Will the British Right ever be the same again?

The British Right may never be quite the same again - genuine conservatives now have a choice

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Lapels around the country are jumping ship to UKIP
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Michael Heaver
On 8 May 2012 10:28

The Plymouth Conservatives reckon that UKIP 'are to blame' for their defeat.

They have no one but to blame but themselves. Clearly not enough of the electorate rated what their party was offering in the area.

You could say the same for UKIP, if it wasn't for the fact that the Party saw a huge vote boost. Standing in every Plymouth Ward, UKIP averaged 20.6 percent. That's more than one in five Plymouth voters now backing UKIP.

It represents a tremendous shift in the workings of the Right in Britain. While the Left has seen the SDP breakaway from Labour in the past, as well as the formerly centre-left Liberal Democrats fragment Labour's core support over the years, the Conservative Party hasn't seen a constant fragmentation of its own vote in terms of being outflanked on the Right. UKIP has steadily grown from a very small base, whilst the Referendum Party came and went very quickly indeed.

The Conservative Party doesn't own conservatives. Conservatism no longer in Britain automatically equals Toryism. Who embodies traditional conservative values on things like tax, spending, Europe and defence more: David Cameron or Nigel Farage? It is easy to see why so many right-wingers are finding UKIP the more authentic voice on the Right in Britain.

Indeed it is First Past The Post (FPTP) system that truly acts as the biggest hindrance to UKIP, with conservatives sometimes failing to back UKIP because they don't believe they can win. When this isn't a factor, as with the European Elections, UKIP picks up millions of votes.

But it is starting to do the same in local, FPTP elections as well. The Party took 220,000 votes in England's local elections this year, more than double what it received in 2008.

Symbolic of UKIP's rise was the defeat of the Tory Leader of Tunbridge Wells Council, defeated and replaced by a Kipper. There may have been few such outright victories for UKIP this year - but with over 100 second places, huge swathes of UKIP Councillors could well be elected in 2014.

The British Right may never be quite the same again - genuine conservatives now have a choice.

Michael Heaver is a UKIP activist and blogger. He tweets at @Michael_Heaver

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