenses scandal. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see how on this occasion it had chosen to present itself to the electorate, choosing to downplay its central “anti-Brussels” line, which was a sane approach given that we are approaching local rather than EU or national elections. Despite its present relative popularity, UKIP has hitherto never fared well outside of the arena of elections to the European Parliament, and it will represent a significant challenge to the party to break away from the single-issue image that it possesses. This broadcast constituted a decent effort at tackling this perception.
UKIP’s membership is notoriously grey, both in hair and suit (granted, it must be conceded that the sartorial allure of blue pinstripes also proves to be strong for many a Ukipper), whereas the broadcast sought to portray a rather more mixed age range. A youngish (mature rather than callow) couple appeared to describe themselves as “go-getting” (representative of a demographic segment that marketers might term “aspirational”) who declared that they were paying too much tax. Neither how much they were earning nor how much they had inherited were revealed, so I cannot comment upon the merits of their statement, but their clear desire for an uber-Thatcherite low-taxation economy was apparent. This was a central theme of the broadcast: UKIP are a low-taxation rather than a “tax and spend” party like the Westminster triumvirate. UKIP are the populist voice of an electorate groaning beneath an oppressive taxation system, standing up to the professional “career politicians” of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. That may be their message, but there was scant explanation of how such a commitment to low taxation could be funded, other than averring that there was a great deal of “waste” (code for the existence of the public sector).
Despite UKIP being the breakaway Atlanticist Thatcherite wing of the Conservative Party - the only true ‘conservative’ party in the UK given the Conservative Party’s abandonment of Conservatism - the broadcast sought to emphasise that it provides a voice and natural political home for disaffected patriotic Labour supporters. To underscore this assertion it drafted in a former Labour Party member who had been converted to the UKIP cause. Quite how far he concurred with UKIP’s flat-tax free-market globalist economic policy can only be guessed, but UKIP, for all of its positive points, is still a deeply flawed party that is incapable of curing our national, particularly our economic, malaise. Although it was right to draw attention to the well-publicised and unjust sacrifice of jobs at Derby carriage and wagon works Bombardier owing to EU procurement rules, UKIP’s free-market globalism would just as readily lead to the outsourcing of such contracts not to Germany, but to some other country lying far beyond the boundaries of Europe.
Critics of UKIP state that Nigel Farage excessively dominates his party and its proceedings, but on this occasion his presence was marginally less intrusive than in earlier broadcasts, which represents something of an advance. Overall therefore, this UKIP broadcast was an improvement upon their previous offerings, managing to appear reasonably professional, moderate, and to some extent credible. How many voters it appeals to will become evident soon enough. As for myself, like many others I shall be presented with the task of deciding which is the least bad of the candidates offering themselves in my ward, but there will be no anti-globalist candidate of any description. Quite clearly, there exists a public appetite for a credible, moderate anti-globalist party that protects and promotes the material and cultural interests of our people. UKIP may not be that party, but its rising level of support indicates that just such a party is needed. It is our task to bring that party into being, and to offer a positive alternative to the failed globalist free-market economic policies of the big three and UKIP alike.
Farage in Plymouth