My election notes. E-Day – 31

by Pseud O'Nym

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The received wisdom, which the results of the local election would seem to confirm, is that the Conservative Party have played a blinder by neutralizing UKIP as a political force so effectively, that they are in danger of becoming a political farce.

In a weird way, I feel sorry for UKIP. Not because their views they espouse are ones I necessarily agree with.  But more that the frustration and cynicism of people with the established political parties that they gave voice to, has in turn been cynically watered down by the Conservative Party.

UKIP forced the issue of a European referendum. Without sustained political pressure from UKIP and media pressure from sections of the most of the press, one wouldn’t have happened. UKIP got 12.6% votes cast in the general election of 2015 remember? To everyone’s surprise, we voted for Brexit. Certainly to Teresa Mays surprise, because she was a Remainer! Therefore it seems plausible, if not certain, that Teresa May might well have been advised to make it seem that she was seeking a strong negotiating position, sending out the right ‘mood music’ and signaling her willingness to walk away from any deal that she though wasn’t in the nation’s best interest. Of course, appealing to those voters that had been lost to UKIP played absolutely no part whatsoever in her decision.

But if it did, was it that much of a shock? Remember the European Elections of 1989? Like it was yesterday I’ll wager. When the Green Party took 14.9% of the vote, causing both the Labour and Conservative parties to confront the truth that the Greens had a message that voters liked? And not just voters, but a significant amount of voters, so significant in fact, that both parties sought to reposition themselves in the minds of the voter as more environmentally aware. So successful were both parties at doing this, that at next European elections in 1994, the Greens only got 3.2% of the vote. Rendering the threat to the political environment nullified and ensuring business as usual.