As we all know it’s Labour who traditionally hold the title as “the working man’s party” but in recent years the rise of ‘New Labour’ has twisted and distorted the message the party used to send out. What we thought used to be the overwhelming left wing party that had such members as the late Tony Benn who was a huge socialist supporter are now being turned into these left-centres who don’t seem that dissimilar to the Tories. They are by no means as right wing as the Tories but to me it’s incredibly difficult to notice any major differences from Miliband and Cameron. Anyway enough about the Tories and New Labour what about this sudden surge in popularity by Ukip.
The recent TV debates with Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have shown us how one party can be at an all-time high and another living in the gutter. Farage won the population over with his anti EU argument that saw Nick Clegg clutching at straws to a debate he should have easily won. Now the EU debate can wait for another time but there is no doubt that Farage won that debate. He has possibly changed people’s minds not only about the EU but for his own political party. The impact of Farage’s win was revealed in opinion polls where it appeared that there was a surge in Ukip support. Looking at voting intentions for the European Parliamentary elections next month, Ukip have come out with 30 per cent, neck-and-neck with Labour. Amazingly Ukip could emerge the biggest party in the Euro contest, a remarkable outcome for an organisation with no seats at Westminster.
Traditionally you would believe that it’s Cameron and his Conservatives that should be most frightened of this sudden surge in Ukip support. After all most of us still hold the belief that Ukip is just a spin off to the Conservative party except it’s much more right-wing. When you think of the Ukip voter you’re looking at the wealthy and rich, these are people who want private health care and sit in arm chairs drinking whisky in their stately homes. They are much more radical than the Conservative voter and they think the Tories are soft. However when you look into it you are quite surprised. A majority of Ukip voters aren’t wealthy at all but are in fact working class who have never voted Conservative.
In a world where a right-wing party is gaining votes from the working class you must ask yourself how bad are left-wing parties? Usually a rise in Ukip support would be hugely celebrated in the Labour camp and it probably is. Ed Milliband most likely welcomes Nigel Farages’ surge in support, hopefully Farage will steal many Tory votes in 2015 welcoming Ed Milliband to Number 10. However this idea could become complacent and misjudged by the Labour tacticians. Relying on Ukip to take the votes from the Conservatives could see them with pie all over their faces if it happens that many traditional Labour voters have turned to Ukip instead.
These Ukip voters want something new, something they can relate to and something that ruffles the feathers of the main parties. For them, Farage has created an attractive alternative, one that clings to traditional “True Blue” values. They can’t stand David Cameron, a smooth, former PR adviser with his modern views. Farage on the other hand was once a City trader who likes a pint at the pub and a fag. He’s rowdy, defiantly un-PC and isn’t afraid to speak his mind, he is much more their sort of chap.
Going back to the EU debate on TV briefly Farage devoted so much attention to the white working-class. These people feel left behind by increasing globalisation, Farage went on the attack and said; recent surges in European immigration had “left the white working-class effectively as an underclass” which would be “a disaster for our society”.
Revolt on the Right: Explaining Public Support for the Radical Right in Britain written by authors Matthew Goodwin and Robert shed some light on where this Ukip support has come from.
According to Goodwin and Ford the Ukip support is at their core white working-class. They struggle for jobs that offer advancement, either in pay or interest; they’re uneducated beyond 16, they are unable to cope with the technological changes; while their lives are a routine, they see in their eyes, the state bending over backwards to accommodate wave after wave of immigrants. This is the one thing that unites Ukip to this white working class; the fear of immigration.
They used to be traditional Labour voters but now they have become something they no longer recognise becoming New Labour. They don’t like change and they certainly can’t relate to the people in the New Labour party anymore. New Labour is populated by smooth graduates, not folk from the factory floor. As Labour continued to reign through three election terms it grew further apart from them and their needs.
New labour no longer cares about their vote but cares for those living in London or those students that will go on to live successful and wealthy lives.
Undoubtedly Farage is also a toff but he speaks a language they can understand. He gives them a vision of Britain they can relate to, he gives them the idea that they can have the life of what they grew up with and enjoyed.
Ukip’s membership consists of very few middle-class professionals. The majority is comprised of blue-collar workers from the industrial North and Midlands places where Old Labour had a stronghold. This is evidence that shows it is now Ukip who is becoming Britians working class party and not Labour.
Ukip might not be considered a contender just yet but don’t be surprised if we see Nigel Farage on a podium in the upcoming TV elections. Labour is losing their past and is forgetting what they stand for. In this technological age we can get ahead of ourselves and become greedy and arrogant only caring for ourselves. Labour needs to recognise the working class and their needs before someone like Farage comes and steals them. Labour is built on the working class, without them they are no different to the Tories. It’s time New Labour looked up to idols like the late Tony Benn and proved once and for all that they are the peoples party. If not they could see Ukip steal the working class from under their flashy pretentious noses.