True Motives Missed…

6 Jan

Councillor Frank Whittle defects to UKIP after becoming ‘disillusioned’ with Tories

The article above is a minor political news article from East Anglican Daily Times about an ex-mayor and local Councillor for Stowmarket who has defected to UKIP for the Tories. Not exactly breaking news (anymore) as the surge from Tories to UKIP continues. Rather, what caught my interest was the response from the Chairman of Cllr Whittle’s ex Conservative Association.

The Chairman, Andrew Speed, felt the cause of this defection is Europe, “we expect that once the national policy on Europe has been defined he may well return at which point we would welcome him back with open arms.” Europe, a lack of policy on Europe? Maybe in the early days but I believe Mr Speed is reflecting a wrongly held belief in the power of UKIP – the issue of Europe. Whilst Europe and all the proclaimed ‘evil’ it personifies (or so claims by Daily Mail et al.), I think that is only the part of the story.

With UKIP developing and maturing as a full political party, representing the ‘alternative’ now that gap has opened up with the Lib-Dems joining government. There is a deeper reason for the growth in polls (highest at 16% here, average is 12% or so), it is serious disquiet mixed with a real alternative for the voters. Surveys by YouGov and Lord Ashcroft have separately established that the EU is not the top issue for Mr Farage’s voters (which is why he has astutely sought to abandon the party’s longer title and pound-symbol badge). Rather, their main concern is immigration, with crime coming second and the EU only third. Studies of UKIP’s supporters find pessimism about the country’s future and rage against the political class.

Take gay marriage (a contentious issue among Tory grass-root faithful), UKIP represent the only major party to stand for traditional marriage understanding. Plus one to UKIP versus Conservative. Or defense where UKIP promise to “to provide proper defence resources and bring an end to devastating cuts“. Defense is a Conservative stronghold that is now looking a little overrun. Or because UKIP’s values represent what some voters are looking for as  its primary attraction is that it will “say things that need to be said but others are scared to say” (to quote the Lord Ashcroft‘s  survey looking at the threat of UKIP. The list goes on, and it’s not just ex-Tories defecting, its Labour and Lib Dems too.

Sorry Mr Speed but you missed the true motives. It is  the expression of dissatisfaction, borrowing the capitalistic mantra: “the voters have voted with their feet“.

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