Protest vote for UKIP leads to ‘Libdemolition’ and leaves the Tories spinning

No wonder he's rubbing his hands in glee: Nigel Farage's UKIP has upset the UK political applecart, leaving the parties of government royally shafted. But is this just a protest vote and will all three mainstream parties act on the enormous hint they've just been given?

No wonder he’s rubbing his hands in glee: Nigel Farage’s UKIP has upset the UK political applecart, leaving the parties of government royally shafted. But is this just a protest vote and will all three mainstream parties act on the enormous hint they’ve just been given?

Does anybody else think this year’s local elections have been the most interesting in living memory?

And it’s all down to UKIP, the little party of “loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists” that could.

Don’t get me wrong – the UK Independence Party represents a threat to good government and nobody in their right mind should be voting for it, but the fact is that people are. UKIP has attracted protest votes from all ends of the political spectrum.

This is the heart of the matter: Disaffected voters – not just Conservatives, but former Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats – have all supported UKIP because it seems to be the largest platform for dissent. They don’t agree with all of UKIP’s policies – in fact, they probably don’t know many, beyond the anti-EU, anti-immigration stance – they just want to register their extreme distrust of the major parties, in their current form.

From the results so far, that distrust is now the main influence on the British political landscape, with the support of around a quarter of all UK voters. People aren’t voting for any party because they approve of its policies; they are voting against parties because of the policies they refuse to give up.

I include Labour in this, even though I’m a Labour member. My party’s attitude to social security (welfare if that’s what you prefer) is an unmitigated calamity. Labour must scrap its current policy and sack its current team, if it is to have a hope of regaining the votes it has lost to UKIP. Then it must build a new policy, based on preventing the causes of unemployment, work-related sickness and disability. The private firms currently infesting the Department for Work and Pensions – Unum, Atos, and whoever else is lurking in there – must be ejected and forbidden from returning because their advice is self-profiting gubbins (and when I say gubbins, I mean for you to insert the cussword of your choice).

With regard to Europe, it is clear that British people want a new settlement with the Union. The people consider European laws to be unreasonably restrictive, and wonder why we allow so many restrictions and regulations into our country from Brussels. Personally, I don’t agree that we should leave the Union altogether – but we absolutely must reassert our sovereignty, and the best way to do that is with a very short word: “No”.

The immigration issue could be tackled very simply. Ask yourself: Would you travel abroad and try to live in a country where you did not have a job, had nowhere to call a home and couldn’t even speak the language? I wouldn’t. But that is the perception of what immigrants from the European Union are doing. Why not just install a very simple rule on anyone who wants to come into the UK to live – that they must have work waiting for them here, and be coming into the country to take up that job. Employers would arrange work permits for these foreign nationals and a system of checks could be employed to ensure that they adhere to the rules. The principle of free movement would be honoured – the difference is that people would be freely moving here for a demonstrable reason.

Let’s have a look at the collapse of the Liberal Democrats.

The South Shields by-election result was no surprise to anyone: Labour held it with an overall majority – that’s more than half the turnout. UKIP came second – that protest vote showing itself strongly in a Parliamentary election – and the Conservatives third. Note that their combined vote would not have toppled the Labour candidate, as it would have toppled the Liberal Democrat in Eastleigh, earlier this year.

And what of the Liberal Democrats? They came seventh, below the BNP and above the Monster Raving Loony Party, with just 352 votes – that’s 1.4 per cent of the turnout and yes, they lost their deposit. On hearing the news last night, I tweeted: “It’s a travesty – the Loonies should demand a recount!”

In the councils, the Lib Dems have also lost support. The current BBC graph, showing the situation after eight councils (of 34) declared, shows that they have lost 15 councillors so far. Expect that number to escalate!

But the real losers of the night are the Conservatives. They were never going to take South Shields, but they managed only one-sixth of Labour’s vote, and less than half of the UKIP turnout. In the councils, they’re 66 members down already and have lost overall control of two authorities.

And they’re panicking. One sign of this was the joyous response from Conservative Central Office to a win at Witney, in the Prime Minister’s constituency. The tweet ran: “Well done Witney @Conservatives – I see you got a swing from Labour & and increased majority in Witney East versus 2011. Well done!” Straw-clutching at its finest.

But that won’t save them from the wrath of their own members – and the knives are already out and sharp. Alexis McEvoy, former Conservative Hampshire county councillor, wrote in the Telegraph: “There is a problem with the people at the top of our political parties. They just don’t listen. They don’t listen to ordinary people or our concerns.

“David Cameron says he’ll have a referendum, but no-one believes a word he says. I don’t believe a word he says, and I’m a lifelong Conservative.

“We stood up for things in the past. We don’t stand up for anything any more.”

Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth, on the BBC’s live blog: “I think our priorities have to change.”

That goes for all the main parties.

19 thoughts on “Protest vote for UKIP leads to ‘Libdemolition’ and leaves the Tories spinning

  1. Paul Jordan

    Clarification! Ukip haven’t ‘attracted protest votes from all ends of the political spectrum’. True Socialists have a rich history of fighting fascism and Ukip’s quasi-fascism is no exception, the dangers are frighteningly clear. Labour has to take responsibility for consistently failing to offer working people hope and for pandering to the anti-immigrant lies that are peddled as fact.

  2. guy fawkes

    If the next election if it became a 3 horse race with ukip in the middle, ukip said they would align with the tories – no great surprise there then, but it does mean we get the tories again. We need a new party whose priority should be looking after the poor and needy before the interests of those who are capable of looking after themselves, because labour as a shadow government are not rising to the challenge.

  3. Paul Jordan

    So glad I live in Scotland. Bring on Independence – we can show the way. Just look who ‘better together’ are; Tories, Libdem, labour (small ‘l’), UKIP, BNP, Orange order. Yes campaign; SNP (a little more ‘socially democratic’ than labour), Greens, Scottish Socialist Party, Labour for Independence (wanting a sharp shift to the left). If Scotland votes no we’ll get such a kick in from Westminster with increased austerity, NHS privatisation and the rest.

  4. chibipaul

    Don’t know about interesting.
    The results sure are worrying. The amount of people that think these nasty bastards are a good idea should be of great concern.

  5. peter Deal

    “Don’t get me wrong – the UK Independence Party represents a threat to good government and nobody in their right mind should be voting for it”

    And…. we have good government at the moment ??????

    1. Mike Sivier

      Absolutely not!

      But that doesn’t mean we should perpetuate the situation.

      That especially goes for the people in Cornwall who re-elected a councillor who said disabled children should be “put down”. What were they thinking?

      1. Tony Bennet

        I live in Cornwall and have a disabled child and can assure you we didn’t vote for him. Why he was ever allowed to stand as a councillor again is beyond me.

  6. Workhouse

    I noticed that one as well, he actually had the temerity to suggest that not only local people had asked him to restand but that he had a countrywide response. Suggesting that there is nationwide support for his Joseph Mengele ideas! It begs the question what kind of person voted for him. Is psychopathy and inhumanity the new pandemic?

    1. Workhouse

      That was meant as a response to Mike Sivier’s comment above about the Cornwall councillor but for some reason did not link.

      1. Workhouse

        Us and them
        And after all we’re only ordinary men.
        Me and you.
        God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do.
        Black and blue
        And who knows which is which and who is who.
        Up and down.
        But in the end it’s only round and round.
        Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
        The poster bearer cried.
        Listen son, said the man with the gun
        There’s room for you inside.
        Don’t cost nothing do they, eh?”
        Down and out
        It can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about.
        With, without.
        And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?
        Out of the way, it’s a busy day
        I’ve got things on my mind.
        For the want of the price of tea and a slice
        The old man died.

        So prophetically true!

  7. hilary772013

    I voted for UKIP and I will tell you the reason.. The slogan of the conservatives ‘we are all in this together’ is false advertising, due to the fact they are taking money from those who desperately need it, an example is the disabled.

    If we we are all in this together they would be making cuts from their wages and expenses and would not have spent 8.7 million of tax payers money on a state funeral that Mrs Thatcher did not want and they would not be planning to spend a further £15 million of tax payers money on a museum dedicated to her.They say that there are a lot of people with fraudulent claims which in turn is costing the country, this is the excuse they used to launch their attack on the disabled, They want to reduce the deficit by 15% which in my opinions is erroneous, as I believe the correct figure for fraudulent claims is about 0.5%.
    We are not in this together otherwise all the politicians would lead by example and take cuts in their pay & expenses, yet they expect the vulnerable in society to take cuts in their much needed income so those in poverty suffer and the poor get even poorer by having their money reduced, so much so that we now have food banks in this country and people are going hungry whilst the Members of Parliament enjoy heavily subsidised meals,

    Disabled people are now suffering both mentally and psychically and to date 10,600 people have died as a direct result of the new policies and the problems that are occurring with the assessments being conducted by Atos and this subject was debated in Parliament by Michael Meacher Labour MP on 17th Jan 2013, which was televised on Parliament TV. To his credit I might say.

    How can we all be in this together when I don’t see any politicians being driven to suicide because of their policies? This is mainly directed at the Coalition BUT if Labour do win the next election I firmly believe they will do nothing to reverse any of the Foul policies the coalition have brought in.
    I do not hear any Labour standing up and saying this is down right wrong what the Tories are doing lets be truthful it is their policies as that stupid man clegg is only along for the ride. I want to see LABOUR standing up and being counted as I am damned sure the Labour Leader/ Politicians could be more vocal about the desperation of the most vulnerable in our society. I do not know what will happen at the next election but if Labour don’t get their act together then I will vote UKIP at the next general election as I do not trust either Tories Labour LibDems to keep their words as they are only in politics to line their own pockets and could not give a damn about the common people but without the common people the politicians would have nobody to govern and it is about time the politicians did what is best for the rest of us and just what is best for them… and no I don’t think UKIP can run this country but it can’t be any worse than what we have got.

    yours a very disillusioned pensioner… who by the way has never had the slightest interest in politics in her life.. until now

    you wanted to know why anyone would vote for UKIP… this is the reason I did. I have also never voted Tory in my life either

    1. Mike Sivier

      I’m told that UKIP’s welfare policy describes benefit claimants as “a parasitic underclass of scroungers”.

      It includes forced unpaid work for all Housing and Council Tax Benefit claimants, ESA slashed to Job Seeker’s Allowance rates and childcare support for working parents demolished.

      Are you sure you voted for the right people?

  8. Thomas M

    The Lib Dems are toast. Roll on 2015! And it’s sad that people would vote in someone who wants to kill the disabled.

  9. bookmanwales

    UkIP’s are more right wing than the Tories. They want cuts to every part of government and particularly welfare and the NHS. Their need to cut taxes for employers means they have no choice but to cut essential services.

    The net result is that Tories are calling for bigger and faster cuts to the same services to counter the UKIP threat to them.

    Labour have, and will continue to, support the Tories in all these cuts, Some token protest in the commons but vote against them ?
    Labour cannot take any comfort from their level of support given the dissatisfaction with the LibDems and the amount of support UKIP got. Labour now have to battle three parties and seem not in the bit concerned about their base suppport.

  10. sibrydionmawr

    The big question is, ‘Do we believe Labour?’ with their wishlist. I personally don’t as I don’t see them putting up any kind of sustained, principled opposition to the present regime, and will, in all likelyhood, continue where the present incumbents left off, rather as Blair and Brown did in 1997.

    UKIP should have Labour running scared. I don’t and won’t support or vote for UKIP, (any more than I’d ever vote Labour except to keep out a fascist) as, living in Wales at least I do have an alternative, albeit one that isn’t vocal enough at Labour’s connivance in the demonisation of the vulnerable in our society.

    I beleive that you are a sincere person Mike, but don’t you think that you are flogging a bit of a dead horse? Labour have always said, (like every other political party) ‘Vote for us and it’s cake for tea!’ or words to that effect, but the reality is that they don’t deliver on their promises. Reading those brainstorming ideas of Labour’s one hopes that at least some of them will be implemented, but the truth is that they won’t and the electorate isn’t having any more of it. Labour faithful are a diminishing breed, as Labour, (certainly in Wales) has sold the people down the river too many times.

    Future policies aren’t worth squat unless those promoting them genuinely seek to implement them where they cam, and so far Labour, where it holds power isn’t doing that.

    It’s easy to forget that we have a Labour governement in Cardiff Bay that’s implementing Tory policies almost undiluted, and thus legitimising the present ConDem government. If Welsh Labour had any backbone at all, and if they cared a jot about the people of Wales they’d be moving towards independence. The idea that you can have any kind of socialist society in the UK has been proven to be pie in the sky, and part of the problem is the colonial/imperial legacy that influences the Labour Party as much as it does the Tories or LibDems – or the BNP for that matter.

    I’m also tired of hearing all the rubbish about how our sovereignty is restricted by Europe. Exactly whose sovereignty? It’s the sovereignty of the English crown, and the Whitehall governement, what about the sovereignty of Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland? Being part of the European Union has brought us ordianry people a lot of benefits, and because of Europe some of the policies this present evil government is implementing can be, hopefully successfully, challenged under the Human Rights Act, (I know that the ECHR and the EU are different bodies, but I’m guessing that for most people it’s about as clear as is the distinction between the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government). I’m usually quite sceptical about many things to do with EU membership, but about the fundamentals, the basic human values the EU underpins, albeit imperfectly, I am unequviocably in support of. Imagine if the UK wasn’t in the EU? The ConDems would be a lot worse than they are.

    At the very least the Scots have a choice next year. I personally hope they vote sensibly and go for independence, as this would futher weaken the Union and also send a clear message to the Labour Party who would be most affected, (as it relies on the votes from Scotland and Wales in order to form a government in Westminster, as it can’t get a majority of seats in England, never has, and probably never will. Both Wales and Scotland have been Tory Frees Zones, England never has, at a Westminster level.)

    I have never voted Labour as I’ve never trusted them, they are not radical enough for me by a long way. I’m not going to say that I’ll never vote Labour, as it may be that Labour will one day see the light and become principled enough to support the idea of Welsh indpendence on the grounds that it is the best option for the Welsh people. But it also has to be much more than this, it also has to develop polices that are truly radical, even to the point of abolishing a lot of the role of government itself as the people incrreasingly take over the reigns of power themselves. But then I suppose Hell could freeze over too.

    One caveat: I am not a member of Plaid Cymru, (though I do vote for them on the principle of least worst option) and tend towards anarchist/libetarian left politics that embraces industrial syndicalism, and true internationalism (not the bogus internationalism of the Labour/Trotskyite Left) but also considers individualism important. I am Welsh speaking and proud of being Welsh, but less than proud of our present political class.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I’m only going to put in a couple of thoughts after that lengthy comment.

      Firstly, you say the “truth is” Labour won’t enact any of its current policies, but it isn’t the truth, is it? You don’t know what Labour will do when/if it gets into office again. I admit I can’t tell you Labour definitely will enact all its promises – and bear in mind that the political landscape may be greatly changed in 2015 (a wasteland, if the Tories have their way), but neither can you.

      You also say, “we have a Labour government in Cardiff Bay that’s implementing Tory policies almost undiluted.” That’s factually inaccurate. Look at the NHS. Would David Cameron carry on and on about it so often at Prime Minister’s Questions if the Welsh NHS was what he wants it to be? The fact is – at least here in Mid Wales – the NHS in this country is in remarkably good shape, considering the funding squeeze that Cameron and his cronies have put on it. There are many other examples.

      And don’t forget that you are perfectly entitled to have your say and see what happens. If you’ve got ideas to make politics work better, and you’ve get evidence to support them, bring them forward!

      Finally, I should point out that I also have reservations about Labour in its current form. Welfare policy is a mockery and Liam Byrne is not a socialist. Labour has to eject such people from the Parliamentary party and for this to happen, the constituencies have to nominate and select genuine representatives of the people. If well-intentioned citizens like yourself abandon the party then your prophecy about what Labour will do becomes self-fulfilling – because you made sure it would!

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